I remember the evening clearly. I was a junior in college. I had been with my boyfriend for my entire college career, which at that age, was considered a successful long-term relationship. We basically lived together. We did everything together. It seemed perfect. The relationship was second nature. I was 20 years old.
One night, while in the middle of cooking dinner, he broke up with me. Just like that. I didn't believe him at first. In fact, I laughed and made fun of him for joking and went back to preparing fettuccine alfredo.
"Shay, I'm serious," he slowly and somewhat hesitantly responded.
I turned from the stove to glance at his expression, which was nothing short of serious. And he wasn't that good of a jokester, anyway.
My heart dropped. I was nauseous.
From that day on, I felt like I was in a trance. I had no idea who I was outside of that relationship. To this day, part of me still believes he was just joking. I was in utter disbelief and shock. Shattered to my very core.
Until that event, I had never worked out in my life. Immediately following the breakup, I started running daily. I don't even know why.
I was attending college in Rhode Island, so the beach was readily available. I remember listening to my iPod (do those still exist?) and running miles on end under the chilly New England sun.
Fast-forward to two years later: I had lost not only my freshman 15 but over 50 pounds in only a couple years. I'd gradually become obsessed with exercise and monitoring my food intake. It provided me with an illusory feeling of control and belief that everything was right in the world.