How’d you get here apple?
I have been struggling with body image issues since I was a little girl. I always remember my mom saying things like, “I am not skinny enough” and “This dress makes me look fat.” I grew up trying to make myself skinny enough and not feel fat in the clothes I would wear, so I became obsessed with making sure I never looked fat or felt fat in anything I wore.
You would think that the simple answer would be to just wear loose clothing, but I chose a much different route. I decided not to eat. Now let me be clear, I did eat some I had to so I wouldn’t pass out and end up in the hospital. I only ate tiny amounts or unhealthy things. They only time I would eat is in front of my family if we decided to have a family dinner that night. I would load my plate and eat like normal, but I never ate full meals like that throughout the day. I would drink tons of soda, eat candy bars, and nibble on chips. I convinced myself that I wasn’t hungry, I would force myself to feel sick at the thought of food so I wouldn’t eat in fear of throwing it all back up. (I hate throwing up and would rather sit there nauseous for hours than throw up.)
This cycle of not eating and not exercising followed me throughout high school and college. I weighed 120 pounds and wore baggy clothes for most of high school. It was the only way I felt skinny enough. I never was though in my mind. When I got to college I dropped even more weight in the first 6 months because I didn’t have a lot of friends to hang out with or go to the dining hall with. So I would eat as little as possible and go back to my room.
Once I finally found friends to eat with I gained a ton of weight (in my mind); however, I was actually at a healthy weight for the first time it 6 years. I was fortunate to befriend a girl from high school that encouraged me to go to the campus rec center and work out with her. I was starting to finally feel comfortable in my own skin.
Then came the day when I started picking up on comments a family member was making about the weight I had gained and how I should watch it so I don’t gain too much. I started to revert back into not eating again. I still would go and work out, but be so hungry that I felt sick since I was putting zero calories back into my body after burning the few I did have in my system. I did yo-yo dieting from that point on and it didn’t do me any favors.
Once I finally graduated college and had a really good friend drop a ton of weight with proper eating and exercise I wanted to follow her lead and not listen to what anyone else had to say about my weight. I was lucky enough to live with this friend for part of grad school. We would go and eat together and workout together. Our workouts were some of my favorites because we would do circuits around the track and really push each other to go harder and faster in lifting and running. She had to move in January for a job, and working out just wasn’t the same anymore. I managed to maintain my weight and work out after she left because I was finally in a good place with how I felt about my own body.
Fast forward several years to now… I’m a mom. My body will never be the same since I have had it inhabited by a tiny human. Now I am struggling to lose the baby weight, but I am still focusing on my habits before having a baby. I may not lose all of the baby weight and get back to being my ideal weight, but I can remember to work out a few times a week and eat right. I am deathly afraid of saying things in front of my daughter to make her feel like she will never be skinny enough or clothes make her look fat. I want her to see her mom feeling comfortable in her own skin. I want to raise a daughter that is confident in her own skin, and not try to force herself into a mold that society has placed on women to be an unhealthy skinny.
I am still learning about my body and how to adjust foods and exercises for my new “mom” body, and I am still learning on how to feel confident in my new role as mom of a daughter that watches my every move. I hope I can share some insight into my health journey and give readers a new perspective or expand their knowledge. I’d like to give you, reader, the courage to believe that you can become more confident in your own skin as well.