I am not entirely sure that any disorder, eating included, is something that one can completely conquer. I don’t believe that these thoughts or this struggle will ever just dissapear. And that’s okay. I have accepted that. Instead of letting my demons control my life though, I decided to take action and I discovered ways to bring myself peace, to lesson the power this thing has over me and to empower myself in a way that I never imagined I could. It brought me light, it brought me happiness and I hope that for you, and through this post, it may one day bring you hope.
I conquered my fear of weights. (Thank you, Orangetheory) Lifting has given me strength, both physically and mentally. Every day, presents me with an opportunity to challenge my body in ways I didn’t think I could or didn’t think I wanted to. From lifting, I’ve seen my body grow.. and no, not in a manly/bulky way (that’s a rumor, FYI) but in a strong, lean.. dare I say, sexy way.
I stopped “dieting” and learned what healthy really meant. I spent so much of my time researching “fad” diets, hoping to lose weight in 2 weeks, hoping to turn my body into something it was never meant to be. I learned that the things I put into my body became a direct correlation on the feelings and the energy that came out of my body. I began to eat what my body needed and in turn, found the balance and acceptance that I needed to not only survive, but thrive in my own skin.
I started to compliment myself. As if respecting my body wasn’t hard enough, actually liking it enough to compliment it AND mean it just felt out of the question. I became so used to clouding my brain with what wasn’t good enough, with what I needed to look like or the laundry list of things I wanted to change that I never fully allowed myself the chance to compliment it, and not just on my outward appearance but (potentially, more importantly) on the growth and changes that were occurring inwardly.
I stopped weighing myself. Simple as that. I got rid of my scale and other than obligatory doctor appointments, I don’t weigh myself. I don’t need to know how much I weigh. My worth, my accomplishments and my overall happiness is not and will never be measured by the number that appears on a scale.
I was realistic with myself. I was never going to be the size “0” I was in 7th grade, not without sacrificing my health and happiness. It was never realistic to give up carbs, or to only eat 1,000 calories a day, nor was it safe. I like pizza, I like ice cream and I really like wine. By completely eliminating these things from my diet was undeniably going to lead me back down a cycle I was fighting to get out of. So, I found balance. I allow myself pizza when I want it. I drink wine when I need it (haha) and I don’t feel bad about it! Not a pound, not even 5 is worth a life half-lived.
I started talking about it. I got a therapist, I confided in friends, I confessed to my family and I wrote it down for the world to see. The more I talked about my eating disorder and my struggles with depression the less power it had over me. At first it was hard and still to this day, it is, beyond anything else, embarrassing. But once I gave myself a voice, my demons began to lose theirs. They don’t make me who I am and they do not deserve an ounce of the self-love I have worked so hard to develop.
I surrounded myself with like-minded people. My circle began to grow with people that brought positivity to my life. People that haven’t stopped fighting for themselves and just the same, vowed to fight for me as well. People that prioritized their health and made it their mission to be the best version of themselves every single day. These individuals are strong, they share with me in both light and darkness. They’ve given me the room and the encouragement to grow and to be unapologetically myself. (And for that, I thank you all.)
Lastly, and most importantly, I gave myself some grace. I have bad days, I won’t lie. There are days that I eat poorly, that I talk badly about myself or even days that I (will humbly admit) feel like I’m back to square one. BUT even if it’s a week, or only a day, remembering where I came from, who I have become and the progress that I’ve made on this journey, reminds me that this fight is worth fighting. I know that the destination, wherever that may be is blurry but this life is worth living and the love made/given/received along the way will forever be the greatest testament to that.
Carry on, warriors.