So before I begin, let me start by saying that I will be sharing some things with you that up until now I’ve only admitted to one person, my husband. One thing that I believe in is being transparent when it can be helpful to someone else. Therefore, I don’t believe in talking about the intricate things in my life to other people outside of my husband and my mother (for that “girl stuff”), but when I feel led to be candid about an experience, it’s because I really feel that it can help someone that may be going through the same thing or might go through it in the future.
I used to starve myself.
Yes, you read that correctly, and I don’t mean it metaphorically. I really starved myself from food. No, I never got a formal diagnosis of anorexia, and I never forced myself to vomit (so I wasn’t bulimic), but I used to get up in the morning to go to the gym, and then go back to my apartment and sleep until dinner time so that I wouldn’t exert too much energy since I wasn’t eating. People would ask me how I stayed so slim, and of course my answer was, “Oh I work out a lot!”. I lived in Philadelphia at the time, so my family was 7 hours away in North Carolina. Whenever I would visit home, family members would comment on how “skinny” I was. I think my dad was the most concerned because he would ask me if I was eating, but again, I always said yes. I had no one to be accountable to because all of my family was in NC, and the people in Philly that I met may have thought that that was just my body type. Besides, I was eating, but there were days that I just starved all day to lose weight.
I specifically remember a day that I got up to go to the gym, and then went back to my apartment (I was living in grad student housing at the time) and laid down on the couch until about 5pm. I slept so I wouldn’t have to eat! None of my peers knew what was going on, for all they knew I was studying. I got dressed, went outside, spoke to a few classmates in passing, jumped in my Ford Explorer and high-tailed it to McDonald’s because I was so hungry! And then I got a burger and fries. The one meal that I allowed myself was McDonald’s, and I don’t mean a premium grilled chicken salad. Talk about destroying my body. I went from working out, to starving myself until dinner, to chowing down on Mickey D’s, and doing it all over again the next day. Oh but I’m sure there were days that I didn’t even eat at all. My stomach was flat as a pancake and that’s all that mattered.
Of course there’s always a backstory, and here’s mine.
Before I left NC, I started modeling in fashion shows and when I moved to Philly I kept going. No, I never made it to the cover of Vogue level or anything…lol, but I definitely walked in my share of fashion shows in NC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington, DC (even before I moved here). Whenever I had a show, I would starve myself if I didn’t feel skinny enough. If I had a photoshoot, I “dieted” as well. Then all of the compliments that came with having a super flat tummy, and small waist got the best of me and so being skinny became a necessity. Again, I never admitted to anyone what I was REALLY doing to stay slim or quickly lose weight because at the time I didn’t think what I was doing was bad. That’s what worked for me, so I kept doing it.
Little did I know of all the health issues that can arise from starving yourself. On top of all of that, depriving yourself of food actually slows down metabolism and sabotages future weight loss efforts.
So why did I decide to write about this today? I finally realized that it feels good to be healthy and not just skinny. The rewards of actually working toward my goals have been tremendous mentally and physically. Before, I didn’t put in the work to be healthy. I just wanted to be skinny and the fastest way to get there was to starve behind closed doors, but feel “beautiful” in public.
In recent months I have taken a lot of time to reflect on my life and goals for myself and my family. During this time of reflection, I realized that the healthy habits that my husband and I live by every day have not always been my norm. I started to think about how I used to approach life and how I felt that people’s opinions of me were more important than my own health. Furthermore, I thought to myself, “How many other women, men, girls, and boys resort to unhealthy or unproven behaviors so that they can be accepted by other people?” Back then I didn’t want to take the time needed to be a healthy weight. Once I realized how fast I could drop pounds, albeit unsafe, I starved.
Listen, I LOVE to eat now…lol. Now, I work out diligently, and although I never liked eating more than one to two times a day, I have learned that eating 3 healthy meals a day is essential. I don’t starve myself anymore, but I’m still trying to get used to eating breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Trust me, I’ve gained weight! I work out, and I drink LOTS of water. After doing so much research on healthy recipes, great workouts, etc., I began to reminisce, and I finally admitted to myself recently that I used to have a problem, because what I was doing then was totally opposite of what I’m doing now. I never told anyone, and I actually didn’t think I had a problem. Recently, I decided to tell my husband (because he didn’t know me then), and we both agreed that this could probably help someone.
This is more than a story about a girl who starved herself to be “pretty” though. This is about a person that let vanity take over her life to the point that she was willing to destroy her temple for compliments and modeling jobs. Oh, every model doesn’t starve herself, and I LOVE to model, so this is not about the modeling industry. This is about what I thought I had to do to be accepted. And I didn’t have to do what I did, but because it produced quick results, I chose that route.
So many of us resort to habits or actions in life that lead to destruction because we think it will make us look better, appear smarter, get more money, be accepted, etc. But really, what are we doing to ourselves to get what we want? For every unhealthy way, there’s a healthy alternative. I’m not just talking about food. We always want that quick fix (do diet pills and get rich quick schemes ring a bell?), that instant gratification (Yes, I do too!), but what I’ve learned through this healthy living journey is that slow and steady actually does win the race. No, everything doesn’t have to happen slowly, but some things are better when you work for it and do it the right way.
Are you sabotaging your progress by starving yourself from doing it the right way?
Remember, “The race is not given to the swift…” Ecclesiastes 9:11
That’s all for today my loves.
Have a beautifully blessed day.
P.S. If you feel that you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please speak to someone. Since you’re already online here is the link to NEDA, the National Eating Disorders Association: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/