25 Years To Healthy

Wow, it's hard to believe that I'm writing this blog. This has been a long time coming (25 years to get it all figured out to be exact, 8 really stressful ones) and I have lived to tell the tale. I wanted to share my testimony of healthy living from start to finish with you today. I know that many have followed me over the past few years, and you probably have noticed changes, evolutions, and I'm sure that at times that can look like I don't have anything figured out. That's probably partly true. I think that we all go through evolutions and that's a good thing. That means that we are growing and changing. 

I have definitely had an evolution in fitness.

I started with just running and pretending to eat healthy (aka fruits, veggies, detox diets, didn't eat anything, etc..). I started Beachboy coaching, and I want go into details on that other than it's just not for me. I soon afterward got into competing. I look back on my first days in competing and it makes me mad. It makes me mad that someone made me believe I had to do the things that I did and took me away from my friendships. It makes me mad that I believed it. Nevertheless, I was "hardcore" and I did everything exactly right. I soon realized that the bro diet wasn't going to work for me. I saw everyone starting the reverse dieting and macro counting, and I KNEW I had to do that. So, I did all the research on my own, started counting macros, immediately started reverse dieting and now I'm FINALLY here. Intuitively eating in a balanced format (like macros allows) but not tracking the grams and just living life and pursuing athletics, not aesthetics.

That's just the start of the barely healthy lifestyle that I thought I was following. It has taken me SO long to find the right path, but either way, I made it and I'm so glad for the patience that I practiced over the past year to  get to now. 

In middle school and high school, I was the fast food junkie. I would eat as many fast foods per day as possible. I remember my friend telling me my junior year of high school that I was going to die and had to be so unhealthy because all I ate was McDonalds, Taco Bell, Bojangles, Burger King, Jack In the Box, Chickfila, etc, etc. I didn't care and I kinda felt cool that I could do that. I used to wonder how I did that and stayed thin, but now that I realize more about the body, I really wasn't even taking in THAT many calories. I had hardly any protein but I ate 3 square meals per day. I got a big head about my metabolism and so then I started eating everything in sight thinking that I could. 

It caught up to me.. 

I gained like 10 pounds my senior year, and I was NOT happy about it. I even can remember one of the teachers at my school (won't tell a name) who said "Woah Katie, you've been eating haven't you?" LIKE WHO SAYS THAT? COME ON. Anyway, I knew I had to take action .. 

So, I started fad diets. I tried to watch what I ate which ended in 0 weight loss. So, I was gonna do what it took. So, I would not eat for a week (or like 500 calories per day). The next week, I would start eating fast food again. I would put all the weight back on. I seriously didn't have mental issues at this point. I was just a dumb, young girl trying to lose weight. I remember 2 weeks before I started at App, I told myself "Well I know the not eating thing works, so I'm going to just stopping eating permanently I guess." Wow, what I would do, to have someone speak some sense into me that night. This is when it all went downhill. I was like 108 that night I think. 

I weighed in at App two weeks later at 93 pounds. I dropped 15 pounds in 2 weeks and I had no weight to lose. So, what did I lose? MUSCLE. I couldn't jump. I couldn't tumble. I was so dumb though that I didn't understand why. I couldn't reason with myself that this meant I needed to eat. I just wallowed in self pity, and the only thing I cared about was getting that number lower.  I thought cheerleading was the culprit for making this happen to me, so I quit rashly. I had one friend who tried to talk me out of it, but I couldn't reason well. I just did it (I regret that). 

That actually was an even worse decision. Cheerleading made me weigh in every practice. If I didn't weigh at least 90, they wouldn't let me practice. I now didn't have that, so I could weigh as little as I wanted. I knew that it wasn't healthy at this point, but I didn't care. I wanted to see how "tough" I could be.

Tough led me to 85lbs. 

I knew I had to do something. But, I'm too "normal" for that. I couldn't let people know. I had to do it on my own. I came home for the summer, and honestly don't remember how but my weight crept up to 94lbs. This was BETTER. At this point, I couldn't make bowel movements because I had no food to do so. So, I took a laxative to produce a movement. I noticed the morning after I took one, I had lost like 3lbs. This was clearly all water, but I didn't care. I started abusing them. I took them every week like clock work. But, honestly, I couldn't have produced it regardless so I did need something looking back. But, my mental state while taking them was "Yay, more weight loss." 

My mom pleaded with me and said she would take me out of school if I didn't stay where I was at least (95lbs). So, I stayed there. For the next two years. I would fluctuate between 95-100lbs but I honestly had found a relatively stable life at that place. I wasn't constantly chasing weight loss. I just ate very little (probably around 1000 calories) but I was perfectly content with that. I moved schools to GWU and this was my happiest year. I loved those girls so much. I still abused laxatives but it was more like every 2 weeks and I ate "normal". I was a functioning member of society and honestly felt more healthy than ever. I was about 100lbs. I thought I was good. 

Then, the second wave of ED hit me. I went through a break up. I started binging because I decided food was not the enemy, heartbreak was. I gained 10-15pounds in a matter of 2 months. The comments started flowing "You look amazing." BLAH BLAH BLAH! I may have looked better on the outside, but I was a wreck. 

I honestly think binging is the worse of the evils. 

Even during my lowest, my mind told me, at least I was skinny. 

I had just started pharmacy school, I knew no one, and I was the most unhappy I had ever been in my entire life. I started an antianxiety/depression medication. The black box warning on these medications is that they can swing you in the severe direction and cause suicidal thoughts. Yea, I had to get off that med quick. 

Soon after, I became best friends with Brandy. She was my first angel. I've never had a true best friend before. She was everything I needed her to be during that time but I honestly didn't tell her anything. I just thrived on her friendship and spent every waking moment with her. 

I met Tanner soon after. He was my saving grace. I told him. We started working together to fix it. Right after we met, I started getting better. I just didn't know how to eat. I didn't know what full looked like. I didn't know what hungry looked like. I couldn't produce a bowel movement without a laxative. I had damaged my metabolism so bad that those pounds I had put on, I couldn't lose no matter how little I ate. I knew so little. I ate so little. 

That's when I started running.

I used it as my outlet. It kept me sane. The binges became far less frequent. I went to therapy at a church and was able to talk it out with some other people going through the same thing (which sadly were a lot of moms). 

I decided to compete. I thought if I had a goal, I would stop binging officially. And I did. I went on a bro science diet, but I was able to commit. I stopped for my entire prep. I thought I was cured. I loved competing and prepping so much. I didn't care what social outings I missed. I was cured. HA! 

Wrong. 

Healthy does not mean not binging. Healthy DEFINITELY doesn't mean missing all social outings for competing. Healthy means being a functioning member of society in every form. I was not. I isolated myself. I knew people would judge me for the way that I ate, but I didn't want to stop. I thought the binges would start again and I was finally "better" 

I started the one cheat meal per week. The binges returned. So, I stopped cheat meals entirely. That means chicken and brocolli and sweet potato and oatmeal 6x per day, 7 days per week. If I had any event, I had SERIOUS anxiety. However, I made it work. I honestly felt okay and "thought" I had it figured out. Unfortunately, I feel that some people still do this. I know that everyone is different so I'm not saying this is 100% unhealthy. I'm just saying, it wasn't for me. 

It's just insane how I look back even one year ago and how ridiculous I still was, and even thought at the time that I was all better. Again, this is why change and evolution are so important. 

I started macro counting. MY LIFE CHANGED. FINALLY. No one understood. They thought that by weighing and counting, I was again restricting. No no no. This was honestly one of the hardest evolutions. No one got the macro thing....AT ALL. I wanted to be serious about it, and serious about my reverse because I knew what damage I had done to my metabolism but everyone just thought that I was restricting again. I knew that if they would just give me 6 months, I would prove them wrong. But, I didn't know how to explain that in more ways then I already had. I cried many tears over this because it seemed the only one who understood was Tanner.

I stuck to every gram. This was not unhealthy for me. I freakin loved every second of it. I was incorporating foods into my life that I had not in YEARS AND YEARS. My macros were low because I was coming off competition and bro life, and so it was harder but I could go out to eat and find foods that worked and I. WAS. FREE. 

Free as a freakin bird. 

I just can't even. 

Freedom.

Peace. 

Wowzas. 

Okay I'll stop. I kept reversing. I went so slow. I was so patient. I hit every gram. I knew if I would just hold out, the grass would be found that was greener. I saw that it worked. I was able to finally and I mean FINALLY produce a bowel movement 100% on my own. I kept it up, day in and day out. I never once binged. I never once didn't count. I still honestly don't even care one bit that I did that. It was 100% worth it. I was able to increase by over 1000 calories per day that I was eating. I was able to eat more carbs than I ever thought possible in one day. I know that some experience weight gain and I thought I might but I was determined no matter what to do this. However, I didn't gain weight. I was able to go out with friends and not worry. 

During my reverse, I stopped thinking about food ever.

I never think about food.

I just eat it according to my macros. 

But then a little bird in my head told me, you can't be doing this forever. You can't be 70 years old with your myfitnesspal charting your meals. You just gotta let it go. 

That brings me full circle to now. Counting was not bad for me. It was the best thing that ever happened to me to be quite honest. I have just realized that I FINALLY can listen to my body's signals. I can finally know if I'm hungry, eat. If I'm full, stop. If I want fries, eat them. If I want an apple, eat it. If I want chocolate, pizza, egg whites, or chicken, eat it. Stop when I'm full. Don't restrict but don't stuff my face. Don't punish myself with workouts. Workout to be stronger, faster, better. 

Does not counting mean not eating healthy? Uh definitely not, duh. I'm healthy because I love the way that it makes me feel. I'm healthy because of the way that it has saved me slowly but surely finding my way. I will forever be healthy. I am so glad for the hard {as hell} journey that led me to this moment writing this blog because now I've been through LITERALLY every avenue (I went vegan one time but that wasn't necessary for this story). I can empathize with all of you. But, I'm also a story of restoration. Faith and the power of prayer had CRAZY CRAZY amounts to do with the fact that I no longer think about body image but today, I just wanted to tell about all of the rest of it. 

I tried to be brief. I tried to only give important details, but lord have mercy, I've done it all. 

I hope you find this encouraging that you can too. Finding what works for you is most vital. I'm not saying my way works. I'm saying my way worked for me. 

With love and healing, 

Katie 

 

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