Body Image and Eating Disorders

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.

Body image & eating disorders | sharonisamom.com
Here’s a picture of me the summer after I graduated high school. This was not at my skinniest, but I was still at an unhealthy weight.

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.

Love,
Sharon

New Year’s Resolutions

Looking at the year ahead has me thinking about some goals I have for myself for 2016. I have plenty of the usual resolutions on my list (work out more, do more yoga, read to Ellis more, yadda yadda yadda…). But more specifically, here are the big things on list that I’d like to achieve this year. Thought I’d share them on here to hold myself accountable for these aspirations!

Breastfeeding
Our breastfeeding journey has come a long way! Ellis will be 8 months old on Monday, and he’s still mostly powered by breastmilk. My goal is to make it to the one-year mark and perhaps longer from there. Ellis will be one-year-old May 4!

Pumping
Since I’m staying at home now, I rarely need to use the breast pump. I know there are moms and babies out there struggling with their breastfeeding journey. Some moms have medical conditions that cause them to have low supply, and some are unable to breastfeed at all. When I was pumping on a regular basis for Ellis, my stash grew, and we weren’t going to be able to use all of the milk before it went bad. So in October I decided to donate.

New Year's resolutions 2016: donate more breast milk | sharonisamom.wordpress.com
My stash before I donated.

At first I’d donated to my nephew, who’s 3 weeks older than Ellis and was born a month early. I had given them most of my stash (80-145ish oz, forgot to count exactly). After a couple bottles of it, my nephew wasn’t doing too well with it, they think because I eat so much spicy food, it was making him gassy. I was bummed that they weren’t going to use it after all, but I requested they hold onto it, so I can find another good home for it. My stepdad apparently didn’t get the memo and THREW IT ALL AWAY. I was livid. So much time and effort I had spent pumping that liquid gold, just to have it get thrown away! The worst part was that at that point I’d already promised it to another mama who was in need and had to apologize profusely when I only had 33 measly ounces to donate to her sweet first-percentile baby. She was still very thankful, but I felt awful.

Anyway, all that made me want to set this goal for the new year, to make a point to pump so I could donate again. I’d like to be able to donate at least 200 oz, but it would be great if I could donate up to 1000 oz. We’ll see!

Running
I won’t lie. My total mileage for what I ran in 2015 was way less than the previous year. I got pregnant late July 2014, but I managed to still run quite a bit while pregnant (scaled back some, but still running a lot). My total miles for 2014 was a whopping 470 miles. My total for 2015 was a measly 139.

Running goals for the new year | sharonisamom.wordpress.com
Finishing strong at Big D in April 2014.

Running pregnant was a piece of cake compared to running postpartum. It’s not that running itself is more difficult, but that being able to get out there and go run has proven to be quite a challenge for me. I took 9 weeks off from running, (stopped at 38 weeks pregnant and picked it back up at 6 weeks postpartum.)

Even when I had the OK to go running again, it was in the middle of summer, so the heat wasn’t exactly ideal running weather. All that time off made things difficult for getting back into the swing of things. We have a nice BOB stroller for running, but it says to not take them running until 8 months (before that it’s supposed to just be used for walks). I know lots of people take their little ones running way before that, but we decided to err on the side of caution and go with what the manufacturer suggests.

Running goals for 2016 | sharonisamom.wordpress.com
Finished one half marathon for each trimester of my pregnancy.

And my other excuse for my lack of miles this last year is simply timing. The little guy is still mostly breastfed and doesn’t eat a lot of solids still, so he relies on me for his meals. I try to feed him right before I go for a run/go to a race/head to the gym or make my way to yoga. I also don’t want to work out on an empty stomach or just-filled stomach, so I have to time my meals just right too to allow time for food to settle and make sure I have energy in me to run.

All of that to say I’ve had plenty of excuses. I think it’ll be easier in 2016 as Ellis doesn’t rely on me as much for meals and I’ll have more time now that I’m a SAHM and can take him out in the BOB now too. With the huge difference in mileage from 2014 (­­470) to 2015 (139), it’s hard for me to pick a goal for 2016 not knowing how realistic that number will be.

 

Running goals for 2016: Run a marathon | sharonisamom.wordpress.com
Portland Marathon 2016, here we come!

I’m setting out to do 366 for the year, giving me an average of a mile a day (it’s a leap year). If I can do more, great. If I fall short, that’s OK too. And I’d like to run my first full marathon. Portland Marathon in October, perhaps?

I’d also like to set some new PRs (personal records) for race times. Here are my current PRs:
5K26:20 VOWS Bunny Hop April 12, 2014 (8:28 pace)
10K (OFFICIAL)- 1:01:36 Fort Worth Turkey Trot November 26, 2014 (9:54 pace), 4 months pregnant
10K (unofficial)- 57:28 Chocoholic Frolic November 29, 2015 (9:28 pace), 7 months postpartum. Note: It kills me that this isn’t an official time. I couldn’t get my shit together and started the race 7-9 min late and had trouble getting my Runkeeper started right away, but I had my Fitbit going to keep time. Something was weird with my late start, and for some reason the official results had me down for 1:04:and change. Anyhow I know this is my real time, give or take a few seconds. I hate so much that it’s not official though. Even more reason I need to break this PR.
Half Marathon2:10:45 Big D April 6, 2014 (9:58 pace)

2015 was a great year, and it’s looking like 2016 will be awesome too. Looking forward to working towards and achieving these goals. What are your New Year’s resolutions?