Dinner last night was 😍 I’ve been really into sautéed kale lately.
I wanted to share a little bit about my food journey today because my plate didn’t always look like this.
Growing up I was overweight and had a problem with indulgence. We really didn’t eat a lot of junk food in my house (my Mom is an amazing cook) so when I would go to a friend’s house or away from my parents I consumed so much junk food I would make myself sick. In middle school I was teased, the popular name being little piggy. I always struggled with why my friends (who were “thin”) could eat a pretzel and cheese every day from the cafeteria and not care. Even by 7th grade I associated eating certain foods with being fat and shamed myself for consuming them.
I was an active kid/high schooler. I played soccer growing up and swam. However, I still somehow managed to be on the heavier side. My eating disorder came early on, when I felt guilt and shame for eating certain foods. But then it got worse because anytime I would indulge in those foods I would make myself sick, convinced that they would make me fat. The pain and grossness I felt from being bulimic felt deserved for eating them in the first place. I viewed it as a punishment to myself.
Freshmen year of college I got to my heaviest just above 200 pounds, with my bulimia getting a little out of control. I found myself in the bathroom stall, crying and puking almost daily. I finally decided to get my butt in gear. From that point on, I started counting calories and working out for hours a day. I got to 160 at some point, but after a trip overseas found my weight creep back up.
When I got home I worked out harder, ate less and never allowed myself bread, cereal or any of the “bad” foods. Yet somehow, I kept gaining weight instead of losing it. A lot of people didn’t believe me when I told them what I ate in a day because what I looked like didn’t match up. That made me extra careful to never eat a “bad” food in the event that those people would then feel solidified with their belief (even if it was wrong). It took me writing down everything I ate for weeks to even convince my parents. I was pushing close to 200 again and with the journals I kept and my parents on my side I was able to see someone about my thyroid. Little did I know that this would be a start to a very long, painful, confusing and hard health journey.
Fast forward a couple years of being on thyroid medicine, I still hadn’t lost weight and continued to get worse physically, mentally and emotionally. Luckily my parents were extremely supportive and spent countless hours advocating for me. Finally, by 22, years after being on the thyroid medicine, going out of state and seeing every type of doctor and naturopath under the sun, I found someone who believed me and was willing to help.
The things he told me to do were drastic, big lifestyle changes that impacted pretty much everything (more on those another time). At this point I was so desperate for someone to help me feel better and look better I would have done anything. When he told me, I needed to cut out sugar, gluten, diary, grains and eat a “Paleo” diet I committed. I’ve been eating mostly paleo ever since. In these past 5 years there has been a lot of ups and downs, protocols, elimination diets, struggling with the urge to be bulimic again and giving up the need to be “skinny”. Ironically when I finally got to the point of surrender, when I stopped over exercising, managed my stress, took a season of rest and stopped counting calories was when the weight started falling off.
Here I am years later and am still learning to surrender, to work through the shame, guilt and need to be skinny and now stay skinny. It’s a journey but one I am very thankful for. So wherever you are on your health and healing journey, know you are not alone and know there is hope.