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learning to love my body

Updated: May 16

In college, I started hating my body. I had a group of like 10 girlfriends and we all had different eating disorders. I laugh about it now because it was so fucked up that what can you do besides laugh. We would sit around the table and compare who ate less.

I would obsessively weigh myself 5 times a day. I would meticulously count the calories of each item I ate. And if I had gone even a few calories of 800 (Jesus, I can’t believe I tried to eat less than 800 calories a day) I would run 5 miles. Even if it was midnight, I would get off of work some days at 2 am and still go for a run. I was exhausted, malnourished, and fucking going crazy in my head. The thing about starving yourself and working out excessively is that it makes you really hungry and go insane.

So now we move from the first eating disorder to the second from starving myself to binge eating. I would be so hungry after a few days of barely eating that on the 3rd or 4th day I would sit in the dark in my dorm room in the middle of the night crying and eating an entire jar of Nutella, followed by an entire loaf of bread, followed by an entire jar of peanut butter.

Hello, third eating disorder- bulimia. Then after the binge, I’d feel so disgusted with myself that I’d stick my finger down my throat and try to force myself to throw up. However, I wasn’t very good at it because I HATED throwing up and could barely get myself to do it. I had a roommate at the time (part of the eating disorder friend group) and she would hear me gagging myself and then when I was finished in the bathroom she would take her turn to go in there and gag herself. I know, it was super toxic.

The thing is, I was working out more than I have in my entire life, I was eating less than I have in my entire life, and I also weighed more than I have in my entire life. I truly believe that the weight was energetic. I was thinking about my weight so often that it became like this stuck energy in my body. All day the thoughts in my head were counting calories. Did you know that a grape is 3 calories and an apple is 100? These numbers are forever engrained in my head.

No matter how much I worked out (and I tried everything from weight lifting to running to hit workouts to swimming to CrossFit) I just kept gaining weight. My face puffed up my clothes stopped fitting and I would get drunk and tell all the girls I was the “fat friend” just so they would comfort me and tell me how pretty I am. It was soooo incredibly toxic and fucked up that again, all I can do is laugh.

It got to a point where my best friend Abbey took my scale from me and threw it away. I also did a “mirror fast” where I went two weeks without looking in the mirror. Whenever I felt the urge to look in the mirror I would pray. My other friend Linda would text me throughout the week and ask “What do you love about yourself today”. It’s almost 10 years later and we still text each other that question randomly from time to time.

So little practices like this are how I started to heal myself and my body image difficulties. But how I really lost weight and got healthy again was I stopped freaking thinking about it. I got outside more not to work out, but just because I liked being outside. I ate only when I felt hungry, and when I did eat I chose fresh fruit and things that actually nourished my body. I started cooking more and intentionally putting love into my food. And I started eating slowly, feeling when my stomach was actually full.

I still struggle with body image issues and I think that maybe it’s a challenge that will always be there for me. I still lift up my shirt and check how bloated my stomach looks today when I walk by a mirror, and I still sometimes pinch my fat rolls to see if they’ve grown. But then I apologize to my body after. I speak to her and thank her for all she’s given to me. I apologize all the time for how I treated her in college. I thank her every day that she allows me to swim, laugh, run, play, hold animals, and dance. The more I love my body, the more healthier and in shape I have become.

There’s still so much I’d like to change and grow with my body, but now it’s from a loving, grateful, and intentional place. If you struggle with body image, you’re not alone. I know women of all shapes and sizes who have shared these same exact struggles with me. But I think the more we share openly and honestly about it, the more we can come together together and heal. We can heal generations of women who were told we’re too fat, too tall, too skinny, too curvy, too straight, too short, and too wrinkled. Our bodies are really freaking cool. They can create life. They are all completely different, like snowflakes or stars! And they can surf on surfboards and swim in the ocean and climb up mountains and jump off cliffs and play volleyball and jump on trampolines! They are like living art. I hope you remember that your body is a masterpiece and give it some extra love today and know that you're not alone.

If this message resonated with you I'd love to connect and support each other on our healing journeys, please reach out or drop a message in the comments.

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