(I am naming my posts of disordered issues, “I’m Just Sayin,” because it is a phrase my mom and I use often, and it’s a way to express what I will be talking about 😀 )
There are several reasons I started this blog. My passion for food, nutrition, fitness, running, school, family, are just a few of the things I am constantly thinking about and want to share my thoughts/experiences with these on here!
This is my second post on the reasons I developed a strange relationship with food and my body, and the ways I am recovering, getting help, and making peace with myself. I hope you enjoy!
As I have mentioned however, there is an underlying issue I have been dealing with several years now, and one I am slowly (but surely!) over coming. I am speaking of my long battle with disordered eating, such as an intense focus on my weight, when/what/quantities I would eat, only consuming foods I considered “safe,” rituals and routines around meal times, meeting a certain amount of exercise per day (which I deemed enough), and pretty much focusing, concentrating on food and nutrition constantly, an unhealthy obsession.
In part 1, I discussed how my height, and being known as the “big girl” really bothered me, especially beginning in sixth grade. I referred to middle school as the “dark years” when kids were becoming more aware of their own and others physical features. After I recovered from first experience with an eating disorder (discussed in my last post) I entered into high school and was no longer focusing on height and the discomfort I felt within my own body.
There were many positive things in my life at this point. I used to be on a competitive swimmer for the local YMCA, committing countless hours to this sport and usually getting great results at meets. My favorite stoke was freestyle and longer distance events were my forte. Starting high school meant joining my high school swim team, which I was on simultaneously with the Y team with several of my friends.. Because of my past experience with swimming on another team, my friends and I were some of the best on the high school team. Even as freshman, we were regarded as people you should look to for help with swimming, and I loved the social connections I obtained from being a part of two teams.
Each year of high school got better and better- I was incorporated into a fabulous group of friends, with a seriously perfect ratio of guys to girls 15:15. I was close with each of the people considered to be “part of the group.” Swimming continued to go well, my grades were consistently good, and I looked forward to school each day to see my friends. I also had my first boy friend my Junior year, who I can say, I fell in love with. Life seemed pretty darn good!
Although like a normal female I did sometimes focus on what I was eating, and my looks, I was not too concerned because I knew the 2 hour long intense swim practices would compensate for any extra calories I consumed. And it did, I stayed at a relatively stable weight until my senior year of high school and was, for the most part, comfortable with myself. The amount I would eat when I was swimming was almost absurd, but I was SO HUNGRY all of the time from the demanding practices. Some things I used to eat:
- 4-5 bowls of cereal at a time (breakfast and sometimes after school too). I am talkin the sugary kinds, Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Life were among my favs!
- Half a bag of either Sunchips, Goldfish, Chex Mix, usually after school
- A crap load of bread, bagels with butter, creamcheese, sometimes pb (Skippy, NOT NATURAL all the way 🙂 )
- And a bunch of other things, usually in large quanities and portions.
I was somewhat aware of choices that were better than others, Sunchips as opposed to friend potato chips for example, but my portions were completely out of control.
After about 12 years of swimming, I really could not imagine doing it anymore. I was so sick of the whole dang sport and the passion I once had for this sport was gone. At this point, it was February of my senior year, I had an idea of the college I would be attending, and I knew I would not be swimming there, so i quit.
I still have no regrets with this, as it did eventually lead me to become a runner, but it also caused me to gain weight. I continued eating like I was when swimming and I gained fairly quickly. It is not as noticeable on me to others because of my height, but I was certainly aware of it, especially when I was purchasing a pair of pants in a large size I never thought I would reach. After this shopping trip, I was even more conscious of the amount of weight I had gained and decided I would do something about it.
One day in April of 2008 (still senior year of high school) I was feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and complaining to a friend about it. I knew she also struggled with her weight and body image so she suggested we try to lose a few pounds together. I was all for it, especially when she suggested we sign up for Weight Watchers. I had never even considered this option, but she said her mom had great results when she was on the program and it taught her a lot about proper nutrition, portion sizes, different exercises, and it made you stay accountable with weekly weigh-ins.
After talking it over with my mom, who didn’t think I needed to lose weight btw, she agreed to let me sign up and even pay for the first few months. That very day after school, my friend and I drove to the Weight Watchers center, signed up and were each weighed. I am not going to post numbers, in case this could potentially trigger anyone with ED related issues, but it was a number I was NOT expecting which led me to be even more gung-ho for the program.
However, little did I know at the time that Weight Watchers was the beginning of the end so-to-speak. It sparked the obsession in my mind concerning food and fitness that has plagued me ever since.
*Next part- Weight Watchers,
friend or foe, and how the combination of the program and my compulsive mind led me to a road of destruction in countless ways.