Weight and eating habits have always been a struggle of mine. I would either eat too much food (even when I was full) or not eat enough (eat a meal a day.) I vividily remember a partical scenario that was the root to all of this. I was watching tv and someone (I’m not going to mention who), asked me “why don’t you look like the skinny girls on the tv?” Mind you, I was around 14-15 years old, so already having going through body image struggles on my own via puberty. That question, to this day, sticks with me. When I start to get depressed and down, the first thing I being to self criticize is my body/weight.
Towards the end of elementary school and the beginning of high school, I was bullied a lot for my weight. This eventually caused me to be even harder on myself for my body and weight. I remember a point where I would go for a run. Then thought that running alone wouldn’t help me loose weight and burn calories, so I would go rollerblading. Then decided that wasn’t enough and would go for a walk/jog. I ultimately came to a point where I had a severe case of shin splints in both shins (I didn’t have the proper shoes for running, I wasn’t stretching, etc.) I remember having to ice both shins, I would have to elevate them and rest (which was absolutely brutal for me), and I would wrap them in a tensor bandage if I had to go out anywhere. However, I didn’t let this case of shin splints stop me – I still got out and walked … even though it was more of a waddle (it hurt A LOT to walk and bend my knees.)
My relationship with food is what I call a rollercoaster – it has its ups and downs. Like I said before, there were time when I would eat food even though I was full. It was almost as though I was eating simply because we had it in the pantry. And then there were times when I would eat a meal a day to help loose weight. And then the days I would eat something extremely unhealthy (like Macdonalds), or I would eat more than one meal a day (even though I thought in my head I shouldn’t), I would go to the bathroom later on and purge. I never told anyone about this. And the only time I ever talked about the idea of possibly having an eating disorder or thought that this wasn’t normal or healthy, people would tell me I was wrong. I went to my psychiatrist’s and discussed with them about what I had been doing and that’s when it was something that was to be monitored and, if need be, treated accordingly.
There are still times now where I feel myself going up or down the roller coaster of my eating habits. But I have learnt to focus on balancing my diet rather than restrict myself from foods. My relationship with the gym has also grown and become a lot better. I enjoy trying new classes and I always try to make it to the ones I know I already do.
My point in all of this is finding something that works for you and stick with it. Whether that be not meating eating, going to yoga, treating yourself to a fast food meal once a month. Do what makes you happy.
Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.