WARNING: This story may be triggering to individuals who have/ or have ever had an eating disorder or self-image issues.
Hey guys! I’m Amanda.
Where to start!? So growing up I wasn’t overweight as a child, my mother did her best to make sure I got my veggies at every meal (she even hid them in spaghetti sauce haha) because she had weight issues herself and with that, the last thing she wanted was for me to have them too (so thankful!) However, even when I was younger (right about pre-teen age) I didn’t see myself as “thin or skinny” I’m not really sure why that was because I never really had a issue with weight or weight gain until I basically became pre-occupied by it…and with my mind widening with my negative thought; so was my waistline.
With things like the media, middle and high school and starting to like boys.. looks became a very important thing to me. Lets go back a few years to when I was 12 years-old and I got my first pair of bellbottom jeans for Christmas. I was so excited about them because all the clothes I usually got were hand-me-downs from my mothers clients from work (she’s a hair dresser =)) …and I remember they were a size 3. I put them on and they fit perfectly and while my excitement was on a high, an aunt of mine who sadly is no longer with us due to a disease she had her whole life said something to me, and it changed the way I thought about myself for a really long time. Her words were: “those are cute, but you should start watching that little pudge in your stomach area”. Now looking back, I honestly can say I know she didn’t mean for it to be a put-down of any sort, she, (like my mother … and most of my family for that matter has struggled with weight whether that be a disordered way of thinking towards a body image or with the food itself.) And I think she was only trying to make me aware so that I hopefully as an adult wouldn’t struggle with it. But being 12 years old, of course I was super offended and went upstairs, changed into the clothes I came in and continued through Christmas Eve like nothing was wrong. (I’m very non-confertational and very good at hiding certain emotions from certain people… except Evan (my wonderful boyfriend hahaha, I cant hide shit from him lol…..).
Anywho!, fast forward to my first year of Middle School,it was hell. I had maybe 5 friends and got threatened to be beat up on a daily basis just because I was kind of the quiet girl ( weird and not like me ,I know haha)….plus I was at that “awkward stage” too… and lets just say it, I was the white girl in a school full of other races lol… ( I don’t know how to politically make that correct… but you get my drift alright lol) My mother knew it wasn’t a good fit and we pulled me out after I finished that first year. This is when I flourished into the outgoing, active, energetic goof ball that I am today. With the excitement of going to a new school, I basically found myself a little bit that summer before I transferred. My mother showed me a few makeup tips, how to use hot rollers and my aunt (the one who ironically made that comment above took me on a little shopping spree for some new clothes).
Entering a new middle school was a little different but I refused to be that “girl that was quiet and awkward” at this new school. They put me into choir and drama classes because I loved to sing, act and dance and popularity just kind of came with that. With landing my first big role of Annie in Annie, having a pretty big solo in choir and even getting my first boyfriend (who ended up being my best friend through high school) I finally felt like things were going good and I have found a school where I could be myself. Being in middle school (the high school was across the street) they had programs for students who exceled in certain things to take high school classes while still in middle school. (hence I got asked if I would like to take choir and drama.. I was tickled pink and said YES!) – which helped with getting to know more people and feel more like I was at home.
Now, even though I had all these things going for me, and seemed super happy with how things were basically falling into place … I still didn’t feel good enough, and that feeling would always be somewhat concentrated around body image and weight. I’m not sure if it was all in my head (since you know at that age … image is everything.. along with being popular and whatnot, but the thing is I wasn’t overweight either. I just remember always wanting to be “skinny” or “thin” and I NEVER was either one. ) I actually remember a girl that graduated the year before I entered high school and I thought she was soooo gorgeous! She was tall, blonde, skinny.. and perfect in my mind. I made a comment to one of the high schoolers when I was there for choir and she told me she was anorexic. At this point I wasn’t quit sure what that entitled .. to “be anorexic”.Or even kn0w what exactly an “eating disorder” entitled.
I remember looking at her, being amazed that she could eat a cupcake and still be that thin and beautiful. I wondered if and how I could be like that….. and then I thought .. ha! yeah right, like that would ever happen!
Throughout high school, I was involved in tons of extra curricular activities. (choir, drama, musical, leadership, you name it… ) I also was on the dance team and this is where I noticed even though I wasn’t “overweight” .. I was definitely not skinny, and I often wondered if I ever would be. With the disordered way you learn from other girls, the internet and just feeling rather trapped in all these negative thoughts…. it was not leading toward anything good, but hey, me being me, I continued on throughout my days pretending nothing was eating at me. (pun kind of intended )
Through the rest of high school, I was already pretty much a mess in my mind, I constantly was thinking about weight, reading everything I could about weight loss and how these girls lost their weight by not eating, and looking at pictures of girls that were sickenly-skinny, thinking they were beautiful. I kept this secret to myself for a while. This is when the idea of skinny started to consume my thoughts… even though I was actually gaining weight by doing what I was doing. By the time college came, I was a little heavier than I was when I graduated and I officially was burnt out on other people and myself.
With my thoughts of self-hate growing, it only got worse. I would try so hard not to eat through the day that I would actually end up binging at night, usually alone and usually on something extremely unhealthy like an entire pizza. I would try to purge what I ate because I felt the guilt of being “fat” and not having enough self-control for one day that I had to eat that entire pizza. … sometimes it would come up, other times it would sit in my stomach and remind me of how stupid and fat I was.
Come college, I was looking for a new beginning and new people… which I found, people didn’t care if you were different, or skinny, or anything, they just accepted you … which was a nice change. But I was warned about the freshman 15 (and thinking you’re already fat,that s like hearing doom coming to life). So I would plan on making a healthy choice, but when I got to the dinning hall, I honestly didn’t know what was healthy and what wasn’t….. I went kind of crazy with the whole buffet style of serving and plus it didn’t help that my work study was in a cafeteria too. I considered being “healthy” was salads galore and diet food (ie, packaged food like lean cuisine, slim fast ,Atkins ect.) Since nothing seemed to be working, (and accepting that I had a mild alcohol addiction back then) I would continue my binge- purge- starvation method because I saw all these girls online that had done it and it was working for them, it would soon work for me… right?
So I was trying to go to school for Musical Theatre, and I had auditioned numerous times and I knew I could sing, and dance, and I wasn’t really sure why I wasn’t getting in. I was so frustrated that I went to one of my coaches there and asked her to kind of dig deeper and ask the professor of the musical theatre department if there was one specific reason why I wasn’t getting in. She came back with an answer and I already knew what it was…….. my weight. She gave me the look of “don’t do anything stupid Amanda” because I guess that was common there. But I did the stupid thing. Not really knowing that I was doing it either,since I was already sucked into this way of thinking and this is the way people get thin! I thought it was normal to think this way about yourself by this time. Self love was never an idea that I had up to this point in my life. yes, I knew I was beautiful but it was all based from what I saw on the outside.
Deep down I knew I was only hurting myself but I honestly believed if I did this long enough the fat would come off! All I wanted it to do was come off! Since I went to school in the boonies, all there was to do was drink, so I quickly figured out if I drank enough, A. I would forget the hell I was living in and putting myself through… and B. I sooner or later would be reminded of it with the constant dry heaving that would take place later in the night. (needless to say I found an easier way to get rid of my food ) So the cycle continued… and my roommates caught on .. but I did good at playing it off, saying I was just hangover or that everything I ate was making my tummy hurt (which that’s what it felt like to me!) I remember going to the cafeteria with my roommates, getting chicken parm and not even considering what I was eating. As long as I didn’t eat much throughout the day, what I ate at night wouldn’t have a huge effect, especially if I was planning on drinking that night.
Looking at it now, I probably couldn’t have done it any worse way. I was trapped with the voice in my head, I have a serious lack of knowledge and I didn’t care to learn the right ways to do anything when it came to health. I hated the gym, I hated health food and I hated the person that was staring at me in the mirror that I slowly didn’t start to recognize.
When I finally I realized I had a problem, and was willing to face it head on, was the final turning point…. I think the fact that I wasn’t loosing weight anymore but instead gaining it.. pissed me off. I felt alone, trapped and scared. I felt like I messed up as a child. (that and I HATE asking for help… ). After a long heart to heart with my mother,w e both decided it would be best I were to come home and finish school somewhere else.
So I enrolled at my new college (and gotten into their musical theatre program I might add). I also enrolled in my first nutrition class to help me understand my own body and how it works…. Which I was taking for 2 reasons… 1. I secretly wanted to know more tricks on not eating as much or different little ideas to basically dig myself deeper (which was stupid now that I think of it). I wanted to know all the calorie counts and what foods had the most fat and carbs and sugar etc…. even though I was still trapped in the negativity of myself, I knew I was making the right choice.
So Im not sure if I just needed an aw-ha moment… but something clicked inside me. I was so sick of hating myself, so sick of being scared of food when food isn’t the enemy at all (real food that is)… with these classes I learned what real food was, how it worked with your body, how real food actually is a savior to your body and can do amazing things health and nutrition wise. I started eating right, and not starving myself or binging and purging. I started to like the way I felt again, I didn’t feel sick had a headache or be constantly tiered, all the time .. and guess what?! I started loosing weight! I was supper happy and excited. Never did I think I could love eating food, and lose weight at the same time. I always heard about people dreading their diets, being miserable while only eating salads 24/7 and craving a doughnut at the end of the day. That’s when I ironically, decided to make my minor nutrition. =) I started to think, wow there are so many girls that probably have been thought similar struggles like me, maybe I could possible help them.
Within one year I went from 210 to 180.. After a few bad relationships this is when I met the love of my life (Evan.. You’ll hear me mention him a few times thought out this blog) He saw me for me, not for weight, not for looks just … for me. He supported me with anything I decided to do health, or non health related and he knew of some of my struggles from the past. After getting out of the 200’s I decided I wouldn’t never go back there again. I started educating myself on more and more nutrition, health, exercise and even for a 2nd job at a local gym.
As the weight continued to drop, my love and passion continued to grow. I have had so many people (some I know, some I don’t) reach out to me asking for help, motivation and just advice in general which is why I created this blog. I finally found what I feel I was put here for and that feeling is more rewarding that anything. I have had a few friends come to me with their progress and I literally cry in joy for them because I’ve been there and I understand what it feels like to finally accomplish a weight loss goal. I know what it feels like to start to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin and I also know what it feels like to not. So basically my message is, you are not alone, many people have been thought something similar or have experienced similar situations.
Yes I still have that voice from time to time haunting me, but I don’t listen to it … it will not control, consume, nor have anything to do with my life anymore. I have found a new love, new passion and new health and this is where I belong. I hope to inspire others through nutrition, fitness and self-love. =) I love helping others so feel free to ask me anything … but first ask yourself. Are you ready? The mind is a powerful thing…. believe in yourself and that you can do it, and you’re half way there.
Other little tid-bits about me.. I’m a big dork, I love Disney movies and I’m the girl who’s not scared to skip down the street singing really loudly in fear of what others think. I love being active whether that’s having a fun day at the park (yes I will totally still go to the park and swing on the swings, or going dancing and karaoking with my girls. I have a wonderful boyfriend who had been there for me 100% these past few years and he supports me in whatever I choose to do. I couldn’t imagine life without him. He’s been through the ups and the downs with me and yet we still seem to mesh pretty well. I love him so much!
I’m also in training for my first EVER fitness competition … so follow this new journey with me!
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