I see a happy (and very tan) high school graduate who never thought of weight, food or exercise as something to obsess over in that picture.
The above image was taken in the bunk of my cabin aboard the S/V Concordia. I was accepted to be part of Class Afloat, a study abroad program that allowed me to sail the world on a beautiful barquentine from Vancouver to Poland over a ten-month period of time.
Those ten months were some of my hardest, longest and what I used to call the worst days of my life. I still remember the bad, but I look back on my time onboard with a smile ashe Concordia and Class Afloat and have made me such a better person.However, during that time, my weight shot up about 15-20 pounds. What I admire most about myself (before becoming obsessed) was the fact that I never really stepped on a scale then. I knew gaining weight and muscle from sampling different cultures' foods and setting sails was just part of the game.
However, when I moved back to Florida, specifically, to a looks-obsessed city in South Florida, I became obsessed with losing the weight like never before. I really can't pinpoint one specific cause, but all of a sudden I was at the gym all. the. time. ... sometimes for hours every day, burning off every calorie I ate and more.
I had it down to a science, timed my class and work schedules around the gym (crazy, right?!?- scheduling school around the gym... I couldn't prioritize) and literally felt as if I couldn't function if I didn't do everything according to plan.
At one point, I weighed 109 pounds, which for me meant limiting what I ate to such a degree I don't know how I managed so much exercise, and cutting off my life to everything besides the gym and calorie burning. I still managed to do well in school, but I whittled my body down, undoubtedly having some negative health effects along the way.
To me, this picture represents a girl who limited herself and alienated herself from the world, all for the sake of the gym.
Luckily, my friends and family caught on and gave me a good ol' talkin to- they set me straight. I may not have the easiest of times with food now, but I am on so much better of a path- I focus more on school, travel, have a life, work, and intern.
Most importantly, I enjoy exercise for what it is and don't use a number system anymore.
I want to thank all of you lovely, wonderful (and sometimes manly:) bloggers for helping me realize that life isn't a competition to be a size 00, living off of diet soda and raw vegetables alone. I love food again, and don't feel guilty about allowing myself healthy portions and junk, in moderation;)
Ya'll have already made such an impact on my life in such good ways, and I hope to stay around the blogosphere and and share some more about myself in the future... And to learn more about you, too!