The Day My View about My Body Changed Forever [When did you know?]
This is a submission from Tayla Anne* of She’ll be Free to the ongoing series “When did you know?”, an examination of the intersection of labels and identity. Information on how to submit your piece to the series can be found on the Join Us page. To see all posts in this series, click here.
Trying to recover from anorexia is unrelenting. Ed never seems to give up the fight and during my relapse it was even harder to continue to push forward. In fact I wasn’t moving forward at all. I was at a standstill, lost and in desperate need of help.
Anything to pull me back to life.
After my relapse caused me to drop out of college, I began spending a lot of time online, reading. I read blogs and learned that there were others out there who were struggling just like me. I was amazed because although I knew I wasn’t alone, it wasn’t until now, reading all of these other girls talk about their issues, that I was able to really feel like I wasn’t the only one.
It was on this day when I found these blogs that I changed my life and began what now is a loving relationship with my body and myself.
I learned a lot from reading these blogs. I learned that I could eat healthy food without ballooning up like a whale. I learned how to treat my body with respect, but most of all I learned the importance of weight training.
I had always been active as a kid, loving the outdoors and playing sports, but when my anorexia hit I began taking everything to the extreme. I walked and ran and did endless amount of sit ups in my room when no one was watching. I abused my body and didn’t listen to it when it needed rest. There was not a day that went by where I wasn’t outside exercising.
But this all changed when I discovered my love for weight training.
I knew I didn’t want to be obsessive with this training as it was more intense than my walks I was used to and I knew that I didn’t want to put any more excessive stress on my poor body, so I started slow.
I worked out in my room with 5-15 lb dumbbells for about thirty minutes a day in order to begin to build up my strength. As I was reading more about how to train, I learned about the importance of feeding my body adequate fuel to actually be able to get stronger and build muscle.
As I got better at training, I saw changes in my body that involved weight gains and defined muscles and for the first time in my recovery I was happy with them.
I no longer worried about what the scale read and began to see my body as a strong machine instead of something I hated.
I progressed from my room to the gym when I was confident in my form and strength. Even though I was nervous that others would judge me, I was surprised by my confidence and my ability to tune everyone else out in order to focus on myself.
After a couple of months on this solid training routine, I was stronger than ever. I loved my body and treated it with care. I fed it with nourishing foods and gave it rest for the first time. I was no longer afraid to gain weight and in fact was happy when I did.
I could see my muscles getting bigger and I could feel myself getting stronger, not only physically but mentally as well.
Because I was no longer at war with my body, I was able to be free and love who I was at my core as well.
I started feeling proud of myself and standing up for who I was. I was no longer the weak and fragile girl people once thought I was. Instead, now I was the strong and confident girl who was comfortable in her skin.
Weight training has been the best thing that has happened to me and my recovery. Today, after over a year of training and growing in my skin, I consider myself to be fully recovered and in love with who I am, flaws and all.
I encourage all girls to give this form of exercise a try (safely of course!) especially if you enjoy feeling confident and strong.
Weight training has saved my life and I believe it can do the same for others.
*Tayla Anne is an inspiring writer, artist and self love activist. After eight years of struggling with anorexia she was able to break the chains and find freedom by learning to fall in love with herself and accepting her body. She continues to share her experience and provide hope to others at her personal blog, She’ll Be Free.