It Wasn't An "Eating Disorder"
The obsession with food began after a bad relationship. My self-esteem plummeted and I hated my body. I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to be beautiful.
The fitness app on my phone flashed a lot in those days, giving me workout reminders and calorie triggers. After one round of P90X, I did another. I started running, using only cardio to "get in shape." My lunches consisted of turkey slices and cucumber until eventually, I was taking in only 700 calories a day while burning 200. My friends and family started to worry but I defensively made their questioning subside.
I would stare into the mirror for hours on end, focusing in on what I hated. Lies ruled my brain as motivation to get every ounce of fat off my body. I envied the women in magazines who stared up at me from glossy pages, wanting nothing more than to be like them. Yes, nothing more.
I was consumed. I got high on 'looking hot'. Who cared if I was hungry? Who cared if I almost fainted? If my body would look ideal, then my life would be complete.
The issue I had was mostly subtle. I didn't have bulimia, I didn't have anorexia, I didn't have BED but I still displayed warning signs. Eating disorders come in many forms although according to the guidelines of the National Eating Disorder Association, I didn't actually have one. There is no stereotype that can be placed on what kind of person struggles and even a slight problem it still a problem.
Looking back now, I could cry at the sadness I feel for my younger self. What a heart-wrenching thing to believe that joy revolves around a jean size. Although my father always uplifted me and I'd been told that I was more than skin deep, my mind hadn't allowed me to believe it.
If you are battling body-hate whether great or small, I'm here to tell you that you will never look perfect. And frankly, you weren't meant to. You were not created to be a consumed by a mirror and trust me that the life of self-loathing is an empty one. The control that you feel from unhealthy eating is hollow in comparison to the freedom that comes in loving who you are.
Today, I love working out and eating healthy but this time, it's because I love my body, not because I hate it. I'm living happily, eating my fair share of kale with a sprinkle of late night pizza every once in awhile. And it feels freeing. Now, being "skinny" isn't a compliment and comments like "eat a burger" don't make me laugh. I've worked hard to be where I am and no woman should ever feel body shamed, no matter her size.
Though the temptation of negative thinking never completely goes away, I daily rest in knowing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. When life is over, my legacy will not be toned thighs- it will be how I loved people. I hope yours will be too.
Too often we hid the parts of our stories that are ugly but each scar helps paints the picture of who we are. This story isn't an easy one for me to tell but I hope that it will help just one woman who is walking in a denial of her despair.
If this is you, you can not walk alone. Tell someone who is trustworthy and ask for their accountability. Being honest about your triggers is the only way to dissolve them. Get everyone out of your life who encourages your behavior or negatively effects your self-esteem. When you feel the swell of emotion, remind yourself that your body is not who you are // If you know someone who displays signs of a disorder, don't be accusatory. Talk with them in love and as you walk through the process, genuinely trust what they say about their progress. Encourage every step in the right direction and don't snap at the wrong ones. Never call them out in front of others and always be full of grace.