Well, it had finally happened. I met the man of my dreams and we were now engaged to be married. I couldn’t have been happier. Nick is truly the most incredible man I have ever met and now he was going to be my husband! My heart was so full it felt like it could burst.
We couldn’t wait to tell our loved ones the news. However, I noticed that many friends, family and even strangers seemed to recite the same lines when I told them of our engagement, “Oh, you’re going to be such a beautiful bride!” and “I can’t wait to see what you look like on your big day!” It was as if they were all reading from the same script. Suddenly, it was pressure I was feeling instead of pure happiness. I knew they all had good intentions and I’m sure they meant for those words to be complimentary. However, I couldn’t help but feel as though there were now expectations I had to meet on my wedding day…to be beautiful, to be perfect.
A few months after the proposal, we started booking our vendors for the big day. We’d just splurged on a photographer with quite the hefty price tag and for some reason all I could think was Man, I better not have flabby arms and a double chin in these pictures. It was then that I decided I had to lose some serious weight and become “the perfect bride” (oh how I cringe as I type this).
My mission became to lose as much weight as possible. Mind you, I was not overweight to start, just your normal, average girl with a bit of a bubble butt and slight muffin top. I had never dieted in my life, nor had I ever touched a free weight. Yet suddenly, I found myself doing squats in the bathroom at work and weighing the amount of lettuce in my lunch down to the very ounce.
Needless to say, my habits turned a bit extreme. My caloric daily intake now ranged from 800-1000 calories tops. I would plan my meals weeks in advance and track my foods down to the very last calorie. I cut out the majority of my carbs so that I was mainly getting them from vegetables. My energy level plummeted. It was nearly impossible to get through a workout. Sometimes I would come home and nap after work because I couldn’t bring myself to lift a weight. I didn’t want to socialize with others and absolutely dreaded events where I knew there would be unhealthy foods. Trying to sleep felt like a daunting task every night, as I wasn’t eating enough to sleep soundly. I felt stressed, tired and drained all together. I noticed my hair was starting to fall out when I would brush it after the shower. I even lost my period.
At this point I had dropped 23lbs on my 5”2 frame. That’s a LOT on a short, little person like me. Co-workers made comments that I didn’t seem like my happy go lucky self. Family and friends started to worry about me. Some reached out and said they would even pay for me to get professional help if I felt I needed it. They encouraged me to eat 1,200-1,300 calories a day. I cried at the thought of this, as it seemed nearly impossible. I feared that all my hard work would be washed away. I worried that I wouldn’t look my very best on my wedding day. What if I ended up hating all of my wedding photos because I started eating more? What if my arms got flabby? What if my face became fuller again? I couldn’t allow myself to risk it. I was finally thin just like I had always wanted. My arms were slender and stomach was flat. I couldn’t ruin all that I had worked for. So I continued to take in 800-1,000 calories a day.
Then the wedding day came. I was a whopping 103lbs with a double chin nowhere to be found. My mission was accomplished. Now to relax and find some balance, right?
Well, then the day AFTER the wedding came…and balance was nowhere to be found. Leftover desserts piled up into our hotel room. Bottles of champagne and wine were flowing, and plates of cheese and crackers were next to the bed. Let’s just say I have never felt more entitled to anything in my entire life. I had basically put my body into starvation mode for eight months. Well, if I could endure that and make it to the wedding, I can have a day or two of indulgence, right?
A day or two turned into four months. I literally felt as though I couldn’t stop eating, as though I had NO control over myself whatsoever. Everything I had denied myself of the past eight months I now felt like I had the opportunity to eat and HAD to take advantage. My calorie counting days were out the door and bags of chips and cookies flew in. Oh, and I forgot to mention the wine. OH THE WINE. Another huge part of my “wedding decompression phase” as I called it was major consumption of red wine. It helped me relax and lower my inhibitions so that I could enjoy my binges guilt free. I never used to drink…and now I was going through a bottle about five days a week.
In 2-3 weeks I had gained back every pound I had lost, plus many more. I couldn’t look in the mirror without cringing. Nothing but sweatpants and oversized sweaters fit. I dreaded social functions with friends and family because I thought the moment they saw me they would think, “Woah, what happened to her? She was so thin last time I saw her”. I was horribly embarrassed. It just felt so good to eat yummy, “naughty” foods again. I was having so much fun drinking wine and “letting go” with my new husband. However, I wasn’t entirely happy because I wasn’t taking care of myself. I needed to make my health a priority…I needed balance. But how?
My Macro Moment
I hoped and prayed that there was a way to find health and happiness while also not depriving myself of the foods that I loved. Then, I miraculously found the #IIFYM lifestyle. I contacted a professional in the fitness community and asked for a little help on how to get started. I gave him all of my information along with my goals, and he gave me a starting point for my macros.
Since then, my life has changed for the better. My goals are no longer to be skinny, but to be strong. I am no longer hungry, no longer wishing I could have that donut or poptart. As long as it fits my macros I will have it…and I will lift heavier and smile harder because of it. I have finally found balance, and for that I am forever grateful.