For over 12 years, my life was like a game of hide and seek.
Hide as much as possible and seek a way to feel good enough.
After being seen and painfully losing out on being accepted multiple times, I generated some rules and guidelines for my existence as a young girl who only saw herself as overweight and ugly.
1. Avoid all mirrors. You know it only makes you sad when you see yourself.
2. Wear clothes that cover your entire body, despite the bliss of the sun on your skin. They will be disgusted if you show your pale skin and large limbs.
3. Avoid those kids by taking the long way to class. It’s better to be late than to run into them again.
4. Look down and avoid eye contact. Your eyes are crooked and your face is irregular. Don’t risk someone pointing it out again.
5. Never say yes to anything that involves a bathing suit or people you don’t know. You don’t want to be humiliated again.
6. Think twice before asking a question in class. Everyone will look at you. Is it worth it?
7. I know that seems like a nice person and it would be nice to have a friend, but do you want to risk someone pointing out how gross you are?
8. Don’t let them see you eat too much. You don’t need to give them more excuses for the “Piggie” label.
My low self esteem literally put me in a cage locked by fear for years.
How much did I miss out on while my mind was occupied with demanding and defeating thoughts of self-criticism?
This toxic mentality caused me to develop an unhealthy relationship with food, the gym and my body as I grew older. I truly felt that the only means to self worth was being thin which manifested in obsessively long gym sessions, strict food diets and ultimately bulimia.
I was scared, embarrassed, out of control and still obsessive about being thin.
As a 26 year old woman, I am able to recognize my toxic thought patterns and have developed a much better relationship with my body. However, my heart still hurts for the masses of women who struggle with food, health and body image.
Unfortunately, my story is not unique.
A study conducted by Dove in 2016 revealed that among 10,500 women surveyed, 85% of them reported that they would “opt out of important life activities” if they felt they didn’t look good enough.
How do we change this mentality?
There are tons of ways to develop higher self esteem and even more books dedicated to the topic.
The tactic that most resonated with me was finding comfort in another’s story. I was able to overcome my year long struggle with bulimia by connecting with the story of Monica Seles, a successful tennis player, who shared her story about how she overcame her eating disorder.
By sharing my story and pursuing my career in health and fitness for women, I hope to help others find comfort in who they are so they can live a full life!
My transition to this entirely new career is painfully slow and scary, but my heart keeps me going.
Can you connect with my story? Are you pursuing a similar career?
I’d love to hear from you!