I’ve been thinking a lot about body image lately. It is something that I have struggled with, and I know many other women, teenage girls and postpartum moms struggle with as well. So today I’ll share my story.
It was back in my senior year of high school that I became anorexic. I still remember the words that someone told me that kicked it all off. Words can destroy someone’s whole planet, especially when you are a sensitive teenage girl.
When it started off, I was in denial about, thinking that I was just like anyone who was dieting and restricting my caloric intake. I would have days that all I would eat was a banana and an apple-cinnamon Nutri-Grain bar, a total of about 225 calories. And I was proud of my “self-control” on those days. On top of that, I had a very obsessive workout regimen. I’d do 500 crunches a day, and that was only half of my workout. At 5’8’’ I whittled down to 101 pounds.
Then following a rough breakup, I became bulimic. I would over-indulge in sweets and fattening foods and devour massive meals, then later, disgusted with myself, I would hover over the toilet and force myself to throw up, while hot, wet tears prickled and stung in my eyes.
I weighed myself daily. I reveled in the glory of the compliments I’d get, that I looked like a model, etc.
All I wanted was to be skinny. To be perfect.
But when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see what everyone else saw. I was never happy. My mind was clouded with darkness and self-loathing. I was never good enough. There was an ugly monster in my mind that would rear its nasty head and seep awful thoughts into me, its poisonous words coursing through my veins.
Looking back on it now, I feel so ashamed of myself and who I used to be. Eventually, my poor eating habits and obsessive workout routines went away. That’s only part of the eating disorder though. The other part is that sickness in your mind. That part, I’ve heard, may never fully go away.
Today I eat (mostly) healthy and workout regularly. And most of the time I am happy with my body. But on occasion, there are moments when I look in the mirror or try on clothes or weigh myself, that the ugly monster rears its head again, with its disgust and hatred.
These moments are rare and fleeting, thankfully. I try my best to keep the monster at bay by practicing positivity. I look at my body and remember what an amazing temple it is. I grew life inside me, and today I sustain that life through breastfeeding. My worries over eating now are more towards making sure that I eat plenty to take care of myself and to ensure that I am passing on good nutrition to my little one.
Today I am at a healthy weight. I don’t count calories anymore. I work out on a regular basis. Sometimes I don’t get to run as many miles as I’d hoped to, to or go to as many workout classes as much as I’d planned, or go to the gym as often as I’d like to. And that’s OK. Part of practicing positivity is forgiving myself.
Love and appreciate yourself. Spread the love and positivity to others. You never know who might need to hear those kind words the most.
Be beautiful on the inside. You are amazing. And thank you for listening to my story.