…Before I started losing weight, I was at 169 lbs with 30% body fat. It’s not obese, as I’m pretty tall, but I felt chubbier than the average 17 year old girl and decided to eat healthier and walk on the treadmill everyday. Healthy weightloss. Great, yeah? I managed to lose 20 lbs. I hit 148 a few months later with a smile on my face. Not without set backs, though. When I cheated, I was really hard on myself……I haven’t told anyone, but there were a few times I forced myself to throw up. Yeah, I know its a gateway to bulimia. I know it was stupid, but I didn’t know what to do. I would binge in solitude and then panic. I was so scared to gain all the pounds back. And I was so scared that my family would judge me for not losing weight. Fortunately, after a few weeks of doing it spottily, I got scared I’d become bulimic and stopped. Hopefully I don’t drop that low again. I couldn’t ever admit that…
Hey, Rach, Sam here.
I hope we got all your asks – we only had three, but the last ended with an ellipsis, so I just wanted to check. I’ll answer these, but if something got lost, definitely let us know.
I can say with complete confidence, that we’re never going to judge you, Rach, so come by any time to chat about whatever’s on your mind. I will say, though, that some things are a bit out of our wheelhouse, especially as we get a little closer to things dealing with physical health. I just don’t want you to feel like we’re not listening, or we don’t care, if we tell you that it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about something. We’re definitely listening. Sometimes that’s just the best advice we have.
Your goals are spot on, I think, trying to feel better in your body in a healthy way. And there’s nothing wrong with that, at all. But it can definitely start to weigh on your mind when you feel like the way that you’re living, or the way that you like to live, isn’t lining up with what your family might or might not approve of. I’m always the first to say that it’s important to take care of your body and your physical health, primarily through a balanced diet and exercise, but focusing on that should never negatively impact your mental health. One of my favorite things that I’ve come across is the saying, “Eating the cookie will do less harm than stressing about eating the cookie.” Which is to say, in the long run, the stress you put yourself under worrying and stressing about eating the cookie (in turn, raising your cortisol levels – excuse my little science-y interruption) is much harder on your body that the 150 calories or so in the cookie you want to eat. Sometimes, it’s actually better to eat the slightly unhealthy food, if that’s what you’re craving.
This kind of leads into what happens to our bodies when we come up with too many rules around how, what, and when we eat. I don’t really know what’s been going through your head, but I want to talk about this a little, and maybe it’ll resonate. When we really restrict our intake, at least drop it significantly from where it was before, our body goes into a sort of starvation mode, and it sets us up to binge later. So, if you try really hard to eat very little for most of the day, by the time evening comes around, you’re ravenous, and you want to eat everything in sight. It has nothing to do with willpower, and it’s definitely not something anybody should judge you for. It’s a really natural and normal response our bodies have to not eating enough (again, I don’t know if this is the case, or how much you’re eating, and I’m not a professional). It’s easier said than done, but the answer to this really is to make sure you’re eating well throughout the day, in a way that makes you feel good. For some people, that’s 3 meals a day. For others, it’s 4 or 5 small meals a day. It’s just important to listen to your body’s signals and eat when you’re hungry. Especially if you’ve been exercising more. We need calories just to function. Even if you lie in your bed all day – you never get up, you just lie there, you barely move – your body is still burning calories. Which means that if we start exercising, we need to fuel that, too.
It’s hard, I know it’s hard, especially when the whole world is telling you that you should look a certain way or be a certain size by editing pictures and putting them on the cover of magazines. But even if we all ate the same, and even if we all exercised the same, our bodies wouldn’t look the same. And that’s the other thing I kind of want to dive into: your weight isn’t really the number that matters. There’s been a lot of evidence that shows that weight and BMI aren’t actually the best indicators of our overall health, and it’s much more important how you feel than what the scale says (a really great example of this is pro athletes, many of whom are “obese” by the BMI’s measurement, but are almost entirely muscle mass).
This really got a bit long, but the most important takeaway of all of this, is that I want you to feel comfortable in your own skin. If that means losing some weight, in a healthy way while still eating enough, then I support you. If that means learning to love the body you’re in, then I support you, too. But it should be about you, and what you want, rather than how your family feels. Remember, it’s your body, not theirs.
Always keep fighting,
Hey there, Rach, s’Dean.
My brother really covered a lot of it, and it’s a good thing you called on him, he’s really got more of a knack for this than me. But I wanted to add my two cents.
Even though Sammy’s more likely to chow down on a salad (I still stand by the fact that it’s rabbit food), I don’t think that health is about eating vegetables all the time. I know I eat my fair share of cheeseburgers, and I drink my fair share of beer, and those aren’t great for me. But having those things sometimes, in moderation, that’s okay. The healthiest thing for me is that I’m happy with how I eat, I eat enough, and I’m comfortable in my own skin. It won’t stop Sammy from trying to feed me brussels sprouts, though.