Lets talk about health. Specifically eating but our mental state and body image as well. I hope you glean something from a snippet of my story.
I lost my dad in a car accident a few years ago but this started in my mind before but this monster became came increasingly more gripping and controlling. It started out as turning to food as a comfort, it numbed and helped the pain. But as with all ’numbers’ it was always temporary and it jumped back and forth from eating too much to not eating much.
The unhealthy relationship with food grew stronger. I gained a significant amount of weight & the monster had my mind wrapped around its ugly finger.
There are a few things that come to mind particularly when I was around girls (and some guys) who were constantly obsessing over body image and who was going to like them, how much skin to show and on.
And so I began cutting out things in my eating & then got into healthy food and exercise. I went on to lose nearly 15kg. I got comments about my weight, how good I looked. I felt good, lighter & happier in clothes and my own skin. I could pick out the smallest item in a shop and it would fit me.
This sounds great doesn’t it?
Well? Not quite..
My worth was in if someone had complimented me that day, it was in how I looked in photos. I was obsessing about what was for lunch, and if I could have a tiny piece of dark chocolate. I was constantly looking up ways to lose weight and health hacks.
..I knew every food you not to eat later in the day because I wouldn’t be able to burn it off, I knew what sped up your metabolism. I stopped eating certain fruit because it had more natural sugars than others. I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror still not completely satisfied. I woke up in the morning feeling like a whale by 8am if I hadn’t gone to the gym that morning.
Now it wasn’t all bad. I learnt so much about what foods made me feel good and how incredible and strong I felt when I exercised but it was affecting my mind so much. I was eating very healthily at this point but my portions increased because I was hungry for cutting so much out and so I began to gain weight - slowly but surely putting weight back on.
I was in New Zealand working at a school in 2016, and to my surprise on the menu sugar and carbs were in abundance and fruit/veg was not to be seen.
I did my best to exercise in my crazy schedule and eat as well as I could but by the end of the year I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I went through a time where I couldn’t look in the mirror without crying. Even just my face because I could see it on my face as well.
I knew what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to lose it all quickly and then put it all back on again. I did not want to yoyo diet and obsess as I did previously.
Let me be clear.. I want to lose weight.
I want to feel amazing in a bikini or a dress.
I want to be and feel strong and incredible doing physical activity.
A few days ago I wore a bikini for the first time in months, self-conscious? yes quite. BUT I also felt a little more free, and a little more beautiful. I felt feminine and thankful to have a body that can swim and run, that can dance. There was SO much harm on my body and so much I fed my mind. I felt like I was kicking satan in the teeth that afternoon.
AND AS CHEESY AS THIS SOUNDS, AS CLICHE AS THIS MIGHT BE:
I want to be thought of as beautiful person because of me, my kindness and my love. My courage and determination. My sensitive, introverted dreamer self to shine the way God always intended. Because I believe the most beautiful people are those who have gone through the hell of hard things and come back with their heart softer and more vulnerable. Braver and stronger than ever before.
I find the more I accept myself with all my stuff the more I can love others in theirs. the more i can be truly comfortable in myself, the more I reflect to others that they’re safe in my presence.
So this means sitting with myself and my neediness and desire to do what I know how, but I’m unveiling whats really behind it all. - SO I can get to the roots and heal from the inside out.
Your inner world produces you outer world. Out of the heart flows your life.
The more I sit with myself and accept who I am the more I find it has more to do with something within that needs to change.
That no circumstance, or I if I drop all that weight again will ever be able to make me completely content.
And so dear friend what can you take out of this?
I want you to know that what you need to eat, how you exercise, how you keep your mind sane and take care of YOU is going to look different than mine or anyone else’s.
The keyword in this journey is this: /listen/ to your body, to your heart.
* discover what works best for you. explore.
* sitting in your stuff.
* thank God for your body.
* Eating what your body needs and feels good about.
* learn to be OK with saying No and Yes when the time calls for it.
* incorporate movement in your day and work out what that looks like in each season.
Specifically what helps me is silence for 10 or so min, prayer and writing.
Its your journey friend, I hope you find joy in the chaos and know that beauty comes from ashes.