October 15, 2014
My Journey To Overcoming Body Dysmorphia
Whoa. It seems like yesterday when I was staring into my mirror daily and constantly pointing out what was wrong with me: "My thighs are too fat." "I hate my jiggle." "I wish I were a size 0" These are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind as I stood there critiquing my body. In my teens, I struggled with an eating disorder, but overcame it after almost a year of binging and purging. I did not like what I was doing to my body or my self esteem. I never felt beautiful until I was skinny enough until I saw a certain number on the scale. Eventually, I moved past that, put some weight back on and just dealt with it. At my petite 5 foot 3 inch frame, back in 2010, I stood at almost 150lbs-my highest weight. Sure, that isn't obese by any means. But none of it was muscle and I continously fed my body Burger King, Chik Fil A, and anything that I could get my hands on. I was in nursing school and constantly in a rush, stressed out, and devoting all of my time to studying that I put my health on the backburner. And boy, oh, boy it showed. I was a few pounds overweight, according to BMI charts anyways. Back in 2010, I realized I had to make a change after watching Food Inc. and a few other documentaries. I quit the crap, cleaned out my pantry, made a list, and went grocery shopping. My whole life changed! I dropped 45lbs within 9 months by clean eating alone. I did not work out! This was a big mistake as it let my body skinny with no tone aka skinny fat. But tone and building muscles did not matter to me, I wanted skinny. And until I was skinny, I was not good enough. This is where I went to far. Having this mindset is called body dysmorphia or seeing yourself in a way that actually isn't true. In my mind, my thighs still jiggled and I was too big. I ended up at almost 100lbs and a size 0, what I once hoped for, was loose on me. But, since I was doing things the healthy way, this time, I felt that I was doing no harm. I did not realize that you CAN take healthy and clean eating too far. I became OBSESSED with being healthy. I did not touch sugar-not even one gram-for almost a year. If someone offered me a cupcake, I would freak out. I counted calories like a mad woman. I think I even stopped eating peanut butter at one point because I felt it had too many calories. My mind was so programmed "eat clean, clean, clean" that I would sit down and read everything on the labels before every eating. I still read labels today, but I am not as crazy about it. At work, the girls at the clinic made me a birthday cake that year and I wouldn't even touch it. I think I limited myself to 1,200 calories a day, which is certainly not enough, as I worked on my feet for 8 hours a day seeing patients. Those 1,200 calories conisted of soups, salads, fish, fruits, and veggies for the most part. I had the clean eating part down pat, but I was unknowingly starving my body of the calories it so desperately needed. After my divorce from my ex-husband, I put a little weight back on and went from my mere 100lbs to almost 130lbs (Thanks, Ben & Jerry, wine, girls nights, and How I Met Your Mother reruns). During my marriage to this guy, he only told me that I was beautiful once I lost all of the weight. I am so thankful for getting out of that marriage because it was toxic to my health, mind, and body. It was not until I met my amazing husband, Grady, that I really began to see myself as beautiful and started accepting my weight, for whatever it was. It was not that I needed a man to validate me and my appearance- at this pointit was just the positive affirmation that I so desperately needed to know that the number on the scale had nothing to do with my worth. After we married, I wanted to be the best version of myself. I wanted to become healthy, but not obsessive. I wanted to say yes to a cupcake every now and then and be HUMAN. I started working out in the gym 4-5 days a week and started eating 5-6 clean meals daily, aiming for about 1,800 calories a day. Amidst all of this, we were trying for a baby-and I became pregnant shortly after trying for two months. During my pregnancy, I never felt more beautiful and I vowed to take the best care of myself and my growing baby during my pregnancy. I stayed in the gym, did prenatal yoga, and I ate clean for the most part though I aimed for 500 extra calories per day (2,300 calories total). I craved chips & queso during my second trimester, but when I wanted something, I would eat just a little or in moderation. After birth, I started my postpartum workout program 12 weeks later, once life settled down. My goal this time? To create muscle. And that I did-and still trying! I amped my calories up to 2,300-2,500 if not more, as I was still breastfeeding (and still am today, 8 months later). Today, I have no desire to become skinny. Today, I have no desire to obssess over the scale. Today, I have no desire to limit what I am craving. Today, I do desire to be the best version of myself. Inside & out. Today, I do desire to be healthy. Not just for my husband and son, but for ME. Today, I do desire to set a good example for those who follow me and for those whom I love. Today, I desire to love me. No matter what the scale says. To keep up with my ever hectic but lovely journey, come visit me at my blog by double clicking the image below!