August 04, 2010

Happy With Me

This week, Caitlin's amazing book is being released . In honor of the release, she is asking bloggers to post about the theme "Changing the Way You See - Not the Way You Look". Here is my story...

Ten years ago, I celebrated my 18th birthday. I spent the evening before enjoying supper with two of my best friends. We laughed for hours over appetizers, entrees, and decadent desserts. The next day (my actual birthday) we wasted hours riding the dirt roads of my hometown on 4-wheelers. I felt happy, content, and alive – I was 100% happy with whom I was – it would be the last time I would feel that way for nearly a decade.

Two days after my 18th birthday, I packed all of my worldly possessions into a rental van and drove with my father to the big city of Atlanta. I was there to begin my collegiate career at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech for short). I was there to obtain a college diploma. Four years later, I left with that diploma and an eating disorder.

Everything started innocently enough. Following my freshman year, I wanted to lose the 15 or so pounds that I had gained. I started working out at the on campus gym. One day, in the girl’s locker room, someone mentioned diet pills. I started using the diet pills and the weight seemed to melt off. However, the heart palpations, jitters, and other side effects were too much, so I left the pills – and turned to bulimia instead. By my junior year, I was at a dangerous weight; my “binges” were fruit and water. After my junior year, I moved back in with my Aunt for the it was harder to hide my disorder. I gained about 20 pounds. From the outside things seemed okay. But there were not.

In December 2005, a good friend confronted me about my eating disorder. While I had managed to “hide” my bulimia from nearly everyone else in my life, she had seen the ugly truth. With her help, I was able to get therapy and move past my bulimic tendencies.

This is the point where I would like to say that I learned to be happy in my body, to love me no matter what the scale said. But it’s not. Even though I stopped having bulimic episodes, I was still a disordered eater. Food was classified by “good” or “bad”. Workouts were done for the most calorie burn, not because I enjoyed them or wanted to challenge myself physically.

And then I became pregnant. Each day, as I watched my body change, as I begin to feel the baby move within me, I thought about the kind of mother that I wanted to be. I knew that I wanted my child to grow up confident, happy, content with themselves. I took a vow to love my body as it is and to focus on what it was doing.

For 9 months, I listened to my body. I ate what I craved, worked out to the level I felt like that day, and embraced my pregnancy. Some days I ate tons of vegetables and fruits and would do my regular aerobics classes. Other days, I ate chocolate and skipped the gym to take an afternoon nap. I honored my body while it did the most pressing task it would ever do – nurture a human life. In return my body honored me.

Once my daughter was born, I continued the same pattern. I trusted my body to tell me what it needed. And five months post baby, I am at peace with my body. Let me state that again, after 5 years of active bulimia, 5 years of disorder eating… I am at peace with my body.

If you were to ask me my weight, I couldn’t tell you. But I will be happy to tell you how much weight I can bench press, my new PR goal for my next 5k, or any of my other fitness goals.

Ten years ago, I was an 18 year old girl who was thin but not healthy. Today, I am a 28 year old woman who is strong, fit, healthy, and above all else happy with whom she is.


Jennifer said...

I don't know you, but from bloggy world, but I can say that I am very proud of you. It takes a lot of courage to get through something like that! And I am sure your family is even more proud of you!

Amy Jo said...

Every time I read about your eating disorder I feel this "urge" to want to hug you! So, here is my virtual hug **hug**

I am so very proud of you and how far you have come. Congratulations on taking control of your life. And thank you for having the courage to tell your story!

Kathie Brinkman said...

Great testimony Kimberly! Isn't it just amazing how becoming a mom changes so many things for the better. You should consider sharing your story with young girls at your church youth group or with girls at Georgia Tech. You have a great story that can bless and impact many lives for the good.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and wanted to say how inspiring your story is. I don't think one can actually really understand what their body wants until they are pregnant and have a kid. It certainly helped me figure things out!

bitt said...

Great post. I'm so glad you healed.