10.20.2014

Getting a Bit Personal..



Okay. So i'm going to open up a little here and come right out with what I want to say. I've been going through a rough time recently, even more so the past few weeks. About two years ago, I changed my eating habits majorly when my mom went to nutrition school. She started learning so many interesting things about food, and obviously she shared the knowledge with me. I found it all very fascinating, and decided to change what I had been eating. Up until that point, I had never had a problem with food, body image or anything like that. I ate healthy like 80% of the time and indulged in what I wanted to. I ate pasta, dairy, bread of any kind, pancakes, you know all the normal stuff. Looking back at photos, I had a beautiful toned body. I didn't exercise to "burn anything off" i did it to feel good. I did things like swim some laps in my pool, yoga and barre.

So after learning about certain foods, I decided to eliminate some from my diet. My mom didn't want me going crazy, but since I never had a problem with food, she let me. I got rid of dairy, gluten, any sort of meat, and eggs. Yep, I became vegan.

At first it was sort of easy. And I felt really good. But it got hard to come up with different meal ideas and still get enough protein and calories. 

Fast forward a few weeks and I start thinking about the dreaded "nutrition label" and calorie count. I remember asking my mom how many calories we should eat in a day and I think that's where it all started. 

I started majorly cutting back on everything I ate. I still remained vegan, but on occasion I would eat fish just because I felt like I should in front of my parents so they knew I wasn't up to anything weird.

Well I was.

After a couple months of changing my eating, I had lost about 10 pounds. But that I mean any kind of fat I had, and muscle. I lost my period. And on top of all of this (which I forgot to mention earlier) I had started over-exercising. By that I mean running on the treadmill like a crazy person every single day. When I think about what I did some days, I'm surprised I've never been admitted to the hospital. I remember not eating more than a handful of nuts one day, and then being so frantic over the calories I went and ran for 30 minutes full speed. Ugh.

And running gave/gives me a high. It releases stress (while I'm running). I'm able to run like this because of my genetics, my build and all of that stuff. And the more I ran the easier it got to be able to run faster and longer, so it was like a self-competition. I would keep wanting to out-do myself and run further and longer than the days before. 

Because of this over-exercising and calorie restriction, I started noticing things about my body. My beautiful thick hair I once had was now brittle and shedding majorly. My nails became weak. I always felt tired, my skin started to dry out, I stopped growing so much hair (and being italian I always had slightly hairier arms/legs than average!) Basically my body was telling me to stop everything I was doing.

But I ignored these signs and kept up my routine. So fast forward to now. Over a year later. I'm very underweight (like 15-20 pounds). I'm fully vegan. I don't ever indulge, maybe I'll eat some dark chocolate every now and then, but it's hard for me to have any sort of dessert or something special without feeling guilty about it later. The only special things I have are hand made by me, all vegan and gluten free delicious creations. I've spent hours over-exercising like a maniac running, strength training, and everything in between. I have a very hard time eating the right amount of calories. And you know that heart to heart I mentioned I had with my mom? Yeah that was about this whole thing.

I'm aware that I have an eating disorder. I was diagnosed with it and literally wanted to faint. I remember learning about these eating disorders in health class laughing with my friends saying, "who would ever do that to themselves??" Honestly I cant believe I became one of those girls.

After some conscious decisions today (and believe me it's really hard on me mentally) I think I'm going to stop running/over-exercising. I'm done hurting myself. Running became an obsession, a way to "burn off" what I had eaten. It also started taking over my life in crazy ways, where I would make sure I had no plans on the weekends or after school so I could make sure I would fit it in. My mom told me she doesn't mind if I don't eat whatever I don't want to eat, as long as I get enough. So basically I have to triple or quadruple the amount of food I'm eating. Which, is a very tough thing for me to do. It's like a safety net for me. I didn't really mention it in this post, but I've gone through a lot of crap the past couple of years, and all of this has kind of gone along with it. She warned me that if I don't start gaining weight soon and eating more, she's gonna make me go to a doctor or nutritionist. The only reason she hasn't brought me anywhere is because she really believes in me, and I can't thank her enough for that.

After reading/ discovering The Balanced Blonde and reading this post from Chocolate Covered Katie, I'm finally ready to change my life. I'm tired of always being tired, fatigued, looked at in funny ways. Oh yeah, I should probably mention I lost my amazing butt I had, along with any "curves" I had....I wish I could say I wasn't crying right now but thinking about the body I had when I was happy and anxiety free makes me cringe. It was beautiful and perfect the way it was. Now I am very boney, lanky and people always ask me if I'm okay or if I eat enough. Of course I lie because what else would I do? But like I said, I'm done with this phase of my life. Isn't it crazy that I'm jealous of the body I got rid of? Now all I want is to have my old body back. My toned abs and lifted butt (thanks to barre). I should mention I'm tall (5'7'') and I have very long legs and arms (its just how I'm built, my dad and many family members are the same way) so being very underweight doesnt do me any good. 

So basically I'm starting to eat more, but it's going to take a lot of mental strength to do. It's very tough for a person with an eating disorder to just suddenly start doing something totally different. I'm going to take a break from running and see what happens. Already though, I feel a weight lifted off my chest that i dont have to go anywhere, you know? Instead of having a joyful feeling to go out and run, it's become a chore and its been creating anxiety in me all day every day. And it's been hurting my hips and knees too, and all I've done is ignore the signs. 

I still want to exercise, because that's just the competitive side of me. I love to push myself and I love to sweat, and yes sometimes (a lot of the time) i over do it. and i dont eat enough. But all that is going to change now. I'm going to start doing more HIIT, strength training, and take walks instead of running. I absolutely love walks. And I'm completely addicted to yoga! That has helped me so much with clearing my mind and easing my crazy thoughts. I just have to remind myself that when I'm pushing myself hard like I do, I need. to. eat. more.

This is very personal for me to post, so I hope it doesn't totally shock any of you. I don't really know what else to say, but if any of you are going through something similar or you have any thoughts/suggestions, please leave them down below. I wanted to share this because I felt like I had to. I don't want to seem all happy and cheery when I'm going through something major in my life. I don't ever want to hide anything from my readers. I also felt like I had to share this with someone, and maybe one of you reading this will relate I dont know. I've gone through this for a while and this journey has been a major part of my life, but seeing as I am almost 18, I think I'm ready to change my ways and finally take control of my life again. I would love to meet with Jordan from The Balanced Blonde, because her journey with food and over-exercising is very similar to mine and talking with someone who totally gets it would be so freaking awesome. How do I get in touch with her?!?


Maddie