Lose 10 Pounds Fast (And Your Mind)

During my sophomore year of high school, I started to become more conscious of food’s value and how it affects your body due to to my health class’s section on nutrition. Of course, that education was not all bad—at that point I did not eat any vegetables and my candy intake was off the charts. Learning about foods and what was beneficial for your body made me want to take a step towards becoming healthier. What started off as one step to improve my health like trying to eat vegetables more than once a week, turned south really fast; I was more and more demanding with myself, eliminating fats and grains from my diet. I started following Pinterest Boards of the best workouts, always trying to maximize the amount of calories I burned, wanting to look like those muscular, toned, tiny girls I saw. I had heard a few times that I should model, I had the height, so I looked up the normal size of a Victoria’s Secret Angel, which I was probably two or three inches off from, but that was a motivator early on. Soon after, I downloaded My Fitness Pal, a new way for me to be hyper-aware and count each calorie that went into my body, always striving for a low number from “in five weeks you will weigh…”
But I did not have an underweight BMI, so it wasn’t really a problem, right?
This unhealthy relationship with food and control continued for the next four years, but in my mind, I was just being healthy. In my junior and senior year of highschool, I was so determined to get abs, a taut stomach and muscle lines. I remember being so frustrated and confused about why the weight I had lost did not seem to contribute to the results I wanted. Senior year I started going to a local nutrition club where they gave me a two-week diet where you eat a ton of protein (something I had already been doing for two years) and cut carbs to transform your fat mass to muscle mass. Well, that two-week challenge turned into a lifestyle habit because in my world, I always needed to be getting results.
When I started college,I also started drinking, which led to anxiety about the calories in alcohol. Thinking I found the fix, I would reduce my caloric intake considerably on days when I knew I was drinking in preparation for the calories that would come later in the night from alcohol and drunk eating. Then I would wonder why part (or a big part) of the night was missing from my memory the next morning. There is such a huge link between what you eat and how much alcohol you can handle, but I didn’t care because the calories of a normal day of food and the calories from alcohol was too much for my mind to bear.
But I did not have an underweight BMI, so it wasn’t really a problem, right?
What about the anxiety that I felt if a friend asked me to come over for dinner and I had no idea what was going to prepared for me? Or what about the days when I had binged the nights before, so I would wake up and convince myself I must still be full and that I didn’t deserve to eat again until sometime past noon? Or having to spend at least 10 minutes analyzing a restaurant's menu before going out to eat with family or friends to find the item with the lowest calories and add it to my Fitness Pal? Or that on that same day I ate an insufficient amount for breakfast and lunch because I was going to spend most of my calories at dinner? And let’s not forget how my goal caloric intake was 1000 calories less than what it should’ve been with my activity level. Because I needed to get that bikini body, right?
I recently read an article on The Mighty called “High Functioning Anxiety,” and it made me consider how I had a high functioning eating disorder. It didn’t make me stop all my social fun, but it definitely took a toll on my mind throughout the four years. I would restrict during the day and binge at night, that is why I maintained a healthy weight. My mind would overtake my body and trick me into eating what I needed.
But the scariest concept to me is that these behaviors are normalized in society; I would be lying if I said I have not seen similar behaviors in girls around me throughout high school and college. It is troubling that so many people put their health and mental well-being on the back burner to achieve the “perfect-body.” When you don’t fuel your body with proper nutrition, you are depleting your brain of its full potential. When you decline an invite to go out to eat because of the anxiety of the calories cripples your mind, you’re missing out on invaluable time with friends. When you let your mind tell you that you aren’t good enough the way you are, how can you ever be happy? When you eliminate essential fats from your diet, your hair starts to thin out and your period becomes irregular among other side effects. When you eliminate carbs, you lose the daily energy that you need from carbohydrates.
Our diet-crazy culture teaches young women that it’s okay to constantly be at war with yourself. What we really should be preaching is that your body is beautiful the way it is right now and that regardless of that, your soul is what ultimately allows you to connect with people.
Comments girls make about how they “don’t deserve to eat that candy bar” or “need to workout after this huge meal” are not only normalized, but they are also triggering to someone who is trying to rid of such a mindset and they contribute to this toxic culture. (I’d like to make a point in saying that a person always deserves to eat no matter what they ate the meal before, the day before, of the week before- because this is something I definitely fell fault to thinking I did not deserve.)
“If the worst thing a woman was in her life was fat, does that take away from the fact that she was also generous, kind, joyful, courageous, and intelligent?” (Question credit to J.K. Rowling, but still nonetheless a powerful one.) I would rather  spend my time working on my mind than my outward appearance.  I'm embracing the idea that your outer shell means nothing compared to what you are like on the inside. People are going to like you for who you are, no matter what body type you have or what the number on the scale is. I wish this message was broadcasted on billboards instead of the “get fit” or “lose ten pounds fast.” Because when I look back at how all my free time was spent focusing on ways to make myself smaller, I'm saddened but empowered with ideas of what I can accomplish now with the without the weight of trying to look perfect.


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