I met CJ just a few weeks ago at the Healthy Living Summit and we hit it off! So I couldn’t have been more thrilled when she asked me to write up a guest post for you guys.
CJ in the middle, me on the end to the right!
See, it didn’t take long after we met to find out that CJ and I actually had a lot in common. I too come from a background of disordered eating and a thoroughly unhealthy lifestyle, though on the opposite side of things. Before starting my own health journey, I was obese, depressed, and completely unhappy with my life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had issues with my weight, my self-image, and my self-acceptance (what teenage girl doesn’t, after all?) but once I got to college, I really let myself get out of control. I didn’t exercise, I stayed up late, I had access to all the junk and fast food in the world, and as someone already prone to emotional eating, anytime something went wrong, anytime something wasn’t juuuust right, I ate.
When I was bored, I ate. When I was sad, I ate. When I was angry, I ate. I started having serious issues with binges and even the occasional purges, sneaking out of my house to seek solice at the drive-thru. I would order enough food to feed an army, sneaking in words like “We” and “for us” to try to mask my shame from the McDonald’s employees. I would ask for multiple sets of silverware, or 3 drinks only to through them away. I started hiding food: I would bury burgers in my purse, order a large pizza and then shut myself in my room so I could eat the entire thing without judgement, make dinner with my housemates and then go back out for “Fourth Meal” mere hours later.
If I was motivated enough, I might try to sneak into the bathroom afterward (I shared it with several other girls) and “get rid of” what I had done one way or the other, but more often than not I’d just let it sit there in my stomach, the fat and calories seeping into my arteries and clouding my ability to see myself clearly. Food was my drug, and I was flat-out addicted. I was in denial every time I saw myself in the mirror, and every comment a concerned family member made fell on deaf ears. After I graduated from college, things did get better for a while, but you know, life happens. And the cycle continued eventually. I ballooned up to my highest (known) weight of 246 pounds (it could have been higher than that at some point without my knowing since I never weighed myself) before I finally resolved to do something about it.
I started my blog in August of 2010 to help keep me accountable as I embarked on a journey to revamp my eating habits, heal myself emotionally, and even work in a little bit of exercise. It’s kept me on track for the past year as I’ve lost almost 60 lbs (so far!) and freed myself from an utterly toxic relationship with food.
Before: My senior year of college. After: Celebrating my 1-year blogiversary!
I know that the methods that I used to get myself back on track might not work well for someone who has also struggled with restricting and regimented eating, but I used calorie counting and clean eating to get myself back in control. Now I rarely count calories anymore, but rely on eating whole foods with indulgences still worked in so I’m not tempted to binge anymore.
My journey isn’t over yet, since I still have 20 – 30 pounds left to lose until I’ll be able to concentrate on finding my “happy” weight. But even at 189 lbs, my BMI is out of the “Obese” range, and I feel happier, more beautiful, and more confident now than I ever have! I now spend my time focusing on how good real food is. I love going to restaurants, trying new cuisines, and cooking up creative recipes in my kitchen (I LOVE to cook!)
I have so many other things to find comfort and solace in now other than food (like my pups, Harry & Daxter!) and it’s an emotional freedom I simply didn’t know before. Of course, there have been slip-ups and bumps along the way. That’s only to be expected. But the point is that I continue to want to heal, to change. To find the balance. And this time, I really know I’ll get there.
You can also follow me on Twitter (@shrinkinggretch) or Like me on Facebook! And if there’s anything you have a question about, especially with regard to my history with binge eating and purging, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for having me, CJ!