Anonymous asked: You're pretty amazing/inspirational when it comes food, fitness, and sass. Thanks for being here. I'm wondering, how low did you go when you were restricting? I've had quite the rocky road with that myself, and I'm scared of increasing cals because I've been low (with some bingeing) for so long. So to see you not restrict and count cals and still have an amazing bod is inspiring.
I think this ask has been sitting for a couple weeks, sorry. Thank you! I definitely needed some time to think about all the factors that made me get through that time. All I can think to do is explain it through a timeframe.
I came out of college with a “typical” American/post-grad diet but was always uncomfortable with my weight. I loved working in clinical genomics research. After a couple years though, my lab lost funding and I lost my job.
That was almost two years ago (wow)! I lived alone and wasn’t sure how I’d pay rent and felt SO out of control. With the added free time, I decided to take control of something I’d always wanted to - my health/my body. I went to more yoga classes. I started the Couch to 5K app. I started shooting for a net of 1200 calories because that’s just what I thought I should be doing (thanks society/magazines/my own naivete). My blog started as reblogging “pretty” thin and fit and stylish women (don’t they all?). I am 5’8.5 and started at 170 and MUST have been over 30% body fat. I dropped weight fast and could run for miles. It was exhilarating The more I ran and the less I ate, the faster I dropped it. I didn’t care if my dinner was a martini. I rejoiced in still being able to “cheat” and still wake up weighing less (ALTHOUGH OH MY GOD - SO HUNGRY ALWAYS).
In less than three months, I had dropped 25 pounds, my social life (because being around people always meant being around food and I couldn’t control myself around it), and my sanity. If My FitnessPal told me I was “over” my 1200 net for the day, I would feel like a failure. There are morning after INCREDIBLE restaurant experiences where I would feel awful and run ten miles to feel “normal” again. I planned a trip to see someone I was dating in Atlanta which made me more motivated to look as good naked as possible. I was stalled at 145 pounds though no matter how much I ran or how little I ate.
The week in Atlanta should have been a wake up call. That week, I only ran once, I only did yoga once, and I went over my calories every day. That guy made me feel okay and safe there but I was terrified about coming home and stepping on the scale. To my confusion and delight, I had lost weight. I was at 140. My dream of being in the 120s was becoming a reality!
Soon, I had a new job! I was happy when I stuck to my schedule of running twice a week before work, lifting twice a week after work, and yoga whenever possible. I wasn’t eating gluten. I wasn’t drinking liquor. I avoided as much sugar (and fruit) as possible. I upped my calories a bit but still counted meticulously. I still avoided social situations and “bad” food.
Soon though my job turned out not to be a good fit. Animal research was and will never be a good fit for me. Working in a passive aggressive, incredibly competitive and dishonest research facility will never be a good fit for me… which was heartbreaking to discover because I thought a PhD was in my future. ANYWAY, I have a lot of friends in the industry and soon drinking with them and staying out until 4 AM became an exciting escape. I overate. I started to lose control. I no longer had the time to run it off. So I threw up. And that was my restrict to binge/purge cycle that lasted almost a year, until I started getting panic attacks and quit that job. How stupid too! I thought I was “purging” off everything I overate but I continued to gain weight. I probably gained back 15 pounds in that cycle! Shouldn’t I have realized it wasn’t working?! I also didn’t consider I had started weight lifting and OF COURSE I was going to put on some mass.
As soon as I quit my job, the panic attacks stopped. I didn’t feel the want to “escape” into the world of alcohol anymore. Two days later, I met Devin. I never thought I was ready to date so soon after that ordeal but I just… knew he was right for me. To be in love is a powerful motivator. You want the best for yourself to see where the journey continues and you want the other person to see the best in you. Eventually I told him all of this and something AMAZING happened - he has had his own experience in something like this.
Is love the be all and end all magic solution? No. What I’m saying though is the more open I am with my loved ones about it, the less scary it is. The more I see it as something surmountable. I wish almost I could write a book on this. The more open I am about my anxieties and what I think makes me “crazy”, the more astounded I am by how much people can relate. We’re all hiding something. No one is perfect.
All I can say for sure is dieting destroyed me. Think about how much time calorie counting takes! I suppose it can be a useful tool in making sure you’re in line with macros but not something I should have done everyday. Now I focus on how food and activity make me feel. Eating lean protein, fresh juices, raw vegetables, and fat makes me feel GOOD. When I indulge (hello always with fresh pasta or gelato), I feel bloated and heavy and my sleep is affected. Sometimes though, I don’t care! Sometimes it’s totally worth it! I went from sleeping 5-6 hours a night to 7-8. I focus on activities I love (always yoga and the occasional 5K outside and lifting to make my yoga stronger). So, I stopped counting calories and trying to eat when I was truly hungry, not bored. If I don’t want to go work out, I don’t. It’s okay. In the past six months (and with a shoulder injury), I’m working out 3-4x a week instead of 7 and I eat more and my clothes from when I was working out twice as much and eating half as much are fitting. Most days I still hate the cellulite below my butt (but at least I have one now?) but the time and peace of mind I’ve gained is completely worth it.
This was way more information than you asked but, I felt the “complete” story was the only way to go about something like this. It’s been an up and down journey, indeed, and I wish you all the best in yours! You can do it if I can! You are enough just as you are!