In Spanish, Bolita means a little ball. The -ito or -ita after a word is a diminutive in Spanish and slightly changes the meaning of the word.
Perro = Perrito (Dog = Little Dog)
Amor = Amorcito (Lover = Sweetheart)
Chica = Chicita (Girl = Little Girl)
When I was little I was round. You see, I’m the first child of Mexican parents who migrated to the United States when they first married. So, I’m a first-generation Mexican/American.
When I was born my parents still held to the majority of their cultural beliefs. And, in many Latino families (especially back then) children who were chubby were considered healthy and happy. So, growing up I was indeed made to be “healthy and happy.”
Well, the happy part was right. My parents loved and doted on me. But the eating … oh boy!
What started as “Oh look, she wants another egg. Give her her third egg! ” Or, “She’s crying, she must be hungry.” “She’s been a good girl, give her a candy.” “You’re so cute, have a donut!” quite literally morphed into my food issues to this day.
So I ate. And ate. And ate. And when I was a toddler I was big and round. And my parents started to call me “Bolita”
Bola = Bolita (Ball = Little Ball)
Not so cute. But of course, I was too young to know the difference.
Other family members and friends picked up on the nickname and called me Bolita too. So, it stuck.
And, as I grew up I got rounder and rounder.
“You can’t leave the table until you finish everything on your plate!”
Thus started my relationship with food. And hatred for my first nickname.
A person’s relationship with food is one of their most important relationships.Ned Vizzinni
I’ve struggled with weight all my life. I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds. Gone on and dropped off so many “diets” and broken so many New Years’ resolutions. Been called so many more horrible names throughout grade school and middle school.
In high school, I was a size 16 and kids called me fat. I was a cheerleader and was bullied into getting the largest size uniform because the kids said nothing else would fit me. I was told that I was a Weeble Wobble – remember those? “Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down?” I was told that “you don’t walk like a fat girl.”
Thankfully, by middle school, my parents started to call me Nena, or little girl. It turned into Neni. That nickname is still with me. I like that one.
The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.Ann Wigmore
Food was my comfort. Food was my refuge. Food made me happy. Food was my drug of choice. And, since everyone already thought I was fat – and I believed them – I allowed myself to become what they believed I was. Fat.
Fast forward to adulthood and quite frankly it wasn’t any better. I just got larger and larger. It never really stopped me from doing anything.
I moved to New York, auditioned for shows, sang with a band, hiked, biked, danced.
But, when I was called to come home from New York due to a family emergency, I ballooned. And, then some!
Had a child. Worked. Sang. And got depressed because I wasn’t doing all the things I loved anymore. And, I got even bigger.
I had a doctor’s appointment and the scale clocked me at such a high number that I couldn’t believe it. And, my blood sugar numbers were so high that I was killing myself from the inside out.
Enough! I have a kid. I have parents to watch over. I have shows I want to do! I needed to get a handle on the why of my eating.
While overeating may be seen by some an indulgence of self, it is in fact a profound rejection of self. It is a moment of self-betrayal and self-punishment, and anything but commitment to one’s own well-being.Marianne Williamson
So in 2016, I had gastric sleeve surgery. And made a lot of progress, lost a lot of weight. But didn’t really learn the reasons behind my eating disorder. I did feel better about myself and got back on stage. Gained confidence.
Slowly the weight came back. I gained back 3/4 of the weight I lost. In my defense, I did break my leg and couldn’t do much exercise. Of course, that was also a really good excuse.
My knees hurt. I can’t walk up stairs without effort. I couldn’t walk a mile (or more) like I use to. A broken leg may have set me back a bit, but its arthritis in my knees from all the weight they had been carrying that took it over the edge.
And my blood sugar levels started to increase again. And the depression started to rear its ugly head. And my confidence began to wane.
My doctor said I had to do something, anything. So I began walking the dog. And, I was doing well. Then my doctor had to prescribe different medicines to help with my diabetes, which in turn helped curb my appetite. And, I joined Noom so I could learn the “hows” and “whys” I eat.
In the last 7 months, I have lost 70 pounds. What I had regained from surgery and then some!
Yep! That’s a lot. I’m walking at least a mile, mile and a half every day. Blood sugars are at a normal level. I was in two shows. I feel great!
(In fact, in the second show they told me that from the first measurement to the first preview day I had lost 4″ in my waist!)
But most importantly, I’m learning more about my addiction. I’m learning what foods cause me to bloat, cause me to feel bad. What causes my cravings. What do I want to reach for when I’m down. What to do when feeling depressed or anxious. I had this knowledge but never really put it to good use.
And, I need to write again. This blog is really my journal of sorts. You may not want or need to read it, but I certainly need to write it. Thank you for indulging me.
Little Bolita is no longer. I’m through with being a ball, little or not!
And the size 16 from high school? I’m now a size 14 – soon to try a size 12!
A healthy outside starts from the inside .Robert Urich
Bye-bye Bolita. You can call me Neni.
Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee, and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.