4/13/16

Body Image Issues & How I Tackled It

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"You're skinny-fat, that dress will not work." "Look at your arms, they remind me of my grandma's!" "A bikini is not going to work, look at all that fat." "Aren't you a little to young to be that size?" That's some of the things I've been hearing for the past 5 years. 

Ever since 5th grade I was never really comfortable with my body. I had a lot of issues going on, major issues, and my body only made things worst. I kind of held out in 5th grade, wearing baggier clothes, but when 6th grade came around and I had to wear a uniform, things got tough. 
 
For years and years I have always hated my thighs. They're big and annoying and shorts don't go well with shorts. My stomach was another area, hated them. My arms I was pretty content with and it was easy to brush off the rude comments, but the other two... not so easy. I remember being in fourth grade, and my then best friend, who is still til this day as skinny as a twig, told me she was a triple zero. I on the other hand was an size numero uno, in fourth grade. Now whether or whether not it's good or bad, I'm not quite sure but I knew that in that group of friends I was in, I was the only one above a zero. I ignored it. It bothered me, but it was easy to brush off, same thing in 5th grade. But when sixth grade came around things got ugly. I was slowly starting to not be comfortable anymore, it was like weight mattered even more. The girls I knew were twigs inside and outside of school. I remember trying out for cheerleading and I felt like a whale compared to other girls. I couldn't change in front of others. I remember one time at practice we were picking out flyers and when the girls lifted me, of course they said, "No, she's waayy to heavy," talk about total embarrassment. Around this time as well I had family issues, so I tended to eat  A LOT more, even at school. On girl even called me out on my eating. I felt horrible. I started becoming extremely anti-social. I dropped out of cheer. I didn't hang out. I was quite. I just well ate... A LOT.

 Over the summer before seventh grade I read an article in Girls Life about a girl with bulimia. You know, when you binge (eat a lot of food) and then purge (throw up). I read how she lost a lot of weight but had heart problems. I was still feeling iffy about my weight so I decided to do it. I was scared at first about the low heart rate and teeth decay, but I wanted to lose this weight badly, so I tried it and it didn't work. No matter how hard I tired it didn't work, so I gave up. Then I read something else about anorexia. It was actually a blog encouraging it. I started drinking water only, I became a vegetarian (even though it was for a bad cause, it was totally amazing and I highly recommend it), I started working out a lot. I spent my entire summer literally working out. I didn't hang out, I went to the beach one or twice with family. I stayed extremely lowkey, I just worked out and avoided food. I couldn't not eat around my mom, for she'd get skeptical, so I ate little portions around her. 

By the time school came around I was wearing clothes from Children's Place. I sticked to working out weekly and my veggie diet and semi starving diets ( I would starve myself every two weeks). I was happy and content and was comfortable with my size and showing off my body. I tried out for cheer with confidence and held my head high. I started back hanging out and was more social than ever. The only thing I was worried about still were my thighs. Even though I was happy and comfortable, I was always sick. I was always light headed, nausea, and had brain killing headaches. It. Was. The. Worst. I was super depressed and had extreme mood swings. My mom was starting to take me to doctors and I was scared of what would happen if the doctors and my mom found out. I dropped my veggie diet and introduced meat. I was sick x10, but it was easier on blaming it on diet change than starvation. I semi-continued my extreme working out and I still tried to stick away from fattening foods. I was still over obsessed with my weight.

Eight grade rolled around and I dropped all my extreme working out and dieting. After the sickness and all I was somewhat over it, I promised myself I wouldn't do it anymore, but I still mopped about my weight when I could. I started eating non stop carbs; Hot Cheetos (still somewhat addicted), Bojangles, McDonald's, FRENCH FRIES, the list goes on. I kicked salads to the side and replaced them with loaded potatoes, I replaced water with Diet Coke, Mountain Dew, and Sweet Tea. Yeah my diet had changed wildly. But it was all still tracing back to problems I was dealing with inside, I just ate, I don't know why but I did. One day during lunch I was eating and my friend goes, " You've gained weight, like last year (7th grade) you were so skinny and lean, like you getting a lil chubbier." I know he meant no harm whatsoever. But it hurt and sunk in my seat and fought the urge to tell him to well, back off. I started edging back to not eating and I kicked red meats out of my diet. But I hadn't lost any weight, in fact I had just gained it all back and I was back to were I was in sixth grade. Depressed, moody and sick. I wouldn't wear strappy shirts and refused to take pictures. I was even changing for cheer one day when one girl commented on my stomach fat. After she left I had my meltdown. An extreme sobbing, raging, drama filled meltdown in the bathroom.

It was back to summer. Summer before freshman year and I was determined to lose all the weight I gained in a year like I did a few summers back. It didn't work. I couldn't go to the beach without covering up.  People started noticing "curves" as much as I wanted to refuse the fact that I was a little hippy because I wanted to be a stick figure, I couldn't and it pissed me off. So now I'm dealing with other internal problems, my weight, my thighs, and my shape. But I couldn't bring myself to not eat. So yet again I was binge eating my feelings away. Not good. 

It's now freshman year, I'm from a size zero to a size 2 and I was 134. I was feeling horrible, but I was trying to ignore it. Bad idea. Why, well because here's the thing. I go to an arts school and we have lots of dancers. Dance is something I want to do and when I seen the girls compared to myself I started having self doubt. I was trying to keep it lowkey, holding all my problems in and binge eating on the low. I was trying to hide the problems of my weight and all. But after years of being obsessed and going to the extremes it was so hard. I started going on diet after diet. I hated hearing about eating disorders and got offensive anytime it came up. I only drunk diet coke or peppermint tea. I remember I went to try on a dress a few months ago and the saleswoman told me I was skinny fat and it wouldn't work, especially with my thighs and hips. I felt like crap and worthless. I couldn't help myself. I broke my promise. I relapsed. One night some months ago, I ate 2 plates of food and tried bulimia one more time. Still didn't work and I felt like a whale. So I went back to starving. I ate a peppermint and drunk water only, for weeks straight and I skipped either lunch or dinner, depending on the mood. I never ate breakfast unless it was a weekend. I drunk coffee to fill me up so I wouldn't crave food. I started noticing my irregular eating habits. I started feeling sick again. I was becoming more and more depressed. My anxiety was high. It was bad. I walked around school for weeks, smiling and trying to hide the problems or trying to forget about them. It only made it worst. 

 One day I was fed up and I cried out to two of my closest friends. I shocked my friend I went to middle school with the most. They gave me the most encouraging words ever. In one of my classes called somatics (yoga), one day we were talking and we were having open conversation, about our biggest issue. I didn't share of course, but just sitting in the circle and hearing all the people talk and encourage each other, it was amazing. I then realized that I was in a school full of people who were different and that everyone there was open and accepting. Everyday people would say, "Enfiniti, you have the cutest outfits." or " You are just the so pretty." But I couldn't believe it because I was unhappy with my weight. One of my friends told me one day out of the blue the world's most encouraging words and I literally burst into tears. I started to realize there was nothing wrong with me, I was beautiful in my own way. See my problem was I was looking at cheerleaders, ballerina's, and supermodels as role models and not for what they do but for their weight. So that's what I was trying to be. I was reaching for a ridiculous weight goal (98-101). Also, I'm the type of person when I'm going through issues ans stuff, I try holding it in. I don't like talking to others, so it would get overwhelming and that's where the binge eating kicked in, followed by the extreme dieting.  I was hurting myself more than ever. I was risking my health just for approval of society (and because I didn't know how to handle my problems).

 I then started to look at the good things about myself. I started realizing the good in myself and that everyone is different. I started stressing less about myself and stopped extreme dieting. Because I realized that I was only hurting myself.  This my friend is where my improvement starts. {This was just a month ago}

Everyday I started reading positive quotes and saying something good about my body. I don't look at a celebrity as weight goals anymore. I'm learning slowly to accept my body, day by day.  I've accepted that my thighs are just naturally big and that it runs in the family. So it's nothing I could really do about it. I've learned how to balance my diet, that way I can still enjoy Bojangles and Cookout (praise God). I drink water almost everyday and I hardly drink coffee (this is only because Starbucks doesn't fit my bank account haha). I've changed my lifestyle hugely and not only am I just taking Yoga as a course but I'm incorporating it into my life. I don't binge eat my problems away anymore and I set healthy boundaries. I don't have extreme workout plans anymore and I'm not longer getting crazy sick. Nor am I depressed. I'm a size 2-3, depends on how it's made, and I weigh 126.5 pounds, and I'm fairly happy with it. I won't lie and say that I'm all the way there (example: I'm still having troubles with mood swing) but I'm working on it and I'm proud of my progress.

My advice for those struggling with self image, as crazy and scary as it sounds, talk to someone. We sometimes feel being judged and getting unwanted attention, but when you let it out to someone trustworthy and get it out, you will see how encouraging people can really be. Plus it feels sooooooo good to finally get it off your chest. Also stay off of social media, it's not a great idea, it only makes you feel worst. Take a break, get yourself together and when you are comfortable, get back on. Social media was my biggest issue and I had to take a break for a while and I'm glad I did. Start reading positive things. Notice the good things about your body and surround yourself around people who encourage you. You might relapse and you might not, but if you notice yourself about to, stop think, and talk to someone.

Also if you haven't been to extremes, take my advice and don't go to extreme measures. It's not worth it. The sickness, the health risks, the emotional and mental strain is not worth it. Talk to someone, don't hold it end, because this stuff just builds up and gets worst. Everyone is beautiful and there is no need for extreme risks. They're are healthier ways to go about this. Most of the time we are in denial of our eating habits and all, but listen, it's for your good. 

I hope this helped/inspired y'all. Thanks so much for reading my story. Let me know if you guys would like more inspiring stories or want to talk here.

xx
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