Or so I thought.
It’s a long post peeps, so grab a cup of tea and make yourselves comfortable.
When I was a kid then teenager, I hated my body. Hated with a passion. I would hide it under piles of shapeless clothing so I would not be seen. I became more aware of it when the signs of puberty appeared, and boy did they, fast and furious style. Let’s just say I grew boobs quickly, and they couldn’t be missed.
The picture wouldn’t be complete without my then-BFFs, two tall, waif-thin girlies. I was the short chubby funny one in the middle. And I would cry at night because no one (read : “boy”) liked me. Oh the cruel world of teenagedom!
Funny thing is, I would hear nice stuff about me and my petite figure, but I wouldn’t listen. I was too entangled in my own perceptions to even start to imagine there could be something “pretty” about my looks. “Self confidence” was not in my dictionary.
Fast forward a few years. I’m 19, second year at university, dating the guy I had been lusting over for years. Years, I’m not kidding guys. And then he stops calling, writing, giving any evidence that he’s still alive for that matter. Ouch.
And my twisted mind tricks me into thinking he dumped me because I was too fat (I wasn’t, mind you). So what’s a shy, self aware, broken-hearted girl’s gotta do? She starts dieting and restricting. I lost 4 kilos in one month (sorry for being bloody French and using the metric / whatever it’s called system – must be about 8 lbs). Being 1m60 (5’3) it shows on me, you can bet on that.
And then all hell broke loose: I couldn’t take it anymore and on my mum’s birthday I stuffed my face with all the things I wouldn’t eat when I was on this effing diet. Welcome to Binge Eating World, I hope you enjoy your stay because you’re in here for a while.
I was a binge eater for about 2 years. 2 years of making myself even more miserable, 2 years of eating anything sweet I could lay my hands on. I remember one day baking a cake and not waiting until it was done to get it out of the oven and eating it straight off the pan, half cooked. Every.single.day I would buy cakes, eat cereal out of the box, empty the kitchen cupboards. And invariably it would end up with me crying, despising myself, feeling bloated, in pain and miserable.
Spending a year abroad (UK) without my parents meant a. establishing my binge eating ritual, b. not having to eat for dinner because I was so full already. Needless to say I had put on weight, but I managed to keep it in check. I also had plenty of time to undergo self-therapy. By that I mean coming to terms with the fact I had a problem and it was an eating disorder, acknowledging that food was just a symptom and not the cause, and finding the root of it all. Funniest part was that blokes still liked me and my curvy (read: “boobs”) figure.
When I got back to France I seeked help, and started dieting. Again. Only this time I was checked upon. I started losing weight very slowly, but it was only after a trip to Germany that it stopped. See for a week, I stayed at a friend’s house in Germany, hanging out with other friends, on a holiday with no schedule. We would wake up at 12 and eat leftover pizza for breakfast. For the first time in a long long time, I didn’t think about food or what my next meal would be. Or where the nearest bakery was. The fact I had a fling with one of my German friends helped a lot too. Because that was when I really really moved on from that other guy, the one that had never told me straight to my face he wanted out. I let go of food as comfort and shelter.
Then I realized I didn’t need to binge anymore. It clicked. I learned that I could have one cookie and it didn’t mean I was a bad person. I realized I could have one cookie and stop there when I was full. I learned the difference between hunger and feeling like eating just because I was bored or stressed. I dropped the extra kilos (or pounds) effortlessly and learned to accept my healthy weight.
Over the years up to now, I have learned to nourish and fuel my body the best I could. And if that means having a square of rich dark chocolate every day, then so be it. It hasn’t been an easy road of course, but I have come a long way. I have been taking care of my body, I have embraced movement, and by doing so allowing myself to yet again put on some weight, only this time it’s muscle. Obviously going to a yoga class a few years ago for the first time was in retrospect one of the best gifts I gave myself in terms of body acceptance. I have limitations, I am not bendy, I am not tall and lean, I am strong and I still have the boobs, you know. I’m OK with that. I’m OK with myself. This is me then, right? 😉
Yes, there are days when I look at myself in the mirror and sigh because my stomach is not flat, and Holy Shiva these are big thighs and why hello panda bear oh no it’s me with the dark circles under my puffy eyes maybe I should start chewing on bamboo. But this too shall pass, and it usually does without me even thinking about it. Because I can still run, and walk to work. I can lift my body with my own two arms (I can remember the first time I rocked bakasana: “I can do THAT!??! Yeaaaah!”). I don’t give a s**t anymore, I am the way I am.
Why this post? Actually I got inspired by Anna’s yesterday post on Curvy Yoga. It is also National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in the US. Yeah I know, I’m not a US national, but eating disorders are everywhere.
I can only tell you my story. I am not a health professional. If you think you have a problem, please do seek professional help. All I can say is that it’s not a food issue, it’s a self-esteem issue. And thin or thick, tall or short, it can happen to anyone.