- Growing up, I was more curious than my friends, and in pre-Kardashian days, I felt like I didn’t fit in.
- I stole my mom’s diet pills from the medicine cabinet and went from a size 11 to a size 2 within months.
- I’m still working on loving my body the way it is, but I’ve made tremendous progress by not taking these pills.
It was 2001, and my big baby years were starting to get to me. I developed early and didn’t fit in with my skinny-mini friends. Growing up in the era of Slim-Fast and “there’s no getting too thin,” my curvy body in pre-Kardashian times was desired by men and shamed by women. I just didn’t fit in.
No more, I’ve decided.
I would do anything to look like other girls my age and fit into the size zero jeans my best friend wore. Soon I was jumping up on the counter, opening the medicine cabinet, and fishing out my mom’s diet pills.
I limited myself to eating only 18 grams of fat a day and was constantly training — running about 8-24 km a day. I ran as often as possible and ate as little as possible while taking diet pills to help me lose weight faster.
I went from a size 11 to a size 2 in three months. From friends to coaches to family members, people have praised me for losing weight – for taking my health seriously. No one knew what I was doing to make this happen. All they saw was me going from what was considered overweight — at the time — to losing weight.
It took me 15 years to recover from my unhealthy diet
As I recovered from these eating and exercise disorders, the diet culture was still pervasive around me. Because I lost a lot of weight as a teenager, I gained weight as I got older. I was down to 118 pounds, and my body is fluctuating now, but I average about 145 pounds, and that’s healthy for me now at 36.
Diet culture taught me that my worth was tied to being thin, and it affected everything: how I presented myself to friends; what roles I have taken in my relationships; and how ready I was to be seen in my business. If I wanted to be truly free from diet culture, I was going to have to value myself differently.
Over the past few holidays, I’ve gained weight and it’s seriously hurt my confidence. A friend told me that she used an injectable prescribed by a doctor to
, and I seriously thought about it. It was just to shed a few pounds, right?
Not really. I found out that a potential side effect was thyroid tumors, and I wasn’t willing to risk it. It made me realize that I needed to start thinking differently about my weight.
So I asked myself this question, “Do I want to be on the endless quest for the perfect body with the lowest body fat percentage, perfect breasts, big round ass and ripped waist, constantly seeking the next shake, diet, medicine or surgery in order to be considered precious and worthy of the world? Or do I want to choose a different path?”
That’s when I had to work on my mindset, figuring out what beliefs I held onto were hurting me. The number of times “I’m not thin enough to…” or “I’m not pretty enough to…” has come to bother.
I haven’t fully mastered it yet, but I’ve made incredible progress.
I don’t blame myself for not being a size 2 — I’m hesitating between a size 6 and a size 8. I’m able to look at myself in the mirror without tearing myself apart.
I’m happy to exercise and eat well because it feels good, not because I have to do it to be perfect. Feeling free from constantly shaming myself is a whole new world.
PollyAnna Brown is a communications expert, journalist and ghostwriter who uses her 15+ years of experience in entertainment and psychology to help business owners and entrepreneurs grow their audience, impact and sales. . You can learn more here.