I’ve been quite open on here about how uncomfortable I am in my body. Yesterday, my dietitian sent me a book of writing prompts for those suffering from eating disorders. One prompt was: My Body Remembers:. That made me think a lot. When I’m stable it’s easier to say that I understand why my body is how it is, but what about when I’m not stable? What about when I’m so low that looking in the mirror makes me break down in tears? I hope to be able to look at this book, look at my responses I’ve made while stable, and find some comfort in them.
So what does my body remember? Well, pregnancy is the first thing that comes to mind. Three and a half pregnancies back to back took one hell of a toll on my body. One that I need to face head on. Not someday, but yesterday. It’s okay. It’s okay to have the “mom pooch” and it’s okay to have an even bigger one. It’s okay to be so exhausted keeping up with your kids that you can’t find the energy to workout. I know all of this, honestly feel that way regarding other women. But when it comes to looking at myself in a mirror or in a picture, I just can’t feel it.
I remember in high school hearing the words about another girl compared to me, “You’re way skinnier than her.” Those words hit something inside of me and looking back now is what I think may have been the straw that broke my heart. So I lost weight. I went on a 1400 calorie lo-carb, high protein diet. I exercised daily and ended up losing forty pounds. In a matter of months. It worked. I got addicted to losing weight. I began taking weight-loss pills and increased my exercising. But then a series of unfortunate events hit, and I abandoned my diet and exercise. I gained the weight back plus more.
After those events was when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. That began the battle of balancing my meds with my moods. A battle I am still struggling with today. One I suspect I will struggle with forever.
I remember college and after. I was a functioning alcoholic for years, which of course helped me to gain weight. But I didn’t care about myself. Drinking and eating mountain dew and snickers for breakfast, with fast food for lunch and pizza, or just a bottle of wine for dinner. I didn’t care. I was in a deep low that I couldn’t seem to crawl out of.
But then I met my husband. Something shifted when I met him and I began to take care of myself. I slowly crawled out of the pit. Then, less than a year after we began dating, I got pregnant for the first time. To go into details of all my pregnancies would take all day. But by the time I had my third little girl, I was at my highest weight. Since then my weight has fluctuated by fifty pounds throughout the three years my youngest has been alive. I’ve gone back into periods of restrictive eating. I’ve also had periods of being stable. Over the years I’ve learned that alcohol is a major contributor to my lows, so now I hardly ever drink unless I’m sure it won’t put me in a low and even then, moderation is key.
I remember a lot that my body has gone through. I’ve been rough on my body throughout my life. A lot of the time I simply sit back and thank the gods I’ve survived it all. Because it has been a lot. A lot of bad, but a whole lot of good. A whole lot of good that has brought me my husband and daughters. So in times like this when I’m in a low, I just look out at my family and remember that I do have a lot to live for. A lot to be happy for, even if it’s hard to imagine at times. I’m very thankful for the people in my life that have helped me make it this far, but I also need to be thankful for myself at times. To realize it’s not entirely selfish to pat myself on the back and say “good job.”