So, today I was out jogging and I came to a realisation… for once in my life I am not excercising because I want to lose weight or because I feel insecure in myself… I’m actually exercising because it makes me feel good… and makes me feel healthier in body, mind and soul!
I can still remember the first time I felt like I had fat legs. Up until this point, I had always been told by my mum that my thighs were “shapely and womanly” and this body positivity had got me through until I was around thirteen years old. I was sitting at a youth group one night, when a boy looked at me and said… “your thighs are pretty enormous aren’t they?!”… this is where the thigh-hate began. That moment has stuck with me ever since, one off-the-cuff comment from an immature teenage boy undid thirteen years of compliments from my mum to help me avoid loathing the dreaded “Trevelyan thigh”.
The picture at the bottom of the blog is me around nine years old, as you can see.. I’m wearing a bikini and I have fat rolls. I can remember even from this age hating myself and hating my body… my friends were pretty much all skinny and I was the token chubby one in the group. You can read about my issues with self-esteem here.
From pretty young, my low self confidence and hatred for my body caused me to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed what I now know was the eating disorder Binge Eating Disorder (read about it in the link). I was never diagnosed by a doctor or anything, in fact B.E.D is commonly left undiagnosed because many people are uninformed about it as a disorder, but looking back I ticked all the boxes. I never thought about the fact I had an eating disorder because I thought that typically eating disorders made you thin, and mine was doing the opposite.
My insecurity and depression created a void in me so deep that I began to feel a compulsion to fill it with food. I would come home after school and slather chocolate spread over slice after slice of toast. I shoved biscuits in my blazer pockets and ran upstairs, I ate whole ‘sharing pouches’ of chocolate in one hit and shovelled tablespoon after tablespoon of sugar on to my cereal every morning, I could not control it. It was an obsession, an addiction. I would often get myself in to a fervent state whilst on a binge, where I was in a daze and afterwards it would feel like I was on a come down from some sort of drug. I was never satisfied. It was like an unquenchable thirst. It even drove me to steal money regularly from my mum’s purse to fund my addiction or buy chewing gum which was the only thing that could stave off my desire for food for a while.
Nobody knew about my habits for a long time – or at least I never expressly told them, I know my mum noticed how rapidly we were getting through jars of nutella. I didn’t understand what I was going through, I thought it was dirty, shameful… I was just greedy and gluttonous. I would often starve myself of food to try and make up for the binge of the previous day but then I would succumb to the desire and binge again once I got home from school.
Eventually, breakthrough came… once I admitted my problem to someone who didn’t judge me and just listened, a weight was lifted. And after a lot of prayer and counselling I began to feel my obsession with food begin to fade away… it wasn’t an instant healing.. it continued over time and a constant renewing of the mind.
I stand before you now totally free from my eating disorder (it still feels weird to call it that!). I have been “clean” for years now, but the shame and stigma has caused me to keep it a secret for too long. I want to stand up and fight this with others who are going through the same thing – so if you are please don’t be in it alone. I will stand with you in prayer and support.
I love food, I always will. I enjoy cooking and baking, in fact I have scoffed almost half an easter egg this evening. But I know now, even if I have the odd binge on junk, I am not under the same power I once was. I am free.
I wish I could tell the little girl in the photo then, what I know now…that she is not less of a woman or less beautiful because she is a little chubbier than her friends. My prayer is that children today will grow up in a world where the hypocrisy of “the perfect body” is not shoved down their throats…where they learn about being healthy physically and mentally rather than learning to strive for a perfectly toned tummy. I have never felt so confident, healthy and happy in myself as I do now because I have accepted who I am & celebrate the way MY body is! Made in the image of my creator.
I’ve also decided to share a picture of me in a bikini last summer on the beach, I hope nobody finds it too immodest! I felt like sharing this photo would overcome a huge barrier for me!
Phew! My last few blogs have been very serious – I will endeavour to post something very lighthearted next!!