Take a look at that picture. Yep, that’s me. Sure, I had just given birth to my amazing son, but this picture is the culmination of years of struggles with weight. When I was in high school, I, like many teenage girls, battled with my weight. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – I was trying to conform to an unrealistic idea of beauty. In an attempt to achieve this, I became bulimic for many years. There’s nothing more beautiful than a girl hunched over the toilet bowl with her fingers down her throat, right? Yes, I lost weight, but that was soon going to change.
Most newly pregnant women go through an entire range of emotions – shocked, excited, nervous, scared, and eventually (one would hope) happy. When I learned I was pregnant, my first thought was, “I am going to get fat”. Of course I was happy, but I was much more concerned about what this kid was going to do to my waistline. The fates weren’t on my side. My worst nightmare came true – I gained 80 pounds! Old habits die hard, and I was soon back to my cycle of binging and purging, but that wasn’t really working quickly enough, so I just stopped eating. I literally survived on two Fig Newton’s a day, and I felt guilty about eating even that much. My weight plummeted down to 87 pounds. I have a picture, but it’s too difficult for me to look at myself like that. I can’t believe that I thought I looked good.
I eventually sought help, and slowly worked my way back to a healthy weight. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was determined to remain healthy throughout my pregnancy – and did. I ate well and exercised throughout my pregnancy and after I gave birth, I walked out of the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans. I realized I needed to make a change. This change would have to be a lifestyle change and not simply a diet, I joined a gym and began exercising, it took me some time but I slowly began to enjoy it and I haven’t stopped since.
Before, I was obsessed with the number on the scale. If it didn’t say what I needed it to say, I was a failure. Now, the scale does not dictate my life – I do. I exercise everyday and love to run. I eat healthy and I’ve decided to cut out meat. I feel being a vegetarian is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am in the best shape of my life, and I no longer weigh myself. I know I am at a healthy weight because I work my butt off to stay there. Is it always easy? No. Is it always worth it? Absolutely.
I think the most important lessons I’ve learned through my journey are these: Nothing worth having is easy to come by; there are no quick fixes; and sometimes, I need to eat a freakin’ cupcake.