The Way I See Myself Has Changed

This post may be triggering for those who have struggled/are struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating habits. Please honor yourself and be prudent in your decision to read on. 🙂

It’s funny when I think about it:

Three years ago, I went to Florida for Christmas and I was eating whatever the heck I wanted. Sushi, ice cream, more sushi, lasagna, frozen yogurt, and even more sushi. I gained a lot of weight and I wasn’t exercising all that much, but I was on vacation and still doing okay. I saw myself as a growing teenager with a blessed metabolism.

Two summers ago, I came to Florida for the Orlando Ballet Summer Intensive. I was not happy with how my body looked and I was looking at fitness/food blogs for the wrong kind of inspiration— the “fitspiration” to lose weight and count calories while I was still a healthy, growing teenager. I saw myself as bottom-heavy and rounder than other people. I ate less and less every day while I danced 6 hours a day. I lost all the weight I gained during Christmas, plus a lot more. 

A little less than two years ago, I went to Florida again for Christmas, and I was the lightest I had been in a very long time. I was pretty satisfied with how I looked though— I had the slightest bit of a “thigh gap” for the first time in my life (*rolling my eyes now*). I saw myself as a super healthy, skinny person finally. This was when my dad tearfully commanded me to drop my disordered eating habits right then and there. It was a mental and emotional struggle for me to put on more weight, but I gained a few more pounds that Christmas. 

Last summer, I started this blog in Florida while recovering from my disordered eating habits. I had gained quite a bit more weight by then, but I was still careful about my eating and fitness and maintaining my weight overallI saw myself as a fit, healthy person.

This summer, I finally got my act together and basically told myself, “Screw the scale and whatever ideal body image I have in my head. I need to rest and EAT.” Well, my body has responded SO well to the rest and extra food, and my long-time fears of blowing up like a puffer fish did not come true. My face is round like it always was before I started restricting my eating. I feel stronger, happier, and more energetic. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life, but I could not care less, and I’m actually quite thrilled about it. I now see myself as a a truly healthy, strong, and happy woman.

I’ve grown out of a few pairs of pants on this vacation, and I’m just looking forward to buying some new ones. Even looking back at past photos from when I used to think I was fluffier, I cannot see what I thought was so “big” now. It’s like my eyes have changed, but I know it’s just that my mentality has shifted away from looks and towards true health.

I did not post any pictures this time for two reasons: I’m at the train station and the connection is terrible, and I don’t necessarily want to show what I thought was “big”,”skinny”, etc. because everyone’s perceptions are different and changing.

So to finish off this more serious post (after weeks of talking about beaches and theme parks), I would like to say thank you all for your support and advice throughout my journey. I have allowed blogs to make me devalue myself in the past, but in the past year, I have allowed blogs to encourage me to find peace in myself and in God.

 

 

 

 

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37 thoughts on “The Way I See Myself Has Changed

  1. So happy for you–I love reading your blog, and I have had similar issues in the past. Once you are on the other side, it is so liberating and peaceful to accept yourself and your body. Everything that seemed to matter so much before just….washes away 😉

  2. This was such an insightful and beautifully written post. I am so glad that you have realized that “healthy” and “happy” are not tied to a clothing size or a number on the scale. I have gone through the same thing, so I know what a great feeling it is to finally be “free” from those negative thoughts. I hope that more girls who are struggling can start to realize this too.

  3. You are an amazing girl. Good for you for stamping yiur food down and grounding yourself. If you’re happy–nothing else truly matters!

  4. Oh I love this! I relate so well to “my eyes changing”…I think a lot is down to a well-fed brain holding a more positively enlightening perception on our bodies – versus a starved mind in a malnourished body; seeing faults and nit-picking at flaws. And I should let you know that – even to the outside eye – you are glowing with good health and energy 🙂 .

  5. You’ve come such a long way, my dear! Such courage to open up about this! It’s funny how people think they will find happiness and confidence in their lives when they lose weight but it’s only proven to do just the opposite. I finally feel comfortable in my skin which took a long time to get to but simultaneously I’ve never felt more energetic, alive and content in my life 🙂

  6. It’s great how you have changed to the better, physically and mentally. I also have read the post that you’ve linked above, and WOW, you have an awesome relation to your parents! That’s so admirable! You are very lucky. You should appreciate and be proud of it (butI think you already are!)
    I’ve never had an eating disorder, but struggled with food, eating, weight/fat loss a lot too over the last 1,5 years. And over the last few mionths now I become more and more relaxed with my “diet” and fitness. I have learned to really enjoy “cheatmeals” and not worry and freak out about one cookie. I still work out regularly simply because it’s my hobby and I love it. But if, for some reason, I’m not able to work out 6 times but only 4 times a week, I don’t worry to much anymore. Same with food. I love my healthy self-cooked meals but can enjoy eating out or cakes and sweets just as much.
    Thanks for sharing, it is always very inspiring and eye-opening to learn about the struggles and experiences of others!

    • I am so blessed to have parents with whom I am so comfortable and open. God is good!
      That’s awesome that you’ve been more comfortable with giving yourself more rest and fuel throughout the week. And since fitness is your hobby, you’ll look forward to those days you exercise even more!

  7. You are literally amazing. It is so inspiring and motivating realizing that food/body/weight does NOT define happiness. Screw the scale! You are healthy, beautiful, and amazing, and that has nothing to do with weight or body. Absolutely nothing. What is on the INSIDE radiates on the outside, and girl, you are stunning! 🙂 xoxo

  8. Wonderful words Alison. Being healthy is the main priority and you have such a fantastic balance in your life now – so evident in your blog and wonderful to have in place for going off to university! 🙂

  9. Can I just say how proud and inspired I by you!? If anything I think now you radiate with even more beauty and kindess and compassion. It’s so refreshing to follow bloggers like you who aren’t so uptight with maintaining the perfect body and just living!!!!! That is freedom and that is what I am working towards everyday/every meal. I’m so thankful to have found your blog last year and your friendship means more to me than you know.
    Love you girl!

  10. Alison, I just wanted to let you know how happy it makes me to see someone as young as you have these realizations. Many times, the late teenage years are when eating disorders begin and years of suffering are ahead. I wish that I was able to come to these conclusions earlier in my own life, but we all have our unique journey and I am so happy that my view of healthy has turned around as well. Use your knowledge to live your happiest, best life and inspire others to do the same. You rock, girlfriend 🙂

  11. I went through something VERY similar to you. I have gained weight and am healthy now, but I firmly believe that both of us have gained so much more than weight. Honestly though, it’s to the point where my past insecurities and demons have really helped me figure out what I want from life and my perspective. Yes, I’m bigger than I used to be, but I’ve changed. I don’t see myself as weighing more. I see myself as stronger, a warrior against my eating disorder who won. I see myself as a happier and healthier human who is taking care of herself. It’s also helped me see other women in a different light. Instead of complimenting someone by saying “You look so skinny” or something physical, a lot of times I go with “You’re so inspiring or empowering.” Life is so much more than what you weigh and how you look. It’s not always easy to remember that, but life is too short to hate yourself and restrict yourself. I look at food as fuel now and have realized that it is necessary for me to thrive and something that can be really enjoyable. I’m so so glad you’ve shared this story. It didn’t need pictures. While pictures may speak 1000 words, today your words left nothing left to say. I hope you have a beautiful day, and thank you for sharing a piece of your beautiful soul with us xx

    • “Both of us have gained so much more than weight.” <— I love that. I totally agree that compliments should deviate from looks and move more towards a person's character and strength, because those are what matter the most. Your wisdom and beauty (both inside and out) never ceases to amaze me, Katherine! Best wishes to you, dear. xoxo

  12. Oh friend, it makes me so happy to hear how far you’ve come. Your authenticity and spirit is so beautiful and I love that we’re friends. It takes a lot of courage to be open and share your stories with the world, but I KNOW that in by doing so, it helps other people. 🙂

  13. I love this post! And you, most importantly! I, too, have struggled with eating disorders and am fortunate and blessed to have supportive parents throughout my recovery journey (although I’m at a better state of mental and physical health, it’s an everlasting, life-long journey for me to keep learning). I must say that I am extremely happy for you that you’ve discovered inner peace because you are such a deserving person, and everyone deserves to be happy. I especially connect to you because of our similarities in terms of brought up, and ages. 🙂 I truly wish you all the best!

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  16. Lovelovelove this so much and you. I think lots of people have had the fear of blowing up like a puffer fish including me, and it’s so untrue. I think it’s so sad that society thinks girls have to be skinny to be “pretty” or “beautiful”. I’ve come to realize that when I’m super skinny, I’m NOT healthy. I can’t run fast, I’m light headed, and crabby. We aren’t meant to be stick thin. We should just be happy with our bodies, because God gave each of us our special body for a reason! ❤

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  18. Wow. You and I have almost exactly the same story.
    I love finding other bloggers I can relate to. You inspire me so much, as I’m not 100% carefree when it comes to healthy body image and eating; I haven’t got the courage to share my story just yet but you’ve basically summed it up for me by sharing your own.
    I absolutely love your blog, and I adore you! You’re such a strong, beautiful young woman; I seriously wish we were sisters. I need an Alison in my life! 😉

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