I had an eating disorder growing up, but didn’t realize it until my mom took me to the doctor for headaches, and the doc asked me to keep a food diary. When she saw my homework, she was horrified.
I was very OCD as a kid, and still work on it today: my childhood was tumultuous, and, as we learn in adulthood, it was all about trying to control whatever chaotic situation I was in. I don’t know when my food issues crept up on me – sometime during high school, I think.
While in college, I learned I could put Equal instead of sugar in my coffee, and that counting calories was a good way to control my weight. I remember writing on a sticky note what I would eat each day, and it totaled less than 800 calories.
It didn’t help that I moved to Los Angeles after college. Actually, when I moved here, eating was at the bottom of my priority list. I was so insanely OCD and confused about life and who I was, that I was jogging 16 miles a week, eating the exact same thing every single day for every meal. And looking back, the worst of it all was I didn’t RELAX for six years straight.
After an 8 year relationship with my college boyfriend ended, I got skinnier than ever. But by then, I wasn’t even trying. I had lost my appetite for life.
A little over a year later, as I began to heal, I started to gain weight quickly.
I moved to the beach and jogged barefoot three miles a day on the sand. But my body was changing, big time. Soon, my leg muscles became extremely defined- big, really -- and I found I couldn’t fit into my skinny jeans. Going to happy hour with my best friend who lived down the street from me, several times a week, didn’t help either. (But at least I was HAPPY, right?) I was almost 30 years old, and good old metabolism was kicking in. Well, not just metabolism…
Maybe enjoying life for the first time in adulthood?
I won’t bore you with the in-between. Let’s just say I’ve spent the last several years trying to figure out my body, my diet, and what in the world I actually look like. I yo-yo like crazy. In my 20s, I never had to think or worry about this sort of thing; I suppose because I was too busy making sure I only snacked on six almonds at a time.
Am I happy with my body? Not at all. Am I hard on myself? Absolutely. But am I stronger than I’ve ever been in my life, because I’ve been killing it in really difficult yoga classes for two years now? You better believe it.
I still have jeans, shirts, you name it, in my closet I assume will fit me again one day. But the reality is, I am in my 30s now, and things have changed. My body probably won’t be what it was at 18, ever. And I know it’s not going to get easier.
Here’s what I’m working on: loving my strong legs that could kick through a window if my apartment was on fire. My arms that could fight off an attacker. When I see a tiny, cute, “typical” LA girl, I honestly say to myself, “I could totally kick her ass.”
And I could. I’m strong. I’m not petite anymore. But my heart is healthy.
Now it’s time to work on my mind.