People always ask me “what is it like growing up with your dad as the Hulk” my answer now is very different than when I answered it as an insecure, unaware “heavy kid.” When I was 10 years old I was 5’4 and 176 lbs. I was made fun of constantly at school and one of my friends parent was even so cruel as to ask me “ isn’t your dad ashamed of you since he is in such great shape and you are fat?” The answer was and still is no. My parents allowed me to be me because they knew the environment that they were raising me in set the right guidelines and had a steady foundation with food, exercise and love.
My parents never harped on my weight because they knew I would rebel and just eat more. Looking back, my parents, instead of preaching begun to ask me more often how I was feeling and what my day was like. When I started feeling close to my parents that was when I wanted to be more like them. I saw my parents eating right, I noticed them going to the gym and I even started reading the fitness magazines they would bring into the house. I began to open my eyes to that fact that I was over weight and had an issue, but it wasn’t until I was around 12 that I had my “Reset Moment.”
Late August 1993 mom and I went shopping for school clothes at the store Rampage (which is now the equivalent to Forever 21). I gathered a bunch of clothes to try on. After trying on the 5th Large/XL item that didn’t fit, I hid in dressing room and started sobbing. When I finally came out, I knew that mom and the sales clerk knew exactly what was going on with me. When the sales clerk suggested Lane Bryant I had mom take me there. When we walked into Lane Bryant I realized it was a plus sized store and I lost it… in front of everyone. In that split second I lost all confidence that I had left but vowed that from that day forward I would work out, eat like my parents, and never feel victim to the weight that I had on my body again.
What started changing from that day on was the way I began thinking about food and the way I viewed myself. I let go of all the negative thoughts I had of myself from my peers, and stopped comparing myself to all the models in the magazines. If was having a hard day I would take a walk with my dog instead of going to the fridge. When I was sad I would talk to my mom or a friend instead of baking a cake. I recognized that I was an emotional eater and instead of communicating how I really felt, I would suppress my feelings with food. I let go of the theory that “if no one sees it go into my mouth, it never happened” and only ate meals and snacks in front of my peers.
Eating with people around, letting go of lonely eating and believing that food was my friend is what got me down over 30 pounds and what still keeps me in shape today. I have come to terms that I will never be stick thin, and there are days that I am still hard on myself when my favorite jeans don’t fit. I vowed to always be honest with myself about my feelings, and never compare myself to others. I am muscular by nature and will always have an athletic physic. So at 36 when people ask me what it’s like to be the hulks daughter I look them in the eye and make sure they realize that “The Hulk” is Shanna Ferrigno’s father and that I am one lucky girl.
You can read more about Shanna and her transformation in: The Reset Plan