Throwing it back to first semester of my freshman year of undergrad. I had partied all week long and came home for the weekend. After a summer post senior year of eating what I wanted, working out sporadically, and drinking more vodka than water I had noticed I had gotten a little curvier. I decided to step on the scale and it read back 156..I literally almost threw up. I was so unhappy and disappointed in myself and my body image went from average to pure disgust in less than 30 seconds. I knew I had to do something but didn’t know how to start. That following spring semester I got really into running. What started as losing 10 pounds turned to 20, and then 30+. Every time I reached my goal it wasn’t good enough. Another 100 calories would be cut until I was around 800-1000 calories a day and was running at least 7-10 miles (or doing other cardio to compensate-which rationally to me at the time was around 120 minutes). My boobs had shrunk from a DD to a small C and my butt went MIA and my weight STILL wasn’t low enough. The scale finally ready 112 but wouldn’t 108 be even better? My mentality became completely distorted and seemed to worsen by the week that entire summer.
Needless to say I wound up in an eating disorder outpatient clinic by the end of the summer. I still didn’t feel skinny enough to be there even though my vitals were terrible and my metabolic testing showed I was completely malnourished. I looked around at bone thin girls and felt undeserving and inadequate to be there. Now I see that I needed to be there more than anything. The nutritionist gave me a meal plan of 2,100 calories and an exercise restriction of 30 minutes a day. I left the clinic that day and ran 10 miles. How could I undo all my hard work? I went to all that to get here, how could I just throw it away and gain weight?
Now I see that weighing less doesn’t necessarily make you more attractive,healthier, happier, or more fit. In fact for me it meant the opposite of all of those things. That following summer I made slight progress but still was really restricting and running around 55-60 miles a week on a training plan. I weighed myself and saw 125. I freaked out. That day I decided I didn’t want to weigh myself again. And I haven’t since. I go to the doctors and get weighed backwards. I no longer rely on a number to tell me how fit I am because the number means nothing. Have I gained weight? Definitely! I have really bad body image days where I feel fat and disgusting, but I had just as many when I weighed 112 pounds. I cut the endless cardio, started doing more circuits and weight based exercises and have re-discovered my butt and some of my boobs! Friends and family have told me I look healthier and my skin looks better, but they can never put their finger on what exactly has changed. I know its the food and nourishment and although the “healthy” comments can be triggering I am starting to realize that looking “sick” is NOT anything to strive for. I highly suggest if you can, get rid of the scale as well! It has been one of the best decisions in my fitness journey and recovery.