Content warning: eating disorder recovery
I have a complicated relationship with scales, dieting, and food. For most of my life, I was a serial yo-yo dieter with various phases of disordered eating. Throughout 2018-2019, with the help of a great support system and therapy, I sorted out the eating disorders and took a break from dieting to heal. In April/May of 2019, ~two weeks before Chase flew me to Paris as a surprise, I had started and successfully maintained the Whole 30 diet. I had decided on the Whole 30 because I wasn’t feeling great physically and wanted to do an elimination diet in an attempt to determine if my physical discomfort was food related.
Once I got to Paris, however, I decided enjoying French croissants in a sunny Parisian cafe was more important than a diet and I could try elimination in a different phase of life when it made more sense. When we got back from Paris, I had a summer of wedding planning, full time work, and full time school ahead of me. I decided that with my history with eating disorders, dieting would be the worst idea possible. I am so glad I decided to take care of my mental health instead stressing over losing weight on top of everything else. And the cool thing is–I didn’t gain any weight. I was conscious of what I ate and paid attention to portions but didn’t restrict myself. I enjoyed bridal showers without guilt, soaked up and enjoyed every moment of our engagement, wedding and honeymoon, and had one of the greatest summers of my life.
After our wedding, we settled into our routines. I had full time work and Chase had full time school. I gained a bit of weight and was happy how I looked but started feeling really low energy, sick, and depressed. In December of 2019, I decided I was going to try to eat healthier, only eat out once a week, and exercise. My goals felt totally doable! and they were! Chase and I got super into cooking, I started bringing lunch to work, and our budget was happy we were eating out less.
I started taking progress pictures but instead of frowning in a pair of leggings and a sports bra once a week after a weigh in, hating how I looked (something I have actually done in the past 😦 ), I uploaded a progress picture once a week but only when I felt cute and wanted to document it. I uploaded smiling selfies, cute outfits in mirror pics, and even a risqué picture here or there. I wanted my progress pictures to be about my journey to confidence instead of about weight loss. I wasn’t taking them for anyone but me. I wanted to remind myself that I’m beautiful at all sizes (even if I would end up losing weight). I would weigh myself whenever I uploaded a picture to document the weight loss as well. From January-April I lost around 10 lbs. I was happy to be slowly and sustainably losing weight and could tell that my improved habits were improving my mental and physical health.
When we got to Puyallup this summer, I learned that there wasn’t a working scale in the house. I thought, “ya know what? GOOD.” It’s time I officially step away from a weight loss focused mindset, even if I just try it for the summer, and see how it goes. And let me tell you, it has been the most mentally freeing thing I have ever done! The weight of the scale on my shoulders has been lifted, pun absolutely intended! I haven’t weighed myself since April and I’m excited to go the rest of the summer without doing so. Instead of weight loss related goals, I have lifestyle goals I want to accomplish before the end of the summer. (And I’m seriously considering ditching the scale for the rest of the year.)
I tried to set tangible goals such as running a certain distance without getting winded, going on hikes I never thought I’d be capable of, and wearing outfits I never thought I would have the confidence to. Goals that challenge me, connect me with others, and show me my own strength. Goals that have nothing to do with the number on the scale. I also promised myself again this summer, as I did at the beginning of 2020, that I would celebrate the little victories. Take pictures. Post them if I want. Enjoy my life 2020, baby!
Today, I threw on a pair of leggings and a tshirt for the day and felt cute. I took a quick selfie in the mirror and decided it was worthy of the progress picture journal (I use my fitness pal because I like the way the pictures upload/do the side by side but I don’t use the app for anything else lol). I decided to do a little side by side with the very first picture in the journal and for the first time, I saw noticeable differences! It was honestly amazing to see.
I am proud of both December 2019 Dom and June 2020 Dom. I love them both. They are both beautiful. But I am excited, as June 2020 Dom, to be moving forward with a health centered mindset. I am proud of myself for overcoming disordered eating. I’m proud of myself for pursuing a healthier weight. I’m proud of myself for setting goals and achieving them!
Here’s to the little victories, to a summer without the scale, to growth, to health, and to confidence.