I wanted to start this series by sharing my personal experiences related to weight. This part is hard to share, and I was honestly tempted to leave it out, but it’s an important part of this journey.
I’ve always been a disciplined person—as in, working hard at the expense of my health/needs. The irony is, over the years, the harder I worked to control my weight, the worse my health was. I know not everyone’s story is exactly like mine. But for me personally, focusing on weight, even when my intention was to be healthy, negatively affected my health, and my story is not unique in this regard.
I can remember being concerned about my weight at a very early age—my earliest memory was during my childhood. I became consumed by trying to alter my body size. For years, my attempts to be thin were at the forefront of my mind, and this lead to harmful, not health-promoting behaviors to achieve the size I wanted. (PS: I was never satisfied and never achieved it.)
During this time, God was always whispering in my ear that it wasn’t His best for me. I credit this to my eventual recovery from a life of disordered eating. For this I am grateful.
I loved nutrition and wanted to become a dietitian after spending 4 years studying psychology. I enrolled in a graduate program for nutrition. During this time, my focus shifted more to wellness/health, not JUST pursuing thinness. I fully released keeping my weight “controlled” in harmful ways. As is so common today, my attempts towards wellness still centered on keeping my weight “controlled,” but in what I deemed more “healthy” ways. In my mind, thinness was synonymous with health. (It isn’t—more on that later.)
I put myself on carefully curated eating plans which kept me disconnected from my body. This meant ignoring hunger cues and cravings in the name of discipline, punitive exercise without adequate rest, and high stress due to fear of losing this “control.” Anytime I “strayed,” I gained weight, so I thought I had to maintain this “control” forever. (PS: The weight gain happened because I was pursuing a weight below my genetic set point range—more on this later in the series.)
During this time, I consider my health to be the worst it has ever been. I felt horrible, all the time, and I didn’t know why. It mainly affected my digestion and gut health. I felt like I couldn’t eat anything without side effects. Many foods I used to eat regularly became problem foods for me, making me feel worse. (As I later worked to heal my gut, I was able to add many of these foods back.) My energy was in the toilet, I couldn’t think clearly, and this lead to dependence on caffeine to get through my overcommitted life. I started having breathing problems, I got sick ALL the time—the list goes on and on.
I wasn’t listening to my body, I was under-eating and over-exercising, and I was STRESSED all the time—from doing too much, not listening to my body, and fearing loss of control of my body size. This was the driver of my health issues. What I thought was keeping me healthy was actually making me sick. Having weight control at the top of my radar kept me disconnected from my body and created a fearful relationship with eating.
In my next post, I’m going to talk more about my healing journey and my road to freedom.Follow me on social media: