Digging to Roam

Why I Didn’t Try To Lose Weight For My Wedding

Wedding at the Beach
The author on her wedding day. Courtesy of Adrian Herrera of Victor Herrera Photographers

To take care of myself in the months preceding my wedding I had to make a conscious effort to not dive into dieting. Wedding weight loss was off the list of things for me to do, or to even attempt.

As soon as I begin to try to control the outcome of any situation, I become lost in an obsessive spiral.

I will never forget the night I realized that my relationship with food was not a healthy one. It was late, long past when I had meant to fall asleep. My eyes blurred as I watched, for the third time in a row, a plastic bowl of ramen spin behind the yellow tinged window of the microwave. I opened the door before the countdown finished. I wanted to throw it away, but I ate it instead. Less than an hour later, I stole a slice of chocolate cake from my roommate. I inhaled it as I walked back to my basement bedroom. Minutes later, I threw it up.

When I was 18, I went through a painful breakup. My stomach was in knots for weeks on end, I couldn’t eat without feeling sick afterwards. I didn't consciously stop eating, but I did stop eating. I could feel the anxiety in my gut and food didn’t alleviate the pain. Nightmares of eating something rotten and being unable to stop vomiting played on repeat.

I lost a lot of weight, quickly. My dramatic weight loss elicited comments from a couple of well-intentioned teachers. I sought out a therapist and worked on managing the anxiety. The nervous energy I worked on dispersing was hovering atop caverns of depression.

Feeling too deeply can split a person open. I have never known what to do with the empty space.

The open wounds attracted an abusive man. Comments about my body were just one of the transgressions that occurred during those years. He told me that if I ever gained too much weight, I would not be lovable anymore. His reasoning was, “If you became really fat, it means we aren’t compatible because being healthy is important to me.” He didn’t instill self-hatred — he reinforced what I already believed.

Body image has long been intimately associated with my idea of self-worth, even when I didn’t realize it. I hold no delusions that I’m unique in this way. The messages of good versus bad bodies are so deeply instilled that they are entangled in my struggle with depression and anxiety.

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Original published on Ravishly 7 July 2017
Posted here 10 July 2017
By Kristance Harlow

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