THE FAULT IN OURSELVES
I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while now. Many of you have contacted me both personally and publicly about “how I did it.” “How did you achieve a healthy weight without using eating disorder behaviors?” I also want to address comments such as, “you’re so perfect.” “I’ll never have your strength.” Additionally, I want to clear up a thought about my upcoming memoir and a warning about “fitspo” messages. The prominent reason in my decision to be so publicly open with my story is to shed light on misconceptions and myths surrounding eating disorders and life in general. I can understand that just by looking through my pictures or reading positive uplifting messages you could conclude that I have it all together. No one has it all together period! Now that I’ve cleared that up I want to briefly address how I “did it” and give you a glimpse into my current life.
I am now at a healthy weight, but part of the journey to achieve that was not done in a healthy manner. I began losing weight after reaching my heaviest, but initially I engaged in dangerous behaviors that in turn backfired on me. My weight loss journey was summed up by extreme behaviors that looked a little like – lose 5 pounds, gain 10 back and so on. It wasn’t until a few years later that I finally came to a place of surrender (different from giving up) and I started eating in a balanced fashion. This meant that my weight loss was considerably slower, however, it also meant that I was able to abstain from erratic and dangerous measures and it also meant that my weight loss became consistent and sustainable. I am currently at a healthy weight. Hooray right? Not so fast. Weight does not in any way possible equate with happiness or ones best health. It is a reflection of certain choices and perhaps a deeper conflict, but I know many people who are healthiest at a weight that would be considered overweight on the BMI charts and vice versa.
So, I’ll let you all have a glimpse into my current life. I still have plenty of days where I wake up, look in the mirror and want to cry. I have days where I can’t find a single outfit that fits. I have days where I eat enough for three people. I have days where I should eat more. I have days where I leave a tennis session in tears. There are days (like right now) where my body feels broken physically. There are days I workout too much. There are days where I don’t get out of my pajamas. There are days where I feel pressure to pretend I’m happy when really I’m terrified and just need someone to tell me it will all be okay.
I also have days where I wake up, look in the mirror and say, “hey, look at you, you have come such a long way and have a beautiful soul.” I also have days where I feel confident wearing something new. I also have days where I eat in an ideal manner. There are days where I leave the tennis court wondering how I got so blessed to perform the way I do. There are days where I’m bursting with energy and feel great. There are also days where I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks and I’m there to give the hugs and say it will all be okay. And if you were honest with yourself and if others were truly honest with you, you would see that this is exactly what life is. No one is perfect, no one has it all, no one is necessarily stronger than others and no one should have to be, do or appear any one way.
What I can tell you is that my energy is contagious. You’ll always hear me laughing, you’ll always see a bright genuine smile and you’ll always have my undivided attention, support and acceptance just as you are. Behind the scenes I work hard to continue to challenge myself in new ways, I go to therapy on a regular basis (who doesn’t need it?) and I deal with the ups and downs of someone trying to find their place in the world. So no, I’m not perfect and being in recovery does not mean you are cured and it all goes away. Recovery from an eating disorder is a long term, never ending commitment that consists of periods of complete freedom and periods of increased difficulty. Over time, the periods of complete freedom become longer and longer while the periods of difficulty subside.
It’s okay to struggle! Having a hard time is very different from relapse. Like I said, I have days where I eat enough for three people, but taking laxatives is no longer an option for me. I have days where I don’t eat enough, but the next morning is an opportunity to make different choices. I want you all to see me as a transparent person who puts a reality slap on common beliefs. Not many people are comfortable being vulnerable because we are taught not to be. It’s scary. It makes it easier to be taken advantage of. But by being vulnerable we can live authentically and without regret. So, if you want to have my strength just be yourself.
And please take caution to this new “fitspo” craze that has taken over social media. Eating clean is a great thing, if it doesn’t consume your life. Just like working out and wanting to be as fit as possible is a great thing, if it doesn’t cross over into obsession and identity. I know a lot of people who have fallen victim to this way of thinking and living and for some, it is positive and they are able to live well-rounded lives in healthy moderation. Then, there are others who might “look” amazing, but what you don’t realize is that they are only eating 1200 calories a day while working out and lifting far too long. What you don’t realize is that they can no longer go out with friends and enjoy a good meal and dessert without calling it their “cheat meal.” What you don’t realize is that their whole identity is wrapped up in an image and that is one of the most unstable and temporary things you can cling to ironically. No body can maintain a certain physique or level of happiness for that matter for very long. This is not a blanket statement and doesn’t apply to everyone. Just be weary that sometimes what seems to be a picture and image of happiness and strength, could be a mask for something as serious as the new emerging eating disorder called orthorexia: an obsession with eating foods or only certain food groups that one considers healthy.
Remember: You are good enough just by being Y-O-U! ~Britt