I've become super transparent about talking about my journey because it's something I find so interesting. So many people's health and fitness journeys turn into full blown eating disorders or unhealthy relationships with food. Mine sure did.
The first picture was during the summer of my lowest weight (summer 2012). I remember seeing 88lbs on the scale. It's so crazy because I never intended to be small. During that time I didn't even think I looked good, yet I was so fixated on the number on the scale. For some reason a lower number meant success, even though I was tired, exhausted, sad, irritable, frustrated and unhappy. Looking back at that picture makes me sick.
Unhealthy relationships with food and fitness actually have nothing to do with food and fitness. They have everything to do with control. Back then, I thought I had complete control, but in reality I had none.
How do you overcome it? Was there a defining moment? I don't even know. I just know I was sick and tired of living in such a restricted way. I was depriving myself of perfectly good foods for no reason. I was avoiding going out to dinner with my friends because I had no control over my choices. I secluded myself. I lied to myself and the people around me. I claimed that I was "healthy" and "happy", but I was the complete opposite. One day I had enough, so I decided to start gaining weight.
It's one thing to be on a weight-loss journey, but it's a complete other thing to be on a weight-gain journey. It's a complete mental battle, but I just did it. I started eating more. Simple as that. I started eating food again. Food that I restricted from myself. Even healthy foods! I went a year without ever eating peanut butter (WHAT!?) I know. Did I gain weight? Yes, obviously. If you're underweight and you start increasing food then you will gain weight BECAUSE YOUR BODY NEEDS IT! It's called healthy weight. I started having more energy to hold actual conversations and do actual things. I was happier and just felt better.
Right now it's summer 2015. 3 years later and I have gained about 20lbs. Looking at the 2 pictures, 20lbs LOOKS DAMN GOOD. I'm still lean, but I'm stronger, and more importantly happier and healthier. I still workout, but I just don't do as much cardio (I used to do ONLY cardio and do it every day for 60 minutes or more). I'm eating probably over double than what I used to it. I slowly started adding more food to my diet. More carbs, more fat, more protein. If you need advice on how to overcome under eating, check out this blog post.
You just need to realize that your body needs food to simply exist. And if you workout on top of that, your body needs even MORE food to maintain it's weight. And if you want to build muscle, your body needs EVEN MORE FOOD! But like I said before, it's not about the food, it's about control. You need to let yourself free by loving your body and treating it with respect. I promise you that you will get there. I promise you that you will overcome your struggles. It took me years to get to where I am today, so don't rush it. Stay positive. Keep fighting.