Monday, August 10, 2009

My therapy

Last week was extremely hectic so I was unable to hit the gym at all. I realized just how important it is that I work out consistently since I found that I had an even worse body image than I normally have. It seems that when I workout 3-4 days a week, I'm much more confident in myself; it's easier to choose clothes for the day & I don't cringe when I'm looking in the mirror.

When I joined the track team as a freshman in high school & was forced to wear teeny, tiny shorts, I decided then & there that I was going to lose weight. I'm the type of person that goes full force when I set my mind to something. This can be a positive or negative trait. Unfortunately in this instance, it was very negative. I basically stopped eating altogether & exercised compulsively. I lost nearly 40 pounds from the start of the second semester of my freshman year to the first semester of my sophomore year. As the tennis season began, I was basically unrecognizable to my teammates. That's when some started to "monitor" me; the football coach who happened to be my biology teacher would check my lunch bag before & after each lunch period to make sure I ate & he would report back to my tennis coach. But at this same time, many people commented on how "great I looked." Yeah right; that just proves how warped people's ideas are of what is considered attractive.

As sad as this sounds, I found that it was very easy to starve myself. My mom & dad worked long hours & came home well past dinnertime so it was very easy to say, "yeah, I ate" when they asked. My sickness became very bad when I would be doubled over with the most intense stomach cramps imaginable just because I ate something containing a bit of fat. My body just wasn't used to digesting it. This may be a bit TMI, but I even stopped getting my period for a year since my BMI was below normal.

Thankfully, I slowly began to overcome this insane way of living (if you want to call it that) & gradually, I ate healthier & gained weight. I did this with zero professional help. I think the turning point was when I truly realized just how consumed I was by this; there was no possible way I could keep this up when I was older & had a family. It was all I thought about. I could tell you the calorie content of any food named. My life literally revolved around what I ate (or didn't eat) & how much I exercised.

This obsession is what drew me to my profession as a registered dietitian. I was shocked as I sat in my first nutrition class & heard my teacher say that 60% of RDs have once had or have an eating disorder. It makes sense if you think about it.

I am so happy to say that I no longer abuse my body in such a way; instead I strive to treat my body with respect by eating healthy & working out. However, it is very sad that at times I still struggle with such a negative self image; probably on a weekly basis. I am now 30 years old, so I will continue to work on overcoming this; I am tired of wasting time on such meaningless thoughts. I refuse to look back at my life & realize what a shame it was to expend so much negative energy on disliking the way I look. Not only that, but when I'm feeling negative about the way I look, my entire attitude is poor.

So, my goal is to continue to eat a well balanced diet & exercise 3-4 days a week in order to have a strong, healthy body. Cam deserves to have a mom with a positive self image who teaches him to grow to be a self-assured adult.

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