There are a few things you should know about me before I dive into this post, because I call this a project for a reason. One, all my life I have been told that looks aren’t everything…except from my own mother. For those of you who have this issue, I’m sure you can sympathize with the pressures I’ve been under for the past five or six years. This leads me to two: I have lost more than 15 pounds in the past two months, and my self-body image has only become worse.
As my first health and fitness post, I would have been more than happy to create a new category for this section. However, as much as I would love to do that, I don’t think I can do that because I cannot justify myself to urge anyone else to go through the same thing I did this summer. My attention-span was off, making it very difficult to take twelve hours of college courses in two months. I couldn’t control my attitude, and I sincerely apologize to those who had to put up with my complaints. So, yes, this post is under “Let’s Get Serious,” because even if I don’t talk about national eating disorders or political standards, losing weight has changed my life the most.
Yes, they’re right: looks aren’t everything. And, no, they’re wrong: looks are everything.
That doesn’t make any sense.
Ah, but it does. Personally, I would not date a guy who was beautiful on the outside and ugly on the inside. I think most people would agree with me. Yet, my first impression of any human being is based on how they look. It’s when I see him or her for the first time in a store. It’s when I scan their outfit and know whether or not they showered that morning. It’s before I even speak to them.
However, that’s not the reason why I did the Cinderella Project. To cut all your food intake cold turkey and to spend about three hours at the gym every day is not a thought anyone comes by while casually eating breakfast or doing homework. There’s usually some event that takes place that causes the immediate dieting and fast weight-loss. For me, it was my mother.
A lot of us don’t realize that the people who will hurt you the most are the ones who you care about the most. The worst kind of bullying are the ones that are done within relationships, especially families. If you can survive that type of abuse, then you can survive almost anything out there in the real world. That’s why our parents are so critical of us and why we all pick on our little brothers and get away with it.
So in May, while I was on a cruise and eating chocolate, I received a fairly snide comment from my mother, regarding my weight. Mind that now when I look back at my old weight, I wasn’t overweight. I was close, which wasn’t okay, but I was a lot happier when it came to eating. So, in the beginning of June, I signed up for a gym membership and started working out every other day for about an hour. This consisted of riding on a bike, running on a treadmill, Zumba, weight-lifting, etc. I lost about 5 pounds in 3 weeks.
Then, I became obsessed. To be honest, I still sort of am. I began increasing my gym time to about 2 hours and I went every single day. Not only that, but I also increased my daily ab workouts to:
4 minute planks
45 leg lifts
50 arm curls
50 arm circles
I’ve got abs as hard as a rock, now. Unfortunately, I’ve still got some flab, which makes me want to lose more weight every time I look into the mirror. I just bought new clothes for the school year and I’m scared I won’t be able to fit in them when I’m in France. I’m scared I won’t be able to appreciate what’s around me.
If anything, the weight-loss only got worse. At the end of June, I had lost 9 pounds. I was happily snap-chatting my friends this new-found weight and I was ecstatic about how much I had accomplished. Yet, for the next two weeks, my weight halted. Stopped moving. And I became anorexic.
When I say anorexic, I don’t mean it to be a serious eating disorder I had that lasted for a while. I definitely had issues, especially since nobody around me was yelling at me to eat more or anything. My mother was all for this new lifestyle. It took me 3 weeks to lose one more pound. My goal was to lose 30 pounds before I went to France and in the middle of July, I had lost only ten pounds. I began keeping a food journal, counting calories left and right, making sure that I was burning more than I was eating. This caused me to want to fall over all the time, and I couldn’t focus on my school work in summer classes. I cried every time my mother ate a giant-ass sandwich in front of me or when she told me she was losing weight too, even though she wasn’t trying.
No, I didn’t crave cupcakes or cake, anymore. I was, now, thinking about wheat bread and whole-grain cereal. Carbs. Grains. It’s unfair that I have to work hard to have the same body as someone else who can eat two hamburgers and fried Oreos. I’m not talking about the obsess ones, but the girls who can maintain a flat stomach and still be nutritionally happy. Not healthy: happy. I turned to the Atkins diet to eat under 20g of carbohydrates a day, and I could feel my body cripple as my muscles began to hurt while exercising.
I’m not sure if I improved either. Every morning, I wake up at six a.m. to run for about an hour and a half. Exercise feels great: it releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Of course, it makes me feel good, but when I enter the house again, I still watch what goes in my mouth. I haven’t eaten bread in three months. I have to turn down dates to go out to frozen yogurt or a movie and popcorn. Because I care way too fucking much about how I look. And I know that I’m about to lose almost all my friends if I keep doing this.
It hurts. I could go back to my old lifestyle. I am at a healthy weight. I have a flat stomach. My thighs are slimmer. I went down a couple of bra sizes. I have more arm muscle. I am the weight I was when I swam competitively year-round. I haven’t been this weight since I was thirteen years old.
But I can look in the mirror and see one of the saddest people alive. I have no color anymore. My eyes seem a little drained, lost. I stand taller, because of my abs, but I can feel the hunger rumbling in my stomach. I see friends from high school, and instead of complimenting me on how slim I look, they ask me if I’m sick.
And I am. Not only am I sick, but I’m also a little scared.