Today’s No Fat Talk Tuesday post comes to us from Melissa. Melissa is a fellow ISU grad and I feel like I’ve gotten to know her through the e-mails we have exchanged over the last handful of months. Melissa’s story is incredibly touching and personal and I’m so happy to have her share with everyone today. Thank you, Melissa! – Madison
I’ve wanted to share my story for a long time, yet part of me holds back. How do I put into words what’s been such a huge part of my life? Do I really want everyone to see my imperfections? I also wanted to wait until I had overcome and perfected my struggles. But I’m learning that life is an ever changing process, not a state of perfection to be reached. There will be days when I love my body, but there will also be days when I’m not as kind with myself as I should be. Sometimes I feel like I have so far yet to go, but when I stop and look back I see how far I’ve really come. No Fat Talk Tuesday is the perfect opportunity to find encouragement regardless of where you’re at in the process.
I can’t pinpoint when everything started, it was a slow gradual change. In college I decided to start eating healthier and exercising regularly. I had more energy and felt great so I continued, thinking more meant better. Each day I would eat a little less and exercise a little more. The numbers on the scale continued to drop but so did my energy and concentration. I still wasn’t happy with my body and told myself I just needed to lose a few more pounds and then I would stop. This continued for quite some time until I was finally ready to admit I’d gone too far. I promised myself I would make changes, try harder and stop mistreating my body. I wanted to stop and I knew exactly what the problem was, but by that time the habits had formed and I was no longer in control.
Being a food science major also going for a minor in nutrition I had just enough knowledge to be dangerous. I knew exactly what I needed to do as far as food and exercise were concerned, but knowing and doing are two different things. Since I already knew the answers I didn’t want help and told myself I just needed to try a little harder.
I didn’t believe the people who told me I could die. I remember telling them, “Don’t worry, I feel fine. I’m not going to die!” Looking back, I realize what a miracle it is that I’m still alive. Eventually I realized how exhausted I was. I was tired of having no energy, tired of constantly thinking about food and overanalyzing everything I ate, tired of trying each day and failing, tired of hating myself.
To make a long story short I agreed to withdraw from classes and go to a treatment program at a hospital. Thankfully, it wasn’t half as scary as I had imagined it to be. It was almost like going to school to learn how to take care of myself. I learned so much about life and myself during that time. Don’t get me wrong, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. Looking back I realize I’ve finally reached a point where I’m thankful for my experience and all it has taught me.
Happiness is not tied to the size or shape of your body. Confidence does not come from a number on a scale (or whatever else you may struggle with: achievements, approval of others, money, status, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc). My weight has been all over the charts yet I was never satisfied with any number. I’m learning that only God can satisfy my deepest desires and calm my fears and insecurities. True beauty starts deep within from a peace only God can provide. Only He can truly fill the emptiness inside each of us.
Life is a gift to be enjoyed, not wasted obsessing over a body that won’t last. No Fat Talk Tuesday is a reminder to stop the fat talk and enjoy what really matters in life. Instead of working towards unrealistic ideals that will leave me empty, I can choose to embrace my unique characteristics and use my gifts and abilities to enjoy life.
Some days I wonder if I’ll ever really like my body. Then I remember I’ve already wasted too much time waiting for the “liking” and missing out on the “doing”. Confidence and self-esteem will not come at a certain size or number but rather from jumping into the adventure of life. Take a risk, be curious, look for excitement, practice the art of being content and count your blessings are daily reminders I need to hear. While I don’t have this all down yet, I’m learning to find a healthy balance one mistake at a time. We were created for so much more than obsessing over appearance or striving for perfection. Discovering what really matters in life makes all the difference. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
If you’re interested in sharing your No Fat Talk Tuesday story, I would love to hear from you! Send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information!