I was also packing my bags, leaving my ex-husband.
I was also starving.
I was also weighing every green bean and grape that entered my mouth.
I also thought I was fat & hated myself. Yes, in this picture I truly thought I needed to be smaller. My heart hurts as I type this, but what I saw--is not what I know you see when you look at that.
I was starving. I was unhappy. I was starving. I was miserable.
A year ago I stumbled upon my new gym home The Human Form. It was by accident, literally. I came here with a friend because she was going to meet a guy who worked there (who I later ended up dating), I was terrified for her that she was going alone so I came with her--what do you mean you're going to an empty gym alone to meet a man from the internet? I ended up landing the internship of a lifetime there and that's now where I do all of my personal training.
My first week there I watched the owners, Stephen and Michelle make smoothies pretty much everyday. I remember it like it was yesterday that they put 1/2 and avocado, 1 whole banana and some other fruit in there. There was also protein and veggies but all I could think about was how in one smoothie, they just consumed almost all of my fat intake for the day and about 3/4 of my carbs.
I was counting my macros and eating 25g of fat + 100g of carbs a day.
It was then, as the people I admired so much--and my boyfriend at the time, drank their smoothies--that I knew something was wrong with me.
Counting my macros was not healthy for me. I saw food in numbers and not for fuel. I was fearful of 5 extra grams of fat per day. Simultaneously I was binging like crazy because I was eating such a limited amount of food. Even with counting my macros, I was going crazy and living an extremely unhealthy life.
I vowed to myself that I would stop counting and start focusing on eating whole foods mindfully.
Having not done that though for 2 years, and just entering a new relationship, I ate. My now ex-boyfriend loved cooking for me, and I loved that he wanted to. It was all insanely healthy but I had been use to eating practically nothing and being hungry 24/7, so when I began to eat meals with him I was not only eating good stuff--I was eating his size portions of good stuff. I knew I was probably eating too much for my body, but for so long all I could think about was my next meal and a this point I no longer knew what enough (truly enough) looked like for my body.
I ate out at restaurants, for the first time in so long. I ate food I loved, I tried new things and eventually I stopped being so afraid of food.
It took me almost a year to come to a place where I know I'm okay without counting.
Last July I weighed a low of 120lbs. In December of this year I tipped the scale at my highest of 158.
That crushed my soul because I knew that while I finally felt truly strong for the first time ever, a lot of that weight came from not honoring my body through food. Which was really hard to swallow for me.
But something else happened.
Part of me wanted to hide because I knew how lean I could be, I knew where I had once been. But as I reflected on that, I realized that I was starting to love my body where it was. Even at 158. In the picture below I was 158, but I had never felt more sexy and confident in my life. That's what most women and competitors say though. "I love my curvy body". Most say it because they know what is happening and they are ashamed. And I was, I fought myself daily to love this body. But when I allowed myself to start letting that love be okay--what happened was magical.
In the beginning I felt that I could only love myself at 120 because 120 meant abs. I thought that 158 equaled that I was fat, not worthy of love. I based my love with myself on my gravitational pull with the universe.
Something clicked though, I started to be able to grab my butt. I had legs that didn't look like you could break them in half.
I finally, FINALLY realized that beauty, confidence and feeling sexy had nothing to do with abs. That it is OKAY to love your body without it looking like the cover of Oxygen Magazine.
So this year I gained 40lbs. I was recovering from an eating disorder that consumed every part of my being. The weight I gained wasn't all healthy, a lot of my old habits came up many times. This 40lbs is made up of learning how to eat for my body, honoring it through eating intuitively, and sometimes it was made up of ED mindset setbacks.
40lbs is a lot, I don't say that with rainbows and butterflies shooting out of my ass. But speaking of ass, I have one now. I have many things now that I choose to break society's version of beautiful and decide I was beautiful on my own.
Now, out of curiosity, I weighed myself and am chillin at 143. I love myself more at 143 than I ever did at 120. Because a number doesn't decide you're confident or beautiful--you decide that.
143 is good. My ED mindset isn't there, I can wake up and eat the foods I love that simultaneously fuel me and leave me feeling good. I can look in the mirror with a deep acceptance and love for my body. I'm actually strong. I can lift heavy shit well. I don't have dark circles under my eyes, I don't run out of energy in my workouts, I'm happy.
Strong Curves + radical self love VS. weak, extreme hate for my body.
I am beautiful because I decided I was. The freedom and confidence that came with that is earth shatteringly beautiful.
There are still days I feel my self love tank is dipping low, but I know now that self love is a choice and most importantly a journey, not an end goal.
So if you feel like you're struggling with self love because you don't look like a model, I challenge you to be okay with being a bit of a rebel and allowing yourself to decide what your version of beautiful is.
With a whole lot of love, shaky fingers and vulnerability,