I know that this may be a sensitive subject, or a little too much information for some people, but I’ve also really found it helpful to hear and watch other people’s stories that are similar.
So here it goes…
A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to be fit, skinny, have rock hard abs, or in other words, look like the fitness models, Victoria’s Secret models, and as if I was in a fitness competition (sidenote, I never quite got there, I just got really tired and frail).
I was so hungry, lost my period, my curves, and essentially, lost any relationship or awareness of my female hormones, hunger cues, or any relationship with my physical body and what it needed. I was so unbelievably exhausted at this point in my life, and would go to bed dreaming of food at night because I didn’t allow myself to eat enough. I would watch YouTube videos at night of buffets, famous restaurants, and food tours. I would obsessively search restaurants around me, planning out my next cheat day, while my stomach continue to rumble and eat it self under the covers.
I can’t believe that I convinced myself that this was OK, and that it was normal. I convinced myself that I was doing it in the name of health, that I was doing it to have a healthy, and low percentage of body fat, which I saw that that point as the epitome of health. Looking back I know that I was trying to control my life when I felt I had no control, and I was giving in to the pressures around me, to be skinny, and to fit in.
I feel as if my surroundings accentuated my behavior, as I was so surrounded by people who had thinner frames than I did.
That is an aspect that we often forget in this culture; not everyone has the same body type.
We all know it, but somehow our brains let us forget it, or put it aside. We still want to look the same to be like that other girl, to have the clothes she has, to look like the models on the sites of the clothes that we’re shopping for.
This part many of you know, but I have not shared much about the next part, and shopping and clothes plays a big part in the healing process.
As I began to heal my body and metabolism and started to gain weight, got my period back, and began to have a woman body again with curves, I grew out of the majority of my clothes. I knew this would happen but dealing with the emotions of going through my closet and finding nothing to wear was triggering and excruciating.
I sat on the edge of the bed, looking at my closet and crying, hating myself for gaining weight but knowing it was so necessary as well.
These were all things I expected, but what I didn’t expect or predict was what the surge of hormones would do to my body. It wasn’t just weight gain, but it was intense mood swings, edema, and PMS symptoms the majority of the month. I’d have about 3 good days where I felt normal, and the rest of the month I was on an intense roller coaster in my mind and body.
I felt so stupid and embarrassed because I had held onto being skinny for so long. It had become an integral part of me, a part I was proud of, a part I didn’t want to let go. This grieving process has been unbelievably hard and emotional.
I spent days staring at my closet, mourning the clothes I couldn’t wear, and the money I was going to have to spend to buy a whole new wardrobe. I spent the entire winter wearing leggings and a couple of sweatshirts because nothing fit and I didn’t have it in me to buy new clothes ore go shopping.
I’ve also always hated shopping anyway, which made it all the worse. I am such a feeler person clothes have to fit just right, be just the right fabrics, and fall just right on my body or I can’t wear it. Things also don’t look the same on me as they do taller girls, and I’ve always been acutely aware of that.
This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through, and this last year there were times I didn’t know if I would make it through. The anxiety was so intense and so palpable it would suffocate me to the point of immobilization. I was often was lost in a cloud and tornado of thoughts, fears, loathing, and all the emotions you can imagine all swirling up together.
It took everything I had, and an army of help with my family, my amazing and patient fiancé, doctors, therapist, herbalist, a great trainer, new supplements, and my own sheer will and grit, to make it through.
There are still days that are hard, but now that I’m “on the other side”, I can tell I’ve made it mostly through.
We’re are always a work in progress, but it’s a good feeling when you can finally see that you have made it to the other side.
As I write this the tears are falling, and I know that I will be OK, though the grief of “losing” my old body, and all of the identity and pride that I felt that accompanied that body lost as well, is still so real some days.
I know, though, that the pride I have in taking control of myself and my pain, I am more proud of than ever.
I hope this story can help somebody out there, someone who is dealing with this, or something similar, or wanting to make a change that they know they’ve needed to make for a long time. It’s a long hard and heartbreaking process, but on the other side it looks so much brighter. You can do this. I know you can.
If anyone ever needs anything, I’m always here just a message away. To chat, to cry, for anything you need.