My Journey To Overcoming Body Dysmorphia
At my petite 5 foot 3 inch frame, back in 2010, I stood at almost 150lbs-my highest. Sure, that isn’t obese by any means. But none of it was muscle and I continously fed my body Burger King, Chik Fil A, and anything that I could get my hands on. I was in nursing school and constantly in a rush, stressed out, and devoting all of my time to studying that I put my health on the backburner. And boy, oh, boy it showed. I was a few pounds overweight, according to BMI charts anyways.
Back in 2010, I realized I had to make a change after watching Food Inc. and a few other documentaries. I quit the crap, cleaned out my pantry, made a list, and went grocery shopping. My whole life changed! I dropped 45lbs within 9 months by clean eating alone. I did not work out! This was a big mistake as it made my body skinny with no tone, aka skinny fat. But tone and building muscles did not matter to me, I wanted skinny.
And until I was skinny, I was not good enough. This is where I went too far.
Having this mindset is called body dysmorphia or seeing yourself in a way that actually isn’t true. In my mind, my thighs still jiggled and I was too big. I ended up at almost 100lbs and a size 0, what I once hoped for, was loose on me. But, since I was doing things the healthy way, this time, I felt that I was doing no harm.
I did not realize that you CAN take healthy and clean eating too far.
I became OBSESSED with being healthy.
I did not touch sugar-not even one gram-for almost a year. If someone offered me a cupcake, I would freak out. I counted calories like a mad woman. I think I even stopped eating peanut butter at one point because I felt it had too many calories. My mind was so programmed “eat clean, clean, clean” that I would sit down and read everything on the labels before every eating. I still read labels today, but I am not as crazy about it. At work, the girls at the clinic made me a birthday cake that year and I wouldn’t even touch it. I think I limited myself to 1,200 calories a day, which is certainly not enough, as I worked on my feet for 8 hours a day seeing patients. Those 1,200 calories conisted of soups, salads, fish, fruits, and veggies for the most part. I had the clean eating part down pat, but I was unknowingly starving my body of the calories it so desperately needed.
After my divorce from my ex-husband, I put a little weight back on and went from my mere 100lbs to almost 130lbs (Thanks, Ben & Jerry, wine, girls nights, and How I Met Your Mother reruns). During my marriage to this guy, he only told me that I was beautiful once I lost all of the weight. I am so thankful for getting out of that marriage because it was toxic to my health, mind, and body.
It was not until I met my amazing husband, Grady, that I really began to see myself as beautiful and started accepting my weight, for whatever it was. It was not that I needed a man to validate me and my appearance- at this point it was just the positive affirmation that I so desperately needed to know that the number on the scale had nothing to do with my worth.
After we married, I wanted to be the best version of myself. I wanted to become healthy, but not obsessive. I wanted to say yes to a cupcake every now and then and be HUMAN. I started working out in the gym 4-5 days a week and started eating 5-6 clean meals daily, aiming for about 1,800 calories a day. Amidst all of this, we were trying for a baby-and I became pregnant shortly after trying for two months.
During my pregnancy, I never felt more beautiful and I vowed to take the best care of myself and my growing baby during my pregnancy. I stayed in the gym, did prenatal yoga, and I ate clean for the most part though I aimed for 500 extra calories per day (2,300 calories total). I craved chips & queso during my second trimester, but when I wanted something, I would eat just a little or in moderation.
After birth, I started my postpartum workout program 12 weeks later, once life settled down. My goal this time? To create muscle. And that I did-and still trying! I amped my calories up to 2,300-2,500 if not more, as I was still breastfeeding (and still am today, 8 months later).
Today, I have no desire to become skinny.
Today, I have no desire to obssess over the scale.
Today, I have no desire to limit what I am craving.
Today, I do desire to be the best version of myself. Inside & out.
Today, I do desire to be healthy. Not just for my husband and son, but for ME.
Today, I do desire to set a good example for those who follow me and for those whom I love.
Today, I desire to love me. Not matter what the scale says.