When I begin to describe my weight-loss/fitness (whatever you wanna call it) journey, I don’t even know where to start. The truth is I’ve struggled with weight since I was a child. In fifth grade I started developing some pretty bad habits that turned dangerous. What began as skipping a few meals soon became skipping them all. I was so young and I hated my body so much. No matter how much weight I lost, I would still look so big to myself in the mirror. People started to notice that I was shedding off pounds. They would tell my mom things like “wow she’s losing the baby weight” or ask if I was starting puberty, which was really none of their business might I add. It wasn’t until I was practically skin and bones that my mom knew it was much more than that. She sat me down and forced the truth out of me.
To this day, I’ll never accept what doctors told my mom and I [anorexia]. It’s just too hard of a pill to swallow. I guess in that instance I just saw myself losing weight by means of not eating. However, the reality is that it was much more than that. It was all in my head. I was already skinny but my mind, my eyes, my perception told me I wasn’t. My parents starting doing everything they could to make sure I was eating. Sure enough I packed on the pounds. Don’t get me wrong, in hindsight and by looking at pictures, I wasn’t overweight in the slightest at that point, but I felt like I was. After a few months, I was unhappy again and severely depressed about my weight. Through a movie I learned what binging and purging was. As you could have already guessed, those were the new habits I picked up. I consistently binged and purged for about two and a half years. I was starting to have health issues, namely recurrent anemia. I kept what I was doing a secret and to this day my parents don’t even know the extent to how bad it really was and for the length of time it lasted. (Sorry mom & dad) I decided for myself that I needed to get better.
During this time I was going to therapy for something different. I’m not the type of person to express my problems and tell people what’s wrong with me. I definitely give the superficial complaints about school-related stress, but that’s about it. It took all in me to tell the therapist what I was going through because it added on to my preexisting situation. I didn’t want to be seen as diagnosable, I was just going through stuff. Like every other person I had some baggage that was really adding on to my personal weight. I told her so that I could feel less heavy, at least emotionally. Through some counseling and positive affirmation, I was able to get over that stage in my life for some time. I started eating normally, I gained weight, and I was content with myself. Towards the end of high school, I realized I had gained a lot more weight than I had thought. Before I could do anything about it, though, I was off to college. I spent my first summer semester eating bagels every morning and yakisobas all the time. Like ew gross. Then came fall semester and my eating habits did not get better. I would stay up super late, order pizza or cookies at midnight, and never really did any physical activity. I packed on the pounds. Like seriously packed on the pounds.
Summer of 2016, after freshman year, I decided to make a lifestyle change. I went cold turkey vegan. (see the irony?) I stopped eating unhealthy, processed foods and opted for healthier more wholesome alternatives. The result physically was astounding. I lost sooo much weight, I was shocked. However, with my choppy eating schedule and busy life it was hard to sustain that diet without feeling sick, light-headed, and ultimately falling to anemia as I so easily do. The knowledge I had acquired from personal experience and internet surfing allowed me to make smarter, healthier choices, even after I gave up the vegan lifestyle.
Fast track to currently and I am at a decent weight, trying to lose the last 10 stubborn pounds. Although I am not always the most physically active, I feel great about myself. I have grown so much internally that I don’t value my self-worth based on my weight anymore. I’ve been through it all. I’ve had ass, I’ve lost ass. I’ve had my run ins with eating disorders. I’ve done it healthily and unhealthily. At the end of the day, it was never enough if I didn’t even love myself to begin with. I’m at a point in my young life where I haven’t finished growing and developing, but I’ve experienced life enough to know a few things. I’d be lying if I said there still aren’t some things I struggle with and feel insecure about.
It’s all in the process, though. Recovery never means realizing that you’re not the ideal weight. What it means is that even if you are not the ideal weight, you still value yourself more to know that’s not all that matters. If you know me, you know I constantly advocate for love, kindness, and positivity. That’s not just outward. Project those qualities unto yourself. Learn to grow within the confines of who you are, no matter how big or small. Learn to love you for you. Learn that you are important for what you contribute to the world with good intent. At the end of this life what will we have to show if we spent it all caring about meaningless things. Think about what you want to be known for, the legacy you want to leave, the impression you want others to have. Once you figure yourself out, the pieces will fall in place. I’m still on this journey, but the more I travel the more I realize who I am. Once I made that self-discovery, I was able to stop caring so much about being skinny and just living my life. I can now say this knowing that I am healthy, happy, and freer.