#MyBodyIsEnough-Katie's Story

This month I have the absolute pleasure of introducing you to Katie of Flourish & Co. Here is part of her story that she is bravely sharing with you all today! Be sure to use the links at the bottom of her story to follow her and show her some love!

I can remember the day I fainted inside the kitchen after only allowing myself one small piece of pizza after an early morning of finals at school and a few hours of laying out in the sun… It was senior year and thankfully our family’s dear cleaning lady was at our house when it happened.

For many years, I’d felt heavy, curvy and just not as slender as the other girls at school. I remember being ashamed in about 5th grade or so when we were changing in the locker room and I had boobs and the other girls didn’t… And then all through middle school and high school as I participated in sports, I remember being embarrassed about my body.

In addition, once I started rowing crew sophomore year of high school, my muscle mass greatly increased, as did my appetite, and I became “thicker” throughout my body. And, at some point in my junior year, I discovered some pictures of my mom and saw how thin she was when she was dating my dad. Immediately I was sure I didn’t measure up.

You see, I don’t have any sisters. And, as we all know the mother-daughter relationship is a very unique one. Add in my sensitivity, hormones and lack of a sister to compare myself to (not that that is healthy either), and I was sure that I needed to get my body looking more like my mom’s in the pictures.

The only thing I could think of was to start controlling what I ate. I began watching my portions and number of meals, etc. I became very legalistic about working out- I’d run 2 miles daily and often stop by the club gym in our neighborhood in the middle of my workout for additional exercise. If I missed a workout or felt like I ate too much, I was a mess and it affected my entire mood. My perfectionistic side began thinking that this was an area of my life I could control, so that felt good. I also felt like I looked better - more like the other girls in the locker room. And, I was sure I was pleasing those around me by “taking better care of myself”.

Meanwhile, I was pulling away from my parents and friends. I was hiding at times because I didn’t want anyone to notice or comment on how little I was eating. I would defend myself until kingdom come. “Nothing is wrong!!” I would say repeatedly… because in a lot of ways, I’d convinced myself everything was right - I fit in more, I was measuring up. I could wear the same size as many others. Of course life was good!

Yet, unbeknownst to me at this time, I was struggling with depression… circumstantial or genetic could have been up for debate. Given that I still struggled with depression at various times in later years and to this day still take a low dose of anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication, my gut says genetic. However, given that we moved numerous times throughout my childhood and also changed schools many times, I believe there was so much of my young self who just wanted to seem “normal” and like all the others. I was tired of being the new kid, the odd kid, the seemingly different kid, the outsider.

So, severely skinny, and depressed but unaware, I peeled myself off the kitchen floor that hot mid- afternoon. I crawled up the stairs to my bedroom. I crumbled into my bed knowing that something was wrong and I could no longer keep up this facade. I came clean to my mom saying I knew something wasn’t right and that I needed help and I didn’t need it from her.

I am so thankful for parents who understood what that meant and wanted to get me the help I needed, no matter the cost. I started seeing a counselor immediately.

I had doctors appointments too to evaluate if I’d done too much damage to myself. I’d lost so much weight that I was no longer having periods and also chose to not participate in team sports which was very unusual for me.

Thankfully the doctors said I would be okay but I needed to start eating a healthy diet and get lots of nutrients immediately. I also recall them being very clear with me that I could compromise my ability to have children if I continued- what a wake up call. I also received a prescription for an anti-depressant.

Armed with Zoloft and Ensure, I began the HARD CORE work to start changing my relationship with food and exercise. It was a long process and included a bumpy path that had various turns, inclines and potholes. But, being honest about my need for help, was definitely the best choice I could have made and the catalyst to getting me where I am today.

Coupled with therapy, medication, accountability and patient family and friends, I started to make and see healthy changes. I was able to go to college for my freshman year where I did eat fairly normally and in turn even put on a bit of the “freshman fifteen”. Sophomore year, I ended up transferring to a different college and did have a severe relapse with my depression due to a toxic combination of my weening myself off of anti-depressants (I was embarrassed to be on them) and the occurrence of 9/11.

After getting home and stabilizing through a healthy dose of medication, some additional counseling and really owning what my dream to do something creative, I enrolled in cosmetology school and graduated from the program.

Now, almost 14 years later, life has taken lots of twists and turns, as all our lives do. It’s hard to clearly recall every last detail of how things changed for me and what worked best at every turn. That being said, I do know that asking for help was life-changing and removing a scale was huge. To this day, I really don’t enjoy the scale- I rely much more on how my clothes look. I am also at a point where my body has “evened out” I would say. Once I stopped doing crew, but maintained a healthy amount of physical activity/exercise, and then was mindful (but not controlling) about what I ate, I saw my body just naturally land on a fairly consistent number.

Pregnancy was a bit of a struggle for me at times, as I would see my body change, and felt so out of control. And the feelings of not measuring up, or not looking like other pregnant girls at times would arise. However, the gift of a child quickly squelched those feelings and took up a lot of my free time/mental space so there simply wasn’t the capacity to analyze every last calorie intake or mile jogged.

As I now raise my daughters, I have such a sensitivity to all of this. I often don’t know if I’m doing it “right”... Is my asking them to make healthy choices making them more aware than they need to be about what they’re eating and putting too much focus on that? Or, is that strictly my job as their mom? Honestly, I am still figuring all that out. I do try to have a healthy balance of how often I comment, etc. I also love talking with other moms who have gone through similar issues as me and ask them how they handle it and/or what they saw their mom do (or not do) that they think impacted them and their relationship with food/exercise.

In closing, I think it’s so important to be true to yourself- know yourself and know your needs and where you are weak. Be okay with your weakness and communicate to those around you how they can help you. I know that not that long ago, I shared with my husband that when he mentions his weight to me after weighing himself, it’s really hard for me. Yes, he’s only doing it because he wants to stay healthy and lately he’s been seeing a few lbs drop off just from drinking more water (ugh men are so lucky!!) but for me, I immediately start thinking about my weight and is it where it needs to be. For me that is simply not a good path to start traveling down in my mind. It’s best that I keep weighing myself to a doctor’s appointment activity!

Of course, he was so understanding and it hadn’t even crossed his mind that his “weight reporting” could serve as a trigger for me, but now he knows. And, it’s helped me a lot. So, pay attention to your triggers, share your needs with others and, lastly, be really intentional in the people you’re allowing speak into your life in regards to who you are! You are beautiful just the way you are- there is no one just like you- if others aren’t reaffirming that truth to you, then make really clear boundaries.

*I am an open book and love to connect with women. If you have questions or thoughts on my story- please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email- hello@flourishandco.com
— Katie, Flourish & Co.

To connect more with Katie, you can find her here: Website. Instagram. Facebook.

And, since Katie is a friend of Rachel Tenny, she is offering ALL readers 10% off her professional life coaching packages that are booked in 2017 with the code RTFlourish!! Don’t know what coaching is or if it’s anything you’d enjoy? No worries- that’s totally normal- just shoot an email to Katie and ask any questions and she’ll help!

To see more of the #mybodyisenough collection, visit the shop!