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Posted on Oct 3, 2011 in Dear Diary | 104 comments

Dear Diary

Please note: this is a very emotionally heavy post. It may be triggering for those of you who have had or are dealing with an eating disorder. There is also a small amount of profanity in one of the quoted sections that follows. Not that I think you can’t handle it, but as this is usually a family show I just wanted to give you a heads up.

I took a trip over the weekend. Not to a place, but to a time. Specifically, I went to revisit what you might call my version of the Dark Ages.

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An on-and-off journaler for most of my life, I found myself stumbling rapidly back into the past when I came across several of my old diaries. Entries spanned intermittently from 2004 to 2009, carrying me through high school to the end of college and the very worst of my struggles with disordered eating. Reading through them was like seeing snapshot after snapshot of me spiraling down to my very lowest place, while concurrently climbing to my highest weight. What started off as, in my opinion, innocuous teen angst, turned darker and more raw with every page. Cracking open these emotional hydrogen bombs sent me rocketing back to a time when I was so clearly lost. And I don’t think I even realized until now just how damaged I was.

April 4, 2007

Obese, depressed, socially awkward, disgusting, and on top of that, I’m just a fucking failure at every fucking thing I do. No wonder no guy wants me. I’m just going to end up fat & alone, like I am now but with more pets and no friends. You disgust me. You make me want to throw up. You sick, obese cow. You don’t deserve to continue breathing, let alone eating.

I was just shy of 19 when I wrote those words. According to that same entry, I had just weighed in at 213 lbs. I’ve been saying lately that I’m very fortunate not to have received any negative comments on the blog yet, but naturally I fear the inevitable day when someone is cruel to me on here. After taking this (unfortunate? fortunate?) trip down memory lane, however, I don’t think that there’s a single person out there who could be meaner to me than I was to myself.

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2007 seems, without a doubt, to have held the worst of it. Or at least the most detailed parts. I’ve written about my issues with binge eating here on the blog, and lightly touched on the fact that I also dealt with depression. I guess that in the process of healing though, I blocked out (or at least downplayed) the worst of it. Reading my real-time thoughts from this era of my life has made me painfully aware of just how dark things got, how depraved my desires were, and how twisted my methods became, all in the name of “thin”.

March 24, 2007

I can’t believe I keep slipping like this. This really has got to end. Tomorrow you are waking up and either A) going to UREC {the campus gym}, or B) not eating. Those are your two options. And since you can’t really go to UREC… I guess that means NO food for you. You’ve done it before. You can do it again. The one thing you haven’t been doing so far is COMMIT!!

These are just the words that I wrote, of course, not necessarily what actually happened. And while the physical pages of my diaries have stood the literal test of time, so have the actual memories that accompanied them. Thankfully, I’ve changed since then (though my obvious aversion to exercise is clearly something I’m still working on!) and thankfully, I was never very “good” at not eating. I only know that in conjunction with what I wrote, this is what I would tell myself most mornings: Don’t eat. Don’t succumb. Be “strong”. And I’d try to do exactly that for as long as I could. Sometimes I’d hold out until lunch. Sometimes until dinner. On very, very rare occasion, I might “last” until the next day. But fortunately, my body always figured out that I was trying to starve it down to a size 6 before long. Unfortunately, you probably can guess what came after. Enter: the binge.


Summer 2009

There were days that were normal. There were days when I “simply” overate (or ate poorly), but didn’t binge. But there were far too many days filled with subterfuge and lies, hidden and hoarded food, restriction, binges, and even purging.

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting I did eventually seek help for my depression (I wasn’t a student there, but was understandably affected by this tragedy.) It just never even occurred to me to give the same sort of attention to my issues with food. I don’t think I understood that most girls didn’t have the same twisted relationship with every meal. And so it continued, and while some days, some weeks, some months got better, I still continued to get bigger. There are entries from the earlier journals I found where I’m cursing myself for weighing 185 pounds, and it makes me so sad. Not because it’s the actual number that matters all that much, nor the fact that I’m not quite back there yet (soon!), but because I simply wish I had known then what I know now.


May 2009

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to share this time of my life with you all. It’s embarrassing. It was a sad, dark time, and I think it would have been easier for me to pack my diaries away and gloss over it with a two-sentence mention followed by 12 pictures of the dogs. I guess I just feel that it’s important to show you where I came from. Or maybe it’s just important to show myself.

We blame our obsession with thinness on so many things (society! the media! the fashion industry!) but often forget that we are our own worst critics. Sure, eventually my weight got to a point where it was a medical concern (or at least, it would surely have become one), but there are a lot of pounds between 185 (arguably average) and 246 (obviously obese). I was my own Mean Girl — my vanity constantly telling me that I needed to be smaller, that I needed to try harder. I pushed myself into my disordered eating, which of course did exactly the opposite of what I wanted in terms of my weight, and I need to own up to that fact. I’m just so thankful that I did eventually hit my tipping point, and, well, you know the rest of the story.

I would be lying to you if I said that it’s been a perfect, binge-free journey since Day 1 of starting this blog. I think that these urges are something that I will have to continue fighting for the rest of my life. Think of me what you will after reading this post, but I feel that rediscovering my diaries is a bit of a Godsend — I’ve been fighting against backsliding particularly hard lately. I’ve been living in a constant state of fear of going back to that place, and I think that may have been a big factor in why I haven’t been making much progress with my weight loss lately. Better to stay here than to take it too far, right? I know now though that I will never spiral that far down again. If nothing else, I know that you won’t let that happen. It’s thanks to you I’ve even made it this far.

Errrrr.
September 2011

There isn’t a moment of the past year that I’ve regretted when it comes to my health (a few unfortunate wardrobe choices though? Perhaps.) I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight towards my goal. I’ve continued to heal from my twisted relationship with food. I’ve grown and evolved in my ability to know myself. And hey, I’ve even run a 5 miler to boot! The only thing I do wish is that I would have had the courage to change earlier.

Thankfully it’s never too late.

104 Comments

  1. I was a lot like you in college, except anorexic. I have A LOT of old, college-era journal entries that sound just like yours. You’re not alone, Gretchen. And there is a whole new world on the other side, as you’re discovering now. πŸ™‚

    • It’s strange, because I feel simultaneously inspired and disheartened by the fact that so many others are commenting that they can relate all too well. It’s wonderful to know we’re not in this alone, but I just hate the idea of others feeling the same way…

  2. Gretchen,
    I thank you for writing this blog and sharing your dark secrets about your diary entries. I too am my own worst critic. I am a binge eater and then hate myself for doing it..my self esteem is very low. I will stand in my closet for two hours crying and trying on clothes that don’t fit right and throwing them in a ball on the floor. My husband tells me every day that I am beautiful but what matters is what’s in my head. After reading your blog I realized just how mean to myself I am and I hope that this will inspire me to start to treat myself better. Keep up the great work and know that you are an inspiration to others.

    • You are worth so much more than how you’re treating yourself, Melissa. It’s incredibly brave to share your own struggles like this, and I really feel it’s the first step to starting to heal. Thank you for your kind words, and please don’t ever hesitate to email me if you need to talk to someone who has literally been there, done that. πŸ™‚

  3. The important thing is not when you decided to stop beating yourself up and actually make changes, it’s that you did it! So many people go through life feeling like you did and don’t ever change. You did something about it. Even if you’re not at your goal weight, you are much healthier now, physically, and from what you just wrote, mentally too.

    The problem with weight loss is that you can’t be perfect all the time. There’s ebb and flow. Some weeks you’ll lose weight and some weeks you’ll gain and that will probably go on for the rest of your life. You just have to find a way to be okay with that.

    Crap, I just spilled coffee all over my shirt!

    • My story’s that engrossing, eh? Haha, sorry about the spilled coffee, but thank you so much for your comment. It’s true, there is ebb and flow. And I have to keep reminding myself that even though I share my journey with you awesome people every week, I can’t feel pressured to keep losing and losing just because I have the accountability of this blog. Gotta remember that… ebb and flow, ebb and flow…

  4. I was so mean to myself in high school and college. In high school, I would go days where my entire food consumption was a glass of orange juice in the morning. In college, I would not allow myself any food until dinner. I was so desperate to be “normal” that I would do anything. I’ve never written about it, but there was cutting, depression and a whole lot of self-hatred. It’s nice being on the other side of it now, but it’s hard to imagine that I was ever there in the first place.

    • It’s a painful place to revisit. I hold fast to my belief that discovering my journals and being able to reflect upon that time is a good thing, because it’s just another marker of how far I’ve come, but it’s hard too. It’s triggering, and sometimes fighting to make good decisions gets tiring, and horrible as it sounds, sometimes it’s easier to try to take the misguided shortcuts. Thankfully I *do* know better now but that doesn’t mean it’s always the easier choice.

  5. You are a strong beautiful woman. Life is all ups and downs… It is how we deal. You are amazing!!

    • As much as I wish I could just have a flat ride, I guess life wouldn’t be very interesting without the hills and valleys, huh?

  6. I second Erin’s comment. Brave, intelligent and inspirational to many.

    I also want to say that you’re a great writer! This read like an excerpt from a book πŸ™‚

    • Oh gawrsh, thank you so much, Heather!

  7. Good job, and I dont think it was embarrassing I think it was honest.

    • Thanks, Robin. It definitely makes it slightly less embarrassing to hear you say that. πŸ™‚

  8. Thank you.

  9. It is introspection like this that really shows how much you HAVE changed by being able to recognize how you can be your own worst enemy. You know i’m always here for you!!

    • Amen!

  10. Hello Gretchen,

    I read your story on calorie count and ended up here in your blog. I have to say you are an inspiration for me. What strength of character to get to where you are.. to see and deal with it all the way to where you are. Congratulations, you are an admirable person. Of course I am also on this conflict, I can assure you I know the feelings you describe in your diaries. I got to discover many of things you also did.. but I still have to fight hard my impulses and I do not always win. You sound like a great person to be friends with, pity I live in Argentina. Keep at it, you are doing so well!

    • Thank you so much. And who says just because we live far apart means we can’t be friends? πŸ™‚

  11. Gretchen – it takes a lot of strength to revisit those difficult times and to share it with the world. You’re a lot stronger than you think — and you had it all the time. I’m sure your post will help countless women with their own battles. Well done!

    • Hopefully it helps just to know that nobody is in this thing alone.

  12. Gretchen, thank you for sharing this. You really hit the nail on the head with “wre re our own worst critics, ” and “I was my own Mean Girl.” Sad, but true, that we can – and usually do – hurt ourselves more than any other person or outside force could ever do. Thank you for for being honest about your fear of sliding back, and for sharing it in this forum, too. It seems to me, all of us on a journey to health can relate. You go, girl! πŸ™‚

    • It’s one of those things where I’m hoping that if I admit it, I’ll stop trying to run from it and just face it. I know that the rest of this journey is certainly never going to be perfect, and while overindulging and bingeing are two totally different things, it’s just hard sometimes. Here’s hoping…!

  13. Ok, so, this made me cry. I am so proud of you for being so honest and bare. I know not everyone has had at eating disorder, per say, but we all have our demons. I’ve had bad, really bad, anxiety issues, and I still can’t fully talk about all of it. Yes, happy hyper giddy me. Its so cliche, but, all that you used to be, allowed you to become where you are now, and motivate so many people. I heart you.

    • Oh Reems, thank you. I think that the same sort of thing applies to anything that someone struggles with — whether it be weight-specific or just a general destructive mindset or mentality. So your point is very apt.

  14. Gretchen, your honesty and openness continues to amaze me. I’m not surprised to hear you went through depression along with your disordered eating – I’m starting to think more and more that those things go hand-in-hand. It’s true, we are often our own worst enemies. I’m still fighting through my depression, and there are days where my mind reads EXACTLY like that first journal entry of yours – no matter how good of a wife, mother, or friend I am. If nothing else, I’ve learned that, just because someone looks “perfect” on the outside doesn’t mean they’re fighting their own horrible demons on the inside. I think people like you can really help women acknowledge their demons and fight them! I’m so happy you’ve corralled yours!

    • Oh girl, thank you. I think part of it comes down to actively saying the words to show yourself you’re worth it. Like, even when it sounds silly, sometimes if I feel fat or ugly or lazy or sad or whatever, I have to say out loud the things I’ve accomplished. Which, yes, makes me look like a fool, especially because there have been one or two times when the words *may* have been accompanied with an actual face-slap (hey, whatever works, right?) but it’s showing that I’m fighting. And all we can do is fight.

  15. I’ve had similar journal entries and I also was at my heaviest in college. I bang my head against the wall now and ask “Why?” all the time but then I remember that the past brought me to where I am now – a healthier, stronger, happier, and wiser me.

    You are awesome and let the past only serve as a catalyst to continue your journey – don’t allow it to derail you.

    Happy Monday!

  16. Wow Gretchen – I cannot imagine what it would be like to feel that way about myself! I have been lucky in that as much as I have body (and eating) issues I was never that hard on myself and it really makes me sad to realize that there are so many women (and girls…hell and boys) out there feeling the way you were. I think it’s amazing that you’re sharing your story with us. I know it’s sort of cliche, but you really are an inspiration! As a 30-something that still beats myself up for “bad” weigh-ins, it’s women like you that make me snap out of it and realize that I’m not “failing” because I haven’t reached my goal yet – it’s the process of getting there that’s making me stronger and healthier, both physically and emotionally.

    • Well I’m so glad to hear that not everyone has felt this way, at least! Gives a little hope for my someday-progeny, hahaha.

  17. I relate… more than I’d care to admit.
    I have always been (and continue to be) my own worst critic.

    You’ve made so much progress… mentally and physically. For that you should be *very* proud.

    ~

    • It’s never easy. But it’s just like being an alcoholic. We’re self-hate-aholics, and admitting we have a problem is always the first step. πŸ™‚

  18. Very good post! Is it bad to say it is nice to hear other people have thought the same thing in their past? I was definitely there as well. It is great motivation to read old thoughts and know that you have changed for the better. Great job in getting to where you are!

    • Thanks Shelly! It’s not bad at all. I think that most of us take comfort in knowing we’re not the only ones going through something. That being said, hopefully that doesn’t inspire us to be complacent about staying in that place. There’s a reason why they say misery loves company after all, right? Haha.

  19. Wow is all I can say. I felt like I was reading my own words in your blog. I know exactly where you are coming from and have finally realized that I am sabotaging myself by continuing to think this way. You are an inspiration to see that I can get past my own insecurities and change my life. Thank you and keep up the fantastic work!!

    • I keep saying this over and over on here, but it’s true: seriously. If I can do this ish, ANYONE can. πŸ™‚

  20. I think the ability to look back at those super dark times and to come out of it with perspective highlights how much you have grown. You are stronger, healthier, and far more loving now than you were back then. I think it is funny that as we grew up we were constantly taught to treat others kindly, but rarely does anyone plant the value of being kind and gentle to one’s self. Truly, this is important as no one can cause us more pain than we can cause ourselves. You are brave for going back there and exploring a little, while at the same time being gentle with that girl that you used to be. Your story is all too familiar to me, and like you I have lately found myself at an impasse. I’ve done amazing, but it is still not good enough, you know deep in the recesses of my ego. I’m working on it all the time. At risk of this turning into too much about me… I was always a fat kid, went through a stage of eating nothing but carrots, then spiraled and got to my heaviest 202 (I’m barely 5’5″). I made some changes and I’ve gotten down to 153, and initially, I felt amazing… but I haven’t made much progress in the past year. Some days I worry I will spiral back to fat, and other days I am obsessing because I felt so great when I lost weight, but then reality shuts in that I’m still not “thin” and 153 while that seems great to ME is apparently a fatty nightmare to “skinny” girls. ugh! Anyhow, we all struggle with our stuff and I think it is just part of life, something to keep us going. If I were “skinny”, there would be nowhere to go… I’d be done and that would sort of suck. I’m working on enjoying the subtle changes in my body that come along with losing about 1/2 pound per month. Hang in there, and I will too!

    • We are SO in this together! πŸ™‚

  21. I’m so glad that you had the courage to share this with us. It helps to know that I’m not the only one that had thoughts like this or filled journal pages with self-hate. You’ve come so far! You should be SO proud of that!

  22. Wow. Thank you for being so freakin honest – and for being brave enough to share your struggles (and your amazing journey). As someone with my own weight issues, I think you are incredible.

    And I think wearingmascara is totally right – we would get along so well!!

    • Thank you so much, Amy! I agree. πŸ™‚

  23. This is why I love you, your posts are raw and real. Just like how you are in person <3

  24. Dear Gretchen,
    You are completely amazing, and I’m not just saying that because your post made me cry. You’re such a tough cookie (yum, cookies). I think a lot of people have something where they’re their own worst critic but it’s so hard to see it and it’s even harder to stop it. And you, my friend, are a big step ahead because you did both of those things. So if you ever feel yourself falling back into a dark age, let me know and I’ll send you daily emails about how awesome you are, K? πŸ™‚
    Carly

    • I will let you go on about how awesome I am any day, hahaha! <3

  25. I… feel a lot after reading, but I don’t think I am able to put it down onto paper. Let’s just say that I can relate, I am touched, and so proud of you for being brave enough to put yourself out there with this post.

    • Thank you so much. Feel free to email me if you ever do want to talk about it, slightly outside of the public eye, haha.

  26. this must be one of the best posts you have ever written. I appreciate your honesty and I think itΒ΄s such a big thing you took that step back in time. Definitely helps with the healing process!
    But also I can relate to that, as I have struggled a lot in high school with trying to “fit in”. So stupid. I really did think I was fat back then, but I was actually really skinny (I really was!), just going through puberty and getting some curves. You always wish you would have known as much as you do know, but I feel that all these experiences have made me the person I am today.
    I really was teary when reading your story and I am so glad you shared, bc I am sure a lot of girls/women out there have the same issues.
    Thank you so much for this post!!

    • Oh gosh, thanks Michaela. That’s really kind. I know how you feel — if I had a time machine, I would go back to myself in the 10th grade and smack myself in the face for thinking that wearing a size 9 was fat. You know, after going back in time to invest in Google and Facebook. πŸ˜‰

      • But hey, at least we know that NOW!
        hahaha, oh yes, I would have totally invested in them!! πŸ˜€

  27. Gretchen, I know everyone else has already expressed this, but I just want to reiterate that you are so incredibly brave. There is so much of my journey that I have wanted to put on my blog in the hopes of being completely honest and sharing the full story, but I’ve just been too afraid of putting it all out there. I love that you have the strength to share the reality behind your journey and put helping others above and beyond the fear of what sharing this will bring. You are an inspiration and you have come so far. There are so many of us who can relate to your story and it is always nice to know that we’re not alone! You are amazing. The end.

    • Sometimes I think I’m freaking insane for putting all of this stuff on the interwebs, hahaha. But if it helps even one person, then I guess it’s really worth it, huh? πŸ™‚

  28. Congratulations on acheiving something that a some people can never get to: stop being a victimizer. It’s so easy to be the victim of a situation instead of deciding to take action and stop blaming everyone else. To this I say HUZZAH! It takes a lot of guts to crawl out of that whole, and even more willpower. You clearly have a lot of both. Sure it’s hard to look back at some of those Dark Ages, but I believe it’s always important to remember where you came from.
    You are doing great and amazing in every way. You’ll loyal readers love you!

  29. Thank you for sharing. You are right, it is never too late. And the important thing is that you are doing the right things for yourself now. AND you are an inspiration to people like me who are also on the journey…that is also important and very cool. You rock!

  30. thank you so much for sharing this. I also have been writing in a journal since freshman year of college and there are (many) days that I write mean things to myself. Why? Im not sure. But I defiantly need to start treating myself better, I mean I would never say those things to my friends, so why say them to myself. we just need to love ourselves πŸ™‚

  31. Gretch! Just wanted to say I am so so so very proud of you to see how far you’ve come, especially since I have known since before this whole time period that you’re talking about <3

    Will email you about an idea i have!!

    – Stephu

    • Can’t hide anything from those of you who knew me when! πŸ™‚ Oooh, my curiosity is piqued! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  32. Gretchen,

    Do you see all the comments people are leaving in response to this post? Please realize that you have nothing to be embarrassed about, but on the contrary, your courage in sharing this piece of your past is helping so many others find a voice to share their stories! You really are an inspiration… not just for those who are trying to lose weight, but for everyone learning to love themselves, respect their bodies, and live healthy, normal lives! Thank you for your vulnerability.

    As I read this post I kept getting chills. I also went to JMU, and as much as I love my alma mater, that place can be toxic for anyone with even the slightest body image issue (umm, probably 99% of the female population between ages 18 and 22??) Senior year was my version of the Dark Ages. I finally sought help for an eating disorder that had consumed my life, and in the process of letting go of obsessive behaviors (and ultimately finding “normal,”) my eating habits became absolutely out of control. I’d give myself permission to eat a normal meal, but my body was so out of whack that it would lead to a binge, which would lead to self-hatred, which would lead to purging, to more self-hatred, to starving, to bingeing, to self-hatred, to purging… Out. Of. Control. The pages from your journal look a lot like mine from back then. I would spend hours trying to find an outfit that I didn’t think looked horrific; when I was unsuccessful, I’d end up skipping class, crying, and taking a nap because I couldn’t deal with how horrible I thought I looked. I’d make those deals with myself like, “If I don’t weigh less than __ tomorrow, then I’m only allowed to eat ___ calories.”

    Looking back, it’s tragic that we (and so many others) thought that way. It makes me so sad to see how consumed I was. I think we need to almost grieve for those people that we were, but definitely praise God for where we are now and the journey that’s taken us away from that stage of life. Gretchen, you WON’T go back to that place… you’ve come too far, and you’ve tasted (pun intended :-D) how it feels to be good to yourself. Be proud of yourself, girl, and don’t minimize how far you’ve come!!

    • I completely agree with you that the atmosphere at JMU was probably not very good to battle against these kinds of thoughts with. I mean, JMU was a distinct reputation for having HOT GIRLS!! Ahhhh!

  33. You have come so far! I’m really happy for you. I don’t know if I ever wrote anything like that into my diary but I do know I thought the thoughts. You are great!

    And I cannot get over how amazing your legs look in that pic from your run. Seriously, color me jealous.

  34. I wish I knew you then so I could have given you a big hug and tell you that everything would be okay, but I’m glad that you figured that out on your own and are becoming the person you want to be. You’ve come so far and are so awesome! (Hence why we’re friends.)

    • ‘S ok, just give me a big hug when we see each other next, kay? πŸ™‚

  35. Gretchen you’re so amazing for being bold and vulnerable enough to share these incredibly hard things about your past. I’ve noticed myself lately becoming my own worst enemy when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices. You know… I eat 3 cookies and think that I MUST do some sort of exercise before going to bed to work it off otherwise I’ll have gained weight. Many time I don’t do said exercise, then as I’m heading into bed or waking up in the morning, I’m beating myself up for the poor choice. What’s begun working for me is when I’m beating myself up, to remind myself that I don’t determine my identity and my worth. What matters is what God thinks about me and I know I’m loved and worthy to Him. I take myself out of the courtroom, so to say, and into His arms πŸ™‚

    • Thanks girl. It really is a constant mental battle not to let ourselves be so hard on… ourselves. Well, that’s a poorly constructed sentence but the sentiment remains the same, hahaha. πŸ™‚

  36. Dear Gretchen:

    How dear of you to share your story in this manner. I feel quite certain that you are not alone in the experiences and emotions you experienced. I believe in a very large way, this post in particular has blessed more souls than you can imagine.

    I’m so proud of you, Girl. May the Lord continue to richly bless you and all whom you hold dear.

    Cheri

  37. It’s wonderful to hear someone who weighs 185lb and celebrates their success. I don’t mean this in any mean sort of way–I mean that I wish I had your good attitude. I weigh 168-170 (it varies) and that is a 6-8lb loss from what I was three months ago. I am 5’7″. I swim/spin/run for 60-90min per day. But I look huge, and worse, I feel HUGE compared to all the skinny people around me. I can’t really celebrate my lost pounds because I still look/feel gross in the mirror. I am in that dark stage you had in 2007–I hate mirrors, hate cameras, and have come to hate clothes shopping as well. I am even starting to become disgusted with a lot of the success stories I read about, because they talk about getting down to a size 8 in pants like size 12 (my size) was SO hideous. They often say that they counted calories and allowed occasional indulgences and stopped eating 20 cupcakes a day and walked 30 min a day and lost 30 lb in six months. But your success story struck a chord with me. You are trying so hard to live an active lifestyle, and you are able to celebrate your body even when you’re not all the way to your goal. I consider that picture of you running a celebration. You entered a race! I, personally, run 5-8 miles a couple times a week but would never dream of entering a race because I know I’d be surrounded by skinny people. Let alone have my picture taken at one, so everyone could see how little my body resembles a runner’s. The only girls I ever see running when I’m out running are very skinny, and I’m sure I look like a broad, huffing whale to them when we pass. I will start following your blog. It makes me feel a little bit better to see that I am not the only girl who runs despite the weight they’re carrying. I hope someday to be brave enough to look back on this time with the same compassion you show your former self.

    • I hope so too, Kathleen! It can be really frustrating to be out in a world where girl who weigh a good 40 lbs less than me are saying that they need to lose weight, they’re so overweight, they’re so unhappy, so out of shape, etc, etc. But I just have to keep reminding myself that everyone is different, and everyone’s happy weight is different, and it doesn’t help to hate myself as I am now. It’s a battle every day though, sometimes I love the way I look (especially given that I started at, you know, 60 lbs more than this!) and sometimes I still find my softness and jelly (heh) disgusting and mentally berate myself for not making more progress sooner. I honestly think it’s about enjoying other parts of my life that help me view my body as a lesser factor in my happiness, so I hope that one day you do a race! Believe me, I always think I’ll be the biggest one on the road, but that’s definitely not true. And even if it were, I do honestly believe that nobody would be looking at me. πŸ™‚

  38. Great post, thank you for sharing! You are so strong and inspirational!

  39. I’m so proud of how far you’ve come Gretchen, and you should be too. Rock on, lovely lady. You obviously inspire so many.

  40. Several months ago I ran across some old journals from middle school, high school, and college. Wow, I had forgotten just how harsh I was to myself. I called myself fat and worthless. I went on about how I couldn’t believe I’d allowed myself to get to 150 pounds. (Side note: Now I’d LOVE to be 150 pounds.) I tried to eat as little as humanly possible and beat myself up over eating 4 M&M’s. If I only I knew then what I know now. Glad to know I’m not the only one. I still have a long way to go in my weight loss and overcoming some poor habits, but my attitude is so much different now.

    • Sigh, stupid hindsight. I guess I should still try to take the whole “everything I’ve gone through has made me who I am today” route, but to be honest, if I had a choice to go back, I would have rather just avoided all the self-hate for weighing 150 lbs myself, hahaha.

  41. Let me join the chorus of praise. I’m so glad I found your blog!

  42. Thanks for sharing. Your courage to tell all is pretty inspirational. Thank you for showing that there is life on the other side, life that one can come back from. Sounds like you have had a really amazing journey. Keep going! Thanks again. Your words meant more than you know.

  43. Gretchen, I love you. So many of us have struggled with dark days of our own, around food or other issues or behaviors. You can’t get beyond them if you can’t be honest with yourself about them. You are clearly being honest here. You didn’t have to share this with all of us, but thank you for doing so. I’m sure there are people reading this who need to know, or be reminded, that they aren’t alone in these feelings. Thank you for being so brave and honest. You are an inspiration and I am proud to be able to say “Hey, that’s MY cousin!” =)

  44. Wow…. Gretchen. That was an amazing, revealing, and relatable post. You are so brave to have shared it. Seriously admirable.

    I’ve never journaled, but I have to think there would be some parallels between your words and what I would have written. It’s sad when I think of how mean I’ve been to myself, and at times, I’ve even been mean to myself for being mean to myself – What?

    Breaking the habit is what it’s all about… And you’re doing it, my dear. Thanks as always for amazing inspiration. Xoxo

    • Now if only I can *establish* better habits in its place (like ones that have to do with exercise… hahaha)

  45. I’ve been an on and off journaler all my life. I’ve been fighting a battle with food and weight since I was 10 years old. Many of your journal entries could have been mine.

    I applaud you for working through your issues and I want to thank you for making them public because it really helps to see other people going through the same things. I have really enjoyed your blog and it has inspired me to get back on the wagon.

  46. Thank you for sharing! You were not alone then, and you’re not now! So many of us are going through what you went through. Thanks for sharing.

  47. Wow! Thanks for sharing and being so real. I know that took lots of guts! You have definitely earned my respect!

  48. Fantastic post! We’re our own worst enemies. The cruel things that I’ve said to myself over the years as words I’d never speak to my worst enemy.

    I think it’s interesting that you mention the VA Tech shooting. I was a junior that year (I attended Tech) and one of my sorority sisters was killed that day. Honestly when I look back on my life that day signaled a downwards spiral for me leading to anorexia and binge eating.

    You’re not alone in this crazy world! Losing weight and finding your healthy balance is a long journey full of good and bad days. Trying to stay positive is one way to help keep you sane. I personally think you look amazing πŸ™‚ And you should be incredibly proud of the progress that you’ve made. Mucho hugs!!

  49. Hi Gretchen,
    I’m another person who’s found your blog through Calorie Count. And like all the people above I just want to say a massive THANK YOU for writing this post.

    I think like a lot of people I thought I was the only person who was like this as a teenager. It is so amazing to know that there are other people who spent so long being horrifically cruel to themselves and reading this post has really made me look at my teeange years in a different light – I spent so many years telling myself not only everything you’ve written here but that I was a freak for telling myself these things too!

    So thank you, thank you, thank you! Your blog’s now securely saved in my google reader – it’s a great help to find someone of a similar age who has had similar experiences that have got them to their current healthier state.

    • Thank YOU! I swear, starting this blog has been the best thing for me weight loss and general emotional healing (haha, I sound so new age) because of this exact reason. There are SO many people who felt like they were alone in their struggles, myself included. But somehow, through the magic of the interwebs, we find each other and it does nothing but affirm the changes in my life that I’m starting to make. I’m so glad you think my continuing journey is worth sticking around for. πŸ™‚

  50. Wow…what a powerful post. I’m sure this couldn’t have been easy to write, but I always feel like the ones that are the hardest are also the most cathartic. I was never very good about keeping a journal, but I remember making similar deals to myself: work out or don’t eat. It’s hard to go through life when your own worst enemy is yourself, but learning to love yourself and learning to take care of yourself isn’t exactly easy. I am so amazed by how far you have come, and can’t wait to continue following along while strive for your goals. Thank you for the courage in sharing your story…I think a lot of people will be able to benefit from it.

    • Thanks so much, Amanda. πŸ™‚

  51. Wow Gretchen, you are so, so brave! No matter if you are trying to lose 5 pounds or 100 pounds these mental blocks always come up. Something about the mean girl-ness that society has become allows us to think it is okay to speak to ourselves with the same mean girl spirit. Getting that mean girl to go away forever is hard but as long as you know you are a work in progress, it’s easier to grant yourself some slack when you have an off day. No matter how this journey ends you will always deserve to be loved (especially by your own self).

  52. Hi. I have been reading your blog for a while, and as someone who has struggled with these same issues, I have identified with and found strength through reading many of your insightful posts. This post in particular is so moving. Thank you so much for sharing this very private part of your life with your readers. I’m sure it was very difficult to write (and even more to press publish!) but I know for me, and I’m sure for others, it is helpful to know that someone has been through the same things (and come out so strong and wise on the other side!) You’re absolutely right–we’re our own biggest mean girls, and it’s awful because at the end of the day, our own self is the person we have to be with and be at peace with all the time.

    Thanks again for posting this. You’re a real role model, and it’s amazing that you continue to face and work through your demons.

    Kayla

  53. oh dear, another post I can relate to. I simultaneously am comforted by/ hate the fact that other girls have had this relationship with their bodies πŸ™ thank you for sharing!

  54. Really brave darling you should be proud of yourself

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