Growing up I remember seeing so many advertisements on the TV and in the magazines about the new weight loss regimens. I would see billboards with some of the most beautiful people. It's crazy to think just how much media influence there is out there without you consciously noticing it.
I'm not going to use media as an excuse as to why I went through my past the way I did. But I wanted to bring it up because it is definitely something that influences many women of all ages (including men) every day. And it definitely enhanced my motivation to lose weight.
This is a difficult post for me to write about. I've thought about sharing this experience many times with people and especially with the people who were in my life during this time. They were many who saw it all happening, but no one ever knew the reasons WHY they were happening...and quite frankly no one asked. This is how I went from being the lightest weight I had ever been to being where I am now.
So why am I sharing this?
Honestly, this blog is more so of an outlet to me. But also, I want to get the message out that being the "thinnest" and trying to look like someone else may seem like a great idea at the time, but that definitely does not mean you will be happier. I thought I would be happy being extremely thin but on the contrary it was the most depressed I had ever felt.
I switched schools in high school and was having a hard time finding my friends group there. I eventually did meet some great people in that school, who I still believe to be good people. However, I started getting messages from a handful of kids. Some of which went to this school, and others who were friends of these kids. They were calling me "fat" and "overweight" and that I should go back to my old school. I never even spoke to these girls in person at school. Those words triggered me into a viscous cycle of calorie counting. I was definitely not a fat 17 year old. I took fitness class at school, ate relatively healthy, and was on a competitive dance team. Those media posts that I would see online along with those new weight loss magazines started to jump out at me more and more. They were always there, but I never felt inclined to read about them.
My last two years of high school consisted of me obsessing over my weight. I'd restrict myself to no end, refuse to go to restaurants or hang out with friends because I was worried there would be food involved. I got into the worst mental state. I would pack myself one red bell pepper for lunch and that is what I would eat. I lost a lot of weight, but had absolutely no energy. I looked frail, my hair was falling out, and I lost my social life.
What's even crazier is that I went from being called "fat" and "overweight" from strangers to being called "skinny" and "anorexic" from friends and family. This felt even worse. But now I was in the constant state of restricting. And for people who think that those who struggle with anorexia or restricting their food are ridiculous and all they need to do is JUST EAT...let me tell you, it's not that simple. You have one way of thinking, one major fear, one extremely bad habit that is not easy to break. I started to have an internal battle with WANTING to gain my weight back but also being terrified on eating food and being called fat again.
I eventually just forced myself to eat copious amounts of food. Seems easy right? WRONG. I would cry when I'd eat more than I was used to but I did it anyways. University was soon approaching and I didn't want to be restricted anymore. I wanted to be able to eat with my friends and go to social outings, so i kept doing it. I gained weight before my first year of university. Sure, I had people notice the weight gain, but i was surprisingly HAPPIER.
I entered University and met some of my best friends that first year. I still had some restrictions when it came to food, but it was definitely an improvement.
Fast forward to today, in 2018. I am 25-30 lbs heavier than I was at my lowest, and yet I am probably the happiest I have ever been. I have a great group of friends, a loving boyfriend, and I have my health in check. I'm not going to lie though. I still have many moments of body dysmorphia. And I can acknowledge that. I do not think that will ever go away but I am hopeful that everyday it will improve.
I went from eating around 500 calories a day, refraining from any social activities, running on the treadmill for 60 minutes a day, and attending countless hours of dance class a week to what I do now. I TRY not to focus on calories, I TRY to eat as healthy as I can while enjoying the more "sinful" foods when I crave them, I've found love, I go out dancing with my friends, and I've fallen in love with weight training (Something I was afraid of because I knew it would build "MASS").
So from all my experiences, I want one message to be clear. If you don't feel happy about your body now, you're not going to feel happy about it when you are extremely thin. Concentrate on love what you DO like about yourself, and if weight loss is your goal focus on your physical health and happiness and the weight loss will follow.