This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, so I'd like to tell my story.
I've always been bigger than the rest of the kids my age. At age 13 I decided to take control and asked my parents if I could go to fat camp. From that point on I've lost and gained weight in cycles.
I've been everything from size 4 - size 18 in my life.
When I got to college, my weight hit an all-time high, and I knew, I had to do something before I became the star of My 500lb Life...
...on top of that, a string of people told me something along the lines of "life would be better for you if you lost weight."
I started to think, if I did lose weight, maybe they'd love me more.
So I started to make healthier choices. I started running. I lost about 30lbs. I was proud of me. Everyone was proud of me.
But then I'd mess up, as humans do, and I became afraid. I didn't want to lose the respect I had gained from everyone.
So I started taking laxatives. Lots of them.
One day, I took too many. I was shaking. I had to leave class to throw up and fainted on my way back. When the security guard came to my rescue, he wanted me to go to the hospital. I refused. I knew that if I got caught, my parents would take me out of school and I'd ruin my career, my dream. I got up and pretended everything was fine.
You'd think I'd stop at this point. But I didn't. I was addicted to feeling empty.
After college, I traveled, gained weight, moved to LA, and decided to get healthy again. I worked out & eat healthy like I did when I first lost weight. Once again, I had control.
But, the extremist in me kicked in. I started to eat 1 meal a day and didn't even want to drink water because I didn't want to see it in my stomach. I was 8lbs from my goal. Finally. I was 60lbs down from my highest weight. I was so proud.
But not eating isn't sustainable, so I gained back 20lbs. My size 6 jeans got too tight, and I started to really hate myself...worse than ever before.
For 3 years I would have 4,000+ calorie binges, take laxatives, stave, workout too much, and truly, deeply hate myself. I knew I had a problem with self-love, I just didn't know how to fix it.
At the beginning of January, I went on a journey that gave me the space to release my self-hatred & allow love in, from both myself and others. As of 2018, I stopped my eating disorder tendencies.
This week, I realized, I was nominated for prom queen at size 18, I won the 24-Hour Social Media Challenge that started this chapter of my life at size 10, and met my closest friends at every size from 4-18...because it's my energy, the love I give, my intelligence, my tenacity, and not my body that people care about.
And when I starve, binge, purge, or workout TOO hard, I'm not me and don't have the personality that everyone loves me.
If I could go back, I'd tell myself that all I need to do is my best. Sulking on weight is just a distraction from what's actually important, and making healthy choices, from my work, to working out, to food choices, is what will allow me to be proud and love myself, and I'm one good choice away from being back on a streak of good choices.