I can relate to your emails because as you all know, I used to be overweight and unhealthy in my early teens. Through lots of research, healthy eating, exercise and discipline, I am now at a very happy state with my body. A result of being happy and healthy, is a toned figure.
Something that's important to remember is to not think "I want to be skinny", instead to think "I want to be strong and healthy" - looking good and toned is a result of that (not the other way around). It's also motivating to think "I want my heart to be healthy, I want my muscles to be strong, I want my immune system to kick butt, I want my skin to glow..." when exercising or choosing healthy food, rather than "I'm doing this just to be skinny".
A few days ago, I got an email from a girl in the Middle East, telling me about her story of how she recovered from a bad eating disorder that she suffered with for many years. She told me she was able to find motivation through watching my videos and I was over the moon happy to hear that. I asked her if it would be ok to share her story with you all on my blog as I can only imagine how much pressure girls are under these days to look a certain way. But at the end of the day, it's about being the best you that you can be. She wants to remain anonymous but was more than happy to share her story in more detail.
Even though this is a heavy topic, it's definitely not one that should be left unspoken of. I love beauty, but beauty is more than pretty hair & makeup. It's health, confidence, happiness and more.
Here is her story...
"My cousin moved in with us 5 years ago and she would always tell me how fat I was and how no one would like me if I was fat. She was constantly on my case about losing weight! I wasn't even that big. She started to tell me to skip dinner, or to barley eat through out the day. I was 12 so I didn't know any better. I went down to 95lbs (43kg). I also found out that she influenced her best friend to stop eating too. I guess a lot of the girls in the Middle East look up to skinny girls and want to be skinny really bad. They thought it was beautiful to be skinny but have big boobs and a butt too? Doesn’t make sense right! lol I learned now that no one is perfect! You shouldn't try to force yourself to look like the way society wants you to look, its impossible! Everyone is different and they are all beautiful. I remember all of my cousins telling me that they’ve thrown up before but personally I always thought they were all beautiful the way they were. I guess they just were pretty closed minded about things.
After a while I started to diet. Which led me to binge a lot. My weight eventually shifted up to 180lbs (81kg). It's scary how addicting eating disorders are. It’s not cool to stop eating, nor will it get you any real results. Its dangerous to start something like that, once you start its hard to stop. Eating disorders are so destructive! Your hair falls out, your nails become brittle, you teeth rot, bruising easily and so much more like diseases, psychically damage to your organs. I became obsessed with counting calories and dieting. And it just led me to binge even more! I struggle with depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety so eventually I lost all my friends because I didn't think I was good enough to leave the house or have a life. I became really shy and I didn't really talk about my life to anyone.
Then I lost 50 pounds! The 50 pounds was a combo of trying to recover with eating healthy/exercising and relapsing here and there. Recovery is hard but I had a lot of inspiration :) it started out with your videos! When I watched them I was inspired! You seemed so happy and healthy I started to look up to that instead of sick skinny girls. Also from the tumblr community! If you know anyone struggling with an eating disorder, or just want to get in shape, tumblr is a very friendly place! There are so many recovery blogs and fitness blogs.
This summer was the worst I’ve ever been though. I got stuck into a binging cycle. I couldn't stop binging every single day. It was so hard to control it. I’m still trying to get out of it today. I started to buy laxatives because I felt so guilty, I had a lot of self-hate towards myself. I started to self-harm too. Then the next day I'd eat only 500 cals to try to make up for it, or id excessively exercise. I'd workout all day, I never told anyone or asked anyone for help, I just kept it all to myself (except for my family) and its weird because on the outside I seemed so happy but on the inside I really wasn't!
I started to also see a doctor, eating disorders can also harm you psychically not just mentally and that’s what I hope all girls know before they give up and stop eating or purge after they binge. I still till this day don't know what the damage is exactly. I just get a lot of rectal bleeding and abdominal pain along with many other problems. My doctors are still trying to figure it out. But I’ve read of much worse damage than that including death.
And you know what? Starving, binging, purging- none of that will make you beautiful nor will it solve any your problems. If looking great is what you want, then just eat healthy and exercise! It’s really not as hard as it seems. It’ll give you better results and its healthier for you! Why wouldn't you want to love yourself and your body and try to be happy? And if you struggle with depression or anxiety then find other ways to cope with it then your eating disorder. Because I know that eating disorders are much more than just a problem with eating. I advise people to get professional help also if they need it. There are a lot of other girls sicker than me and I hope the best for them.
You should respect your body because it’s the only one you have. Even just taking care of yourself can make you feel better about yourself. It’s also not just about what you look like. People always focus on your personality. If you are a nice person. And if one person doesn't like you, then there are 10 others who love you. Confidence is also beautiful. And in the long run, your body will thank you for taking care of it instead of destroying it because of some little obsession.
When you love yourself, so do others. After I started watching your blogs I started to research and learn more about the effects and risks of eating disorders, that it opened my eyes and brought me back to reality. I also love your new videos with all the healthy eating tips! I love to eat healthy now. I feel so much better and cleaner and so much happier and confident. I have enough energy to go out and have a life now. I am also making new friends as well :) my favorite video of yours is how to stay positive and motivated. I realized that there was so much more to life that I was missing. I love to think positive now because life becomes so much easier to handle with confidence. I have dreams and goals when I’m positive and I achieve them because I believed in myself!
I know that recovery is hard but I know I can get through this and become healthy again. And I hope to inspire others as well. That’s why I’m so glad you wanted to put my story on your blog :) I was so honored! Thanks again for listening and everything. Sorry if it was a long message! It just feels good to let everything out as I usually keep everything to myself."
I am sending you so much love for being so brave and sharing your story!! It's not easy & I thank you for allowing me to put this up. Hopefully it will inspire other girls too.
At the end of the day, it's about being strong and respecting your body. Imagine all the wonderful and amazing things it does for us without us even having to think about it. Breathing, fighting off viruses and infections, digesting our food, providing our cells with nutrition. It's pretty amazing when you think about it, so treat it right! :) XOXO