I Gained 24 Pounds Of Muscle And Totally Transformed My Relationship With Food

My whole life I had coaches, parents, and teammates who made me attend soccer practice and stay active. When I finished high school and all that ended, I realized that to keep it up, I’d have to start motivating myself.

Despite being active, I had never really had a positive body image, so heading into my freshman year of college, I thought, “This is my chance. I can work toward my dream body”—which was, of course, to be thin.

I was 146 pounds. So the summer before my freshman year, I started piling on the cardio. Occasionally, I’d do very light weights, but I didn’t want to get bulky.

And I lost weight really fast. In just four months, I had dropped down to 118 pounds. But suddenly, 118 didn’t feel low enough.

Just as quickly as I had shed the pounds, I became full-blown obsessed with counting calories, and losing more and more weight. I was working out twice a day and eating 1,200 calories. No cheat meals. The obsession was slowly taking away both my social life and my mental health.

I had very disordered eating. It was too much. I wanted to be able to eat regularly and not be obsessive over every bite of food I ate. I had reached my desire to be “small” but didn’t feel the satisfaction I expected from reaching my goal. So I set a new one: to be healthy and strong, physical and mentally.

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