My Journey

 The Early Years

As early back as I can remember, I struggled with body image.  I hit puberty at an early age (4th grade) and grew faster than most of my friends. I did not like feeling “bigger” than the other kids, especially boys! I hated being taller than everyone else.

I can even recall my friends discussing how much they weighed and I felt upset that I was 5 or so pounds more than they were. This was right around the time I began reading “teeny bopper” magazines and wishing my body looked like the models. I would sit in my room and do sit ups and leg lifts that were demonstrated in those magazines. I was hoping to achieve the “perfect” body because I thought boys would like me. I think I was 11 years old.
 
The Weight Gain
 
I was always active throughout adolescence. My parents never let us watch much tv and I was involved in lots of sports: soccer, volleyball, track, and basketball. I kept my weight in check with these activities until my sophomore year.
When a school trip to Florida was planned my sophomore year of high school, I wanted to lose weight. The only way I could think to do this was through ultimate restriction. I let myself consume about 800 calories a day, consisting of a tiny bowl of cereal, maybe an apple for lunch, and a few bites at dinner. No one was the wiser. I ended up losing weight and felt happy because I went on the trip slimmer.
However, when I came back from Florida, the diet was over. I began to eat as I normally would.  After restricting for almost 7 months, my body clung on to whatever I ate, and I was not eating the healthiest. The weight just kept going up.
At 5’6″, my highest weight was 162 pounds. It was my junior year of high school and I had really low self esteem. I was eating the same way my brothers ate and I knew something had to change. I felt unhealthy and was struggling to fit into a size 12.

Formal Dance 2001: ~162lbs

 
  I finally got smart and talked with my mom. We bought a great book that mapped out sensible meal plans and exercise routines. My goal was to lose weight for my senior year. The process was slow…try eating sensibly with three brothers going through growth spurts!
However, small changes made a big difference. I stopped drinking soda, replaced chips with fruit and yogurt, and started exercising more. Slowly the weight started coming off and I was losing 1-2 pounds a week. By prom, I was able to wear a dress that was a size 8! Success!!
 
Disordered Eating
 
I don’t quite know how it began, but in my second year of college, I started to get obsessive with exercise and food. The more I learned about nutrition, the healthier I wanted to eat, and the more dissatisfied I became with my body. I didn’t just want to look “good,” I wanted to be perfect. I wanted the washboard abs, the cute little butt, and the sculpted Jennifer Aniston arms. That was my goal and I took unhealthy extremes to achieve it. After all, that’s what the media tells you right?
I started exercising compulsively. No matter what I put in my mouth, I would go to the gym to “burn off.” I carried on like this, “secretly,” for 2 years. I could not talk to anyone because no one understood.  I wasn’t losing OR gaining weight because my metabolism was so screwed up. It was USED to surviving on nothing.
There were nights I would just sit alone in my dorm room and cry. I felt trapped and had extreme anxiety about gaining weight. All I saw in the mirror was the “old” me. What was I going to do? I knew what I was doing was NOT normal but I just didn’t know how to change. If I changed my ways, I would surely gain weight right?? So I continued on…
 
Breaking Point
 
My breaking point finally came a year or so after I started dating my current husband. As you can tell from the picture, he is perfect. :)   He’s not tall or “macho,” but he is absolutely 100% confident in himself and that is what attracted me to him. He was everything I wasn’t and I LOVED that about him.
Obviously, he soon realized that something wasn’t right. I was withdrawing from Brandon because I hated myself. I actually thought about ending the relationship because with no love for myself, how I could I love someone else? It was my  brother’s wise words that kept me from making that mistake. He said, “Erin, if you break up with him because of your own insecurities, you will always regret it. You won’t find anyone better. He’s awesome.”
So I did the only thing I could. I confided in Brandon. I told him everything; all the ups, all the downs, and everything in between. He listened and he was there for me. He put up with a lot and I learned THAT is true love. Slowly he started to show me that I didn’t have to be “perfect.” He taught me to love myself and I gradually started changing. I began looking at food as sustenance and nourishment, rather than ”good” or “bad.” I challenged myself to eat whatever I wanted, no matter how intimidated I was. I ate until I was satisfied….and that included ordering French fries!
Learning to moderate was the best knowledge I ever acquired. It turns out you really CAN enjoy one brownie and not feel guilty. The brownies really will still be there tomorrow. And ya know what? They taste SO much better when you aren’t binging on them!
After a LONG battle to get to a healthy mind set, I realized that I COULD maintain my weight by eating normally and exercising sensibly. I started to get my life back. I stopped negative self talk and began positive affirmations daily.
 
Today
 
 Today I am at my “happy” weight. I have been maintaining a weight of 130 pounds for the past 4 years through moderate exercise and sensible eating. I know that if I drop below 130 pounds, I am getting too restrictive because I feel moody and depressed. My lesson in life has been that it’s all about balance. There is no such thing as “perfect” and you have to love who you are before you will ever want to do healthy things for your body. God gave us one body to take care of and I want it to take me to old age. I want to cherish the fact that I can walk and run and live a healthy lifestyle. My main focus is wellness, fitness, and HAPPINESS!
 

Honeymoon, Puna Cana!

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36 comments to My Journey

  • I just came across your blog and LOVE your story! I have a 5 month old daughter as well and its my 1st! Totally in the same boat as you with life WOOOHOO!

  • Love Your Blog. I would love for you to check out my site and blog.

    Happy blogging

  • Angel In The Dock

    Thank you so much for sharing your story…it rings so many bells and makes me feel not stupid for sharing some elements of your journey. I am so proud of what you’ve achieved and it really helped me affirm the positive upward journey I am on myself.

  • Such an inspiring, great story and I’m so happy to have found you!!! I found the link to your blog on Laury’s site and I’m so excited to start following along your pregnancy journey as well – congrats!! I 110% relate to your story and led a similar path 5 years ago. It was my then boyfriend, now husband, who showed me the light and taught me how to love myself again, and look at food as energy and sustenance instead of the devil. I don’t know where I’d be today if it weren’t for him, and it sounds like you have the same thing in your amazing husband and I’m so happy for you :) We’re actually trying to get pregnant and have been for awhile…because of my past I’m dealing with hypothalamic amenorrhea since going off birth control pills, so now with lowered exercising and maintaining my weight of 140 lbs., I hope to see a period soon! I was wondering too if you had trouble regaining your cycles and with getting pregnant b/c of your past struggles? If it’s a private matter I understand, or you can shoot me an email :) Congrats again and I’m so excited to follow you along this journey!!

  • Great story, very inspiring. Is great to have such a supportive person in your life right!? thats awesome!! so glad i found your blog!

  • I stumbled upon your site when I was looking for a good granola bar recipe and YUM! It was delicious! But then I started poking around your page and you have a really inspirational story and awesome recipes! I have a few on my list of recipes to bake! First on my list is those donuts, but I have yet to find a donut pan sadly. Once I do those are so going in my oven! I just wanted to say you have a wonderful site and have been enjoying reading your posts! Thank you!

  • Thanks for sharing your story!!! I have a similar story in that it took my now-husband to help me get on track with my healthy eating. I was just eating way too much of the bad stuff and it packed on the pounds. I’m the same height and hit almost the same weight as you. I’ve lost 30 pounds and have maintained my healthy weight for awhile now. It feels so good to be healthy!!

  • What an awesome journey. Thank God for your husband, and for your brother’s wise words. Congrats on coming to the point where you are now!

  • Thanks so much for your story! It makes me overjoyed to hear of your success. All of us struggle with insecurities. Thank you for sharing yours!

  • What a great story! Keep up the good work. I’ve had many struggles with the same issues, and finally feel I have struck the right balance. Can’t wait to read up on your blog!

  • Your story is so inspiring – I’m so glad you stumbled upon my blog so I could stumble right back to yours! Looking forward to a lot more inspiration and deliciousness from you :D

  • Mary

    Erin, having gone through most of college with you I had no idea you were going through this. Although I will always have the memory of you eating grape fruit daily because you said it was so healthy. I’m so glad you have found balance with your diet and exercise. Definitely something that everyone could work on I’m sure. Glad to see you are doing so well, and how much you love dietetics! I’m very happy for you!

  • Thank you SO much for sharing this story… I still struggle with a whole host of insecurities and it’s so inspiring ot see someone overcome them! You are absolutely beautiful, don’t ever forget that. :)

    I also nearly teared up at the part about your husband… That is so, so sweet. What a keeper. :) Clearly you’re amazing too, to keep him around! <3

    n

  • That is such a touching and inspiring story! Isn’t it crazy how much insecurity and anxiety we live with from early years on, due to body image and unhealthy comparisons? It’s great you’ve gotten out of that vicious circle!

  • Thank you for sharing your story; it is so inspiring! My boyfriend is also the person in my life that keeps my perspective in check. If I’m feeling great one day , then complaining about the way my stomach or arms look the next, he reminds me that I look no different than I did the day before, and the insecurities are only in my head.

  • I absolutely love your story and can’t wait to keep reading your blog! Last year I struggled immensely. I restricted my eating and was only eating about 800 calories a day and even though I was getting very thin I still hated myself and was feeling so depressed. Finally I realized that I wasn’t being healthy. It’s been hard and I still struggle with body image issues and binge eating, but I am getting so better. Thanks for sharing your story and being so open, I have learned a lot just from reading this page.

  • Your story is SO inspiring! Thank you for sharing it!

  • What an amazing story! I’m so glad you have been able to find your “happy weight” and find the right balance :) That’s so great!

  • Wow, your story is so inspiring! You look amazing and healthy! I completely agree that the “brownies taste so much better when you’re not binging on them.” It truly is all about balance and wanted to be healthy for the right reasons. :)

  • Erin, thank you for sharing your journey. I can promise you many girls are going to read this and you will help them in many ways. I work with many woman and it takes a strong voice like yours to help out! So glad you found me/I found you! :) Always read my post on the Why the Scales Lies when you feel you need it. :) You are rockin!

  • Misty

    Your story is so inspirational. I can completely relate with your story. I’m at the point right now where I’m struggling with finding a happy weight and not obsessing so much about food. I don’t restrict myself but I sometimes beat myself up with how I’m thinking and often categorize foods as “good” and “bad”…..my boyfriend too is 100% confident in himself and I can only hope that I will be able to get to that point too because he is so much happier for it. He doesn’t question himself and is always in a good mood. Thanks for sharing this! It’s really nice to know that I’m not the only one who has ever felt like this and that there is hope! :)

  • What an inspiring story. It took me a lot longer to get to that place of loving and trusting myself, but I am there now. Love what you are doing with your blog. There are so many people struggling with learning to eat well and love and trust themselves.

  • Wow, you weren’t kidding! Our stories are SO similar! I am so happy to hear you are as healthy and happy as I am today too!! You are GORGEOUS! Keep smiling, girl :-)

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

  • Your journey is very inspiring to me because it’s so similar to my own. I had so much trouble my first three years in college. Thank you for sharing, It’s so amazing to read about someone who made it through it all.

  • Your breaking point is a lot like mine was. Meeting a guy that is confident in himself and loves you for who you are makes the world of a difference.

  • I love this! Your transparency places “us” on the same level…there are so many things you’ve written that just bring it home…things that I’ve done, thought, said all throughout my life. Thank you!

    And congratulations for not falling prey to the “perfectness” that society heaves upon us…it’s really not perfect anyway. Happy Happy Body!

  • I am loving your blog right now. I am glad you made it to your happy weight. Thanks for commenting and reading my blog =) I hope to chat soon.
    -Nicole

  • Such a great story. I can totally relate to the restricive diet… I use to do that in high school. Now after two kids, Im perfectly happy to be a size 6/8… Plus I love food and LOVE to eat!!

  • What an amazing outlook you have. I am so glad that I found your blog. I read some of me in your story. I’m hoping to get to the “happy point” where you have arrived.

  • Thanks for sharing your story! I’m glad that you are healthy and happy now! I can’t wait to read your blog and learn more from you!

  • I loved reading your journey! It’s so awesome that your husband helped you through such a challenging time- he seems like a remarkable guy. I’m excited to read more of your blog!

  • Your story is eerily similar to mine! It was my sophmore year of college that I started becoming obsessed with what I ate, working out, and getting the perfect body. I would still be in that horrible binge/restrict cycle if it weren’t for my husband! He is my rock and has worked so hard to help me see how beautiful I truly am and helped me realize that food is just food. I need to live my life!

    Glad I found your blog ;)

  • Wow, I loved reading about your journey, and look forward to following your current journey today! And PS. Where in Punta Cana did you stay on your honeymoon? Looks JUST like the place my husband and I went for our five year anniversary last year!

  • I’m so glad that you made it to your happy weight in a healthy way! I can relate to many of the thoughts and struggles you went through during your journey. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward to reading more of yours! ~Kim

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