Today I thought I'd share something a bit more personal: my relationship with food. I know this is something many of us struggle with, so I hope my story can help in some way. At the very least, know that you are not alone and that it gets better.
I used to weigh myself every single morning and whatever number showed up would set the tone for the rest of my day. It was ridiculously unhealthy and looking back I honestly can’t believe the lengths I would go to just to keep my weight within a certain range, as if anyone even cared or noticed. I mean, listen to some of the things I did: no eating after 6pm, no carbs for dinner, black coffee for “breakfast”, no salt or sugar, carbonated water or tea if I was super hungry (a temporary fix…), walk everywhere and take the long way, gym 6 days/week and if I missed a day I could only eat one meal that day (!). These are just the tip of the iceberg too! Don’t even get me started on eating out with friends/social events in general…All of this kept me slim but also made me lose my period and left me feeling weak, dizzy, and cold even in the middle of summer! The worst part is I wanted to lose my period and feel weak, dizzy, and cold, because it meant I was losing weight. I didn’t even think about how my health would be affected long-term because so much of my self-worth was tied to a few numbers. It wasn’t just the scale either, it was the size of my waist, my thighs, my upper arms…These numbers ruled my world and kept me prisoner…and I let them.
I wish I could say that I was able to break free at some point but I’d be lying…I am doing better though! While my behaviours aren’t as extreme and I follow a much more flexible diet/exercise plan (I also finally got my period back to a regular cycle!-sorry if that’s tmi but it took almost three years so I am very happy about that), there are days where I just don’t like what I see in the mirror. On those days I will still restrict. I will still skip breakfast and salt and carbs and force myself to do intense cardio. Luckily, these are just the very bad days. On regular bad days I just pout and look for motivational quotes on Pinterest until I feel better. And then I move on. I don’t starve myself or overexercise. I might make my portions a bit smaller that day but if I’m still hungry I eat. I gained a few pounds but at least my BMI is in the normal range now (although it’s still on the lower end of normal). I still have a long way to go but I’m very proud of these little victories.
I wrote a poem on my personal blog inspired by the guilt I used to (sometimes still) feel when the numbers were higher than usual. I’d be in class or at work and be fine, but then I would remember what the scale said that morning and feel my heart sink to my stomach. It became so hard to focus and I would feel irritated, fidgety, and uncomfortable (I can’t think of better words to describe the feeling but these are pretty close). All I wanted was to go for a run and it took an immense amount of willpower just to sit there. These “voices” only got louder when I got home and sat down for dinner. The only thing I could do to make them go away was skip dinner that night, but then I’d be so hungry I couldn’t sleep. Those were awful days.
Please don’t starve yourself. It’s not worth it. How you look is the least interesting thing about you. The people that matter don’t care. There are much more important and beautiful things in life. Your body is perfect. I will fight anyone that says otherwise. Don’t make my mistakes. The only strength in these numbers is the one you give them. Don’t be a prisoner. Break free. Heck, don’t even get caught.