Parts of Lisa and Lynn’s story hit home for me when I heard them. For me, it started when I was 9-years-old. I liked a boy at church and his friends teased me mercilessly and told me I was too fat for him to ever like me. They were 13. I was a dancer for a majority of my youth and so I was muscular, but not svelte, or thin.
From that point on, I always thought about my weight. I thought, I wasn’t pretty enough like the other skinny and thin girls who were getting all the boys; the attention they got; they were popular, and I was not. I thought because I was overweight, I wasn’t good enough for that internship, that job, that grade, that boy. I got to a weight that I was not comfortable with and worked out 3-4 hours a day and drank Slim-Fast, shedding up to 25 pounds in 3 months. I plateaued.
People I didn’t know that well, family, and friends were complimenting me on my weight loss, telling me how great I looked and I felt happier, more confidant, but that only lasted for a little bit before the doubts crept in again. I kept thinking, it wasn’t enough. I thought if I just lost a few more pounds, I would be happy, I would be worth it. A few years passed, and I finally shed the last 25 pounds by eating healthier and running. I finally got the boy that I had been crushing on for years and thought, this is it. I have achieved everything I’ve wanted, I’m on the road in my career and personal relationships and now I can finally relax and be happy.
Unfortunately that was just a lie I had convinced myself of. School became stressful. I thought that the guy who loved me would stop loving me if I gained a pound or two. No matter how many times he told me how beautiful I was, or thin enough and that even if I gained a hundred pounds, I’d still be gorgeous. Still, I was obsessed in a way that I had never been.
I started to throw up after meals, telling myself that would be the last time. I knew what an eating disorder was/is, and I didn’t have it. I knew that I could control when I threw up or not, how much exercising I would do. I would get up early in the morning to workout and I would stay up late working out. I did everything I could to maintain that shape I had, because I had convinced myself that everything depended on my weight: my attractiveness, my happiness, my relationship, my confidence, my worth, what I deserved. It was all based on the numbers on that scale - I lost that relationship and I lost myself in the process.
I even convinced him and other friends that I wasn’t worth it, that I wasn’t beautiful enough, smart enough, skinny enough, or a good enough friend, because I had done such a good job convincing myself. I let him believe it too.
With the help of family, close friends, and the end of that unhealthy relationship, I started gaining back a little bit every day of me again. I stopped caring to an extent, because when I was at my thinnest, I still wasn’t happy, in fact, I was at my most miserable. I found a boy who loved me for me, who understood my insecurity and loved me for it, and helped me through it. Although we’re no longer together today, I am better than I was then and better than I have been in a long time. I’m not as skinny as I was but I’m happy.
There is still a voice in the back of my head telling me that I shouldn’t be eating this or that, or I’m fat and need to lose weight, or throw a cookie away mid-bite, but the voice is not as loud as it once was. I’m learning to accept compliments. Its a work in progress, I am a work in progress and that’s okay.
Thank you two for bringing these issues to the forefront to be discussed in a place where people can feel safe, in asking questions, reading others experiences, and being a part of something and knowing that we are not alone.
Anonymous | Brooklyn, NY | USA