So you've probably seen a couple of blogs that I've posted but if you're not familiar with me personally, then let me introduce myself! I am the newest member of the Nutracelle family (you may have seen my face pop up on Instagram or Facebook posts!). I am the sharer of all things social media and love to interact with you guys! For those who have seen me - it's great to chat with you again! And for those who haven't, it's nice to meet you!
Disclaimer: my weight story is a little different than some, but it's one that I truly struggled/still struggle with and thought it was important to share!
I wanted to just share a little bit about myself, and my own journey the past few years dealing with being underweight, overweight and somewhere in-between. Keep reading to learn a little bit more about me.
Let's start with who I used to be:
This is the high school Steph. I was probably at my lowest weight, as a grown adult, in this photo at a whopping 110 lbs. To give you a better idea of how small that is for a 16 year old girl, I was also 5'8. So I was moderately tall and quite thin. I was always a small girl growing up and never had a problem with being overweight and thought that being that tall and thin was a gift. But I received a lot of backlash from peers and family who were wondering why I was so skinny. I would hear things like "Do you have an eating disorder?" "Do you not like food?" "Why are you so picky?". It was tough to hear those questions because I didn’t understand why people asked me them. It was really quite annoying, and I ended up resenting the people who spoke to me this way.
The truth was, I had no idea that I was quite underweight for my age and height. I liked how I looked; I thought it was flattering.
But there was a reason I was as tiny as I was, and it was my anxiety. I didn't know what anxiety was until I was 16-17 and started learning about it through friends and social media. I was a permanently anxious child. Throughout my high school years I learned, through the help and guidance of a psychologist, what was actually going on with me. I won't go into much detail but the most important part of my anxiety, for this specific story, is that I couldn't eat much. I didn't have much of an appetite; I skipped meals, and when I did eat - it wasn't always healthy food.
I wasn't feeding my body properly, but I didn't see what was wrong with that until much later in life. Food, especially when I ate out of the house (restaurants, friends houses, etc) also used to make me feel “sick”. I truly believed this, and so I restricted myself in order to not get "sick".
Let's jump ahead a little bit:
So this picture was taken a couple years after the first one. I was 18 years old (on the farthest left). I had moved to Germany for an exchange program for a full year. When I left Newfoundland I was 115 lbs. I was on my way to experience a whole new culture and I was still on the lower end of my weight. I was in for a huge surprise when at the end of my exchange year, I weighed in at a whopping 168 lbs! That was a 53 pound weight gain in 12 months.
I started realizing my weight gain around the halfway mark of my exchange. It was Christmas time and I was trying to fit into an outfit that would look nice for our Christmas Eve festivities. Alas, I couldn't fit into hardly any of my old clothes (especially the pants) and it was pretty embarrassing for me. I ended up having to buy almost an entirely new wardrobe within 6 months and I didn't know how to handle that. My anxiety during my year abroad was little to none. I felt happy and safe and like I was on top of the world... this is what I attributed my weight gain to.
I wasn't exercising, I loved to relax and just hangout and food was the go-to when meeting up with a friend. I ate what I wanted. Even when my family fed me healthy food, which was almost always, I still found a way to indulge in snacks, sugar and heavy carbs.
This photo was taken two weeks before returning home from my exchange. I was in school in Germany and this was a graduation picture (sorry about the stamping all over it). I could feel it in my legs, and my arms the most and hated looking at the photos after graduation was over. It felt like I lost myself in my weight and I was still stuck on what I had to do to lose this weight. It bugged me, but not enough to do anything about it.
Then my exchange ended.
Upon returning home to Newfoundland everyone and their dog couldn't believe how much I'd "blown up". I laugh at this now, but at the time it was a really sad feeling. I felt out of my skin and absolutely horrible. My anxiety ambushed me upon my return and within the first three months of being home, and eating how I once did, I lost 30 lbs. My body was beginning to return to itself again and I wanted to keep losing the weight. I was successful in losing another 11 pounds. I stopped weighing myself much after that because I could fit back into my clothes, I felt better, and I wasn't as worried anymore. This all happened within a 6-7 month period after returning home.
I maintained my weight of 127-130 lbs for about three years until January of 2016. Even with losing the weight I was extremely unhealthy. I wasn't eating right, smoked, and had just made a move to Prince Edward Island for school. It was a rocky road until I met my partner.
I quit smoking in February of 2016, started eating healthier and was encouraged to start working out to better myself. My anxiety was under control; I was happy and gaining a little bit of weight. I’ve been on and off the gym train for a couple of years, but I mostly do it to keep my mind clear and thoughts happy. It has been my saving grace in keeping my anxiety in check and under control. Of course the positive side effects from this is helping to get my physical body stronger. I don’t workout to “lose weight” but I do workout to see my body change in positive ways. I went from being unable to run AT ALL to loving interval running for cardio. I can lift weights (not heavy but I’m getting there) and every time I finish a workout, it’s like a weight - ha-ha - off my shoulders and I feel like the best I can be.
It’s been a long journey, I still struggle internally with how I look but I take that everyday and just try to do the absolute best I can at the time.
Here is the most recent full body photo I have! I am somewhere in between my smallest and largest, I would estimate around 142. This is fine with me; I am mostly wanting to work on gaining muscle and toning up!
Here's to being healthy, happy, and most importantly, in control of my mind and body.
Here's to us!
Would you like to hear how I've incorporated Nutracelle into my life? Maybe I'll write another blog specifically for that! Let me know what you think!
If there is one thing I want anyone to take away from this, is that we are all different, struggling in different ways, and that's okay. We're all here together to help each other and lift each other up!