June 23, 2015

I Never Starved Myself Intentionally.


stacy porter backbend
Growing up, I was always an athlete. I played soccer, competed in horseback riding, studied martial arts and figure skated.

When I skated, I was also home-schooled and was also going to the gym at least three times a week to run and do some weight training. I loved working out. I still love working out, but now I tend to be gentler on my body.

Back then, I loved to push myself to the limit, often needing to pull out my inhaler because I was pushing beyond the limits that I refused to acknowledge.

I was always strong, fit and healthy.

That’s what people would call me: strong, fit, and healthy. Never skinny. People would sometimes refer to me as thin because I was never overweight, but it’s not exactly the same thing.

For most of my childhood, I was a tomboy. I was always on my bike, wearing Pokemon t-shirts, and playing tag and basketball with the boys. It wasn’t until I was around 14 that I started developing a bad body image. It all started with my annual doctor visits, where my mom and I would often share an appointment time.

She would be weighed. Then I would be weighed.

I cannot describe to you how bad I felt when I started to weigh more than her.

She would tell me I was strong, fit, and healthy, things that she did not consider herself to be. It was supposed to be a compliment, I’m sure, but somehow the word healthy started to be negative. It meant well-fed, which meant fat.

I tried exercising more. I tried different workouts.

Nothing ever changed my body the way I wanted it to change. I never got rid of my “thunder thighs.”

At some point, I started dabbling in vegetarianism. It didn’t start out as a way to lose weight. I did it because I love animals and it seemed to align with my morals.

But soon I saw it as a way to avoid eating.

In college, I went to Russia for four months in a study abroad program. There were a number of days when I would only eat a chocolate bar. Now, there were other variables involved. The electricity in my building went out like every week and all of our appliances (most importantly, the stove) was electric. So, it wasn’t really my fault.

But I would turn down a lot of food offered to me. I was very picky about the food I selected at the store. And since I was living on my own with none of my close friends around, I could get away with only eating a chocolate bar or some peanut butter bread.

I never starved myself intentionally—at least, that’s what I told myself.

I mean, I could give you a list of reasons why I wasn’t eating a lot (electric problems, I don’t eat meat, etc.).

It wasn’t until I started getting sick a lot that I noticed there was a problem; for a while I just blamed allergies and stress for all those tension headaches. But when I got home, I had a list a mile long of all the foods I wanted and, for a time, I even went back to eating meat because I found out that my health problems were from a protein deficiency.

Again, it had never been my intention to starve.

But, when I started eating all this meat and stuff I hadn’t touched in a while, I gained all the weight back and more. I had a baby face and a bit of chubbiness here and there that seemed to glare so obviously at me whenever I looked in the mirror.

I went back to vegetarianism and even attempted veganism.

I think going vegan is hardcore and awesome for people who like it. But, I found that it hurt me far more than it helped me. I got even pickier about what I ate, which made me depressed (because, I’ll admit it, I love macaroni and cheese!) and I found that turning down so much food was leading me to bad habits again.

I actually love food.

I love spinach and kale. I love macaroni and cheese. I love pancakes. I love cake. I love green juice. I love…I think we should love the food we eat. If we don’t, then we’re telling ourselves that something is wrong with us, that we don’t deserve that good food.

Ultimately, I found that there has to be a bigger purpose for us all to be here other than fitting into a size zero.

Yoga has led me through frustrations and comparison, but I never stayed in that dark space for long. In fact, the yogis that we tend to idolize are the ones who are constantly telling us that they don’t want us to look exactly like them! That’s not what yoga is about. God/Goddess/Creator/Divine/The Universe doesn’t create copies. We’re not all supposed to have the same shape, size, or color. How boring would this life be if we were all the same! Instead, we all bring something new to the table, a new experience, a new thought, a new idea, and a new approach.

I like being strong, because it helps me flow through my practice.

I like being fit, because it means I can make it through the Ashtanga Primary Series without collapsing (okay, I still do collapse sometimes!)

I like being healthy, because, to me, being healthy means I’m honoring the divine. They created me for a far better reason than to fit into a size two…and the same goes for you.

Throw out your scale, love the food you eat, nourish and pamper your body, and go out there and change the world!





This One’s for My Skinny Sisters.

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Author: Stacy Porter

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: author’s own

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