Never in my life did I think that word would be written next to my name on a bill, on a therapist note, or even linked to me at all.
I think and reflect on the moments that brought me to where I am at today. The comments made from other women as a statement of ‘unity’ that turned to destruction. The perpetual competition of ‘hotter’ girls in high school created by crushes that never took a glance at me. The comments from men around me, older than me, about women on TV that I looked nothing like. The comment from a dance teacher about weight I had gained over a break. My grandfather patting my stomach and asking me if it was a baby, the comment of my weight going up by my grandmother. . All of these things… destruction.
I think the ones that hurt the most were the ones most well intended. There are two moments that play loudly in my head. One, in 2014, I was driving with my best friend home. I remember the stop light we were at, the woman that walked by our car, the darkness in the world, and the light reflecting off the wet ground. I remember not eating that week, not much at all, as I was struggling with weight, again. Because of that starvation and me really trying to not eat, the comments from my best friend stung me. “Men don’t want girls like that,” she said as a really REALLY attractive gal walked by, “they want girls like US that have CURVES and FLESH.” There are many things wrong with this statement, but the idea that someone 50-75 lbs more than me, lumped me in with her exact body type [which, now we know she has reverse dysmorphia so it all makes sense] really crushed me… specifically because I hadn’t eaten much that week. That one line, is a LOADED circumstance. From the idea that my best friend was hurting and going through mental illness of her own, along with dealing with the reverse dysmorphia, to my internal battle of despise for my own body, to completely body shaming someone who looked incredible who was minding their own damn business outside of my car. All of it I remember vividly. [a side note: all of these people mentioning I still love dearly, we do grow and grow OUT of our insecurities as we get older. When we are younger we body shame for comfort but as we get older we embrace other bodies and that is such a beautiful thing].
Another instance was about 2 years ago. I was photographing a friend, she had just lost a lot of weight for her wedding [don’t we all lol], I remember again, being at a particularly low point and kind of coming to terms with my hormones. She stated ‘not every girl has an amazing jawline, girls like you and I are normal and don’t have that look,’ she stated not knowing my jaw and chin are the absolutely most insecure places of my body.
Both of these things were stated by women in unity and comfort [mostly for themselves] but both ruined me. I also think the idea of me being at a low point in both of these situations created a bit more prominent and life-ruining reaction as well. After both of those conversations I redid starvation diets for 7-14 days, each time it doing less for me than the previous time.
Fad diets. Starvation diets. Let’s chat about those for a moment.
I would always tell my friends I was doing juice cleanses when really I was following ‘gm diets’ or some ‘800 calories or less a day’ diets for a week to two weeks. No one called me out on it. My husband just thought I was doing some researched cleanse shit, and sometimes I was, but not often was it good for me. I think about this a lot too. The first time I did a true starvation diet it was 2014. It really did help me lose 12 pounds in 7 days, and from then on I ate only raw foods with some protein shakes. It helped me beat a plateau and then I became obsessed with losing more, documenting it all. It did work for a year and a half. I was 138 on my wedding day which I was disappointed at because I wanted to be back at my 120 early college year self. I remember my mom telling me how thin I was on my wedding day, and me being super proud. I became obsessed with watching myself fade away.
My metabolism really peaced out after that 2 year total of daily eating under 900 calories and being TERRIFIED of 2000 or even 1000 calories. Reflecting back I honestly don’t remember eating much at all. I drank wine while I made art at night, I remember that, but I think it was a glass maybe and only vegetables or fruit, along with some tofu or protein shake for filler. I remember not going out a lot but we also didn’t have a ton of money at that time, so that made sense too. Two years later I gained about 20 pounds in a month with no reason why. My diet was the same, my workout was the same. I tried the starvation diet again, no results. Since 2016 I have probably tried that diet or a juicing diet similar [600 calories a day] probably 25 times. My body stopped responding because my normal days consisted of 800-1000 calories a day with some exceptions of days that I would do maybe 1400-1500 and I would call that binge eating and pay the price for it for the following weeks.
These are all key details that honestly, I blacked out. I forgot.. all of this. Even as I am writing this I am remembering some key details that led me to here,.. and also piecing together why those diets didn’t help, and it’s because the calorie amount wasn’t that different from my daily life. I’ve always calorie counted, if not in a planner than definitely in my head, and I have always taking the stance that whatever my log says I should add 400 calories because that’s probably more accurate to my intake.
So if my log said 800 calories, I would assume it was more like 1100-1200, and to be honest that’s still how I live.
Just recently I had a meeting with both my therapist and my dietician [separately].
Here are some things I found out:
I deal with severe OCD and Anxiety. Sometimes it is FAR too much to handle. A week and a half ago I was feeling super fatigued and just couldn’t finish many work outs. I started intermittent fasting about a month ago – not to eat less but to gain control. If I have boundaries and rules I feel better about eating 1400-1600 calories a day. So It’s like tricking my mind to think I am ‘dieting’ when I am not, I am just eating all of it in a window. Since doing that I have lost some weight, not a lot, but I FEEL very good. I chucked the fatigue a bit up to that – but then started having severe anxiety attacks at night. I contacted my therapist and she told me to lower caffeine, download insight timer and TRY to do yoga [she knows I hate it] or meditate with a guided voice, and also to do HIIT or Cardio because that tends to help reduce balance in hormones, chemistry, etc. I LOVE running. I run 10-15 miles a week, more like 20 in the summer, and I just FEEL so good afterward. I love focusing on that feeling rather than the weight that doesn’t come off. So this was good to hear.
Flip to seeing my dietician who did lab work on me. She increased my thyroid supplements to help my hypothyroidism and said my numbers were starting to increase. A month ago she raised my supplement amount and then also placed me back on my adrenal medication at night, which has helped me a lot with energy but also allows my body to actually let go of weight. Women, if you don’t know your adrenals are specifically linked to your thyroid. My adrenals work oppositely and are very active during the night and crash during the day – this has a direct effect on your thyroid. Since going back on this medication I feel a lot more comfortable, less bloated and sleep is still an issue but I am working on it – I think it’ll be better once we move and I am not surrounded by boxes.
However, my dietician also reviewed my labs in discussion of blood sugar and insulin. My body has a CRAZY amount of insulin stored and my blood sugar is all over the place – because of this, running actually HARMS my body and because it adds more stress on my physical body it also creates more insulin. My dietician said intermittent fasting is the best thing I CAN do because it helps regulate insulin which is what I need. This means that hard cardio actually makes me hold in fat. This is why I never could link the word “anorexia” to my body. I ate nothing, I ran often, I lifted weights and I gained weight. If my blog sets out to do anything it’s to crush the idea that weight is linked to a specific disorder. It’s not. It’s mentality and every body reacts differently to that mentality. Mine never got sickly thin, but inside that’s what was going on.
So I had two choices. Do HIIT and Cardio for my mental health, or not do it for my physical. I decided somewhere in between or trying a new routine would be worth it right now. So as of now, I am lifting and doing slow elliptical movements 5 times a week, and doing yoga 4-5 times a week [a goal]. I cannot do yoga for a ‘work out’ because in my mind I need to sweat for it to count [lol, something I am working on but I have to start somewhere because damn I hate yoga. Im so ocd that its so SO slow for me]. But the yoga is for my mind, and the strength training is for my body.
So how is my progress? Well I am eating and moving. I have guilt and I cry. Somedays I feel like I am conquering, other days I’m still waiting for a miracle. The highs and the lows. I get frustrated with the body positive movement because it feels like there can’t be an inbetween. It feels like you have to love you for you and not exercise, or work out excessively and admit you have a problem. I don’t feel like I belong in either category, so I am making my own. This upcoming self portrait will be a bit more unique. From seeing my disorder on a bill, I have to admit I am a little triggered by it – in a good – confrontational way. ❤ Stay tuned.