I’m tired of seeing it. I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of talking to myself in a way that isn’t loving. I hate hearing my friends talk about their bodies in a negative way. I hate knowing that even though we were made in God’s image, that people will still look at their body or someone else’s and say hurtful things about it.
I used to fall prey to this way of talking to myself. I hated my body so much in high school. I wanted to be as thin as possible and I was willing to do whatever I could to attain that goal.
This is the first time I’ve ever admitted this publicly…but I used to suffer from an eating disorder.
It all started in high school where it was ingrained in me that being thin and fitting the norm was the only way. Being anything other than that, in my mind, was bad. All it took was one boy in 11th grade saying that I had “love handles” for me to go into a downward spiral. Before I knew it, I was drinking Slim Fast shakes at school, working out twice a day, not eating enough, talking down to myself and wishing for a new body. I even wrapped my midsection in duct tape for prom my junior year so my “pooch” wouldn’t poke out. I could barely bend over or breathe but that was okay because I “looked” skinny even though I was miserable.
Fast forward to my first year of college. I know that everyone has heard the saying “freshman fifteen” and I was determined that I would not be one of those people who gained weight in college. So I went even more extreme with my eating and working out. I started looking up to celebrities that were painfully thin, I ate as little as possible and when I did eventually get hungry, I’d binge and make myself sick. It was a vicious cycle and I dropped from a healthy weight of 140 to almost 125. I wasn’t underweight yet (by BMI standards), but my frame of mind was all kinds of messed up and I looked unhealthy. Eventually my friends and family started to make comments and ask me if I was okay. I would lie and say I was fine.
I wasn’t fine.
It took me until around the end of my sophomore year of college to finally see what I was doing to myself. I went to the dentist for a cleaning. She looked at the enamel on my teeth and said it was wearing thin, even though I knew I had been brushing and flossing correctly. After thinking about it for a second, I knew what was causing my enamel to deteriorate. It was from purging after my binge sessions and I immediately felt ashamed. I didn’t think I had a problem until that moment. I thought I had figured out the answer to staying skinny but it was NEVER the answer. It was a bandaid. My eating disorder was destroying my body. I was destroying my body.
I eventually told my sister everything and got counseling, though not extensively. She had her suspicions even though my eating disorder wasn’t stereotypical or obvious because I could go weeks or months without binging then have one bad day and fall right back into my pattern of self destruction. Not gonna lie, I struggled with it for another year or so until I finally gave it to God. After a lot of prayer, the need to binge and make myself sick finally stopped. I gained a bit of the weight back and got healthier. Over the years, I’d have moments where I’d think back about it and cringe. How did I get to that point? What caused me to go to that extreme?
The answer was unrealistic expectations for myself, from society, from photo-shopped pictures in magazines of girls with perfect abs and the worst one of all, body shaming!
Without going into too much detail, I ended up gaining the weight I had been trying so hard to keep off plus another 15 lbs over a 2-3 year period. However, since I had grown spiritually and mentally, the weight gain wasn’t the end of the world for me like it used to be. I just saw it as an annoyance but I was too busy (I thought) to care and do something about it. I was also a little scared of my problem resurfacing if I put too much thought into it, so I ignored it.
One day though, after hearing some negative and hurtful comments about my weight from someone I cared about, I started the journey that changed my life. I remember being so mad at that person and then I remember asking myself if I was happy being 20 pounds overweight. The obvious answer was no and that was when I decided I wanted to get healthy, not skinny. I also decided I wanted to get healthy for my dang self and that I was tired of trying to please others.
I slowly started to get the weight off, gained confidence and began to take care of myself through good nutrition, eating enough calories and working out, the right way. That was 3 years ago, right around the time I started this blog.
Since then, I’ve fluctuated a few times by 5-10 pounds but I’ve always been able to get it back under control and refocus.
As of now, I am at a lower, but healthy weight and I’ve had a resurgence of motivation and passion for taking care of myself. I’m feeling more confident than ever and I’m loving things about my body that the old me in high school would have hated. Call it growing up. Call it whatever you want. I just know that a lot of the reason I’m so body positive now is because our culture is slowly changing. I’m thankful for a community of women who are encouraging and motivating. I’m thankful for body positive models who have real curves and muscles instead of being waif thin. I’m thankful for men like my boyfriend who see a woman’s body and love it for its curves and for its imperfections because that’s what makes a woman, a freaking woman (can I get an amen?!). I’m thankful for my prayers being answered when God took away my need to control my weight in an unhealthy way.
With all that said, I hope you got the right message from this post. I’ve gone back and forth about sharing my story for a long time. I’ve avoided sharing it in the past because I was afraid I’d influence someone to do what I did. I now know that way of thinking is wrong. Sharing my story and how I overcame it might help someone that felt just like me. Maybe it will give them a different perspective and cause them to dig deeper and fix the real issue instead of putting a bandaid on it. Maybe this post will cause someone to think before they say something negative about someone’s body. I’m hopeful this post will help at least one person.
I’m always open to chatting with anyone who wants to share or ask me questions. Feel free to email me at balancinginsneaker[email protected] or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook.
As always, you guys are amazing and the love and support you’ve shown me hasn’t gone unnoticed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!