I’ve been feeling the need to tell you my story. The story about how a girl that loved herself went from eating disorder to loving herself more than ever. It’s hard to share but I can’t hide my self love journey from the people who can be changed by it. Let’s go through it together.
I’ve been overweight since I was a sapling. That’s a gene that runs in my family and many of us have struggled with it. Even though as a child I suffered bullying, as I grew up I tried harder to accept myself and for a while my confidence wasn’t shaken. I was known as the chubby girl who loved herself and it would resonate to people around me.
In that time, nothing stopped me from wear clothes I was not “supposed” to wear or feel like I was not supposed to feel. I loved going to the gym, eating whatever I want, not worrying about someone’s else opinion. And yes, I would workout daily, because I liked it and not because I was trying to change my body. By the way, my annual checkups were always great, and I was a healthy young lady, yet overweight. It wasn’t bothering me at all.
I felt that way for years through my adult life until everything started to change. In 2014, working as a real estate in Brazil, I had some toxic people in my team that were often trying to convince me that I wasn’t enough. They would say things that sounded like trying to help but they were just trying to fat-shame me.
“Your husband will leave you for a skinny woman”
“You should take a better care of yourself”
“I’ve lost 30 pounds going to that doctor, you should go too”
“You are so beautiful to be fat”
“My boyfriend left me because I was fat, you have to do something before it’s too late”
I was being poisoned. I let those people get in my skin and I started to look at the mirror and feel bad about myself. They would insist I should visit the doctor that helped them lose weight. “I would thank her later”, she said. Well, I ended up going to that “well recommended” doctor and I was determined to be the skinnier I could be.
At the doctor’s office, I felt in my worst nightmare. He would say “Being fat is a sickness and it has no cure so you will have to keep dieting for the rest of your life.” I was shocked but he was the doctor so I should listen to him, right? I walked out of his office with a very restrictive diet to follow, it was not even customized. He did no exams or tests to know more deeply about my health. Looking at my body was enough to even prescribe medication (appetite suppressants) to “help” on my weight loss journey. I tried taking the appetite suppressant for a couple days, but it made me too sick and I decided to throw it away.
Over the first month I had many breakdowns. I cried, I was hungry, I wasn’t sleeping well, I was weak, and as weak I mean asking for help to stir up the meal I was cooking in the kitchen. I was feeling miserable, but I was losing weight fast. That was the goal. The following month I was more adapted to that “routine” and I started going to the gym. I also hired a personal trainer.
Through the first 50 days I had NOTHING that wasn’t on my meal plan. To do so, I stopped going out on dates, birthdays or any social event. When there was no way to dodge an event, I would bring my own food in a container. Failing wasn’t on my plans. Although I thought that following the doctor’s lifestyle for me was the right thing to do, I became more interested in the healthy lifestyle and after a few months reading more about it I would change my meal plan on my own, adding things that I believed would nourish my body. At that point, I was going to a bad financial situation so I couldn’t go back to the doctor. By the way the appointment was very expensive.
I learned a lot when studying on my own to create a better meal plan. I was obsessed. Learning was the good part of the whole journey, though. In 6 months, I lost about 50 pounds. I was skinny, finally! Yet not good enough. I would look at the mirror and only see the overweight girl that would have to diet forever. That wasn’t making me feel beautiful. Not even hot and athletic. I would have to work so much more towards my “dream body”. That’s what I planned to keep doing.
However, I didn’t know but my life would change completely in a few weeks. We were going through a huge economic crisis in Brazil. My husband and I lost our jobs, and because my husband has family in US we moved to Dallas for a fresh start.
I was very excited for this new chapter of my life and trying everything new. My mind was so open. Day by day I was forgetting about that restrictive life. But still doing my best to be as healthy as possible while living this dream. Our fresh start here wasn’t easy. I would work 13 hrs a day and keep up with a restrictive meal plan plus working out 2 hours a day as I used to do before wasn’t in my reality. How would I keep the shape, actually, how would I lose more weight? This thought was with me all the time. Until I realize that reducing the time of exercises and being open to healthy food without restrictions wasn’t working for me. I was gaining the weight back.
Truth come out
Finally, it hit me hard that I was living for my body. Living for acceptance, for what someone’s else thought to be good for me. Why would I need that? My husband would tell me every single day how much he loves my body since the day we met. Actually, he felt bad for me because I started that weight loss journey with the false thought of becoming my best for him, without even asking his opinion! It wasn’t about being healthy, that was about being thinner! I wasn’t feeling enough. All that situation made me sadder that hated herself. I was feeling pushed by the standards of the world. There were so many changes going on in my life and maybe that was a time to rediscover myself in a brand-new way.
The Adriana writing this article were reborn. I had to become a better version of myself. It would start from re-learning how to love myself and appreciate my uniqueness. I’m so smart, kind, determined. I can’t be defined by a body shape. In fact, my body has supported so much for me so far. I need to practice gratitude towards it.
Today I eat healthy, I workout, I practice yoga and I’m still plus size woman because that’s who I am. There’s no shame on that. If I have to go out on a date to eat whatever I want, I will. I found out the most important ingredient for a happy life is finding our balance. It’s been 4 years since I took the decision to embrace and be comfortable in my own skin. I’m a body positive, curly and immigrant influencer trying to inspire woman around the globe to raise that head and own it. WE ARE ENOUGH. WE ARE BEAUTIFUL.
I hope you feel inspired by my story, and if you’re feeling trapped in a negative situation like I was, there’s a way out. Believe me.