I have a story to tell, and I want to share it with all your beautiful people out there. Whether it helps you, whether it inspires you, or whether it makes you feel connected to someone else, I want to get it out there. Now, this isn’t the first time I do so, as I have posted about it before on my food blog, but I’ve never shared it in a space where there are other people who look for inspiration, motivation, aspiration and the likes, and I would like to do so. I would like other people to know that you can get out of ruts, and you can become strong, powerful and that in the end you can truly love yourself for everything that you have.
My story started out about three or four years ago when I started to notice that I was in constant pain all of the time. This went on for months before I really thought of it as a problem. After a bit, I went to see my doctor and tests were done, but the results were null. Every few weeks I went back for more tests and the results were always the same – no answer. This became very tiresome. My symptoms were becoming worse; suffering from incredible insomnia, anxiety, depression, in constant pain from not being able to move my back, to being unable to carry/hold/do things with my left arm (at this point I couldn’t even hold a pencil, and my boyfriend at the time would carry my bags for me everywhere), to having incredible lower back pain. The symptoms only got worse.
At this point, I was in university and ended up dropping out because the anxiety, stress and depression from school and then from not knowing what was going on with my health just made things so much worse. I started to work full-time, and again, this exacerbated the symptoms even more that I ended up going on disability because I could no longer move. I’m being serious, I couldn’t roll over on my side in my bed, I’d have to wake up my boyfriend to do so, if I had to go to the washroom, I needed help walking there, getting dressed, same thing. Needless to say I was more of a burden than anything good and this also lessened my mood.
After more and more months going by, I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Now, even to this day, whether I actually think that was the real story or not, I’m not sure, but at the time I definitely fit those symptoms. With that being said, I started doing research and learnt that diet plays a huge role in this diagnosis and the flare ups experienced. So, here Doctor Sam (i.e. me thinking I could self-diagnose) I started to change my diet. I learnt that processed foods, foods that have high-fructose corn syrup, caffeine, sweeteners and others could make the flare ups even worse, so I cut these foods out cold turkey.
At the time, my diet was very… unhealthy to say the least. Cheese, pasta and bread were certainly my main staples. At this point, I had started blogging so I figured I needed to try new foods so that people were drawn to my blog. With this, a whole new world was opened up to me and well, I became in love with real food. However, I also became in love with the fact that with cutting out certain foods I was losing weight. At first this was a good thing, and then it became my nightmare.
I went from 146 lbs to my lowest weight of 101.6. In the creation of trying to fix one part of my body I had created a monster, an eating disorder. Yes, my fibromyalgia symptoms actually had gone away. I started eating as a vegan, but a vegan on about 600 calories with looooots of water and gum, and then a lot of binge fests’ of tubs of ice cream, cake and cookies.
This didn’t go on for too long mind you, I mean, in reality some people suffer from ED’s for yeaaaaars, mine last about seven or eight months before the light bulb went off that “wow, I’m killing myself here”. My hair was disgustingly thin, nails incredibly brittle, although skinny, I was what they call skinny-fat, mood swings galore, incredibly lethargic, exhaustion to the max, insomnia (sleeping about 30 minutes-2 hours every two days), and more. Life was bad, the more weight I lost the more unhappy I got.
Around January 6th, 2011 I decided I needed to change. Within two days I started eating again and made the conscious effort to implement fitness into my diet so I started doing work out videos. This went on for a few good months, and I was doing really well, but psychologically when I look back to what I was eating it still wasn’t what I should have been eating, but again I self-medicated as I didn’t want to go to rehab because to me that was admitting to failure, and my pride is very high and I couldn’t admit to that.
I stopped weighing myself (at the time I weighed myself about six times a day…), and I’d weigh myself every two-three weeks, just to know that I was doing well. By July I was up to 109 lbs and I still thought this was okay, but it wasn’t. I kept doing the same things and I thought I was better, but it wasn’t until this January that I really became what I would now describe as healthy.
My ED mindset had vanished within the first few months of realizing and admitting I had an ED, however I didn’t actually act on it really until I started going to the gym this winter. I had hired a personal trainer because I was sick and tired of hearing how “skinny” I was, that is not a compliment, especially to someone recovering from an ED and wanting to not feel that horrible pang in their stomach. Whenever I hear those words directed to me my stomach literally churns.
So, as I said, I hired a personal trainer, I learnt that even though I was eating healthy there was still a lot of things that I was doing wrong; protein being the big one. Now, protein is the biggest focus and I’m doing a lot better. I now do weights, and love them. I used to think that cardio only came from running, biking and those sort of activities but realized in the process of this that if weight training doesn’t raise your heart beat you’re doing it wrong.
In the past few months, I have learnt so much about myself. I have learnt that I am strong, capable, beautiful, determined, and will only get better. I do not look at the past as a flaw or something that I did wrong. I look at it just as I had fallen and needed to get back up. I love food now, and eat more now than I ever did, and am at the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. I love the gym, and can’t wait every day when I wake up to go push, pull, moan, groan and sweat. The feeling I get after a good work out is one I’ve never felt before. When I suffered from an ED, my steady weight was 102.1 lbs and although skinny I still had a stomach, I still didn’t feel comfortable in my body, there was no way I would walk around in a bra and underwear. Now, now I feel comfortable walking around in the nude. Now I feel comfortable leaving the house without make up on. I feel comfortable lifting my shirt up at the gym when I’m all sweaty and need to cool off.
I love my body. I love and am incredibly grateful for the journey and the “mishap” that I was blessed with. Although twenty-two years old, I would not change my story for anything else because it made me who I am today. It made me realize my potential, how amazing I actually am, and that I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to. I never thought I would be at the gym pushing 240 lbs, or squatting 100 lbs, be able to ice climb, or rock climb or do anything that isn’t biking, but I am, and my adventures and stories are just starting. I cannot wait to see what challenges and adventures the future has for me.
If I can do it, so you can you, you just have to believe in yourself, no one can bring you down but yourself!