I need to be honest. Brutally honest.
I was not always this confident. I was not always this healthy. I was not ready to share the truth in my story until now.
I am 5 foot 6. At my lowest weight I was about 90 lbs. My BMI told me I was underweight. I ate about 800 calories a day. I exercised strenuously for this caloric intake. I was terrified of food. I was out of balance. Stuck inside my head. I followed Instagram accounts that promoted these LOW calorie diets. This reinforced my diet mindset. I was starving. I was weak. I had no energy. I didn’t even know how to be enough of myself to interact with friends and family.
My eating disorder was a product of how I deal with stress. I micromanaged and controlled my food and exercise. When I felt out of control in my outside life, I scrutinized what went on inside my mind. That is not healthy. I didn’t know that back then. Despite learning about the warning signs in school, I fell victim to something along the lines of orthorexia and anorexia.
I had people compliment me when I was in this state. Say how great I now looked that I’d lost 50+ lbs. I knew something was wrong with me. This devastated me, it made me feel so lost and alone that people couldn’t see my internal struggle. They couldn’t feel my hunger or my fatigue. They didn’t know I didn’t have a period for 2.5 years. Or that I could barely function. They didn’t see the concern on my family’s faces. They didn’t know I was actively trying to gain weight to make myself better. I didn’t want to be hospitalized. I would stuff myself to the point where I’d throw up involuntarily because my stomach wasn’t used to eating that amount of food. What’s scary is that what I was eating then to gain weight is less than what I eat now.
Hearing people praise my battered body made me wonder what was wrong with my body before I looked this way. Was the only way to have a beautiful body to starve myself? Did I have to sacrifice so much to gain so little of a life in return? Sacrifice my free time and favourite foods and comfort and pleasure?
THAT is the BULLSHIT media tells young women like myself. Ones who are impressionable and want people to admire them and want to feel accepted and look like what they see portrayed on magazines and in TV. This is not to say that the ladies on TV who are naturally slim are the problem, they are beautiful just like everyone else.
What the BULLSHIT is, is magazines telling us that we constantly need to be changing ourselves to ideals that are not meant for every woman. Not meant for every body type or lifestyle or goals or sustainable habits. For some of us, like myself, we take this message from the media to the extreme.
I’m a personal trainer now. I am no longer the shell of who I was in 2015. I still feel some of the pain of that struggle but I use it to fuel Mindfully Miranda. I have gained weight and muscle and freedom and KNOWLEDGE. I don’t weigh myself anymore. I eat 2000+ calories a day. I exercise regularity. I can squat over my bodyweight. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I know that change is healthy (fuck, I wrote a blog post on it yesterday); it is my job to help people change their LIVES by teaching them HEALTHY HABITS like how to exercise properly and safely.
I will not parade around selling the idea that we need quick fixes and Skinny teas and strange supplements and waist trainers to feel beautiful. I will not tell you to starve yourself for beauty. Or to exercise yourself to extreme exhaustion.
I will tell you to EAT, eat lots of delicious, nutritious and yummy food. Not always healthy, but encouraging healthy more often than not. I will tell you to EXERCISE in terms that will help you reach your goals SAFELY AND SUSTAINABLY. I will tell you that is is wonderful to want to bring about positive change in your body but you must LOVE it at every stage. This means respecting it enough to eat properly, pay attention to hunger cues and listen to your body. I will tell you to REST when needed.
Take a fucking day off to spend time with your family. I have wasted time when I could’ve been making memories worrying about missing a gym session. It’s ridiculous. I can’t change it now but I can surely try not to make the same mistakes again.
Your life, your values and hobbies and friends and lovers and family and your health and happiness should ALWAYS come first. Not a number on a scale or the number on the waistband of your jeans or whatever the heck we judge ourselves by. I can promise you your loved ones love you no matter what you look like because they love you for you.
I love you for you. I am here to inspire and encourage you to do right by your body. But also by your mind and soul. Nourish and respect them all. They work in harmony together for your ultimate health and happiness.
As always, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need someone to talk to.
If I could go back now, I’d tell her that things will most definitely get better. And maybe one day her story will help save someone else.