I have wanted to write this post for a long time, not only to really explain my story, but also because I keep seeing more and more women who are hurting themselves in the way that I hurt myself and my body. I struggled to sit down and write it, however, because I want to get it right. I feel like I could write for hours but I have to fit what’s most important into one post all while managing to explain myself well. But there’s no time like the present, right? If I’ve learned anything from Beachbody coaching it’s that you’ll never be “ready,” you just have to put yourself out there and go for it.
If you’ve been reading for a while then you’re probably familiar with my story. Like many American women I’ve grown up hating my body. I always felt uncomfortable, out of place and overweight no matter what size I’ve been. I believe this self-hatred is a product of our society – of what we see in media but most importantly what we see from the women around us; the negative self-talk, the pride and envy we base our value on, the emphasis on clothes and looks, and the omnipresent feeling of never being good enough.
When I graduated college back in 2010 I decided I was over feeling like the chubby girl – I was going to take control of my weight, and I did. I started off eating less than 1,000 calories a day and I dropped weight, fast. After a few months of this I leveled out at around 1,200 a day, and after a year I decided to “maintain” at 1400 a day. I kept that up for the rest of law school. And you know what? I thought I was doing everything right. I obsessively watched my calories and worked out anywhere from 1-2 hours a day. Oh, and I trained for a marathon. Obviously marathon training couldn’t be sustained by that low of a calorie intake so the uncontrollable binge-eating began, followed by shaming, restricting and then binging again.
I’d never been so depressed or unhappy in my life than when I was at my smallest weight (mind you I still had a totally normal BMI – NOT a good indicator of health!). What I didn’t know is that by restricting my calories and exercising so much I was telling my body that I was starving. Our bodies aren’t stupid. They’re going to try to stay alive, and try it did by keeping every ounce of fat it could on my body. And you know what? I gained weight. Little by little the weight came on and I freaked out. I felt so helpless and confused. Even when I became a Christian and gave my life over to God, I held on to that one tiny thing: food. Part of me thought I’d accepted myself and I started to work hard on self-confidence and self-love, but really on the inside I was so unhappy with my body. I’d gotten over my issues of perfection but I still kept trying to lose weight.
Eventually I realized exactly what I’d done to myself so I tried to eat more to tell my body it wasn’t starving, but it wasn’t until my doctor told me just a few weeks ago that all my health issues were due to that period of extreme restriction that I fully committed to changing. I started counting my calories to be sure I ate enough and was shocked that I still wasn’t hitting 2,000 calories a day without forcing myself to. It’s so hard to break a mentality that you’ve had for years – but I can and I will do it. Why? I am doing it only for my own health and happiness, but for yours too. I want to be strong, fit and healthy, and I want that for each and every one of you, because through health and fitness you can go for any dream that you have in life.
Every time I see another young girl restricting and over-exercising I just see me. I want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them until they understand what they are doing to themselves. I believe that God gave me this blog and my Beachbody Coaching career to help other women like me. I believe he allowed me to deal with this hurdle to help other women like me, because there are so, so many of us.
I have many, many more things I want to say on this topic, but I’ll have to hold myself back for today; best not to give you all a novel rather than a post. I just want you to know that if you’re reading now and you think you identify with my story, leave a comment. Send me an email. I’m here for you and with you. I know how you feel. I get you. And yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or just want to talk 🙂
You can follow more of my personal health and happiness journey on my instagram: @Peaceloveoats