Let me tell you about a thing that happened.
It's no secret that I am a recovering (it's a life-long journey) disordered eater. At my lowest I weighed about as much as a paper weight and things weren't good. I obsessively tracked my calories, being sure to never eat more than 900 a day and I obsessively burned calories, being sure to always run at least 5 miles a day. If you do the math you can quickly see why I wasted away to almost nothing in the span of just a few years. My hair started falling out, I stopped menstruating, friends started expressing concern, and little did I know, my bones were becoming more and more like swiss cheese every day.
For a period of about 3 years my life WAS the pursuit of skinny. There are a lot of reasons for this, but this isn't the post where I'm going to get all mental health on you (although, that's important, so if you're struggling, talk to someone). The point is I was NEVER satisfied.
Despite my constant drive to be smaller - take up less space - weigh less - I was NEVER good enough. Whether I was in a size 6...4...2...0 or 00, I hated my body.
Flash forward several years and I've found (or more accurately, created) health. My mental health is in-check, my physical health is in-check and my self worth is stronger today than it ever has been. All good, right? Ehhhh, not exactly. When I began the l o n g journey of recovery the goal was simply to gain weight. So by exercising a little less and incorporating some of the foods I had labeled as "off limits" I was easily able to appear "healthier" to those around me - and no one hesitated in telling me so (at the time, I felt as though this was the worst compliment a person could possibly give). I experimented with maintaining a healthy weight, incorporating more strength training and less cardio, focusing on my headspace and balancing my new relationship with food and fitness. But this is tough stuff! Anyone who's ever struggled with disordered eating or addiction of any kind will tell you - recovery is HARD. When it comes to disordered eating you can't simply abstain from your substance of choice - in fact doing so is often the very opposite of what needs to happen. You still need to eat, but now have to learn how to eat enough, how to eat well, how to eat mindfully and how to listen to your body's hunger cues which you've worked so hard to turn off.
This road to recovery left me much healthier, happier and also 50 pounds heavier. While still at a healthy weight, I felt uncomfortable with my body and ready to progress toward a slightly leaner version of myself with my new, healthy food and fitness parameters in mind. Over the course of the last four year (yes, you read that correctly, YEARS, not days, weeks or months) I worked toward my goal.
I used sustainable habits that allowed me to look, feel and perform how I wanted. I was careful to avoid anything restrictive or depriving and I took breaks to maintain my weight and enjoy my new, healthy, normal.
The other day I weighed in at my self-proclaimed GOAL WEIGHT - a weight that I hadn't been to since before my eating disorder that felt healthy to me - and you know what happened? I flipped the eff out. Want to know why? Because just a month before I had weighed in at 2 pounds lighter. And now I was UP TWO POUNDS!? How could this be? What did I do wrong? How did I let this happen? ... Like I said, that road to recovery is a full time job.
I got caught up in the scale. For a split second, I was that girl who felt less than good enough because a number said so. Thankfully I have a support system around me to keep me in check. Because even though I've been in recovery for years, disordered eating brain still creeps up and I have to be sure to check my perception, expectations and reality from time to time to make sure I'm prioritising what truly matters and what is healthy for me and my body.
Because the numbers don't matter. YOU matter. Find something that allows you to feel good mentally, good physically and good enough. Because you are.
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.