Hi, my name is Alena, and I love pizza. And ice cream. And Doritos. And wine. And cheese! And… and… and…
The list, it goes on and on and on and on. I freakin’ love food, y’all. People who are all ‘Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels’ are lying to you and themselves and just no. No, guys. Coupled right there with folks who say, ‘Oh, I forgot to eat’ — LOL! What?! I literally plan my whole day around food. Seriously, the night before, I plug all my food into my macros app and I’m like OH THANK GOD I GET TO EAT PIZZA TOMORROW or HOLY COW I CAN’T WAIT TO HAVE ICE CREAM and that is just me and that is who I am.
I love food. But, I’m writing today to talk about my relationship with food and how it used to dominate my self worth through a number. I want to be honest with y’all about how much I used to not like myself and how much I still struggle with what I see in the mirror every single day.
Okay, so the first thing I do when I wake up is obviously pee, and then weigh myself. Every. Single. Morning. I weigh myself and it is literally never the same as the day before. Then, I go to the mirror in my bedroom and lift my shirt up and look at how ‘bloated’ my stomach looks that day. On January 1st, I promised my husband that I would stop talking poorly about myself and I would stop my negative thought processes. So, I still do my morning routine, it’s my thing, whatever. When I used to roll my eyes and sigh heavily, I now literally laugh at myself (because this routine is honestly kind of silly) and pat my stomach and say something nice about it.
Does that sound crazy? Hear me out!
Back in the fall my therapist told me to start talking to myself in the mirror every day and saying positive things. I laughed and never did it. Because how silly, right? Around the same time, I was starting my journey in an online fitness community and I really started to get into feeling strong and good about myself. Then Christmas came and I ate 234234023478234 cookies and you know, I did the ol typical reset on January 1 deal. But, I meant it this time. ESPECIALLY with positive self talk. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had setbacks, but with the encouragement of my trainer and the people in that group, I feel like I am finally getting somewhere.
I do not have a perfect body. For several years I took Wellbutrin and I lost about 20 pounds easily because it is a stimulant and yay for me. When Wellbutrin stopped working and made me an absolutely unbearable human being, I started taking an SNRI and may God himself please bless my metabolism. It’s awful, and here we are. Where I used to be able to eat Wendy’s a couple of times a week and run every once in a while and weigh 140, I now workout 5/6 times a week and consistently weigh about 150/155.
Let’s take a quick timeout: I’m being honest about numbers here in the spirit of complete and total transparency and I am not attempting to trigger anyone. Listen to me, everyone’s battle is different. Just because you think I look great, doesn’t mean I think it, and you have no way to gauge with is going on with me psychologically. One of the most hurtful things is belittling someone’s struggle because it doesn’t mirror yours. Don’t do that! Don’t be that guy!
So back to loving food, etc. While I am really working hard on self love, I’m also really working hard on getting stronger physically. My body isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty freakin’ awesome if you ask me. I can squat heavy weight, I can run a couple solid miles, I can walk for days, I can lift heavy things, I have SO MUCH endurance and you know what doesn’t measure those gains? A scale.
Stop right now and say it out loud, say it to yourself, look at your significant other, look at your cat and/or dog and say it — A. SCALE. DOES. NOT. MEASURE. MY. SELF. WORTH.
Your body does awesome things. If you are reading this, your body might be something you don’t love and I am here for you, I get that on a spiritual level. But, you are strong, beautiful, intelligent, and so worth the love that you undoubtedly give others! Just take a second and look in the mirror and find something you love about you. You being you is an awesome thing.
A couple days ago I was talking to my friend Jenn and I showed her a picture of a woman I follow on Instagram who is recovering from an eating disorder and is a body positivity activist (I don’t really know if that’s the right word for it). I seriously adore her and her posts. I capped a post and said, “I think her body is beautiful” and Jenn said, “It is, but I don’t understand how you can see her and think she is beautiful and not think the same of yourself.” and dude, that resonated with me. I stared at that picture and I thought, why on this Earth do I hate myself so much for just being me? It was like a light bulb went off in my head.
For the entirety of my life, I have tied my self worth to a number — either the number on a scale, or the number on a label. I claimed that I conquered that demon when those numbers were what I thought were ‘acceptable’ and then, poof, I was back to real life and hating myself more than ever. The bucks stops right here.
I am here to tell you that I struggle every single day. I love food, I want to eat every minute of every day, I eat when I get bored, I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m sad, I just like to eat. A restrictive diet is not an option for me. I never plan to diet again, honestly. Ever. My goals are to be healthy and enjoy life. So, when I say I plug my food into my macro app, I am telling you that choose whole foods and sometimes I choose pizza. My life has been so deeply devoid of balance, and finding that balance has given me a new lease. A new outlook. A new appreciation for loving myself and most importantly, what my story can do for you if you’re reading this and feel like I feel or have felt.
You are not alone! I am a 30 year old woman with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder who is not scared to admit it. Not every day is great. Honestly, the last 4/6 weeks have been hell. But, sometimes, you have these moments of clarity and you decide you’re going to do the damn thing, whatever the ‘thing’ may be.
Whatever it is, you’ve got this.
**not proofread, don’t judge me**