Now what do I do? I’m at this point 27 and living back at home with my parents. A feeling of loss of independence, loss of self, and complete loss of direction in life. I feel relief, but I also feel overwhelm; to figure out how to start my healing journey. There’s so many thought’s of what that is supposed to look like, yet all I felt was frozen in time. Unable to put my next foot forward.
So I turned to what I knew best; coping by pushing all of my feelings under a rug. And to me that was over indulging myself in working out and extreme dieting. I would think that this was the real deal in how someone heals. Isn’t this what everyone did after a break up, was lose an excessive amount of weight and get their revenge body? So I turned the outside world away, and turned my sadness and grief in to a new addiction of what I thought was health. Spoiler alert, the very thing that instead of connecting myself back to my body, in fact disconnected me from it, and made me loathe the body I called mine. But we’ll eventually get to that.
I felt like I had the whole world in my hand, full of so many opportunities to come. I continued with the gym, going harder than ever, and so proud of myself for how strict I was being. I started counting my food intake, then started tracking my macros. The weight was falling off, and I started to get attention. The more compliments I would get, which by the way, were purely compliments of how my body looked, was pushing me forward in strides. Why focus on the falling out of my marriage, and figuring out how to heal from my past, when I could lose weight and look great and pretend like everything was fine!
It wasn’t fine. I, was not fine. The only thing fine at this time was the amount of love and support I was getting from my family. Truly, so much gratitude for these beautiful humans that kept me afloat for so long when I didn’t know how to do that for myself. All I felt good at was losing weight and shrinking my body, thinking this made me a better human.
Since my fitness goals were going “so well,” I decided to hire a coach and I was determined to train and compete in a fitness competition. My head was down and I was ready for the grind. I would be told if I had a single tbsp of peanut butter, that it would blow my diet. Yes coach, I would say to myself. I was told I needed to fast and do sprints every morning, then come back to the gym for a second time and do another workout. Yes coach. I was told after a 12 hour shift at work, on hardly any food, that I would need to come to the gym and not get home until late. All to be up in a few short hours before my next 12 hour shift, an hour and a half away from home. Yes coach. I would get sucked in to this lifestyle, a lifestyle I thought was praised in society, and looked highly of. A club I desperately wanted to be part of, a club I was honestly thriving in.
I would take weekly progress pictures of myself, my mom holding the camera for me while I stood in a bikini in their living room. I would get on a scale every morning when I woke up, sometimes 2–3 times a day. I would pinch my fat, my rolls, wishing them to go away quickly. I would start becoming obsessed with mirrors, and started sucking in my stomach to see how thin I could look every single time I passed one. I would chug obscure amounts of water, eat mostly protein, and hardly touched a carb. I would start obsessing with how small my work uniform could get. I would binge eat because I was depriving myself of so much, that a simple taste of peanut butter would put me over the edge in to a downward spiral. I would hate myself and feel regret for the latest binge, so I would then “be good” the next day, until my next binge cycle would occur. I would get angry and moody, mostly towards my parents, because I didn’t know who else to be mad at. Because heaven forbid I look inwards. I was obsessed, and I mean utterly obsessed with how I looked on the outside, that I without question forgot to focus on how I felt on the inside.
Some parts at this time are truly such a blur, that I can’t remember if I was still going to therapy or not. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t believe I was at that point. I was so consumed with losing weight and how my body looked, that everything else fell away from me.
It wasn’t all bad moments, I should clarify that. I purchased my very first home on my own, and my mother and I celebrated this huge milestone out for lunch and ordered celebratory caesars at a local pub. Four months after moving out of my ex husbands house, I was officially unlocking the door to my very own home. This home of mine, was my first glimmer of hope. A hope that I could be independent, that I could be strong, that I could do life all on my own. Something I had never experienced before, especially growing up as a twin.
I remember laying upstairs in the guest bedroom, on a mattress on the floor with my sister inches away from me on the first night I moved in. We talked until the wee hours of how scary this new stage of life was, but how damn excited we both were for me. This new house held so much promise for me. So in that moment, I would hold so tightly on to hope, and prayed that I was finally ready to move forward with my life, alone.