My name is Ellie. I love my boyfriend, my dog, my job, spinach and The West Wing on Netflix. And in the last year, I’ve gained thirty pounds.
Those last four words – I’ve gained thirty pounds – have been incredibly hard for me to accept. I’m one of those girls who has basically been on a diet for as long as she can remember. My first, Weight Watchers, started the summer before my freshman year of high school. I got down to around 115 pounds (technically underweight for me at 5’6″), ditched the glasses, got my braces off and waltzed into high school a brand new girl.
What I didn’t know was that that first experience would shape my relationship with food and weight for the rest of my life. In the ten years since then, my weight has gone up and down as I’ve struggled with being a normal human and trying to achieve my “ideal weight” by starving myself. I managed to stay within a healthy range up until last year.
These thirty pounds didn’t happen overnight. It started with five – justifiable, not terrible, just a matter of cutting out some bad stuff. I got to ten, and it still wasn’t the end of the world. After all, what’s one pant size? When I hit fifteen, I cried. I tried eating next to nothing, and found myself eating everything. Twenty, determination. Twenty-five, even more determination. And now here we are at thirty. I’ve spent more money than I’d like to admit on weight loss programs, healthy food, gym memberships and new clothes.
And I’m just tired.
I look back at the way I hated my body in high school and wish I could reach back and smack myself in the head. I remember the disgust I felt for myself. Browsing through those same pictures now, I feel sadness and envy. That I didn’t realize what I had when I had it.
So here I am. Countless diets and late-night binges later, I’m determined to get back to being healthy and happy. All the pieces are there for this to happen, it just hasn’t yet. There have been excuses, setbacks and a whole lot of defeatism. But I’m ready now to stop blaming myself and start loving myself. To start listening to my body again.
I know the journey is going to be long, but I’m ready to start today.