There is one goal that I have for this upcoming year – one goal that I haven’t really talked about and have kept somewhat of a secret. This secret goal that I have for myself is to do everything in my power to finally conquer my eating disorder.
I have kept this goal hidden because I have tried to use my energy focusing on the positives in life instead of the negatives. But I am human. Just like everybody else does, I too go through my fair share of negative moments. I too have internal battles that I struggle with on a daily basis. I to question if I will ever fully overcome these struggles.
We are often told that in order to conquer any battle, we first need to admit that there is a problem to conquer. While I have been fairly open with my eating disorder, I haven’t really made it a “goal” to overcome. I haven’t necessarily done anything to track my progress, to hold myself accountable towards making progress in the first place, and for the sake of my overall health, I haven’t made it enough of a priority to work towards overcoming.
I guess that’s what I am wanting to do today. I want to put out what I perceive to be my greatest flaw into the world in hopes of not only inspiring others to come forward and strive to overcome their greatest flaws as well, but also as a way to hold myself accountable to making a continuous and valid effort to overcome an illness that has consumed far too much of my life.
For the past six years of my life, I have suffered from not only depression, but an eating disorder as well.
I was first diagnosed with depression and then came up with the assumption that one way to cope with my depression would be by feeling better about myself.
In college, I had lived an unhealthy lifestyle that consisted of dining-hall buffets, unlimited amounts of soda, and a whole lot of video games. I had gone from once being an active individual to running out of breath simply from climbing the stairs to my dorm room.
The turning point for me was when I stepped on the scale and it said 199.8 lbs. At that moment, I made a vow to myself to regain control of my life and never let that scale see 200 lbs. For some people, 200 lbs is a good weight, but I was not the tallest of individuals. Not only did I not look healthy, but I didn’t feel healthy either.
At first, I wasn’t even worried about my diet. I always had this belief that the word “diet” was a negative word and it wasn’t something that men in their early twenties ever did. Instead, I began exercising vigorously. I would workout in-between classes, right before I went to bed, basically any time of the day that I could fit a workout in. Within the first three months of simply exercising, I had lost around twenty-five lbs.
I was starting to get attention from my peers – attention that I craved. People were telling me how good I was looking, and for me, this really brought out a sense of confidence that I had never felt before. I have always compared this attention to a drug because that’s simply what it feels like. No matter how many negatives are associated with it, I craved it. I wanted more and more of the attention that I was getting.
After reaching a plateau with my weight loss, I had to change something. I was already lifting weights on a daily basis, running a minimum of 4 miles per day, but the weight was not coming off. So, as a way to break through this plateau and keep the weight falling, I began watching my diet and counting the total number of calories I was consuming on a daily basis.
An additional three months had passed since I began counting my calories. I still kept my workout regimen the same throughout this time. I was weightlifting six days a week, running a minimum of four miles every single day (seriously, I never took a day off unless I was sick), and was consuming no more than 2,200 calories on a daily basis.
To give you some insight as to how low this is, 2,200 calories is the number of calories that a bodybuilder will diet down to in the week leading up to their show to try and drop as much fat as possible.
It worked. In three months of tracking my calories and continuing on my workout regimen, I had lost another twenty-five pounds. I had made it my goal to go from 199.8 lbs to being below 150 lbs, and I had successfully achieved that goal.
For the first time since probably seventh grade, I weighed myself at 149 lbs. I felt accomplished. I felt like I had achieved such a monumental goal.
Instead of allowing myself some slack, though, I just continued on this workout and diet regimen. I didn’t want to see all of my hard work go to waste, and it had become my new goal to maintain my weight anywhere below 150 lbs. It was almost like a game to see how long I could maintain this weight without ever exceeding it. Little did I know that this game would consume much of my life for years to come.
I have skipped family functions because I was worried about the food options there and didn’t want others to see the battle that I was facing. I bailed on going out with friends because I was not going to be in control of the food options. I have also binged because I did not know when I was going to have a certain food again. In more recent years, the binging got bad enough that I found myself purging afterward as a way to make myself “feel better” about losing my self-control around food.
The last six years have been full of many ups and downs. There have been times where I have made progress towards overcoming my eating disorder, and there have been times where I have slipped up and reverted back to old habits. One thing remains constant though, and it is the fact that my eating disorder still exists regardless of its size and strength.
That is my reason for putting this out there into the world. I could keep it a secret that it is a goal of mine to overcome my eating disorder once and for all, but as I have come to realize from past experiences, it’s far more challenging to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle when you don’t have others to help hold you accountable. People need other people to help them achieve their goals, and I will be the first to admit that I need you!
I don’t just want to say that I want to overcome my eating disorder once and for all. I actually want to do it, and part of overcoming this eating disorder means recognizing it and sometimes even asking others for help no matter how embarrassing it is to admit to.
As I embark on this journey, I not only want your help to hold me accountable in making it a priority to overcome this illness once and for all, but I also want to encourage you to share one of your biggest goals for this upcoming year as well. Maybe it’s finding the courage to start your own business, finding time to volunteer in the community one day a week, or maybe it is admitting and sharing an illness of your own similar to mine so that you can work towards overcoming it.
Whatever your number one goal is for the new year, let it out instead of keeping it to yourself. We can’t change the world and we can’t create a better life for those around us if we aren’t willing to do so collectively.