22 June 2012

my journey toward healthy

22 June 2012
i'm borrowing this blog post title from sam, of the peak of tres chic, who inspired me to share my own "journey toward healthy" with you. sam bravely shared her struggle with body image and in the spirit of writing with an honest voice and not always posting about glitter and rainbows, i thought i would share my own little story.


like sam, i didn't realize that my body was undergoing natural changes as a part of reaching puberty, so i freaked out in high school when my body got bigger. and heavier. i responded with extremes like laxatives, dangerous diet pills, and starving myself which had the opposite effect i was hoping for. the inconsistencies in my diet and the substances messed with my metabolism and likely caused me to gain weight. instead of seeking help, i became obsessed with keeping the numbers on the scale down. 


the issue quickly went from one of body image to self image. i was miserable - depressive, angry, and under the CRAZY impression that my self-worth was directly related to my weight. when i got to college, the situation got worse. the freshman fifteen hit me hard (hello, pizza and beer!), which caused a downward spiral into bulimia.


it was through friends who clearly loved me no matter what i weighed and a genuine desire to find happiness, that i decided i wanted to get better. i went to counseling, despite being mortified i "needed help," dealt with emotional issues underlying the eating disorder, and slowly, slowly learned what a healthy relationship to food and exercise meant.

fast-forward to today: yes, i still struggle from time-to-time with body image. yes, i get annoyed i have cellulite no matter how clean i eat. but i have found a happy balance through healthy eating and regular exercise. i really do feel my best when i'm treating my body well, which does in fact include indulging in sweets, drinking a glass of wine at night every night. and working out.


getting the body you want takes HARD work. jillian michaels taught me that. but i've realized that the body i want means making MY body fit, not trying to look like some supermodel. i now view exercise as a way of taking care of myself. i feel healthy and strong and capable when i get through a tough workout.

so, there's my story, but let's be honest - it's probably not all that unique. i honestly don't know a single girl who hasn't struggled with body image. i just hope we can encourage each other to be healthy (not skinny).

all images via

16 comments:

kristin said...

what an amazing story to share. i know every woman can relate to the journey of just plain FEELING GOOD! and feeling beautiful. it's an ongoing struggle and such a wonderful feeling to find that balance. what a beautiful post. LOVE you!

jamesroyedmund said...

you are so incredibly brave for sharing your story. sometimes we must remind ourselves that it's okay not to be perfect. you're always eminently beautiful to me.

Taylor said...

you are so gorgeous and so brave to share all of this. and yes, i don't know a single girl - myself included obviously - that doesn't pick themselves apart from time to time and will never be fully satisfied with everything. good for you for getting healthy and more importantly getting happy :) since i started a regular workout plan I feel much stronger and happier as well, and feel that the food (and booze especially.... lord I love my booze) are just as important for my health + happiness as hitting the treadmill. great post love :)

http://itsthelittlethingsblog.blogspot.com/

Dora said...

this is such an inspiring story and it feels like you needed a lot of courage to write it. I admire that you got into a happy and healthy place after all you have been through :) xo

classiq said...

It takes courage to write about this and the important thing is that you have found that balance. A beautiful woman is one who has a healthy (not perfect) body and self-confidence.
Ada

The Now said...

Just left a comment for Sam and I am leaving a similar one for you! I really appreciate your honesty in this post. We could probably share stories about hs days bc I had major struggles as well. Now I refuse to weigh myself and just focus on the positive and ignore everything else. I know it can be hard and I admire you for overcoming your struggles! xoxoxoox

Melissa said...

Bravo for sharing this story! I'm sure it took courage to be open about your struggles, but it's so good to hear you are in a happier, healthier place. We are often hardest on ourselves... You are truly beautiful and have so many gifts to share!

Taylor said...

I have a post just like this in my drafts folder - I think I need to finish it and post it now! I am in that boat with you. did everything under the sun - and critize everything, not nearing 30 only now am I able to tell myself i look good. Thanks doll!

Sam [The Peak of Tres Chic] said...

Thanks for sharing with us, Ashley! I am so inspired by you to come out of an unhealthy lifestyle and work towards becoming strong. You are beautiful!

Elizabeth {Ms Classic Glamour} said...

Wow! I appreciate you stepping out and telling us your story... every girl (and woman) needs to come to this realization!
Lovely post, Hun!
xoxo

Lena at A Crimson Kiss said...

It breaks my heart that I think more women face these kinds of struggles than don't–I know I certainly did, and still do. But I think when we all start speaking honestly, maybe we can help turn this tide!

Susan said...

Ashley, this was really brave of you. I put on the face that I am completely satisfied with my body image because members of my family aren't. Truth is, that many times I do feel insecure. I did the whole freshman fifteen. I know, like you, that taking care of yourself is so important and feeling strong is the best feeling in the world. Strong is the new skinny, and I try to wear it everyday. Thanks for sharing girl!

Marie said...

very brave of you to share your story. clearly, lots of other people out there can relate and it's always good to hear of another success story unfolding before us all. yayyyy positive self image.

- Marie
So What If I Like Pretty Things

jillian :: cornflake dreams. said...

this was such a brave post. thank you for sharing, i am SO happy that you are focusing on being healthy above all else. xoxo jillian:: cornflake dreams

Viviana said...

I'm so proud of you for sharing your story! It's inspiring to meet girls that overcome tough obstacles and are brave enough to share their experiences in order to help others. xx

Meredith Fain said...

love you, Ashley! you are a strong woman and inspiration to us all. xo

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