Day 3 + my Journey part 1

Posted by Jenn @ livewellfit on February 12th, 2010
Filed under Motivation, My Journey to health | 2 Comments »

Afternoon to ya!

Today felt nearly spring like in Boston. I think the temperature reading was a whopping 39 degrees, with a feels like of 39 degrees. MY GOODNESS! We were supposed to get nearly a foot of snow yesterday but reality: a mere light coating, maybe an inch. My friends down south and in Dallas are snowed in! I am so glad I am not a weather forecaster…tough job and you never quite catch a break. :)

Workout Challenge Check In

On the workout note. I decided to take today as my rest day. My foot was super sore when I got up and without ruining the progress that me + the toe have made, I took it easy. That's the beauty of flexibility. Work with what ya got! So instead of Saturday being my restful one, Thursday is! I did walk a bunch to enjoy the warmth and took extra stairs whenever I could. A rest day for me is usually still an active one but I do not do any "purposeful" exercise. :)

Food has been fantastic if I say so myself. Looking forward to my dinner: pork chops, marinara sauce and a TON of sautéed veggies on the side (squash, zucchini, artichokes). Mighty fine!

Emotional Eating: My Journey

We are all so uniquely different it is incredible, wouldn't you say?

But there is also a large part of us that are exactly the same. We worry. We love. We fear. We experience. We desire. We battle. Often we feel alone, as though we are the only one in the world who could ever feel that way or have that story.

Over the most recent years I have come to realize how connected we all can be. And how my experience with emotional eating, food restriction, weight gain, weight loss may be a lot like what others have experienced.

So today begins my time to share. My time to share this journey of mine and how I came to where I am today.

I started struggling with my weight, my body and my self image around the age of 15. In order to thoughtfully share my experience I will break up this wild story into a few different posts. Otherwise I would lose your attention after the first 5000 words. :) So, let's begin shall we?

How it all started


I was raised in a very healthy and fit family. We were all involved in various activities that kept us moving and active just about all of the time. My favorites were dance and tennis. When I entered highschool, I had a relatively healthy body image. I was concerned with the same things all kids were but overall, I was a confident gal. My second year, I noticed that some girls were suddenly much thinner than before. Their dance clothes looked different on them. Why wasn't that happening to me? I began to look in the mirror a lot more. I began to question my body and I began to not like what I was seeing. I remember standing one day in Wal Mart and looking at my body in the mirror. I remember not liking what I was seeing. I remember deciding that things were too round, too soft, and too big.

So I started to do what I picked up on from other girls- I began to restrict my food. Skipping meals became the name of the game. And you know what? It worked. I got thin. I got thin very fast. My already small frame dropped a good 15 pounds and everyone noticed. I felt accomplished and the compliments filled my mind.

But was I happy you ask? No. Not at all. The compliments weren't enough. I wasn't thin enough yet. I wasn't pretty enough. Tall enough. Good enough. I simply wasn't enough.

So the cycle began

I continued to skip my meals. But after nearly a year of this my body began to fight back. My stomach was constantly hungry. I felt tired all the time. And everywhere I looked there was stinking food! With never experiencing cravings before, I could not stop thinking about food. I became obsessed. Food became this forbidden part of my world that I could not indulge in. This is what led to my first binge.

My mom picked me up from school and had a bag of fresh bagels from my favorite shop. The smell was overwhelming- a mixture of warm blueberry, starchy perfection. I couldn't control my hand as it reached into the bag. By the time we pulled into the driveway I had eaten 3 bagels. And it didn't stop there. I had pasta for dinner, ice cream and chocolate and I think a few bowls of Special K snuck in there as well. You might wonder why I remember the specifics of what I ate so clearly. This day wasn't about enjoying the food or even tasting the food. This was about filling a void that had been there for over a year. The emotions I felt during this eating experience were incredible: relief, freedom, happiness, joy and excitement! It was the best I had felt in a very long time.


From that point forward, my day was determined by my choices: either I was restricting what I ate and I felt in control or I was somehow sneaking in all of the indulgent foods that were not allowed. My emotions cycled from control to guilt, shame, despair, anxiety, excitement, relief and then joy. Repeat! Repeat. Repeat. This cycle slowly began to give food more power than anything in my life. My emotions, my fear, my worries, my frustrations were all dictated and dealt with by using food.

The shame I experienced during this time was overwhelming. The restriction was about control. The binge was about losing control, letting go, relaxing and food became my relief. Looking back, I realize that all of my days, my vacations, parties, dates, weekends with the girls, family events, first days of class, move in day at college…every single memory was marked by whether I was eating/restricting, bingeing or deciding which of the two I could handle. My friends, my family and those that were close to me knew could never help. I never let them in to this part of my world. I couldn't. There was too much shame. And how would anybody understand?

After I graduated from college, things started to change. I began to realize the magnitude of my habits. I began to realize how much of my life was a result of these behaviors and the result of my decisions. I began to ask myself questions: why couldn't I just be happy? Why couldn't I just eat food. Normally. Why couldn't I just be happy with my body and who I was RIGHT NOW? I was asking the right questions but I wasn't ready to accept the answers.

I moved to Boston after I graduated and I began to build a new life. Unfortunately the stress of being on my own for the first time, a new job and a new city brought worry and more anxiety into my life. New stress + new job = excessive binges. I began to turn to all of the foods that I had removed from my life. Giving myself permission to eat this food- even if just for the night brought me relief. But I began to put on weight. Three years after moving, I was 55 pounds heavier. I didn't even recognize myself. I was in love with my life but I hated what I was doing to my body. Now I had a new problem and I turned once again to what I knew to do best: restriction. For the next four months I restricted my food, exercised excessively and I lost all of the weight. But I was so desperate inside. Everyday I fought the desire to binge. And yet everyday a new voice inside my head began to grow. A voice that said I wanted to change. A voice that said you can do this. A voice that said it is time.

I will continue again tomorrow friends. I don't have any digital pictures of me in highschool or college wildly enough, but below are a few pictures of me during my first few years in Boston just to give you a glimpse of me at the time. I was losing and gaining constantly.

This is me in the summer of 2008. You would rarely catch me looking straight at the camera or smiling.

I got really talented at placing myself right next to someone, hiding nearly half of my body. :) I can barely recognize that girl.

Hiding behind our hair, are we Jenn? :)

And finally, how about a few in the last 6 or so months…big change:

This was at a wedding this fall so yes, I'm all glam!

This was the day after we got engaged so I was one happy girl!!

So next time I'll complete the picture of how I began to face my emotional eating, what I started to do to change my behavior, deal with emotions, plus strategies and tips I use today!

My Journey Part 2

My Journey Part 3

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2 Responses to “Day 3 + my Journey part 1”

  1. I really enjoyed this post because I can really identify with it. I am such an emotional eater. I just have a question. When you say "restricting", do you mean not eating at all? Or do you just mean eating a very restricted diet?

  2. Hi Jessica,

    I'm glad you were able to identify with some of this! When I say restricting it varied from eating very little to eating a very limited number of foods. In highschool I ate very little for periods of time..maybe a total of 2 meals a day sometimes. Sometimes 1. It was not sustainable so inevitably I would end up overeating at some point. In college I jumped from diet to diet in order to control my intake so I ate more in college but a very very limited set of foods.

    I hope that helps!

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