I started restricting myself of food when I was 14 years old. Up until this point, I would never consider myself overweight whatsoever. I had always grown up at a very average weight for my height. However, I started running when I was 14 and as the weight started slowly shedding, I liked the way I looked more and more. After a little while, the weight wasn't coming off fast enough for my liking, so I stopped eating as much junk food and it came off even faster. Cutting back on my junk food intake turned into cutting back my food intake. Before I knew it I was running 5 miles, rain or shine, and eating an unbelievably restricted diet.
My friends and family started to make comments about how much weight I'd lost, but instead of concern, I took them as compliments. Eventually, I got so thin my parents forced me to see a doctor who told me I had an eating disorder and sent me to a nutritionist. I think this is what peaked my interest in food and nutrition.
For the next few years, I battled to figure out what was considered normal eating habits. I went from too thin to too heavy and back. Finally in college, I stopped worrying about what I ate all the time and just ate when I wanted. I wasn't thin, but I wasn't overly heavy. Then I graduated from college and my dad died.
When you are going through something like losing someone you love, you feel like you have no control over anything. I immediately went back to the one thing I could control: my weight. For a year after my dad died, I fell back into a struggle with my weight. Any week I weighed myself and the scale read under 100 pounds, I considered it a successful week. It became something I thought about all the time and began to make me miserable. I had continued running since I was 14 years old, but I became obsessive with how far I ran and would wake up at 5 a.m. if it meant I could meet my goal of 40 miles a week. It seemed like a never ending cycle.
Slowly, with the help of my husband and family, I loosened the grip on my weight. With wedding planning at the forefront of my mind, what I ate was on the back burner. I tried to keep my diet healthy, but I stopped counting how many calories I ate every day and if I missed a day of working out, I didn't beat myself up. I stayed mindful of the fact that I had a size 0 wedding dress to fit into (yikes), but I actually enjoyed eating and stopped when I was full instead of being so hungry that I had to eat my whole meal. I finally felt normal.
Since my wedding day, I've gained five more pounds. While that may not seem like much to most people, five pounds on a 5'2'' girl shows a lot more than it should. My jeans are tighter and some of my extra smalls don't fit quite like they used to. But I couldn't be happier. I still try to eat healthy (although I'm not always successful... I like chocolate, a lot) and I work out when I feel like it, which is usually 3-4 days a week instead of 6-7. I have more energy and I kind of embrace my "curves"...okay speed bumps, but whatever. So my whole point in writing this is with the hope that I can be an encouragement for anyone who has, is or will endure an eating disorder or just struggle with food as I think everyone does at some point. It is something that will probably always be at the far corner of my mind, but I think that's normal, especially for girls who are forced to stare at 6'0'' super models on every magazine we pick up. But I've figured out that being happy and carefree (for the most part) makes for a much better life than constantly worrying. :)