Elle Est Forte

I fight this all too familiar feeling fairly often. I struggle with body image, and it’s days like this that  I realize that an eating disorder is something that I have to live with. It doesn’t define me or consume me, but I have some serious down days (and weeks) where I struggle. I mainly struggle with how I see myself. Sometimes I am so happy and content with my body and the scale or my clothing size doesn’t bother me, but there are other times where I can be extremely triggered by seeing myself in the mirror or in photographs that makes me want to stop eating, or gorge myself in sweets. It’s hard for some of my friends and family to understand my struggles with food and body image. I hear “you’re gorgeous” and “you look great,” but it’s nothing like that. I’m not programmed like everyone else.

When I was younger, my weight didn’t really phase me. Of course I wanted to be a “skinny” girl, but I never tried to diet or made an effort to be anything but myself and how I was. After losing 80 pounds after college, I have never seen myself the same. I feel like I will never be content with how I look wether I’m 100 pounds of 200 pounds. Even at the same weight I was in high school, I am so unhappy with my body. My body composition is completely different because I spin 5-6 days a week and have more muscle definition and tone, but I’m still so unhappy. It’s sad. Sometimes I wish that I never lost weight to begin with because I wouldn’t have this problem. Now that I’ve seen what I look like super “skinny” (at an unhealthy weight, mind you) I cannot get that image out of my head. I visually myself looking like that again, and can’t get that image out of my head. I find myself looking at photos of me at my lightest and comparing myself to what I look like today. It’s the WORST possible thing I can do, and I cannot stop. It’s triggering, it makes me sad, and it makes me hate my body even more because I’ve gained weight. When I take a step back, the comparison and negative thoughts that I have with myself make me so sad.

Sometimes talking about these things is hard, but I’ve learned through my blog that I’m not going through it alone, so why not write about it, right?

When I’m down, it’s so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I describe my down moments as if I am treading in water. My head isn’t underwater, but my nose is barely peaking out. I’m able to get work done and get through the day, but it’s a struggle. Dealing with this same thing for a couple of years now, I’ve gotten better at coping with it. I no longer isolate myself from friends, or stop doing things that I love because I’m sad, but as I said, it’s a struggle. I guess why I’m talking about this is because writing is my therapy. Sometimes I completely shut down and keep everything inside, but writing is a way to get everything out.

On Saturday night I attended an event hosted by Full Psycle which celebrated the strong fit women of FP. At Full Psycle, we all compete inside “The Asylum” to get stronger,  but we’ve all formed quite a comradeship outside of the studio that gives us strength internally. This amazing group of ladies came together to celebrate and support the National Breast Cancer Foundation for a FP Girls Night filled with fitness, laughter, and shopping! Seeing so many strong, gorgeous, amazing women come together to celebrate ourselves was an amazing amazing feeling. Sometimes being a girl is just hard! We spend a lot of time criticizing ourselves and comparing ourselves to others, when we should really be celebrating ourselves! The event was so much fun. I love my Full Psycle family! Full Psycle has literally been my therapy since last July. I cannot go very many days without it, because it makes me happy. The workout and my Full Psycle family of friends and instructors lifts my mood and makes me feel so much better. In many ways, it has changed my life.

Elle-Est-Forte1

I got a shirt that that benefits the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and I am absolutely obsessed with it. It reads “elle est forte” (she is strong). When I got home to try my new shirt on, something hit me and I felt so emotional. I’ve been very down on myself recently, and when I put my new shirt on, it spoke to me. I am strong. I’ve been through a roller coaster of ups and down in my life from my weight loss, eating disorder, and depression, to my accomplishments and success in school and my career, and through it all, I am strong.

I want every woman reading this to know that you are strong. There are so many obstacles that we as women face every day, but we get through it, because we are strong!

xo Catherine

57 Comments on Elle Est Forte

  1. Alicia M
    June 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm (7 months ago)

    I’m really glad you wrote this and I love that you acknowledged that exercise can help. I want you to know you can do this, get through these thoughts and live happily. Some days, I’m sure you know, are hard, but recovery is real and possible. Keep on keeping on girl!

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you, Alicia! Your words are so kind and beautiful!

      Reply
  2. Alyssa
    June 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm (7 months ago)

    Thank you for sharing. I deal with the same struggles as you write about day in and day out. It’s a constant battle and roller coaster like you said. At least we’re not alone ;)

    Alyssa
    cupcakesandsequins.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you so much for your support, Alyssa! It’s so nice to hear from someone who has been there and understands :) xo

      Reply
  3. Karla Emm
    June 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi Catherine,

    I read your message and it hits home for me not only because I also feel like I am at war with myself and my body image but also because I can sense the struggle and sadness behind your words. You ARE beautiful!!!!!! So beautiful!! When I first stumbled upon your blog it was a huge inspiration to me bc I have struggled SO much and find that rarely do I feel that anyone understands me or this damn internal struggle. But that’s when I realize, that’s what it is… An internal struggle. For me, I grew up confident and never cared what others thought of me or my body but a bad relationship and always getting picked apart made me become the most self conscious person you can imagine. No words, comments, likes, followers etc can make me feel like the beautiful person these people claim to see in me. But here it’s is… It’s an internal struggle. You are strong!! You have surpassed toughness. That’s a gift. Many aren’t even able to lift themselves up and you have. You have lifted yourself. That’s worth SO much. But behind the sadness you need to find peace. Peace will make you feel complete. Not your size or weight or the way you look. See beauty today is determined by society and societies values. Which today are ridiculous!!! I mean I have seen more big booty bitches wiggle their butt for videos and more artist shred weight to the point where they are bones and I think to myself.. Is that me??? Is that who I want to be???

    The internal struggle is overcome with physical accomplishments but mostly spiritual accomplishments. You share so much love and inspiration to ladies trying to change their life. & with that love, you should absorb every ounce of it and good vibes! Retrain your mind to love yourself past your physical body. And then your physical body will become more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

    It is a battle. I struggle so much bc in the back of my mind, my ex is there picking me apart. But I will NOT give him the benefit of seeing me drown in the insecurities he has thrown into me. I hesitate and hurt to write this because I am speaking to myself in my message to you.

    My point is to look within and find healing within. That is the next chapter to moving on :)

    Peace and much love,
    Karla Emm

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm (7 months ago)

      Karla, you are so incredible! I hope that every woman who reads my post reads your comment. Your words are so incredibly beautiful and I feel the vulnerability and sincerity in your writing. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share your story with me! Absolutely breathtaking words, Karla. xo

      Reply
  4. Elise
    June 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm (7 months ago)

    Wow you are so inspiriing, you atcually made me cry. I see myself a bit in you! Everyday I struggle with my image and some days can be harder than others. I’ve been trying to find the motivation to start training but it’s hard. I hope i’ll eventually find the strenght! Please keep inspiring other women! It feels good to know we are not alone! <3

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm (7 months ago)

      Aww Elise! Thank you so much for the kind words! Your support means the world to me. You will find the strength you need! xo

      Reply
  5. Kristin
    June 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm (7 months ago)

    I think it’s so great that you put that out there. It’s easy to try to put on a front, but it helps more people to be transparent. I remember years back watching a daytime talk show. Probably Dr. Phil or something like that. :) He was dealing with body image issues of girls with eating disorders, and he demonstrated how girls with eating disorders truly perceive their bodies differently than reality…..their brains have been rewired as a result of their struggles. He put up 4 or 5 illustrations of different body shapes…..ranging from a thin, bony girl to a heavyset girl. When asked which one his guest felt best matched her shape, she picked an illustration that was at least two heavier than her. It wasn’t her being down or hard on herself….it was truly how she perceived her body. I saw that probably after I had lost 50 pounds (or was in the process), and it has always stuck with me. What I see in the mirror or photos isn’t necessarily the reality of my situation.

    Different subject….. I’m the one who tweeted you the other day about being so excited to prep for a week’s worth of Thin Mint Smoothies. I’ve been having one each day and LOVING them again!! When I was pregnant, I tried having them as often as I did pre-baby, but the texture of smoothies just wasn’t sitting right with me. :( So excited to have full taste back and to try a lot of the other smoothie recipes on the site. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  6. Annabel
    June 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm (7 months ago)

    I’m so glad you wrote this! I am in a similar position and it is nice to know that I am not the only one going through this. Thank you for writing :)

    Reply
  7. Dorena Labau
    June 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm (7 months ago)

    You are very strong and very inspiring person! I admire the strength you have and how you completely changed your eating habits and body. It’s amazing and you continue to do wonderful things and share your skinny secrets and I thank you for that. When I was going through a depressed stage in my life where I was over eating and not eating healthy by any means and hated myself as well, I found your blog and inspired me to turn my life around and get away from all the bad food and strive to lose weight and that I did. I’ve lost about 35lbs and I would like about 20 more to be completely satisfied and reading your recipes and knowing that I took control of my lifestyle I’ve become myself again and thank you so much for just being YOU! xo

    Reply
    • Dorena Labau
      June 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm (7 months ago)

      Oh and before I forget is there anyway you can order that shirt online?? “she is strong” is just so inspirational to me :)

      Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you so much, Dorena! I am so inspired by you and your accomplishments! Thank you so much for your support :) xo

      Reply
  8. Miranda T
    June 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm (7 months ago)

    Catherine, I wanted to tell you how truly inspirational you are to me. Through my health and fitness journey, I’ve felt lost, and the past couple of weeks I’ve been tired, unmotivated and completely unlike myself, that is until I found your blog. I’ve read every post, and I feel enlightened by reading about your life as it makes me feel like I am not alone. I feel as though I have found a friend in you & I look forward to each and every time you share something on this blog. Recently I’ve struggled with the knowledge that I am underweight, something that terrifies me, as I am dedicated to health and nutrition and was completely unaware. Your blog has been a god send for me, as I now have a better idea as to how to balance nutrition for myself, and after following the Rabbit Pyramid, I’ve regained my strength and energy and I feel rejuvenated. I want you to know that you are truly beautiful, and so much of that beauty comes from your spirit. You are uplifting and strong, and you inspire so many people. You deserve to be proud of yourself, though I understand how difficult of a task that can be. I have faith that due to your strength and mindfulness, you will continue to find peace within yourself. When someone is so beautiful on the inside, it shines outward and everyone is able to see it. I know that others see the beauty in you, and I hope you continue to see it in yourself, inside and out. Health and Happiness to you. :) xx

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm (7 months ago)

      Miranda, I am sitting here tearing up as I read your comment. Whenever I hear from a reader that I have helped them, I completely lose it. It’s so fascinating and amazing to me that I can help others from my little laptop in my kitchen. I never knew that my words could inspire so many others, and it’s the most rewarding thing. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I’m so happy that we are blog buds! I love hearing from my readers, and you are truly motivating! xo

      Reply
  9. Elle Butts
    June 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm (7 months ago)

    Catherine, your post brought tears to my eyes. You remind me so much of me when I was younger. I have been where you are–many times–and I feel so much for the pain you’re in right now. I still compare myself to thinner versions of days past, and I think the most important thing to remember is what you’ve already stated: YOU ARE STRONG. You continue to make good decisions for your wellness, knowing that skinnier isn’t always healthier. I hope this storm passes for you quickly, and that you continue to share your struggles with the RFFMBT. When we all carry the burden it is easier to bear. SO many hugs and all the best to you. <3

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you so much for your support Elle. Just hearing from someone who has been there gives me so much hope and motivation to get through the hard days! I am so thankful for your support and positive words! xo

      Reply
  10. Emily
    June 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm (7 months ago)

    Keep strong, Catherine. You have done such an amazing thing with this blog, and putting aside the fact that you are GORGEOUS, it is what we DO that is really important, not what we look like. I am in an extremely busy phase of life, so my workouts and healthy eating have pretty much gone to the wayside. I am not happy with how I look at all, but sometimes you just have to remind yourself that you don’t have to be perfect. You are good enough.

    Life is hard and there will always be ups and downs, but keep on keeping on! We all know you will come out shining!

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you so much Emily! That is exactly it, “YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!” amazing amazing amazing, thank you for this! And you’re right, we keep on keeping on! Thank you for your positivity :) xo

      Reply
  11. Rebecca
    June 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm (7 months ago)

    Thank you so much for writing about this, Catherine. It really his home for me. I also often compare the way I was at my lowest weight with the way I am today… heavier than I was before I decided to diet and lose some weight. I often regret the decision to lose weight in the first place because I feel like I will never be right again or have a normal relationship with food or myself. I’ve been in such a dark place and I often get anxious about prospect of this begin my new baseline. Some days, I think I’m crazy. I talk to my family and friend about it, but they don’t quite understand why I can’t just “snap out of it.” Reading your post helps me see that I’m not crazy. That what I’m struggling with is a real thing that so many other people struggle with as well. Thanks again for being brave and honest and sharing your story with us!!

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm (7 months ago)

      Rebecca, I feel as if you are my long lost twin! Your words touched my heart, I am right there with you! It’s so hard to talk to family and friends about y body image issues at times. Everyone is very supportive, but not a lot of people understand the inner battle with myself. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story with me. It feels so incredible to hear from others who get it! xo

      Reply
  12. Mallory W.
    June 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm (7 months ago)

    Oh man did this hit home for me today annnnnd pretty much the last 5 years of my life, but lately, more than ever…It honestly feels really really good to know that I am not completely alone in feeling the way I (and you) do about our bodies. I basically feel 100% the same way you do about your body. Since reading your blog almost daily, feeling inspired by and looking up to you and even having purchased a few RBFMBT shirts and wearing them proudly, I feel, even greater at this moment knowing that you, the one who helps motivate and inspire me so much also goes through the very same exact struggle I do. Your post and your honesty today give me strength. I hate to even admit this ,but lately (the last few months) as I’ve been reading your blog and seeing your posts I’ve been feeling a little jealous…You’ve been doing so many wonderful things, stepping outside of your box more and posting a lot of really beautiful and fun pictures of yourself lately and I’ve been feeling jealous of that….Almost like a “what has she done to finally figure out how to get a hold of her ED and feel and look so great?!” “Why her and not me?” “Can I live a happy and balanced life like that too someday?” I know that sounds really hateful to think that way but I promise it’s not from a mean place, it’s more of a comparison view and also an “Am I good enough” question to myself. :/ Oddly enough, just the other day I thought about commenting or emailing to reach out to you and ask how you’ve been doing so wonderfully lately and if you could do a post about it! Now knowing that you are still human, you still struggle sometimes and have your “off” days makes me realize that we will both “deal” with our ED issues probably for the rest of our lives but it’s all about how we manage them. I think I put you up on this pedestal in my mind that you have been healed and completely released from ever having another bad day or if you did have a bad day, you would just brush it off and completely conquer it!…So knowing that you still work daily to get better and be better gives me strength. You truly are one of my heros Catherine,! You are beautiful, strong, smart, successful, brave, inspirational, motivational and you also have maaaaaad style girl!! (props!) Just reading this post today gives me so much hope and helps me feel not so alone or ashamed of my ED…So……THANK YOU!!

    P.S. If you have not read it before I highly recommend the book “Life without Ed”, its helpful with quieting the nasty body image hating ED voice inside our heads :)

    Reply
    • Catherine
      June 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm (7 months ago)

      Mallory I am crying reading your comment! I am SOOO happy that you mentioned your honest thoughts! There are so many blogs that I had to completely unfollow because I kept comparing myself to them. I thought, “how come they can eat perfectly all the time” “why can’t I look like that and eat ‘junk’ food?” But I know that on the other side of the blog/computer those people probably do have their struggles. No one is perfect. But it’s what they show on the internet that gives the perception of a “perfect” life. I never wanted to be one of “those bloggers” that people felt triggered by or “jealous” of, because that’s the exact reason I stopped reading those blogs. I want my readers to know that I’m just like them, I have amazing days, I have a very blessed life, I work hard, and I’m kind to others, but sometimes I an just downnn. Since I started my blog, I always told myself that I would be honest with my readers and speak about the struggles that I go through. For some reason, this time it was harder than any other time. It took me a few weeks to actually sit down and write my true feelings, but my readers give me so much strength to do so. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me and for all of your support!

      Reply
  13. Holly
    June 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm (7 months ago)

    Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to feeling this way and the every day battle that it can be.

    You are strong. You are beautiful.

    Reply
  14. Samm
    June 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm (7 months ago)

    You are truly an inspiration. I’m 22 and currently dealing with the rough journey of recovery from an eating disorder, I honestly admire you so much. Everything you wrote in this post is so relatable, and I think you said it perfectly!

    Just know that you are such a light for so many people, and it’s truly wonderful that you can be so open with your readers =)

    After reading this post (and after the rough week I’ve had) it further affirms the fact that I need to rely more on myself and my inner strength rather than seeking the affirmation from those around me. We are ALL beautiful and so wonderful, and we just need to remember that!

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    Reply
  15. Kelly M
    June 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm (7 months ago)

    Ughhh….this speaks to me. Though there was never a time where I didn’t want to look thinner, it became much more intense when I did finally lose weight and become fit. I constantly live in fear of gaining weight. I have gained about 10lbs and though I’m still in the healthy weight range, I always compare myself to how I was at my thinnest and it eats away at me. Like you, I have days where I’m content and days where I want to shut myself inside in isolation. The one thing that gets me through is working out. That always makes me feel better about my body. I also try to focus on something that is not directly weight related. Right now I am training for a marathon. So, I do a lot of cardio, weight lifting, and clean eating just so I can perform as well as possible!! That inevitably leads to healthy habits and is not soley weight loss driven. For me, redirecting my focus from weight loss to a fitness accomplishment seems to be the best strategy for overcoming this unhealthy mindset.

    Reply
  16. anonymous
    June 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm (7 months ago)

    Wow I think it is amazing that you are able to be so open about this! For me that is extremely difficult, I always have my shield up, I won’t even admit my body image issues to myself….even when it occupies way too often. When others have critique about my body (or when I think they do) I am totally disagreeing and saying I wouldn’t want to be any different, even if I do agree deep down. I don’t know why my self-esteem depends so much on my body-image, I mean i have overweight friends who are very confident so it should be possible to detach it. Well its just complicated. I could never in a lifetime imagine being that open online without being anonymous. Respect! You help and inspire so many people from all over the world..

    Reply
  17. Lauren G
    June 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm (7 months ago)

    You are your only judge and even when people say you are gorgeous and beautiful it is only you that can see that! You are such an inspiration and a strong woman and I love following you on your blog, Instagram, and Facebook! You are a great person and don’t beat yourself up about having these feelings, all of us do and when you have those feelings think of all the great things you have accomplished and your great family and friends you have! Food cannot be you but YOU are choosing what you are putting in your body and you are very healthy and fit! Xoxoxozo

    Reply
  18. Lindsay
    June 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm (7 months ago)

    WOW, this post was amazing. I felt like I was reading something that I wrote. I have the same struggles as you, and im sure a lot of other women. I still struggle with my down moments and I am still working on how to calm myself down. It’s not easy but I am so glad to be in this community with all you beautiful girls that I can relate with.

    Reply
  19. Rachel
    June 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm (7 months ago)

    I think most women struggle on a regular basis, but it’s not something we talk about freely. I know I myself am going thorough a low period at the moment, and it’s hard to feel your own worth sometimes. What other people say or think doesn’t really matter compared to how we feel inside.

    I hope you know that you’ve touched the lives of so many women, and you’re an inspiration to us all. You ARE strong and we love you!

    Reply
  20. Natalie
    June 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm (7 months ago)

    I see a lot of myself in you. Couldn’t read this at a better time! It’s a constant struggle but we’re warriors! Thank you for all you do and you’re appreciated greatly. I know sometimes it’s hard to get through the day when you’re mind is a constant battlefield but as my mom always says in Spanish “PILAS MUJER (battery woman).” She always says this when I’m feeling down because I used to be so hyper and throughout my struggles I’ve lost that person. I lauds how careless and happy I was before my mind became blurry. You’re a warrior and your words make me. (all of us) stronger!

    Reply
  21. Rhonda
    June 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm (7 months ago)

    I have been going through such a low period the past few days, too. Sunday I did a 4.3 mile mud run with obstacles and what not, and afterwards I was looking at pictures of myself and I got so sad, I just started crying. I just feel so disgusted with myself. I’ve been struggling with my weight for almost ten years. It seems like everything I try doesn’t work. A few years ago I found your blog I think it was shortly after you started it and you motivated me quite a bit. You are what made me start to change myself. I thought you looked just awesome. Your body is where I’m trying to get my body. But I can understand how you feel the way you do about yourself, I have lost weight and every one tells me I look so nice and I’ve lost so much weight but I am still disgusted with myself. You are not the only one. We have really messed up views of ourselves. You’re beautiful and your body looks awesome. And most importantly you’re healthy.
    I can not seem to figure out a meal plan for myself. I can’t go to a gym or get a personal trainer at this time in my life, this is a long shot but I was wondering you could you make a meal plan for me. Something I can stick to. I think it would help me so much. I need some kind of guidance.
    I love my green smoothies, and I’ve made some of your recipes you’ve posted and they were all really good.
    Anyway if you are able to do something like that don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail!
    You have been an inspiration to me and a lot of other women. I normally don’t leave comments but I always read all your posts. I hope you get over this hump soon and start to feel better about yourself! <3

    Reply
  22. Hanna
    June 3, 2014 at 4:34 pm (7 months ago)

    Thank you so much for this. Recently I have been having a hard time with my ED brain as well, thinking back on how small I was when I worked at a bar and lived on a diet of cocktail olives and vodka ( soooo healthy, right?) I am able to forget that my hair was limp, my skin was a mess, and I had no energy. All I remember is how small my pants were. I am currently the strongest and physically healthiest that I have ever been, but there are so many mornings that I wake up and think “you don’t need breakfast” or “you don’t need to bring a snack to work.” Your blog, and especially posts like this, help me get past those thoughts and get me to focus on eating my nutrient-packed bunny food and to pushing my hardest at the gym (weighted squats to failure what what!!) so again, thank you for always being an inspiration to me!

    Reply
  23. Melanie
    June 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi Catherine,
    Ive recently come across your blog and I think you write and blog in a way that is very down to Earth, I admire how consistent and supportive you are to all your readers and followers. It is really refreshing. I have never been super heavy I have always been, in my eyes, a bit overweight/on the chubby side, but never enough for anyone to call me fat. With summer approaching I’m scared that it is going to be yet another year where I dread getting my body out. Another year where I don’t feel confident and rather then enjoying my summer I spend every morning getting dressed, looking in the three different mirrors in my house trying to figure out if my cellulite and my wobbly thighs and arms and stomach are going to make me feel disgusting all day. I am 23 years old and I cannot remember a time where I haven’t felt in this way. I constantly give myself pep talks and try to motivate myself to change but nothing ever does, I always fail. What changed for you? How did you get past these kinds of feelings? I go shopping with my friends and I hate knowing that I’m the biggest because they are all tiny, I don’t want to waste my time crying in the changing rooms! I am a smart, strong, independent woman why can I not do this?

    Xx

    Reply
  24. Sarah B
    June 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for sharing and being brave enough to be raw and open in front of a public audience. I think many women struggle with disordered eating and body image issues, it’s like a dirty little secret. It’s definitely been mine for a long time. I am finally going through therapy for my disordered eating and I still feel like I’m taking 2 steps forward, but 3 steps back. For years I never realized that both quickly gaining and then dropping up to 15 pounds was not normal. Cycles of depriving myself and over exercising, followed by days or weeks or months of binging and eating to numb my emotions has been exhausting. Like you, I have never felt comfortable in my body, not while undernourished at 105 pounds, nor at my heaviest of 128. Today, I am no longer looking for a quick fix, I am working hard to give my body and mind what they both really need: love and patience. I have setbacks at times, but I also have small victories which make everything worth it! I understand how you feel, I wish it was as easy to love ourselves as it is to love others. Though I have never met you, I can see how beautiful of a person you are, inside and out. Thank you for sharing your real, raw life with us. It is so refreshing to have a role model in the blogging sphere like you, it gives me courage to continue down this winding path to true well being and self-love.

    Love,

    Sarah

    Reply
  25. Chelsea
    June 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm (7 months ago)

    This post was amazing! I’m currently on a weightless journey down 15.4 and my goal is 70. This hit home because I tend to obsess over my body and think “if only I looked like her,” or “if I lost this much more weight I’ll be happy.” It’s good to know that even people we look up to such as yourself, are real people who struggle with the same issues! You are beautiful and such an inspiration which is why I follow you. Thank you so much for being so real. Also, is there anyway to order that shirt? I love it and it benefits a great cause!

    Reply
  26. vincy
    June 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm (7 months ago)

    Thank you for opening up your feelings through this post. It is really touching. You are a cheerful and inspiring lady, perfect in every way you can be. I agree with you that we ladies tend to criticize ourselves. I resonate with you because I am battling with my body image as well. I am trying my best eat healthy and exercise so that I can nourish my body and mind instead of focusing on just being thin or perfect. Your blog inspires me a lot and thank you for sharing everything on this blog. *hugs*

    Reply
  27. anoushe
    June 4, 2014 at 2:36 am (7 months ago)

    This is such a powerful post Catherine! Thank you for being honest, not only to your readers and your blog, but most importantly to YOURSELF! I had an eating disorder and sometimes still glorify it – with each picture and each memory I tend to compare and contrast, and it sucks. Remembering the past in this way channels a lot of energy.. energy I would rather be investing in my life and quest in becoming a happier person…
    I am 15 kg heavier then I was when I thought I looked “great”. I feel insecure, but I can lift heavy weights and work out as much as I want… my family and friends no longer make remarks, and are no longer worried about me. To them my disorder is long in the past, and comments like those actually make me feel stronger… but also make me realize I still have body image issues..
    I know I should feel comfortable in my skin – despite being (in my opinion) far too bootylicious – I am healthy, I am normal weight and I can be the person I was before it all happened: happy, talkative, ALIVE.. but still there are thoughts knawing at me, a little devil telling me to lose weight because yes I might be happy now, but will be even happier skinnier..

    It’s a tough thing to live through and work with. You are right, it might be something that we will have to live with forever, but it is NOT what defines us!
    Stay strong.. like I said you are amazing for being honest with yourself! It’s the only way to find true and eternal happiness!
    Love, Anoushé xox

    Reply
  28. Allison
    June 4, 2014 at 6:23 am (7 months ago)

    I think it takes strength to lay your heart bare on the Internet. An eating disorder is such an intimate disease and sharing that with the world takes much courage. We are more capable at fighting (and overcoming) than we realize.

    Reply
  29. Lindsey
    June 4, 2014 at 7:49 am (7 months ago)

    Hi Catherine. Thank you so much for sharing this. As someone who struggles with the same issues every day, you are truly an inspiration. I have had my ups and downs with my body image for as long as I can remember, but more recently, I have shifted my focus from exercise and positive reflection rather than negativity and crash diets.
    Reading your blog truly brightens my day. Thank you for sharing your story and your courage. I know it’s hard, but I hope that you find strength knowing that you are not alone in this – just as your blog gives strength to others like me!

    Reply
  30. Ashley
    June 4, 2014 at 9:32 am (7 months ago)

    Thank you for your honesty! I think as HLB bloggers, it’s taboo to admit we aren’t okay with how we look. We’re supposed to accept our bodies no matter what we look like…but we all blog about ways to look better! We all go through it, and we all have good days and bad days. We dislike our bodies because society has brainwashed us to think we should look a certain way. The we read blog posts written by girls who accept themselves for who they are, and we think “Yeah! It’s okay to have jiggly thighs!!” and then we go out to dinner and watch our size 0 friend scarf down a whole pizza while we nibble our salad…ohhhh life!

    Reply
  31. Anna Roy
    June 4, 2014 at 10:08 am (7 months ago)

    I know I’m only adding to the tons of comments you’ve already received (and deserve!) but I read your original story about a year ago and I am completely serious when I say I went through the EXACT same thing. Like, our stories are very very similar, its freaky! I too struggle with the relapse of depression and it stems from the my eating disorder. I just want you to know that I’ve felt less lonely in this whole battle since discovering your blog & we can both get through it!

    Best of luck and you are beautiful! (but you need to believe that in yourself :))

    Reply
  32. Mercedes
    June 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi! I,m writing in other than my native language, so excuse my mistakes, and from the Dominican Republic (Yes! beaches, palm trees and always summertime) Reading your post made feel sad, realizing most of us have felt that way on a certain time of our lives…but let me tell you: I discovered that there’s so much beauty in life, that even I do struggle with healthy eating habits, weight (ooooh!!) and nonconformity with the way I think I should look, I found out that being gorgeous and skinny, healthy and so on does´nt make you happier. Being yourself, loving people and being loved, having projects and working out till you succeed is what makes you feel complete and happy. So….try to forget all that and visualize how many people you have inspired and they all love you back without even knowing you, how far you have transcended that even here you have followers!!!! You are great and Inspiring, so your beauty (and yes you are beautiful) shines from within!!!! Abrazos y ánimo!(Hugs and cheer up!)

    Reply
  33. Katie @ Produce on Parade
    June 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm (7 months ago)

    Girl you are so strong!! We all have our down days, some more than others and for different reasons. It’s okay to have them, as I’ve discovered with myself, and I know they will never completely go away. It’s important not only to know how to deal with them, but most importantly, how to prevent them. Meditation has helped me “cultivate positive thoughts and energy” with regards to being kind to myself and seeing the beauty inside me and inside others too :) Just a thought! We all love you dearly, no matter what your looks or size. You are beautiful inside and out!

    Reply
  34. Gabrielle
    June 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm (7 months ago)

    Catherine,

    This post is so wonderful, I’m so glad you shared it! After losing 40 pounds after my Freshman year of college, I often find myself wishing I could be back at my lowest weight. Even though my habits were unhealthy and I know I went too far, I can’t seem to get comfortable or be confident in myself anymore. I’ve gained back almost all of my weight and have struggled with overeating which has left me completely demotivated.

    But whenever I am looking for inspiration, I go straight to YOUR blog. Your story amazes me and I strive every day to follow your healthy lifestyle. I admire you so much for all that you’ve overcome and you give me hope that I can change myself. I think focusing on healthy eating and getting fit is the best thing you can do, and so many of us envy you because you’ve proven that. Thanks for motivating so many of us!

    Reply
  35. Jen @ Bagels to Broccoli
    June 5, 2014 at 5:30 am (7 months ago)

    Hi Catherine!
    I’ve read your blog for quite some time now, but have never commented. I believe yours was one of the first health/fitness etc blogs I found, and what eventually inspired me to start my own!
    I read this post on the train home from work and found myself getting emotional for all to see. I really appreciate your honesty and your desire to be authentic with your real thoughts on body image, etc. I feel like many HLBs, especially those with disordered eating tendencies (which, I feel like, is honestly most people interested in this kind of stuff, myself included) tend to play the “I’m recovered and everything’s great!” card. Thank you for saying things like, “Sometimes I wish that I never lost weight to begin with because I wouldn’t have this problem.” I feel that way about healthy living sometimes too; although I don’t have a history of an ED, I do question myself when I eat “unhealthy” or “indulgent” foods. But for what reason? I was happy before I knew about this whole journey; there’s no reason I can’t be again. It’s such a double edged sword.
    Thanks again for this post. I’m not sure what else to say besides that.

    Reply
  36. Elizabeth
    June 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm (7 months ago)

    That could have been writing your article. Described exactly how I feel most of the time. I am 54 years old and have always wasted so much time putting myself down. It is a vicious cycle that I have no control over. Like you I have a shirt that says ” never give up “.

    Reply
  37. melissa
    June 6, 2014 at 4:42 pm (7 months ago)

    You are strong!
    And you’re right, you’re not alone. It’s not every day that it hits me, just every once in awhile. Although, “every once in awhile” is usually a couple times a month… Sometimes more, sometimes less.
    I really respect your honesty. I’ve read it takes 10 years to really get over an eating disorder. But I feel like I’ll always suffer from body dysmorphia. We just keep on keeping on. Good luck to you, me, and everyone like us. And thank you for being an awesome inspiration! xo

    Reply
  38. Sandy
    June 7, 2014 at 2:19 am (7 months ago)

    Catherine, thank you so much for sharing your struggles! I can relate to this so much. I struggled with an ED in my late teens and early 20’s. I sometimes need to remind myself that while I will never be completely cured, I can learn to love my body. Some days it is extremely difficult and I feel the need to overtrain and restrict my calories all the time. I have to tell myself that my weight does not define me as a person. My friends and family’s love does not depend on the number on the scale or the size of my clothes. Its nice to hear from other people with similar issues. It makes these problems less lonely. Thank you so much for sharing Catherine! XxX

    Reply
  39. Erin
    June 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm (7 months ago)

    Boy can I relate. Any time I see photos of myself lately, I cringe. All I see is that 300+ lb woman I once was, even though I’m nowhere near that today. I find myself hating myself & the way I look & all those feelings I had when I was super overweight are coming back. It’s taking SO much in me to keep going when all I really want to do is crawl into bed & never leave. I’ve been doing a lot of “fake it til you make it” hoping that soon I’ll actually believe myself. Thank you for sharing & showing me that I’m not alone.

    Reply
  40. Natalie
    June 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm (7 months ago)

    You are such an inspirational! I can relate to this 100%, especially lately. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who obsesses over her body when she shouldn’t… it definitely is an every day struggle and I am constantly working to overcome it. Don’t give up! I hope these comments are a strong encouragement to you! Thank you so much for sharing and being so honest.

    Reply
  41. Paula Murat
    June 10, 2014 at 11:27 am (6 months ago)

    Dear Catherine: I really don’t want to bore you with my response, but while reading your post I just felt the urge of saying something: you are so brave!! Because in this crazy eating disorders world one of the most common things we see is people hiding. I’m saying this because I also suffer from an eating disorder, I fight it everyday (like you), and I compare my ‘skinny pictures’ with my look today (like you), but I hide it, I don’t share my experience (which is curiously pretty similar to yours – I used to call my food “mouse food” before knowing your blog haha). And I know (because as an ED girl I notice) lots of people who hide their ED’s and experiences too… I’m not saying this is wrong, but it makes us feel lonely, when actually we’re not. There IS people going through the same, and there’s also people willing to help, perhaps not finding a magic pill (because, we know they don’t exist – it’s all in our heads), but listening and giving support specially during those horrible days when we compare, or want to ‘do bad things’ again. After all, this is an illness and we have to keep moving on, we can do it, it’s hard but not impossible.

    Sorry for such a long comment, but I really wanted to thank you for doing this.
    I send you hugs from Chile (yep, that long, thin country in southamerica, where I come from). Somehow everything’s going to be OK, you deserve the best <3

    Good vibes for you!! And lots of strength and happy thoughts!!

    Paula

    Reply
  42. Monique
    June 10, 2014 at 11:40 am (6 months ago)

    ummmmm – you are beautiful!…..but, yeah I get it – probably would be hard pressed to find a woman who is satisfied with her body/weight/shape/color of hair….etc.

    That being said have you had your B12 levels checked? Low B12 can worsen or cause depression so while it won’t be the magic pill to make you happy with your body/weight/shape it might help lessen the negative feelings somewhat.

    Reply
  43. Dana
    June 11, 2014 at 1:18 am (6 months ago)

    Hi Cat! I was laying in bed wearing my “elle est fuerte” tank (no kidding) and (I guess obviously) checking your website for new recipes when I saw this post from last week. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s amazing to know that your story reaches so many girls and women and hopefully people in general. Your message that working on being healthy is a lifelong process and that true health is a marathon….a full power hour class rather than a 30 second sprint we might say….is so needed and unfortunately so lacking in our culture. At least for me, “recovery” from an eating disorder has been an ongoing process as I have struggled with these issues in one manifestation or another for most of my life. If you are anything like me, you will have good days and bad days and even good years and bad years. But hopefully over time the good days and good years become more frequent than the bad ones. You are so beautiful inside and out and it is a real honor for you to share your story with all of us. I’m also glad you are promoting a message of truth and honesty that isn’t all about pretending to be freaking perfect all the time!!!! Even healthy, basically happy, fun-loving and lovable bunnies have crappy ass days and weeks and that’s totally okay! Glad I get to be a part of cheering you up (via FULL PSYCLE OF COURSE) in daily non-virtual life :) xoxo Dana

    Reply
  44. Camille
    June 19, 2014 at 4:32 am (6 months ago)

    Thank you so much Catherine for posting this article. Even though i was never overweight, I feel exactly the same as you. I know what it’s like to have the image of an unhealthy skinny me engraved in my mind and to loathe my body most of the time even though I’m glad that I’m now back to a healthy weight. My mood shifts from day to day when I look at my reflexion in the mirror, sometimes finding myself too big, sometimes too thin. We can’t choose the way we look, but we can choose to be as body conscious as we can to nourish the body we were given. What I’ve learnt from my recovery is that we must never stop loving and taking care of ourselves, as we are the only person we are sure to spend the rest of our days with. I really wanted to thank you because you were one of the most motivating person for me to fight Eating Disorders and to want to get healthy again. I love you for this <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  45. Julie
    July 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm (6 months ago)

    Wow. I have been feeling almost this exact same way for quite some time now. And I have to say after reading your thoughts, I feel much better now, knowing that I am not the only person going through the same struggles. Thank you for being brave enough to put your thoughts and emotions out there. I think this is exactly what I needed to hear to help me get out of my funk and to move on to a better and happier me.

    You’re a great inspiration and I know you will get out of you funk too!

    Thanks again
    <3

    Reply
  46. Jordan @ The Blonde Vegan
    July 11, 2014 at 3:50 pm (5 months ago)

    I can’t even tell you how much I relate to this right now. I just came out on my blog with my own eating disorder struggles and my transition away from veganism and the extremely restrictive lifestyle I had been living. I have been writing about it all morning, both for future blog posts and more personal bits for my own piece of mind. Your post 100% spoke to me– especially the part about getting super thin being something I almost wish had never happened, because I don’t know how I will ever be able to stop comparing myself to that. All you have to remember is that you ARE strong, you are mentally and physically strong and beautiful and your eating disorder won’t take you down. It’s work, every single day, but learning to enjoy life and food again without the stress, turmoil and self-hate surrounding it is something we all deserve and NEED. I am so, so here for you. Let me know if you’d ever like to talk. Sending you so much love!

    Reply

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