To some people, stepping on a scale is the scariest part of the week, to others they can’t wait to step on. It’s a struggle too much to bear to some and to others it’s a measure of success. Personally it hasn’t been a struggle until I stopped being able to gain weight. My weight has never been an issue and I’ve made it a point to not let it be. All I cared about when it came to my body was if I looked fit, and if I was fit. However when it really hit me of everything that happened, eating became a chore, going to the gym wasn’t an option anymore, and I quickly dropped in my weight.
Honestly the realisation that I was in a new country by myself really hit me a lot harder than I had anticipated. The fact that I was now dealing with things on my own, I had recently been dumped, and things just weren’t going according to plan. It’s easy to act tough cause all my friends were moving abroad too (or back home in this case) so if they can do it why couldn’t I? The reality is I didn’t even expect it to be that difficult, I had been in The Netherlands plenty during summers, why should it be much harder to be here the rest of the year too? Soon enough I realised I was on autopilot, some sort of survival mode just to get through each day, each week, and not make myself out to be an idiot. I felt little to no emotion, and lost all interest in things I used to love. To people I would talk nonsense just to avoid awkward silences, to my project group I would speak only when something was directed at me, and in my class I didn’t say a word. I was much too hurt still by everything that had happened to be even in the slightest mood for any conversation or drawing attention to myself.
Then came the moment where people started to notice my weight, and how much it had dropped. When I first arrived in The Netherlands, I was perfectly in my weight range for my height and age, and my whole life has been like that. I started picking up going to the gym and watching what I ate. Not in a spastic nervous kind of way, just making sure I was eating the right things and minimizing sugar/carbs. I had made a bet with my dad that the next time he saw me, he wouldn’t recognize me thats how fit I would be. I had gotten into a nice pattern during summer of going to the gym three times a week and drinking lots of water, I was proud of what I was doing. However when some things I had placed high hope on didn’t work out, it quickly became too much and I quit it all. I quit going to the gym, I quit eating, I quit caring. None of these things were intentional, but at that moment I felt so lost I couldn’t stomach any food, resulting in too little energy to go to the gym. I lost the progress I had made over the 2 months during summer and soon I was down 8 kg, underweight for my category.
I’ll be really honest and say that the 1.5 months that that lasted, it was very difficult to find any sort of motivation to eat or exercise and be anything close to healthy again. I struggled with the fact that I lost the progress I had worked so hard to make but was still in no state to try and get it back. After 6 weeks I had a slap in the face, that this was not doing any good and the worst thing was, I could not get to where I wanted to be living the way I was living. In some weird way I got closure to what I needed and from one day to the next felt better already. I started eating closer to properly again, as well as attempting exercise. The only down side was, I still wasn’t gaining any weight.
Now I’m again 2 months farther down the road, and I have successfully been able to gain the weight back to my healthy range. The thing is, I don’t gain muscle very easily but I lose it in a heartbeat. Right now I’ve picked up swimming during the week, and slowly attempting going back to the gym as well. I’m far from where I want to be, but when I started this journey I did not think I would make it to the next day and yet here I am 3 months later at a normal weight again and slowly putting everything back together. It’s really strange to look back, because at this present moment I can’t remember the pain and struggle I had at that point, but I’m only here because God has been faithful to me and helped me through my darkest period. I’ve had amazing people surrounding me that have helped me see there is so much more out there for me than what I had wanted at that moment. The other day scrolling through Facebook I found a description that describes perfectly how I feel right now, and portrays exactly what I want to say.
” And once the storm is over, you wont remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That is what the storm is all about” – Haruki Murakami
There are days where I still can’t get myself out of bed, where I can’t get myself to go to the gym or eat the right things. But it’s the days where I can get myself to do all of that that motivate me in those down days. If life were always fun and easy, we wouldn’t know how to appreciate it and work hard for what we want. It’s the storms that make us gain appreciation and the drive to work hard. I have seen myself in the worst case scenario now, and I never want to see myself as that person again. I know now I can fight through anything (with God on my side) and I not only can, but will strive to be the best I can be.