Happy Tuesday, everyone! This three-day weekend has taught me a few things about myself, and I thought it might be important to share. Yup, we get to talk about one of my favorite topics:
Yaaaaay. I know you are all cheering–as if I don’t talk about this enough. To be honest, yes, I talk about my eating disorder and my body image a lot, but it will never be enough. Not until this stops being such a taboo topic.
So disclaimer to whom it may concern.
This weekend, I spent the entirety of daylight in, well, the daylight. Beach, pool, pool, beach. It was a whirlwind. Literally. Today at the beach, I got attacked by sand because it was so windy. I was surprised at my lack of sun-sickness, but lo and behold, it came upon me this evening. But it is manageable.
But let’s go back a bit.
I have always compared myself to others and their appearances. I look at girls and their toned legs and flat stomachs and I long to look like them. I curse myself for not looking like them already. It is so engrained into my brain that I think these things as a force of habit; I do not even realize it until the thought has already popped into my head, and I chastise myself every time for it. It is a big part of this illness, and while I am still struggling, I am working on it every day.
Part of recovery for me is developing a healthy relationship among food, the gym, and me. In the beginning of my recovery, I stopped going to the gym and I just ate whatever my heart desired. While this can be a good thing, it did not take long for me to look in the mirror and hate myself again. So I went back to the gym and began eating less, soon realizing that I was slipping backwards again. This all went back and forth for some time.
That is, until a few weeks ago. I started eating more routinely and healthily, and having set times to go to the gym. Just thirty to forty minutes on the elliptical or treadmill a few times a week, plus Zumba on Tuesdays. I was feeling great!
Too bad this only lasted two weeks before midterms ambushed me. I have been having nearly nonstop tests for almost three weeks, leaving all my free time to go to studying and sleeping. And of course, eating. Sitting with your face glued to your textbooks and notebooks can really leave a girl hungry. Even though I was not working out regularly (sometimes at all) anymore, I knew this could not be a opportunity to start slipping again. I ate when I needed to.
And sometimes at one in the morning when I was about to cry from the stress. It happens.
Then I went to Disneyland and stuffed my face with anything my mom baked because I missed her cookies and brownies so much. I am serious, if you meet me one day, and I have something she baked in my possession, ask to try it. Your life will be changed.
One week later, and midterms are finally slowing down, meaning I can finally go back to the gym on a sort of regular basis. I am excited for it, actually, which is something I would have never expected. It lets me be alone with some of my thoughts and a good song.
However, not having been to the gym in a while and eating freely left me questioning why on earth I was going to spend the weekend in a bikini surrounded by all the beautiful people that go to Cal Poly. (I am serious, this campus is so attractive). I looked in the mirror and grimaced at my stomach and my thighs and my butt. This was not the body I was hoping to have at this point. I wanted to be more toned and muscular…I wanted to be thinner.
I could not stop these thoughts from forming in my head, and I could not help myself from looking at the other girls at the pool and the beach and wishing I could have bodies like theirs. I looked at my friends and wondered how they could be so confident–oh wait, they looked awesome as well. I felt like everyone was looking at me and judging me for not having a cute butt or a flat stomach. They were thinking about how big my hips are and about the cellulite under my butt.
I wanted to disappear.
But today was sort of different. I was so much less concerned with the way I looked. It did not matter that my stomach poked out a little or that the skin on my sides bunches up if I lean or turn sideways. All that mattered was my book, my music, my acai bowl, and not getting sunburned. Sort of failed at that last one, but it did not turn out as badly as I would have thought!
I ate my whole acai bowl with pride, even though I knew it would make me bloat a little. I scarfed that thing down like my life depended on it, and it was fabulous. It was one of those little things that turned out to be a big thing.
I have accepted that my stomach will never be completely flat. I know that my hips will always be this big–hey, it just means I am meant to have kids some day! I do not think my cellulite will ever go away. But I know I am not fat. I am not overweight. I am perfect the way I am. This is the body I was born with, and it is my job to keep it healthy. It is my job to treat this body in the best way I can. (Yes, Alice, In-n-Out is sometimes the best thing for me!). I cannot deprive my body of what it needs and I cannot overwork it to burn a few more calories. So I won’t.
I vow to keep working towards recovery and to continue living this life I was blessed with. I am more than the body I see in my mirror.
PS My mirror is totally warped anyway and makes me look worse. Tell me again why I am worrying so much about this.
PPS I need to stop telling myself that I look that good in that picture because of the angle and the pose I am in. No, Ashley, you really do look that good.