A year ago, on the plane to my honeymoon, I wrote a little snippet. I put what had been in my head into actual words. I never had the courage to share them, however, for some reason over the past few weeks I’ve been gaining more courage. I don’t know if it’s bikini prep or what, but I know that I want my story to help someone else who might be struggling. I know how hard it can be to deal with these thoughts and feelings and think that you are alone.
A year after writing this post, I am in the midst of preparing for a bikini competition; something I never imagined I would EVER be doing. During my Dare to Eat program, I was inspired and empowered by my coach, Garrett Wood. I feel stronger and more confident than I ever have in my entire life! I have definition and leanness that I always aspired to have. And the crazy thing is… I still have the thoughts outlined below. I still nitpick and “wish it were better”. I still have anxiety about what I’m putting into my body. I freaked out in the beginning of prep because I thought I was eating too much. Really, it was the anxiety of letting someone else control what I was eating. I tried to take it back and coach wouldn’t let me; I had to trust the process. 9 weeks into prep, I realized this was a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned to nourish my body with what it needs for what I’m asking it to do. I have to or else it won’t function properly. I’ve learned progress, not perfection (at least not yet). And I’ve learned that it’s okay to let someone else control something in your life.
Who would have thought that bikini prep would help my recovery??
So in honor of International Women’s Day (or at least that’s the excuse I’m using because I feel empowered today!), here’s my ramblings from last year. Enjoy!
Eating disorders are a mean thing. They infiltrate your mind and never fully let go. Even in recovery there is always a nagging voice that says mean things. They never go away. The thing about recover though is that you can either ignore these voices or tell them to shut the hell up. You have learned ways to cope with triggers or distract yourself long enough for the behaviors to pass. The hardest part for me has been telling these voices they are wrong.
I’ve been on my Dare to Eat program for almost 11 weeks now. I’ve lost 10 pounds and many inches. I’ve leaned out and gotten stronger. I have definition in my shoulders and can almost see my abs. I’ve been diligent and dedicated while still enjoying foods I love, drinking beer, and traveling. This program has given me the confidence to march into Victoria’s Secret and buy a “sexy” bikini without hesitation!
But, as soon as I look in a mirror wearing a pair of yoga pants I can only focus on my hips and thighs. Enter the mean voices. “They’re too big” “You could stand to lose a few more inches” “Why did you wear those?” … You get the point. You’re probably thinking “But, she just said all those great things!” That’s the funny thing, I am too. But, I’ve reached a point in my recovery that I don’t let the negative self talk ruin my day. I acknowledge it without validation, remind myself that those “big thighs and butt” are strong and don’t look in the mirror again until the thoughts pass.
I’m by no means perfect and still have a lot to do mentally and physically. It’s not about perfection though, it’s about acceptance. Accepting who you are what your strengths are. Saying it’s okay to be flawed, it’s okay to mess up. Everyone is and everyone does. It’s about gaining the confidence to say these things and believe them.
I’ve been in recovery for 3-5 years. I honestly couldn’t tell you though because that’s how I manage to stay here. I don’t focus on the last negative emotion related to my illness. I focus on the fact that I can’t remember when it was.
As I mentioned, EDs are mean and make you crazy. I do remember one painful incident in particular that made me realize I had to do something. I also know that wasn’t the last incident, simply the one that made me say enough is enough!
But, even after all of my hard work and all of my self care, I still have this voice that says “You’re fat” or “You’re not good enough” and picks me apart because it’s my biggest critic…
Only now I know how to say “Go home, crazy. You’re drunk”
I challenge you to do the same.