This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Having interest in the nutrition field, this was always an area that I was interested in learning about. I started reading books about real life stories, listened to people tell their battles with eating disorders and continued to gain knowledge in the area. I never had a diagnosed eating disorder, but I definitely struggled with my body image in college. It didn’t really seem like anything at the time, but now as I gained weight in the past year and a half and look back on old pictures, I realize I am still struggling.
I’ve never had any issues with food. Let’s be real, food is my love. But I can’t honestly look back at pictures of my collegiate running and say “wow, you look healthy.” I look back now and think, “wow, that is not okay.” Why is it not okay? Because I thought I was big. I’m not sure if all runners do this, but I would look at my teammates and think they were smaller than me in size. It wasn’t until I saw pictures of us up next to each other, that no, I was actually smaller, but yet I couldn’t see that at the time.
Then you start wondering if you could be faster if you weighed less, because your teammate is smaller, or so you think, and they are faster. It’s like a morphed image of your body and that is what I struggled with. Then having your boyfriend at the time tell you that you need to put in extra work. This same person you have been with since high school, so they must know your body better than you right? So if they think you need to do more ab work, extra mileage or not eat that ice cream because you don’t deserve it, then you think you must not look okay.
I went through that. I went through the guilt of skipping one run. I lost a relationship because I couldn’t live with that the rest of my life. I don’t need someone making me feel bad about not doing something when I’m already doing so much. Now we flash forward a year and a half later and I’ve gained almost 40 pounds. Once again, I’m struggling with body image. Because if I thought I was big weighing 107 pounds running at the collegiate level, then I must really be huge weighing 144 pounds. But why do I feel I need to get small enough to fit into my old clothes, when they weren’t even an acceptable size to begin with. A kids large in nike tempo shorts, or kids large in denim shorts, are probably not what a 24 year old should be wearing.
I think it is now, after fully focusing on a healthy lifestyle, getting adequate amounts of sleep, eating appropriately while still eating my favorite foods without restricting or feeling bad, and finding a good balance of running and lifting that I am happy with, has truly put me at peace with the way I look. It should’ve never taken any of that to be at peace with the way I look. But the fact is, a lot of people struggle, and jokes or comments about body appearance can really tear someone down if they are already struggling with their body.
I don’t need anyone in my life to make me feel bad about any of the choices I make regarding my body and I definitely don’t need someone judging the way I look either. Why? Because I am extremely content and I will continue what I am doing to reach the goals I have for myself because it’s what I want to do, not what any one else wants.
The point of this was just to create awareness of the things that people could be going through, because I know many people have no idea that I struggled with body image, because how could someone so happy and smile so much have anything negative going on in their life? Just thought I would share.
Hope everyone has a great week!
December 20th was more than just graduation day, and I didn’t really realize that, until now. If you know me or have been following this blog, you know that I had the incredible opportunity to work my dream job as a Sports Nutritionist right after I graduated with my undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University. As I lived it out for a very busy 1.5 years, I knew I was learning so much about sports nutrition, but also about life and developing myself. However, I didn’t realize how much this experience would truly help in my next journey, until now.
This blog hasn’t been updated in a very long time, because I was consumed in an amazing experience. One of which I didn’t mind the 14 hour work days or the occasional 7 days a week of work. I didn’t mind because I was surrounded by incredible people and I could be myself once again and not worry about how that came off. I was able to keep who I was, but improve on it. Prior to my job at Mizzou, I struggled. My last two years of my undergraduate degree I lost a sense of who I was, lost my laugh, was in a state where it was rare that I felt like myself. That summer after graduation, it began to come back as I was surrounded by children who taught me so many things about life and every day was filled with smiles and laughter. The same thing happened during my time at Mizzou.
I am now onto my next journey of life that is the last step to my dream job as a Sports Dietitian. I am living in Oklahoma for 8 months to complete my clinical, community and management rotations for my dietetic internship so I can become eligible to take my exam and become registered.
This week we had orientation and as we went through our handbook, I realized my mentor prepared me in more ways than she realized, I’m sure. The situations she put me in throughout my time at Mizzou, have instilled confidence in myself going into this internship and a lot of the things that are expected of us, are things I have already experienced and know how to handle or approach when they come up.
I’m extremely excited to start this internship and learn even more about nutrition to help my future. I’m beyond blessed with how everything is happening for me and the inspirational and motivational people I have met that not only teach me but bring out the best in me. I’m thankful to have my smile and laugh back and hopefully can keep it throughout the next 8 months.
Cheers to new beginnings and onto another adventure!