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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My story- how I avoided the Freshman 15

See previous posts on this subject here.

Since high school was so painful, let's just skip to my freshman year of college (I might get back to it later, but man... it's tough). I joked on Facebook that if the first three years of college had an official title, it'd be something like "the years I spent seeking validation through the approval of boys," or "the years I spent being in love with the idea of being in love, without ever actually BEING IN LOVE."

They were still wonderful years, though.

My freshman year I opened up like a butterfly. I clawed my way out of depression with the help of counseling and medication and I burst out of my cocoon, ready to experience life. I was hopelessly in love with a boy who'd never have me (we'll call him... Jared) but the anticipation of "what if" was almost as good as actually being asked on a date.

Recently, I read through my journals from this time period and was reminded of one trial that took a while to overcome. In my mind, I remember it being something I dealt with just for a couple of months, but in reality, it was closer to two years that I consistently wrote about hating my body.

When I left for college, my family joked that I couldn't come home for Christmas if I fell prey to the "Freshman 15." I'd never worried excessively about my weight before but something changed at some point. In addition to being so poor I could barely afford groceries, I found a sense of well-being in controlling what I could eat. I limited myself to almost nothing, and eventually starting flirting with bulimia. I devoted myself to exercise.

I wrote in my journal that if my body wasn't so disgusting (I was a totally normal 5' 4", 115 pounds!!), I'd be able to have a boyfriend. Jared and I talked on the phone probably 20 hours a week, and I convinced myself that if I was smaller, I'd be cuter and he'd fall in love with me. Guess what. Jared's not that shallow. Changing my body would never change how he felt about me.


But I couldn't see it like that. And don't misinterpret that I blame him for what I did to myself. I don't at all. He's actually the only person I ended up talking with about my eating disorder. He helped me understand that I was hurting myself and in turn, hurting him.

I eventually discussed it with my counselor, and he started keeping tabs on that aspect of my life as well. I stopped throwing up because I was so embarrassed to have to tell my counselor every time I did it. My pride was strong enough to overcome my vanity.

Over time, I separated my self-worth from my body image. If only I could have separated it from depending on the number of dates I had.

2 comments:

  1. It is so sad that we put so much emphasis on our bodies and our happiness. I know this because I do the same thing. I have never struggled with my weight, but I have always felt a need to be small. So after having kids and going through the rough period of losing the baby weight and all that happens I struggled. I get into these funks of feeling horrible about myself and my body image. I drive my husband nuts. I just wish I could get over it and realize that I am proud to be a mom and the changes that came along with it. I love your story. Thanks again for sharing. I know that it must be difficult to be so honest.

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  2. Wow, Livia. Thank you for sharing. That is very inspirational that you overcame it. You definitely need to write that book.

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