Returning to old memories isn’t always pleasurable for me. Before I came to understand what being “healthy” really was, I had a very skewed perception of body image, exercise, and all around wellness.
I was an over-exerciser and an under-eater. The combination of those two things can be very dangerous. Don’t get me wrong, I could eat an entire bag of steamed (unseasoned) vegetables, but only after burning 1,000 calories in a high intensity cardio workout.
High school wasn’t kind to me. I left that place with a serious complex about the way I looked. There were days I remember wishing I didn’t live to see the next. I felt like a disappointment and a failure on a daily basis.
In many cases, mine included, when you have a self-image issue, it’s hard for you to see what reality is. It’s a sickness. I’m not saying I had an eating disorder, because neither anorexia nor bulimia fits the bill for what I went through. As I mentioned, I ate a lot, but it was mainly zero calorie foods (vegetables), NO snacks, and NO fats. I ate three square meals a day, and absolutely NO more. Breakfast was exactly 1 C. of Fiber One cereal = 100 calories. Lunch, was a turkey sandwich on “light wheat bread” (50 calories/slice and no more with one serving of deli turkey only), 1 slice of fat free cheese, and a bunch of celery. Dinner was usually 1 bag of Steamfresh vegetables (carrots, snap peas, and broccoli were the favorites). While good intentions of being more aware of what I was putting into my body can be beneficial, I was taking it too far to the extreme, eating less than 800 calories per day. I finally felt empowered, in control, and able to change the shape my body was in.
Take note how bony my arms are, how I have NO boobs, and how sad my face looks
It was taken to the complete extreme, and although I was feeling super confident as a “skinny girl”, I was tied down, unhappy, and grumpy most of the time. As my 5’7 frame dwindled down to a measly 104lbs. (dangerously low, for an always athletic girl, high in muscle mass), there were several times I can remember waking up to numb arms and legs, which was very scary. My body didn’t even have enough energy to circulate blood properly.
Protruding collar bones
When I looked in the mirror, I could tell I was thin, but I wasn’t seeing the skin and bone that everyone else was…literally, a walking skeleton. Slowly, my limbs became less functioning and my hair became incredibly thin and brittle… I’ll never forget when my Mom asked why I was walking so weird…it was because one of my legs/feet could hardly move along. I was so stubborn that I would’ve paid any price to stay that thin.
Compliments that used to be given to me, like “you look great! how much weight did you lose?!” turned into concerns from almost everyone to my poor parents who had no idea what to say. They tried to tell me and get me help, but I refused. I didn’t need help!? It truly is something that must change internally before anyone can help you anyway.
The crazy thing was, I still tried to play sports. What killed me was one day that I decided to accompany my sisters and Dad to a basketball open gym at my Alma Mater one night… I was completely embarrassed. Sure, I could out run everyone, but my body was so weak I could barely catch the ball or make a layup.
In another instance, my heart was broken by my worrisome Dad, who called me downstairs one day after work. He became desperate to help, doing all kinds of research to try to convince me to change my self-depriving ways. The one thing he said that will always stick with me, is that “he never wants to have to bury a child, and at the rate I was going, that may become reality”. I hated myself for putting them through that.
It was little bits and pieces that finally came together, and with Jesus’ strength & the support of family and friends, I pulled myself from that pit of hopelessness into a happier, healthier me. It took a lot of time, self-reflection, forgiveness, and admittance, but I got there. I think that’s another reason why I’m so thankful to be where I am today. I have the joy of Jesus down in my heart. It’s been such a long road, and I’ve discussed my thyroid condition, but this is the first I’ve ever discussed my eating issues.
I can proudly say, I’m no longer a slave to food. I apologize for the heavy post on this lovely Friday, but I can promise you, this is much more of a celebratory post than anything. With God on your side, anything is possible. Through prayer, people that God put into my life, and HIS strength, I’m happier and healthier now than I’ve ever been. He saved me… not only from an eternity of Hell, but from a life on Earth that was sad, unhealthy, and unfulfilled of His plans for me. Praise GOD — I’m free. ❤