Growing up I didn't think about my health. I played sports, danced, and ate the balanced meals my mom served. I was healthy. But after my sophomore year of high school I went through my first break up. He was older and moving on, and since I couldn't control that situation I decided to control something else: my food. I started watching my portions and spending time on the elliptical, and I loved the compliments I began to receive.
However, soon my healthy habits took a turn for the worse. My mind succumbed to anorexia, and when the doctor weighed me a year later I was only 100 pounds. Obviously that was far too low for my 5-foot-6 frame, so I began seeing a nutritionist. I would gain some weight and then lose it again, struggling immensely with my fear of certain foods and my anxiety in social situations.
My eating disorder continued into my freshman year of college. I was uptight, lonely, and miserable to be around. I felt like I was eating so much, but my body was requiring a lot to repair itself. Finally during my sophomore year I found a group of girls that I clicked with, started anti-anxiety medication, and started to take my life back.
It was incredible to let myself have fun again. I went to tailgates and parties and got frozen yogurt at the dining hall. I eventually achieved a healthy weight, but unfortunately a new problem had developed. I was so used to telling myself "just eat it," that I continued to do so even when I no longer needed to. By the beginning of my senior year I was 30 pounds heavier than I wanted to be.
Though I was happy to have recovered from anorexia, my new weight left me embarrassed and totally uncomfortable in my skin. When I tried to cut calories during the day I ended up binging at night. I felt hopeless.
Desperate, I started to learn more about nutrition. I starting reading healthy living blogs and saw vibrant, fit women that challenged their bodies with exercise and ate big, whole meals. Inspired, I made the decision to make some changes myself. I started running and lifting weights, and I cut out all of the awful diet foods I had been eating. Instead I ate oatmeal with almond butter, sweet potatoes and black beans, Greek yogurt, and lots of smoothies: REAL food.
When the weight started falling off me, my friends were worried I was slipping back into my eating disorder habits. In reality, I was just finally treating my body with the respect it deserved. I've now maintained my "happy healthy weight" for over two years.
After I graduated college I started a blog to share my new passion for health with others. I also became a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and help my clients find their perfect version of health.
I still struggle with body image issues like every other girl, but I have learned how to keep myself feeling happy and strong.
Clare Brady will continue to share her story with FitDay, as well as provide tips, thoughts, and ideas that have worked for her. Next week, she'll share how she manages to balance her busy life with plenty of exercise and maintain a nutritious diet.
Clare Brady is a Healthy Living Blogger currently living in Dallas, Texas but originally from St. Louis, Missouri. On her blog, Fitting It All In, Clare shares her experiences with living a healthy lifestyle while balancing a busy schedule. Currently she is working full-time as advertising account executive, seeing clients as a Certified Holistic Health Coach, exercising often, cooking as much as possible, and making sure to spend time with friends. You can find Clare on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.