My Relationship with Food & Fitness: A Personal Trainer's Journey
I was always a bit chubbier than other girls my age. I wasn't obese but I was on the higher side of the chart that was always in the doctor's office.
You know the one where it listed the height at the top and you followed what you weighed on the left side and between those two measurements you were told where you were underweight, healthy, or overweight? I was always within the healthy weight but on the higher-end, borderline overweight for my height. I looked at this chart every single time I went to the doctor, always wondering if I would be heavier than every one else.
It's not that I ate so much but my diet wasn't right and exercise wasn't common. I wasn't involved in any sports and I just ate whatever my parents bought and made. As I grew up, however, and developed into a preteen and then a teenager, I felt more and more self-conscious about my body. My dad even started to call me names and make fun of me— names like "thunder thighs" and "bodacious." But no one taught me what I could do to change this. Sports weren't an option, my parents were never willing to get us involved in that. It'd take too much of their time to drive us back and forth to games and practice.
I Became Unhealthy
I began focusing so much on how I looked and how uncomfortable I felt. My sister has always been skinny, no matter what she just had that gene I guess. But as I grew, my self consciousness grew. I began obsessing over what I was eating. I felt like every time I ate a salad it subtracted weight from my body. I thought about food all the time and even went days at a time without eating very much of anything to the point where I would pass out in the shower. I remember one time in particular I was taking a shower and the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor, I had completely blacked out.
I obsessed over working out. Every night when my parents finally went to bed, I would lay on the floor in my room and do hundreds of crunches. I would so many I zoned out and couldn't even feel anything.
Anytime I ate something I would hate myself and feel ashamed that I allowed food into my body. I began binging and vomiting, developing a high possibility of bulimia. Though I knew the dangers and saw the signs, I still hated my body enough to continue for a while.
While these feelings and behaviors continued for a couple of years, I eventually realized my potential and realized my need and ability to change. I began accepting my body a little bit more with the desire to improve it. However, even today it is a struggle.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a real disorder that begins in adolescents and young adults. It consists of obsessing over your appearance, constantly looking in mirrors, changing clothes multiple times a day, and can be accompanied by eating disorders, excessive exercise, and anxiety. Every since I was an adolescent I have done these things and unfortunately, continue with most.
I still think about food and how I look most hours of the day. I aim to live a healthy lifestyle and inspire others, but I am not perfect in doing so. I have a hard time not beating myself up when I eat one bad thing. I also still have moments where I binge and hate myself afterwards. I obsess about my appearance and if one thing is wrong it can, without exaggeration, ruin my whole day and even drive me into depression. I have had moments where I have felt like I looked so bad I wouldn't even leave the house. I would sit in a corner and cry for hours.
Self Acceptance and Love
These words are easily tossed around. Actually achieving both is very tough. I have to mentally acknowledge these every day and strive to push negative thoughts away. My goal in life is to live the best way I can, improve on these issues and offer a new perspective to other people who have suffered the same. Society makes people like me suffer a lot more because we place so much emphasis on appearances and body size and type.
I am in a much better place today but everyday is a struggle. I want to help other people realize their potential and their self-worth. Each of us should be able to feel beautiful in the skin we are in and the way we are. I love each and every one of you and you are beautiful and amazing!
© 2017 Faith Engen