I remember in high school, a boyfriend made a comment once about my hands being “crazy big.” He didn’t call me fatso, or tell me I was ugly, but in my tender 16-year-old state (and with a quickly developing binge eating disorder) that’s what I heard. Fat. Big. Ugly. Gross.
Another guy, this one when I was 19, told me he wished I didn’t “dress so old.” What he didn’t know was that the reason I wore button up blouses and avoided the trends is because I didn’t like my overweight body and couldn’t stand the idea of showing too much of it. What did I hear when he said that? Fat. Big. Ugly. Gross.
We are so sensitive to what the people we love romantically think about our bodies, so imagine what it might feel like if someone actually said the words: “You’re too fat”? That’s pretty much what happened to HealthyGirl contributor Trish. Here, she explains…
For 6 years, I was in a relationship with a guy who wasn’t interested in me for the way I was, but rather for what I could be. He continually put me on diets and forced me to exercise with him, and I had myself convinced that it was just because he cared. I discovered after the relationship ended that he did this not because he cared about me and my health, but because he cared about how he looked with me. After our breakup—he cheated, obviously—he told me I was “too fat to love”, that no man would ever love me if I stayed this weight, and that when we went out together people looked at us because they wondered what a guy like him was doing with a girl like me (I just thought people saw us as a cute young couple).
After this, I spent two years in a downward spiral of bingeing and self-hatred to the point where I stopped going out with friends or to see family. It was the hardest and longest two years of my life.
One day I woke up and I realized that I was missing out on finding someone who appreciated me for who and what I was at that moment. I knew the only way to put myself back out there was to start walking around with some confidence. However, I had to be realistic. I knew I wasn’t going to climb out of the huge hole I dug for myself in one day, and I knew before I could bring anyone else into my life I had to fix myself first. I had to have patience.
I started by paying attention to the way I self-spoke—I vowed to say at least 3 good things to myself every day. I also started listing all the great things I had going for me: an amazing family, friends who pushed and pushed until I started believing in myself and who stuck by me even when I would blow plans with them because I was too depressed to go out, a college degree and a scholarship to law school. At the end of every day I threw out my list, and I made another one the next day until I finally started to understand that there was more to life than some guy who thought I was fat. I had to understand that I was more than my weight, regardless of what an ex-boyfriend or anyone else thought.
By having the patience to sit down and look at myself in the mirror and figure out what I needed and what I wanted, I opened myself up to the world again. I stayed single for 3 years after that breakup to just be me and do whatever it was I wanted to do. And guess what? I wanted to eat healthier, I wanted a better relationship with myself and with food, and I wanted to exercise. I wanted to stop bingeing. I wanted to do all of these things for myself, and not to please anyone else. So little by little I made my way out of that hole and got myself back on my feet and put myself back out into the eyes of the world without any apologies for my weight. While I was floating around New York City and Long Island being myself and actually enjoying my life, I was blindsided by someone really fantastic. He came out of nowhere, introduced himself to me with a goofy smile on his face, and we never looked back.
Seven months later I’m in the relationship I never thought I could have—the one with a man who actually loves me the way I am right now, right here in this moment and not the me that could be 15lbs lighter. I’m in the relationship where we can go out to eat and I don’t have to order a salad with no dressing because he’s not keeping a calorie count on me. I’m in the relationship where I feel desirable and sexy and I’m not having anxiety attacks when I take my clothes off.
By having the patience to take care of myself, I was able to finally let someone else back in. I gave myself the time not only to heal from the heartbreak but to get down to the nitty gritty of myself and learn what I was all about. It made me appreciate the things I have already and to work hard to keep my life happy and full. I got out of the mindset that I need someone else to be the source of my happiness—I should be the source of my own happiness, right?! Getting through those years and putting myself proudly on my own two feet gave me the opportunity to have a relationship that is actually healthy and normal—and the ability to appreciate that relationship and enjoy it. —Trish
Wow, right? (We love Trish here at HealthyGirl—she’s awesome!) Now, have you ever dated someone who made you feel you weren’t good enough, because of your body, weight, or anything else? How did you deal? How did it effect your relationship with food or your body image? xo…Sunny