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So I usually don't share much personal information here but I feel it's important for me to talk about this topic especially for other women who might have had similar past issues and can learn from my experience or just know they are not alone. As a soon-to-be mother dealing with rapid weight gain I am rehashing body image issues I've dealt with on/off for 16 years.
As a child I was always overweight and bullied for being different (i actually got jumped once in middle school and kicked repeatedly in a corner as these hateful girls laughed relentlessly- I had the last laugh and got them expelled). I channeled my self-hatred well into high school by eating for comfort. I was the fat kid, the nerd, the weirdo. i accepted my role for years and just took whatever abuse from others came my way. One day in 2003 I just got fed up with feeling bad about myself and the repeated cycle of over-eating, guilt and shame that followed. I wanted to be one of the pretty girls, the cool girls, the happy girls- to me to be skinny was everything.
The picture below is from a "diet journal" I kept from 2003-2005, I wrote down the calories, carbohydrates and fat in eat piece of food that would enter my body. it was time consuming, physically exhausting and isolating. dieting became my life. I would limit my caloric intake to 1/3rd of my daily minimum- between 400-600 calories and under 20 carbohydrates a day. I would aim to loose 3-4 lbs a week...I continued this self abuse cycle until I lost 85 pounds! In my journal I would shame myself if I gained a pound. I would bully and humiliate myself until I cried. the words I wrote to myself in that journal still haunt me to this day. I became the bully I once feared. I was in an abusive relationship with myself- after all how else would I keep myself in line, keep myself from binging on junk food and becoming that disgusting fat person I thought I once was? that person was a nobody, a loser who got beat up and picked on- this new skinny me was going to be different, powerful. I felt power when I deprived myself of food. hunger made me proud, strong.
After loosing an exorbitant amount of weight quickly I returned to school my senior year, 85 lbs lighter weighting 93 lbs. I was expecptionally thin, shockingly thin, so thin people were amazed. Like a light switch turned on in a dark room- people noticed me, they treated me wonderfully, people were nice to me, people wanted to get to know me, I was somebody...all of this wonderful positive treatment from my peers reinforced the idea that being thin was happiness, I was a better me when I was thin, people liked me more I thought.
It was so physically exhausting not eating that at times I didn't have the strength to get out of bed. I had unknowingly imprisoned myself. lack of nutrients and vitamins eventually led to depression, the one thing I thought I was going to cure by starving myself. I knew I had to change, I couldn't keep this abuse up. One day my dad looked at me with tears in his eyes saying to me "your head is so big for your body, your body is too small, you are disappearing, you are so sick, please get some help." the tears in his eyes were enough to wake me from my trance, step out of my narcissism and see reality. Years went on and I struggled to regain my health again, it was not easy and I would struggle with maintaining a positive healthy lifestyle. Sometimes I would slip up -over exercising, taking diet pills (that twice gave me a seizure), binging and over-eating, purging food, taking laxatives, not eating etc. To this day keeping and maintaining my health is a daily struggle.
As a soon-to-be mother whos rapidly gaining weight, it is impertinent to maintain a positive body image -not just for yourself but for your child. you are sustaining a life and can't be selfish or self-centered anymore, you have to see the bigger picture. Some days I find myself over-calculating the amount of protein I'm supposed to have, worrying too much on if I'm getting enough of "this" or "that" in my body to sustain my child.
As an ED survivor we have a tendency to over-focus our energy on microscopic details, even positive ones like making sure we have enough good things in our body. overcompensation to the fullest! Did I take enough vitamins today, should I eat more protein, do I need this or that? I have to remind myself that it's a form of control, I'm trying to regain control on something I'm scared of, a new beginning, a test I have coming up that I never studied for. I have to let go. I have to let my body tell me what it wants and not stress over what the American pregnancy association says; everyone is different. Everyday is a struggle but it's a good struggle beacuse it's teaching me to care for myself for someone else. what I do affects the small life growing inside me. a powerful lesson I'm beginning to learn as a soon-to-be mother. I don't know if my story will help anyone or if it just sounds crazy, but my hope is that it might comfort someone who's privately struggling their own personal demons and know that they are not alone. women today have so much pressure put upon us by society, friends and sometimes family- to be perfect in every way, not to slip up and to maintain it at all costs. please know that there is hope, happiness and light at the end of the tunnel. finding true strength in maintaining self love, positive self image and happiness in a world that thrives on the opposite. that is true power. UcenterDress prom selections in black # selflove # healing # thrive # love e Today, I still have this journal to remind me of how far I've come, where i once was and how deep one can put themselves into unnecessary despair. It reminds me of the dark path I never want to go down again.