**Trigger Warning: This could be triggering to people with eating disorders.**
We’re all on our own journey. This is mine. An ongoing journey of realization and improvement.
When I was as little as 3 years old, I did ballet, and continued to do so until sometime in elementary.
At 8 year old I started figure skating, and became the most liked skater in my club for my talent. Unfortunately, I had bad luck with trainers and such, and ended up quitting after two years. In middle school, I started skating again, but quit as I started high school.
Yes, I was a real quitter. No one talked to me about it, but I wish they had.
In high school, I exercised and dieted. Walked a lot. Only ate unhealthy foods, lots of chocolate, sandwiches and noodles. In fact, that was my whole diet. I exercised on my own in my bedroom, up to an hour a day.
Second year of high school, I went to Japan as an exchange student, where I was introduced to healthier eating, as well as more eating. I didn’t gain too much, and all of it came off within months of coming back from Japan, due to eating mainly chocolate cake and walking up to two hours a day and doing a bit of yoga–this was when I found yoga. I would not eat during most of the day at school and save calories for sandwiches or chocolate cake later in the day, or planned binge weekends.
Yes, I was weight-conscious. Very much.
After high school, I moved out and went to uni, at a proud lowest weight and only very little exercise. Gained weight after a while due to drinking and eating unhealthy. Moved back home and lost some weight again.
At this point, I was still eating unhealthy. Lots of fat, chocolate, refined sugar… some days, I only ate nutella. It was during this time that I started doing yoga regularly, mainly as a way to control my weight and food intake, but also my mood swings. I’d had mood swings ever since high school, and exercise was the best way to control it.
After two years of living at home, I moved out again and gradually started eating healthier. By this point, I had realized that fat was bad for me (physically), and eating fruits and vegetables made me feel good. Still, I mainly ate noodles, with bacon and broccoli, or rice and chicken nuggets. Also ate a lot of chocolate and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I replaced yoga with pole dancing classes.
I knew that sugar and fat wasn’t good for me, but I kept eating it. Trying to eat as little as possible, I would sleep longer just to avoid eating. Recovery from pole classes was painful, due to constant undereating.
I’d been undereating my whole life. And eating unhealthy on top of that. It was only two years ago that I started changing.
About a year after I met my future husband, I started eating healthier. For the wrong reasons at first, but still.
I ate mostly fruits, and didn’t want to eat anything else. They felt cleansing. I was obsessed with cleansing myself emotionally, and I did that through eating fruits and doing hours and hours of yin yoga. Around this time, I also started going to the gym, after which I got interested in low carb diets.
So, I only wanted to eat low carb vegetables and fruits, but I still ate meat at this point. I cut out all other carbs (with the exception of a tiny bit of oats and binges).
I stopped going to the gym, but kept doing yoga for hours a day. Yin and regular. After a while, I reached my lowest weight since middle school. I’d always maintained a fairly low weight, but never this low, and it was amazing. At some point, I went vegan and cut out most foods.
When I stopped eating protein, I lost a lot of muscle mass. I was only eating low carb foods without fat or protein, except for the tiniest amounts, and got obsessed with clean eating. I started learning about nutrition and vitamins after being told I was deficient in iron and vitamin D.
It was hard to go to uni, because I was weak and hungry. The five minute bike ride was a pain (partially because my tires were flat, but still). I knew I couldn’t go on this way, so I moved back home again, just so I wouldn’t be able to keep this disorderly lifestyle, because people would be watching. Sometimes, my body was craving food so badly that I stayed up all night eating. I could eat two Ben & Jerry’s a day and not see any change in my weight.
Moving back home I started eating more, as there was more to be tempted by, but I still tried to eat as clean as possible, eating only the occasional “unclean” things. Slowly, I gained some weight back, but not a lot.
In 2019, I learned more about nutrition, but still restricted my diet a lot, trying to eat as vegan and clean as possible. At times, I would break my cleanness and eat everything. I think I ate ten ice creams one day, and several french toasts. It was bad and I was bloated. But… I was still underweight, which explains my constant hunger.
After eating unhealthy, I’d go back to restricting, but instead of eating unhealthy, I ate mostly vegetables. After a while even adding some beans. At this point, I was only doing some exercise, and my body was a lot softer than before. Much less defined and the proportions were abnormal. It had changed in shape so much compared to before, because I was all fat and no muscles. Skinny fat, nevertheless.
In the summer, I started weight training again, but my muscles were so unstable and imbalanced that I got headaches. I ate unhealthy due to the extra hunger from working out, and gained a bit. I stopped doing weight because of the headaches, but started doing barre when the autumn came.
Again, I got headaches. Even 30 minutes a week was too much. I was mainly eating lentils and dates at this point. The doctor prescribed me pills for the headaches, but I ended up not taking them, not wanting to destroy my stomach. I was also working a lot in this period, until I took a break to rest, which lasted from December to January.
2020 came, and I started doing pilates. Pilates! It changed everything. I slowly regained stability in my muscles, and after doing it consistently for a few months, I would say I’m at a normal level of fitness. I can exercise without getting headaches (although it still happens, always has to some degree, but that’s a different story).
I have learned how to actually use my muscles, and not cheat my way through exercises. And to make humble moves, instead of trying to go all the way and straining myself without realizing. It’s so important to take it slowly.
My house burned down in May, and I was forced out of a restrictive diet consisting of oats and dates (albeit voluminous). I had to eat meat and cheese and all the things I had been avoiding. Pizza. Red meat. Sausages. Hamburgers… It lasted for about a month, until things settled down and I decided to go plant based again.
Plants rule! This time, I make sure to add protein and fat to my meals, in the form of nuts, seeds and lentils. Sadly, I don’t have access to too much vegetables, but I try to eat as much fruits and vegetables as possible. I make sure to get enough zinc and iron, and all the other vitamins, when possible. Double sadly, it’s not working out perfectly, but I’ll talk about that in another post(s).
It’s still a journey. It’s always a journey. And while I’ve had many setbacks this year, what puts me down the most is the fact that I couldn’t fly to Canada to be with my future husband. But, it’s what motivates me to go forward. Being together. One day at a time, I will make an effort and try to reach that goal.
If you can relate to my story, or want to share something of your own, feel free to do so in the comments. We’re in this together.
See you next time.