If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that numbers really aren’t my thing. Give me a sentence to diagram any day of the week, but ask me to do some calculations in my head–no thanks.
My entire life, there’s only been one number I’ve worried about–and that is my weight.
I’ve never blogged about it here before, because it’s something that people don’t necessarily need to know, if I’m being 100% honest. But I think that by sharing a small part of me it might help just one other person out there who feels the same way or who has gone through some of the same things.
In junior high, it became very apparent to me that looks matter. Everywhere I looked, there were no other chubby girls (how I viewed myself), so I stopped eating. I stopped eating to the point where my parents began noticing, my friends began noticing and my pants were a bit looser–and I liked that. But I didn’t start eating again after I’d lost a few pounds–I continued to not eat. I became an expert at being “not hungry”, moving food around and simply throwing food away. The skinnier I got, the skinnier I wanted to be. I was addicted to the feeling of being in control of my body.
This went on until my parents intervened and I felt ashamed. What was wrong with me?
I learned that nothing was wrong with me and people that struggle with eating disorders do not “choose” this way of life. I had nothing to feel ashamed of–yet I still did.
They say that eating disorders are something you will carry with you for the rest of your life. I kind of thought this was a ridiculous notion, but here I am, more than 10 years later, still working to prove to myself that I AM good enough, skinny enough, in good shape, etc.
I like to believe that I have more good days than I have “fat” days, but it’s hard to pinpoint that exactly. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time thinking about the number on the scale than anyone should in a lifetime…and that’s just in a single day. Usually it’s prompted by one of the thousands of insanely gorgeous people on the beach in Hawaii or seeing the Sport’s Illustrated swimsuit edition.
On my fat days I mentally tally all the food I eat and deem it acceptable or not. I obsessively try on my “fat pants” and make sure they’re still too big. And in a sick and twisted way, I loved finding out that my wedding gown was too big for me to the point where the fitted bodice sagged down.
But what do you mean “fat” days? Well, here’s a perfect example. Last Saturday, Dane and I made plans to meet friends of ours for dinner and drinks to celebrate National Margarita Day. I knew about it all week, yet when Saturday came, I felt uneasy about how many calories were in enchiladas and margaritas. I felt uneasy to the point where I didn’t eat all day, because I knew I’d be consuming a full day’s worth that night. I even considered saying I didn’t want to go so I could forgo all those calories altogether. This manner of unhealthy self-doubt doesn’t just affect my diet–it affects my life.
If I really sit down and reason with myself, I know that weight is not something I should worry about. Truly, I can recognize that. But a person’s subconscious can be evil and disgusting and can control you in a way that you never imagined possible. As much as I try to “cut myself slack”, “give myself a break” or (my personal favorite when people tell it to me) “chill out”, my mind never stops thinking about the number on the scale. It can be truly exhausting.
I found this ^ photo on Pinterest and it really stood out to me. It’s a mantra I need to repeat to myself daily, because weight SHOULD NOT define you. Weight SHOULD NOT make you feel bad about yourself. And weight IS NOT what matters most in life.
There are so many things in life to be happy and excited about–loving yourself in a healthy way should be at the top of that list. At the beginning of this week, I started making a conscious effort to eat more, move more and genuinely try to feel more comfortable in my own skin, because everyone deserves to be happy.
**This post was meant to be helpful to any readers who may have similar feelings of self-doubt. I recognize that none of these characteristics I talked about are healthy, so please refrain from patronizing or critical commentary.