I have been fascinated with the idea of ‘thin’ for most of my life. At a very young age I convinced myself that my life would never feel complete unless I was thin, so as I aged I learned to rely on my imagination to escape the pain of weight gain. Surely a skinny life had to be better than the crippling depression, breakdowns bra shopping and the compulsive need to hide behind my humor, which only masked my self-hatred.
As a result, I was always on a diet and was terrified enter a gym for fear of other’s judgement. I tried Atkins, Weight Watchers and South Beach, but everything left me hungry, unsatisfied and usually 5-10 pounds heavier. After each failure, I turned to a box of cinnamon sugar donuts and a bottle of moscato, and convince myself that tomorrow I would start again.
By early January of 2013 I was 267 pounds, losing my battle with depression, my health was failing me and I was failing myself. I decided that the only way to end my suffering was to end my life. I wrote the necessary letters to my family and went to sleep with the expectation that I wouldn't wake up. To my own disappointment, I woke up the next morning. This was my turning point; I called a therapist and made the decision to stop my obsession with thin and to focus on my overall health.
The first order of business was to mend my broken and abusive relationship with food. I started small. First, I focused on breakfast; I replaced meals like bacon and bagels with oatmeal and fruit. From breakfast, I made certain to snack every two hours; this time around I was consistent. Lunch was always up in the air, it could be anything from a chicken salad to a roast my mother made the day before. Dinner was a protein, a side, vegetables and a glass of hot green tea. I was not rigid in my approach; I allowed the occasional bacon slice at breakfast, and from time to time indulged in sweets. My focus was long-term, not on the success or failure of any one meal.
My last, and most challenging, step was fitness. I found that insecurity and shame prevented me from starting classes, and asking for help was out of the question. Thankfully, my sister brought me to hot yoga. I wanted to walk out before the class even started, but with my sister there, I stayed. I was embarrassed about my sweating, shaking and inability to hold a pose. After class the teacher told me that yoga is about your own strength and about loving yourself, not what’s happening on the other mats around you.
I embraced her words and committed to loving myself. For me, this self-love meant I started walking as much as possible and stopped trying to hide in plain sight. From there things really started to change. After working at Banana Republic for seven years I finally fit into a size 14; I cried tears of joy. Today I am a healthy size 12, weigh 173 pounds and am in love with my body. I sometimes miss the ability to hide, and was in no way prepared for the new wave of attention. But I am happy and healthy. I smile through my challenging yoga poses, and I wake up loving the girl I see in the mirror.
This posting was written by Megan Berry. Megan is finishing her degree in communications at MATC, and hopes to one day become a yoga teacher. Her smile may look familiar, as she is one of our amazing front desk staff.