Today's No Fat Talk Tuesday post comes to us from Natalie, who blogs over at Married Meets Healthy. I am so excited to share Natalie's story with you all, because she brings a unique perspective to the series. Natalie's story of learning to love and appreciate her body through her fitness and athletic accomplishments is something I can relate to personally and know many of you will be able to as well. Thanks for sharing, Natalie! - Madison
There wasn’t a single moment I can recall when I started my body image struggles, but a whole slew of them. I was the first to go through a growth spurt out of all my friends. Although I started playing sports at a very young age and was always incredibly active, I always felt bigger. I was taller until about 8th grade and I weighed the same from 4th to 8th grade. For some reason, I always found that in my mind, my friends were skinnier and prettier than me. I remember always wanting to be better, to be more like someone else.
I became more (not completely, but more) comfortable in my skin from about 9th to 11th grade. I found my niche in athletics and was always able to eat what I wanted and keep my athletic, trim build. For some reason, things changed my senior year. I would give away everything in my lunch other than my sandwich or saltine crackers with peanut butter (my favorite!) and fruit. I was in a relationship all throughout high school and again, I didn't feel good enough. I knew things weren't good between my boyfriend and me, but I thought if I was skinnier or prettier, things would get better. False.
I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I definitely had a disordered thinking about food and fitness. Who thinks at 5’3” that 108 pounds is too much? That was me before I went to college. I struggled all throughout college with my weight. Thanks to lots of free soft serve, I put on some pounds. Then, I wouldn’t like myself so I would try and try to lose those pounds and hate the way I looked.
My junior year, my best friend and I started running…A LOT. We actually became best friends through running all the time together. Eventually we decided to sign up for the Bearathon, a half marathon put on by Baylor. This was my first big race and I had no idea whether or not I could do it. I was always a sprinter in high school and picked up running after my senior season of softball ended just to stay in shape. My runs before this were only about 4 miles or so. I had no idea how to train for long distance and nourish myself at the same time. I ended up dropping quite a bit of weight and although I finally felt comfortable in my skin, my family confronted me about my weight loss. After the race I did gain some much needed weight, but from training so hard, I was so in tune with my body and loved it.
My best friend and I completed our first half marathon in under 2 hours! (I'm on the right.)
For the first time, I listened to my body. When I had a craving, I ate it and enjoyed every bite. My then boyfriend, now husband also really helped with my body image as well as my faith. I know that Ben will love me no matter what and he actually often tells me I could “add some meat to my bones.” I also finally grasped the concept of being created in God’s image and was overjoyed!
I struggled again with my weight and body image the year after Ben and I got married. I wanted to enjoy every meal with him and started cooking meals I knew he would love, but were also higher in calories then I usually consumed. I’m sure that my consumption of alcoholic beverages on our two honeymoons didn’t help either, but I definitely enjoyed myself! I started my blog, marriedmeetshealthy.blogspot.com to find my way back to healthy after we got married. I swear there was “fat talk” going on inside my head every second of the day and it was driving not only me nuts, but Ben as well.
I picked up running again and started training for half marathons. I have now completed 4 and am taking a much needed break. Over the past couple of months I have been doing Bodyrock and this is where I have seen a major difference in my body and my thinking. I feel so strong and I love it! I probably weigh more than my old self would have liked, but I have so much more muscle definition and I love the way I feel. My major break through was going to the doctor a couple of weeks back and seeing the number on the scale without complete horror. I was so excited to run home to Ben and tell him that I didn’t care what it said because all of my old clothes fit and I have never felt better!! It was a slow process, but I have found my way back to feeling comfortable in my skin and I couldn’t be happier!