In the midst of my eating disorder, I never thought that I’d be able to heal completely, but I did. 🙂 I am no longer bound by food or by the body image struggles that I faced during that time. The thought to skip a meal or exercise excessively never – ever – once comes to mind, because I just don’t think that way anymore.
Gosh, it’s SO freeing!
Now I don’t want to make it sound as though I have it all together, or that I never have ‘those days’. I am human after all. I will have the occasional ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ day during which I just feel ‘bleh’ for absolutely no reason other than I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But, my friends, my entire mindset has changed over the years, and so I realize it for what it is: a ‘bleh’ day and nothing more. I carry myself with pride, because I have learned to love the girl looking back at me on the other side of the mirror. And on those occasional rough days? I’ve found that doing something special for someone else – and therefore taking my mind off of silly insecurities – works like magic. 🙂
As I’ve previously written, I haven’t made healthy-eating or exercise a priority over the past months, since I’ve poured my energy and time into being a mom. But as I was writing my posts in honor of National Eating Disorder Week, I paused a moment to realize that – even now – I still feel ridiculously confident. 🙂 I’m carrying more weight on my body right now, but – gosh – I still feel good about myself!! I still carry myself with pride and can look in the mirror with a smile on my face. And yes, although I always feel best when I am exercising and eating foods that are good for my body, I don’t obsess over it when it doesn’t happen.
Oh, and food? I love food now! I cook often, because preparing food (especially cupcakes) is a way that I show people I love them. The sixteen year old version of myself never could have imagined writing – or believing – that, but it’s true!
Eating Disorders have varying causes and many of them have nothing to do with the person initially wanting to be skinnier or more in shape. But body image is one of the causes. And in the society that we live in today, it’s no wonder why so many girls (and boys) are struggling with food and how they think it makes them look.
We are constantly bombarded with images that have been photo-shopped to perfection. Models and actresses flaunt their seemingly-perfect bodies and lives, leaving us feeling ashamed and inadequate. We think, if only we could be like that.
But I’ve written it here on my blog before, and I have to say it again. 🙂 You and I are not cookie cutters. We are not gingerbread men, cut from the same mold to resemble a specific outline.
We are unique.
Contrary to what social media and Hollywood might have you believe, there is no one image that defines perfection. When you and I look into the mirror, the woman looking back at us is beautiful, ‘flaws’ and all. Freckles, frizz, curves, moles, thin features, thick features, and everything else we fight so hard to hide are just a part of who we are. It’s society that has tried to tell us that these differences are what make us ugly. It’s society that has tried to tell us that we need to be stronger, thinner, curvier, more fit, and ultimately free of every mark that would make us original.
But to that, I say how dare anyone tell us that there is an image of perfection? We come in numerous shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds. If only we could learn to embrace that!
I have learned throughout my journey – and throughout the years – that I am beautiful, because I am me. It is why I will never again fight to be a certain weight, to fit into a certain size, or to fit a certain mold. I have learned that I feel healthiest when I am eating right and exercising, and so that is important to me. But I don’t believe in dieting, restricting, or abusing my body to get there. I believe in the journey to take care of myself (especially now as I am learning how to balance taking care of myself as a mom).
I don’t need to be more fit or five pounds lighter to realize my self-worth. And although I SO wish I would have known all this years ago, I truly hope that my story will bring peace to even one girl (or boy) going through the struggle of an eating disorder right now. Because sometimes, when you’re facing the daily struggle of ED, you feel as though there is no end to the struggle. But there is…
I promise you, there is! And there really is light at the end of the tunnel, and healing (complete healing) if you refuse to give up. Just know that you’re not alone and that your baby steps will one day add up to a confident, healthy YOU. Just keep fighting!
I wish I could hug each and every one of you who have stopped by my little corner of the internet to read my story. I am humbled that you let me share my story with you, and I’m so very grateful for your kindness. You all rock!