It was like I was back to my 17, 18, 19 (far out I’ll be honest 20, 21, 23 and maybe even 24) year old me. I hated my body. You need to lose weight, you’re too fat, you haven’t exercised enough, you’ve eaten too much.
You. Are. Not. Good. Enough.
This was me the other night. Dan (my boyfriend) and I were sitting on the balcony after delish, epic dinny I cooked. We were scrolling through Instagram and noticed how many accounts were filled with half naked girls and women.
If you’ve hung out on Instagram you know there are A LOT of amazing looking women posting pictures of their sexy, thin, smooth, tanned, big-boobed, small-wasted ‘perfect’ bodies. I’m usually pretty good, I don’t start to compare. I usually appreciate an amazing body and think far out she looks great (and they all did!) but for some reason, this time it hit me hard.
All those old thoughts came pouring back in. They’ve come back every now and then… but not like this. It was like a flood of self-hate and self-doubt. Feeling regret about eating too much dinner, regret about skipping my pilates to sleep in. It all happened in an instant and I couldn’t handle it.
I was up, running to the bathroom to cry. At this stage, Dan probably had a complete WTF face on. He came in wondering if I was OK.
Even though we were both looking at these pictures, along with me thinking I wasn’t thin enough, beautiful enough, perfect enough… I also thought that maybe my boyfriend agreed.
I am grateful for this situation because it’s pushed me to write this post. A blog post I’ve been meaning to write since 2013. A blog post I have written, deleted and re-written at least 6 times.
From age 17 to 23 I thought I was fat and needed to lose weight. I beat myself up about it. I’d feel bad if I skipped a day at the gym, guilty if I ate dessert. My mind was consumed with hating my body, counting calories and ticking off my gym sessions.
Looking back I know, I can even see, that I was never ever fat. Sure my weight fluctuated up and down but I now look back at photos of me having a ‘fat day’ and not only do I look great, I’m at least 5 kgs less than I weigh today.
Discovering paleo and now, just a real food lifestyle helped me, not only become physically healthier but also mentally healthier. This way of eating made so much sense and slowly the mind mess of body hatred didn’t consume me and I had more space to think bigger and to think of other things other than what I looked like (welcome Merrymaker Sisters).
What I’ve never ever talked about on the blog (or even to my Mum and Dad) is along with this horrible life stopping mindset I also used to make myself vomit. Age 17 – 23.
When I was 17 and started to drink more alcohol… I’d binge drink, get myself way too drunk (far out binge drinking is a whole other blog post) then go and make myself vomit. Freshen up and be the life of the party again. At least half the other people at the party were doing the exact same thing. It was completely ‘normal’.
Pretty quickly I realised I could do this whole vomiting thing sober too.
My Monday to Thursday was filled with a low calorie diet, plenty of diet coke and hours spent in the gym. My Friday was re-named Fat Friday (yes, we actually called it that) where I’d binge on lollies, cheese and crackers, chocolate. Pizza for dinner. Then I’d make sure I could get home before everyone else so I could vomit in private.
And this went on for so many years. Years!
I actually never thought I had a problem. I never thought I was bulimic because it wasn’t an every day thing. I’d only vomit on the weekends and Fat Fridays so it was ok… right?
I even opened up to a friend one drunken night and told her I started vomiting while sober… she did it too! So this just confirmed to me that I didn’t have a problem at all.
The thing I am most upset about is all the time I wasted. Time wasted thinking about my weight, thinking about the food I ate and the food I was about to eat. The time I wasted kneeled over a toilet shoving my fingers down my throat throwing up.
It’s hard. It’s hard when society tells us that size 6-8 is the ‘right’ size and when we’re bombarded with photoshopped advertisements everywhere. Even the ‘perfect’ people ‘need’ photoshopping!
I know the people l perceive as ‘perfect’ have their own set of issues and that really, ‘perfect’ does not equal happiness. Because when I weighed 50kg, in the best shape of my life… I was miserable. Really, ‘perfect’ does not exist.
I know there are so many women, men, boys and girls who are massively impacted by body image issues and eating disorders today. I’m angry about this. I’m angry that you feel shit about yourself, I’m angry you think you need to be somebody else, I’m angry that we all spend so much time focused on this issue when there are so many other things out there.
I think it’s time we celebrate our differences. It’s time we see beauty in everyone of all shapes and sizes. It’s time to start seeing beauty in ourselves.
And even though it’s hard sometimes, let’s be stronger than that little voice (or maybe screaming voice) saying I’m not good enough. That voice is lying. You are enough. I am enough. Always have, always will be.
It’s time to enjoy life, to bring more good to the world instead of focusing on what we don’t have.
It’s time to focus on a healthy lifestyle because we want to live longer and feel better and healthier.
It’s time to promote this to every single other person we know and CELEBRATE when we see people loving themselves.
P.s You might also like this article Carla wrote: The Best Advice I Ever Got… Look Sideways.
Feature photos from Unsplash.