Julia posted this before-and-after to share a story many of us can relate to. She said, in 2010, "I fell into the trap that skinny was better than everything. Restricting food, fearing weight gain, and cardio became my coping mechanisms and my identity."
It wasn't until 2016 that she realized she was really struggling and needed to make a lifestyle change. It took time, though, to learn new coping skills and to be able to ask for help. She finished her Master's degree and traveled the world before she says she "finally got a grasp on my disordered lifestyle." Julia said, "Sometimes it takes these experiences to show us what is truly important and meaningful in our lives."
Julia wrote, "I changed my identity, slowly but surely, to encompass more parts of me than just being 'the skinny girl' or even my personal favorite — 'the super healthy one' (insert eye roll 🙄 here) with 'so much self control' (again, EYE. ROLL. 🙄)."
Comparing the two photos above, Julia said, "Same me, 20 pounds heavier. Both smart and capable women. One is just a heck of a lot healthier and happier now." It took her seven years, she said, "of trying to love myself more every damn day to get where I am today."
She admits, "I still struggle at times to accept my new body, but I know I am: •more than my body •more than the composition of bones, muscle and fat •more than the calories I consume •more than the miles I run •more than the scale can ever tell me."
Julia told POPSUGAR, "I turned to controlling food when my life felt out of control. Now, to find a way to handle that stress, I exercise, journal, talk to a therapist and family/friends, listen to music, and engage in positive self talk."
She reminds anyone struggling with the same issues that they can get past this and encourages them to reach out to a professional for help and to keep fighting. You're not alone in feeling this way, and you don't have to deal with it alone either.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the toll-free confidential helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or go to www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.