For as long as I could remember, I was obsessed with my weight. Even in the fourth grade, I was thin as a rail -- but I was extremely conscious about my quickly-growing full B-cup breasts. They made me feel very large. And when I landed into middle school, although I was still pretty thin, my hips bursted in and my bust was the subject of envy amongst my female peers. Little did they know, I wanted to cut off my C-cup monsters. My curves killed me inside. I wanted to be flat and thin.
The obsession with my weight became a hidden mental torment by the time I reached high school. Everyone saw me as an average-sized girl -- I saw a person who took up too much space. During the hell of the summer, when the sun licked the concrete with it’s 90-degree heat, I wore pants, baggy shirts, and oversized sweaters to cover every inch of thickness.
From that point, my weight had gone up and down -- I could never really control my eating habits. I was either starving myself, or I was binging.
I didn’t realize my eating habits were a cause for concern, until when I was 19 years old, my roommate called me over and said, “I think you have an eating disorder.” I stared at her in dead silence. The words “eating disorder” did not compute. It didn’t make sense. How could I have an eating disorder if I was still curvy?
I was just doing what girls do -- eating less. I was being complimented about my body. I wanted to be small, by any means necessary. And at that point, that meant not eating. I created a daily routine. Half a granola bar in the morning, half a granola bar at night. It became easy and normal.
During my early 20s, I was never truly “thin.” Even when I was at my smallest, my tiny waist measuring at 23-inches, I was still obsessed with getting my breasts smaller and hips less massive.
When I started college, I made a promise to myself:
I will concentrate on my mental and physical health.
With nerves shaking every bone in my body, I made my way into the powerlifting gym at my school. I competed in my first ever deadlifting contest, and ripped 135lbs off the floor. That was my first time ever putting a barbell in my hands. For the first time -- I felt empowered. I was told how strong I was for a first-time lifter.
For the first time, my body did something that made me feel proud.
Powerlifting helped me eat consistently. It helped me stay disciplined to my program. I was strong as hell. For the first time in my life, I wasn't thinking about the weight on the scale, but on the weight I was able to lift.
Powerlifting saved my life. I became confident and empowered.
Today, although I am far more confident, I still battle with what I see. However, I am much stronger now. I make a conscious effort to count my blessings every morning, acknowledge how beautiful I am, and tell myself how far I’ve come. It’s certainly a mental fight -- but it’s fleeting, it no longer takes over my life.