(I’ve had this in my drafts for months – it’s deeply personal and something that I struggle with daily. Please, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all)
For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with my weight. It is something that is constantly on my mind – something that I can’t seem to shake out of my mind. I wish I could – I wish that I could walk around with all that “body confidence” that’s all the rage these days.
But I can’t.
I think it started for me in high school. If I were to show you a picture of myself from then, I was pretty heavy. And I hate to admit this, but I’m pretty sure the obsession started when a boy that I had a huge crush on called me a “fat dog.” Yes ladies and gentlemen, the bullying was real. And it hurt. I can’t even tell you how many times I cried or how much time I spent pinching my stomach or looking in the mirror telling myself how ugly and fat I was. It was exhausting. I had never thought of myself as those things until that boy had said them to me – and then all of a sudden it became real in my brain. If someone was comfortable enough to call me that, then it must be so. High school mentality and all.
So instead of doing it the healthy way with diet and exercise – I starved myself. I took diet pills. I would eat tomatoes and a handful of popcorn from work at the movie theater and call it a day. I took diet pills so many times that I would have to rush out to the bathroom because of a really bad bloody nose. The diet pills had shot my blood pressure up so high – they made me feel jittery and nauseous and dizzy all at the same time. And I lost the weight, of course I did. Eating less than 500 calories a day will do that. And that was the restriction I put on myself.
Sadly, this obsession followed me to college. I worked out twice a day – once in the morning, once after classes were done for the day. I was done with the diet pills, because I just couldn’t risk having a catastrophic nose bleed in class. But I wasn’t done with starving myself. I would eat dinner, and that was all, and even that may have been a turkey sandwich or a package of Easy Mac. I taught myself how to ignore the hunger – and soon, I just wasn’t hungry. I was consumed by this image of a perfect body – regardless of what I was actually doing to my body. I wanted people (mostly boys) to look at me, and be like, damn.
At my lowest weight, I weighed 125 pounds. On a 5’8″ frame, I looked like a skeleton. There’s a picture of me from a sorority formal that I actually cringe looking at. You can see bones protruding everywhere – to look at it today terrifies me.
I have come far from those days – however, not from the days of constantly worrying about my weight and what food goes in my body. It’s exhausting. So exhausting. I no longer starve myself, and I work out a healthy amount. However, there’s always that little demon that I carry around telling me I’m no good, because I’m not a size 4, and you can’t see my hip bones. I’ve talked to people about this – I know that it’s not healthy, and I want to get better. However, that’s always easier said than done. Having good friends and a good husband who tell me that I’m perfect the way I am helps a lot. I’m not sure where I would be now if I didn’t have them. They didn’t tell me that I was crazy – they listened to me and asked me what they could do for help. If I said, please make sure that I eat breakfast, or please make sure that I am not shoveling diet pills into my mouth – that’s how they would help.
It is hard to write about this – but also feels really good to just put it all down. I wish that it was something that you could just “cure,” and be done with it, but it just isn’t that easy. I’m working on it – I am.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read something that is so personal and raw.