Today's No Fat Talk Tuesday post comes to us from Amanda of the ever-informative food and fashion blog, Slow Like Honey. I've been following Amanda's blog for over a year now and am constantly amazed with how she manages to blog while working her full-time job in fashion. This girl is superwoman or something. Thanks, Amanda, for being willing to share your story! -Madison
Looking back, I can pinpoint the minute I started fixating on my weight and it was a sunny day in 8th grade. I had just walked home from school and decided that instead of eating my daily snack of apples and peanut butter, I’d eat nothing. Because I had to lose weight.
That was me, at 13. And this vicious cycle didn’t end for another 13 years.
The minute I turned 13, everything changed. Hips suddenly sprouted, boys started flirting and all of a sudden, the only things my friends ever talked about were dieting and exercise. On top of that, these same friends started getting very judgmental. I mean, everything bugged them. What I said, what I wore. It was like Mean Girls but without Tina Fey. It was rough and this lasted all through high school. I wish I could say that I got stronger, that I stood up and walked away from these toxic friendships. And, in a way, I guess I did. I started developing better, more meaningful friendships with two girls who I’m still close with today. But my relationship with myself never improved. 4 years later, in high school, I was 30 pounds heavier with zero confidence and raging eating disorder. I purposely avoided shopping for clothes, I binged and purged 3-5 times a week, I avoided hanging out with friends. I kept telling myself that it was going to get better, that once high school ended, I would stop hating myself. But after my first year of college, I was worse than ever. I had moved out with a friend (which ended pretty badly), met a few boys (which ended pretty badly) and got stuck at a government job that left me miserable.
The entire time, I told myself it was all my fault. You are the reason you are alone. You are not worthy to be loved. You are fat. You are ugly. Hurtful, vicious and degrading, these were the thoughts I had. I remember one day deciding to just start restricting, thinking that if I was skinnier, I’d be more lovable. Calorie counting became my obsession. I was a woman on a mission, and hey! Guess what? I lost 30 + pounds. It was divine! I could fit into clothes and felt like I was finally ready to live my life. Except, my minor hobby reared its ugly head and developed into something bigger, stronger. Each day I battled with myself, to the point where I couldn’t focus on anything else. Eventually, I reached a breaking point. Binging, purging, starving. None of it had made me love myself any more. In fact, I hated myself more. I remember sitting in a parking lot, tears streaming down my face, thinking that this was it. My life would never start until I dealt with the tiny voice in my head was silenced.
I picked up the phone, and called a therapist.
The next two years, I underwent cognitive behavioral therapy and started my self-exploration quest. It wasn’t easy; in fact, I can’t count the times I left that office a total wreck. But I truly believe therapy saved my life. Without it, I would have been lost.
Now, I am 26, living in New York and making my dreams come true. Instead of being fearful of food, I run a food blog and exercise daily (yoga + running) to make myself strong and feel more alive. I’m not perfect and sometimes fall into my old patterns but now I know how to pull myself back up after beating myself down. My struggle with body image and self-love has taught me more than I could have ever imagined and I’m stronger because of it.
If I could tell one girl out there who is going through the hell I put myself through it would be this: you are worthy of every ounce of love that is out there in this world. Don’t ever tell yourself otherwise. And, when you feel like the whole world is going against you, know that you can always reach out and find help. There is always an answer.
If you're interested in sharing your No Fat Talk story, e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information!