And all of a sudden you’re too much for the boys…

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I was a teenager, eager to get into the dating game, when I was first told that I was too strong for boys. Mostly from my mum’s girlfriends and I remember very clearly not understanding the message. Wasn’t strength something very positive? Something desirable!?

In fact, I didn’t believe them. I thought they were being polite by trying to not make me feel bad because I was still single while most of the other girls at school were already deeply in the first big love craze.

 

Fast forward to a while ago. As I already mentioned in previous posts, I have been single for some time now and the idea of giving online dating a try never really did it for me. It’s just that I’m an old-school romantic and I have this image of how it’s supposed to be and swiping left or right most definitely isn’t part of it.

 

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This pretty much sums up all my fears around online dating…

 

However, after a lot of back and forth I thought I might give it a try and worst case scenario I would delete my account after a few days. (Spoiler alert: that’s what I did in the end. I lasted a whole seven days.)

 

I heard good stuff about one specific site and after a few clicks I had set up my profile and lo and behold the messages from guys kept popping into my inbox. Mostly very harmless but equally uncreative ones, one creepy one from a dude asking me if he could lick my boots and a few really nice and original ones. Well, especially one of the messages caught my eye and while I only responded to about a handful, this was one of them.

 

The guy immediately wrote back and generally seemed very witty and smart and just nice to talk to and at some point the idea of a real-life date was born. We were supposed to meet for coffee the following Saturday.

 

To be honest, I didn’t really expect much from this date – not because of this exact person, but because…well, online dating. Still I figured I had nothing to lose and if nothing else it would be good practice.

 

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On Friday I texted him to make sure that our date was still standing and all of a sudden the tide had changed significantly. I absolutely didn’t expect the response that I was about to get.

 

He told me very openly that he wasn’t sure whether he was still interested in meeting me in person, because – drumroll please – he was too intimidated by me.

He felt like I was ‘out of his league’.

 

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Let me say very clearly that I by no means want to bash this poor dude who was pretty sweet besides this little (ehm, big) detail and who, I’m sure, is a really great person and very courageous for being so honest, but still this aspect of the story serves as a pretty perfect example for the point I want to make.

 

Upon reading his response my initial reaction was sheer surprise, followed by me trying to uplift and comfort him. (Don’t judge me. I was panicking.) And obviously I did such a great job that after just a few minutes he was like ‘well to be honest, I’m starting to change my mind’.

 

I mean, seriously? You fucking kidding me? What did you think initially? That you were going on a date with Kim Jong-Un!?

 

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So after making it clear that this wasn’t an option anymore (go figure), the story still had me thinking about the way I am obviously being perceived by some men. And truth be told: at some point it hit me hard that I am in fact proud that men boys are starting to feel intimidated by who I am and how I am deciding to show up.

 

Here’s the thing: I am not willing to dilute my persona just in order for someone else (be it male or female) to feel comfortable. If necessary, I want to be perceived as challenging because compromising any part of me would be a disservice to everyone. It would not only take away a huge chunk of how and who I really am, in the end it would make me despise and disrespect my opponent.

 

When I started digging deeper into this topic and the question where this confidence suddenly came from, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to take this distinct position if it weren’t for the amazing role models I have in my life. The ladies who are not willing to shrink in order to fit into narrow molds and stereotypical as well as antiquated views of female-ness.

 

I am fortunate to not only have those women in my real life, but also through social media it really is so easy to follow people who inspire you to be more and to show up as such. Tools like Instagram really do allow you to curate your content into whatever direction you need – be it in a positive, be it in a negative way.

 

One of my personal role models for that matter is (amongst many others) the amazingly powerful, strong and inspiring Mrs. Erin Brown who is neither afraid to speak up loudly nor does she hush her own voice to conform. As a self-proclaimed nasty woman and the founder of the #queenshit movement, Erin also co-host one of the best podcasts ever. With her friend and fellow nasty lady Neghar Fonooni they are not afraid to dig deep. Long story short: I want to be like those women when I grow up.

 

But all humor aside, be mindful of whom you’re letting into your news feed, mind and life. And as woo woo as it may sound, I want to believe that only if we each individually raise our vibes will we collectively benefit.

 

Here’s to the strong women. May we know them.  May we be them. May we raise them. And last but not least, may we intimidate the boys.

 

What a relief.. to be a woman. To be a terrified, vulnerable, always anxious, forever worried, far too loving or far too lusting, loud mouthed, moment grasping, baby-bearing, romance obsessed, super delicate, heart aching, weight loss eager, insecure, over passionate, under cooperative, soul throbbing, idol worshipping, elegantly swearing, cuddle needing, attention seeking – yet always grabbing, breath taking, strong, and beautiful woman. We aren’t given enough credit. In no way am I asking for recognition but I think it’s important that women celebrate themselves. I think it’s important that women continue to educate themselves, uplift themselves, speak for themselves, stand up for themselves, take care of themselves, touch themselves, and forever and ever love themselves – far more than anyone ever could. It’s important that we remain ourselves, for ourselves, and stay true to everything and everyone that makes sense to ourself. Sometimes we get lost in the idea that we should be or look like others but all of our flaws are what make us so goddamn beautiful. And… sometimes I don’t want to be pretty… I wanna be fucking powerful. I wanna be approached like a woman and not a piece of meat. I want a man to look me in my eyes and say “What a relief.. A woman who loves herself.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Reyna Biddy – What a relief ⠀

A post shared by AGATHA WOJTOWICZ 🤘 (@happilyoutdoors) on

 

Hugs,
Aga

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So you’re recovered…?

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I have been wanting to touch on the topic of eating disorders and recovery for a while now and I figured that with summer approaching and the inevitable influx of shitty advertising for bikini bodies, detox teas, last-minute challenges and other often self-deprecating measures it would be a pretty good time to do so.

 

I first talked about my history a while ago and I will definitely keep doing so in the future because recovering from a disorder isn’t a linear process you can summarize neatly in one single post. In fact, as I said before, I believe that as with lots of diseases you never really rid yourself of it completely. And I’m not saying this to sound mean or make anyone feel like there’s no way out of the misery, it’s just that I firmly believe that recovery can be a slippery slope.

Just like someone who has a healthy approach to alcohol won’t fall into alcoholism with just one too many glasses of wine whereas a recovered addict has to be extra vigilant, I feel like – in some cases – this can be similar with food related addictions.

 

Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town. (George Carlin)

 

With that being said, please also note that I absolutely don’t think that everyone who has ever suffered from an eating disorder is constantly on the verge of falling back into the depths of it. For a fact, I know that there are people who come out of it and are able to (re)adapt a perfectly ‘normal’ relationship with food and body image. And I want to explicitly state that I am very happy for anyone who is able to do so, but I also want to point out that this might not be the case for everyone as this isn’t a one size fits all/cookie cutter thing.

 

In fact, I know that it ain’t for me.

 

I am aware that I still know how to lose weight. Quickly. And maybe even a little bit better than some other people.

I also know that I have to be very cautious when I am stressed and part of me wants to rigidly control what and when I eat just to feel like I have at least some tiny part of life taken care of.

 

 

The problem with eating disorders is that at first they are highly gratifying, because they yield such a seemingly high reward. Just a little twig here and there and you lose weight. And especially when facing major life changes and/or challenges to have this one area of control can really trick you into feeling safe and secure.

 

Your eating disorder basically becomes this best friend who is always there for you and whom you trust a 100 percent not knowing that she’s just a hot mess. And as you’ll learn later on, her allegedly awesome ideas turn out disastrous.

 

And as with any other friendship even when you manage to cut her out of your life she may reach out to you from time to time.

For me, I have come to understand the signs.

 

It’s when I freak out and become defensive because I’m being at a dinner not knowing how many courses we’ll be having. So you better fill me in on the details because I will feel safer knowing exactly what’s coming.

It’s when I want to cancel plans to go to a restaurant, because I already ate out the two days before.

It’s when I read the menu and although the burger with fries (and bun!) sounds delicious, I order the salad because it’s the safer choice.

It’s when I start saving up calories for later, but later never comes.

It’s when I read about a diet and suddenly feel this rush of excitement that comes with having a clear, very black and white kinda plan of what to eat and what not to eat.

 

With all those examples you might wonder why the heck someone who has all of this going on in her mind considers herself recovered. But before you’re eager to diagnose me as still disordered let me remind you of the beginning of this post.

 

The thing is, I might be hearing the voice and even make sure to acknowledge it, but I don’t let it lead me down the wrong path.

It might be the third day in a row to go out and eat something not knowing every single ingredient and although I panic for a hot second, I push back the feeling and still go.

 

I am aware that with admitting all the above I am opening the doors to all different theories about what is recovery and when is recovery really recovery etc. And sure, we could throw ourselves into the intellectual debate over the ‘right’ amount of recovery and at which point one deserves to claim the badge ‘fully recovered’, but I think that this isn’t more than purely cognitive entertainment.

 

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Fact is, recovery isn’t linear and no one gets to decide if you’re recovered and if you’re recovered enough or not.

You might feel like you’re 86 % recovered on Monday, 99 % on Tuesday and only 20 % on Thursday and let me tell you: it’s fine. It really is.

 

The very act of letting go of the need of complete control and always thriving for the full 100 % is in my opinion what does set us apart from the formerly disordered ‘perfect’ versions of ourselves. And with those numbers in mind throwing in the towel because you can’t do it anyways would be stepping back on the train to good ol’ disorder town.

 

Long story short: do I have this shit figured out? No. I am still just winging it. As pretty much everything else. 😉 Do I feel like sometimes my old ED mind is still in the driver’s seat? Sure. Does it define me and my story? Fuck no, but I pay attention and make sure to not let her sit behind the wheel for too long.

 

And before I leave, I want to say that if you ever want to reach out and talk about what’s going on, please feel free to do so!

 

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Hugs,
Aga

Let’s talk about love, Baby…

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I feel like I should start this off with a disclaimer as I am by no means an expert when it comes to love or relationships. In fact, it’s more like you’re about to witness a blind person give a review on a Van Gogh exhibition. And no, before you’re eager to tell me that maybe that person was in one of those exhibitions especially designed for people with seeing impairments, let me clarify that: no. I am the one here writing the story and for a fact I know when I’m talking about batshit blind.

 

But back to the juicy stuff. Love or if you’re as fly as me you might be referring to it as Luv. Or heck, it you’re deep in a midlife crisis, but then this probably also isn’t the right blog for you. Just sayin.

 

As I previously mentioned on here, I had my fair share of heartbreak and as I feel like I’m currently entering a new phase of dating I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want, what I don’t want, red flags, major turn ons and – maybe most of all – major turn offs.

 

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And as we ladies do, I’ve been talking to my girlfriends about that too and what has stroke me the most is that with nearly no exception the most amazing women keep their expectations to a bare minimum.

 

Like really. We’re not talking about whether he will pick you up on a date and if he gets out of the car when he picks you up and opens the doors or not, but more like ‘will he STOP the fucking car for me to get in?’. Or at least slow down!? Yes shockingly, that’s where we’re at!

 

And while it’s exactly the women who expect so damn much from themselves (ever chasing that illusive state of perfection even), when it comes to their significant other they are willing to put up with so much less.

 

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And the most striking thing is that when we talk about it we’re even aware of the fact just how messed up this dichotomy is and how crazy it is that we’re willing to accept certain behaviors just for the sake of it.

 

So while we’re sitting and dreaming up prince charming, the phone beeps with an equally unmotivated text from some dude and instead of just being like ‘thanks, I’ll pass’ there is always this hope in the back of the mind that just maybe, he will come around. Maybe he will change. Maybe it’s just the hard surface and underneath is a soft core filled with delicious Nutella. Who knows? Maybe!?

 

And in all seriousness I think that we have to partly thank Hollywood for this.

I mean, does this sound familiar:

 

Girl meets Boy. Boy is asshole, but Girl is smitten. Girl and Boy start dating. Boy is still being an asshole. Girl is sad and after a lot of back and forth they break up. A few weeks pass during which Boy, after drinking himself into oblivion, has a lucidum momentum and figures out that she is THE one.

Boy does everything to win back Girl and shortly after they get married. Insert the wedding where his best man tells the wedding party that ever since Boy met Girl he has changed and become a much better person. Everything just due to Girl. And then they lived happily ever after. THE END.

 

See, I basically just described the framework of pretty much every single Chick flick you’ll find on Netflix.

 

And sure, I don’t blame us for this thought pattern. We’ve been conditioned to believe this kind of crap. In fact, when we meet someone who treats us decently we’re the first ones to tell everyone that ‘he’s too nice’. I mean, WTF!? Seriously!?

 

To be honest, I don’t know if I have any better advice than to just up your game. Raise the standards. When someone doesn’t meet them, bye felicia.

 

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When you’re on a date and all he is talking about is his job, his hobbies, his family, his last holiday, his next holiday, his this, his that, don’t just sit there and smile and nod and come up with witty follow-up questions like ‘oh my god, so tell me what happened when you figured out that your tie wasn’t blue after all!?’ Noooooooo. Leave. Please get the fuck up and leave.

(If you didn’t make it till Dessert, just order it to go and get the heck out of there!)

 

With that being said I recently stumbled upon this article on the Elephant Journal and the idea to look at platonic friendships and love interests from the same standpoint and with the same expectations is pretty genius. Cause if you consider it, this approach is although seemingly obvious also damn mind-blowing.

If you just think back to some of your past experiences when someone treated you poorly and yet, you still stuck around just because you thought you were in love. Imagine now if one of your best friends treated you like this right this very second. What would you do? Or what if that friend would repeatedly treat you badly? Would you still stick around?

 

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And to use the words of one of my brilliant friends: You deserve a prime rib. That mediocre shit is for the birds.

Can I get an Amen!?

 

Hugs,
Aga

Hey it’s okay…

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It’s okay if all you ate today were a few bowls of cereal.

 

It’s okay if you don’t know how to do your taxes.

 

It’s okay if you shave and forget some pesky little hairs. (Ankles and knees, I’m looking at you.)

 

It’s okay if you say ‘no’ just because you don’t feel like it.

 

It’s okay if you upset your coffee snob friends because you prefer the taste of instant coffee.

 

It’s okay if you don’t give a shit about art.

 

It’s okay if you consider wine a food group.

 

It’s okay if you don’t know how to spell ‘Massachusets’ and where the two l-s are in the word ‘parallel’.

 

It’s okay if you sometimes feel like your life is being held together by dry-shampoo and a huge chunk of coconut oil.

 

It’s okay if you need a calculator to figure out how much is 176 minus 43,5.

 

It’s okay if some days the only water you drink is the one you use to brew your coffee.

 

It’s okay if you don’t like to drink your coffee black.

 

It’s okay if you think that beets taste like dirt.

 

It’s okay if you don’t remember the name of your co-worker’s baby. (Even if the baby is already five years old.)

 

It’s okay if you don’t like aforementioned baby.

 

It’s okay if you own 223 different eye shadows and just one pot.

 

It’s okay if you use some of your kitchen cabinets to store those eye shadows.

 

It’s okay if you don’t religiously follow the laundry instructions.

 

It’s okay if you eat your food out of a paper box instead of a bowl. It doesn’t mean that you’re a scumbag, it just means that you don’t want to do the dishes. I get it.

 

It’s okay if you use your shampoo as a body and face wash while you’re on holiday because you didn’t want to pack the extra bottles.

 

It’s okay if you still use tampons and not some ecologically sustainable alternative. You still cool and still a decent person.

 

It’s okay if you have no clue how to read stock tables.

 

It’s okay if you enjoy listening to rap albeit it’s misogynistic and homophobic lyrics.

 

It’s okay if you make up your own song lyrics if you can’t memorize the original ones.

 

It’s okay if you watch six or more episodes of ‘Grace and Frankie’ in a row. On a Friday night. Alone on your couch. In your granny pjs. #noshame

 

It’s okay if you can’t do caffeine after noon because otherwise you won’t be able to sleep. #againnoshame

 

With that being said. It’s okay if you sometimes feel like you have no effing idea what to do with this life.

 

It’s okay. You are okay.

 

Hugs,
Aga

 

 

 

 

Hungry for life

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As you might have figured out by now, I am addicted to Pinterest. I love pinning all those amazing pics of dream houses, incredible fashion, yummy foods, tattoos and inspirational quotes.

During one of my last binges I stumbled upon this quote down below and it immediately made me internally (and maybe even externally) go yes, yes, yes.

 

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Can I get an Amen!?

 

The thing is that for a long time I surrounded myself with the wrong people. People who weren’t really my friends, but they were friends with someone whom I really liked and so I felt the pressure to also make them my ‘friends’. (Spoiler: it doesn’t work.)

One of the biggest problems was that these so-called friends made me feel bad about myself. They gave me the feeling that I wasn’t beautiful, rich, hipster, funny, adventurous … you name it, I wasn’t it enough, because my way of life made me look boring, complicated, neurotic and just generally tense. (Yes, I was really told all of these things at some point.)

And yes, I admit that my life might be different from the lives of most people in their twenties, but honestly, I don’t care. Or maybe I should say, I don’t care ANYMORE.

I am at a point in my life where I’m usually pretty happy with what I have, what I do and also with what I don’t have or don’t do. Sure, there are still days where I compare myself and my behind-the-scenes life to what others portray as their ‘real’ life on Instagram, but I also believe that I can say that by now I know how to get myself out of the loop. I know that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, even if – at times – it might seem like that.

The fact that I finally figured that out has really helped me appreciate what I have and simultaneously strive to make my life richer. And for me personally the biggest shift came with saying ‘yes’ more often.

For a long time I was afraid of not being able to control every little detail of my day, my eats, my bedtime and my workouts and so whenever anyone asked me to have dinner or go out for drinks or even just grab a cup of coffee, I declined. (God bless those few real friends who still kept asking!)

I am well aware that I missed making lots of precious memories because of this fear and on the one hand this might make me sad and angry, but on the other hand it makes me crave these things even more so now.

I guess you could say that I’m not willing to sit on the sideline anymore and watch others play while contemplating what I ate and whether I should get in another workout or if those pants make me look fat. I’m so over it and for anyone wondering, life is much more fun when you’re just hungry for life experiences and not food or real connection and affection.

 

Hugs,
Aga

When good enough is good enough

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As a Virgo with Capricorn Rising (aka perfectionism paired with hardheadedness #keeper) I don’t really do moderation. Although I truly believe that it would make life easier, for me a moderate approach takes a very conscious effort. It’s hard and it doesn’t come naturally.

 

What does come naturally on the other hand is a rigid all or nothing approach.

Be it with nutrition, friendship, work, love…

 

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There are two ways for me to handle things. Either go balls to the wall or no balls and no wall at all.

 

The whole cake or no cake.

All encompassing love and admiration or absolute disinterest or even disdain.

Deep concentration which makes everything around blurry or laziness to the max.

 

I first talked about this with a professional back when I was regularly seeing my therapist and in fact he was the one who pointed this out to me. I always used to wonder why the very people who were my best-est of friends one day would suddenly become absolutely uninteresting to me the next day, but I never understood the bigger picture.

 

It’s just that the golden middle feels mediocre. Average. And I don’t know why but the idea to be average leaves me with a deeply icky feeling in the gut.

 

And please don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I think of myself as this unique snowflake. In fact, I want to believe that we’re all equally unique and awesome.

 

It’s just that I feel like failing while trying to reach the top is better than achieving something in the comfortable middle with a balanced, sane approach.

 

There I said it out loud.

 

But what this also brings with it is that when you’re not in a phase of complete emersion there’s a chance you’re not doing anything AT ALL. And while this would – in theory – offer a well-deserved break it’s often times the perfect soil for self-hatred and guilt.

 

Let me paint this picture for you to make this clearer.

 

Have you ever had to do some homework or you had to learn for a test and instead of just sitting down and getting the job done, you decided to meet a friend for drinks.

But instead of enjoying the time spent you would have a growing pile of stinky remorse knowing that you should be back home studying.

 

Yeah!?

 

Why the fuck don’t you just go home and do what you’re supposed to do? Or why don’t you just study for let’s say an hour and THEN go and grab a drink!?

 

Insert where the moderation thing would come in handy.

 

 

In the hope of becoming a better and kinder human as well as protecting myself from the debilitating anxiety and guilt I have been applying this simple trick where I try to get things done as soon as possible with the resources at hand while repeating this phrase to myself:

 

 

Good enough is good enough.

 

 

Dang. Sounds simple, right!?

 

 

Good enough is good enough.

 

 

Moving out of the perfectionistic paralysis by getting something done in an okkkkaaaaay manner is better than not getting it done at all.

 

 

Mind blown. Who would have thought?

 

But seriously, this seemingly obvious truth has really been a game changer for my mental health. If you’re also one of my fellow recovering perfectionists I highly recommend giving it a try.

 

If you’re interested to dig deeper into the whole topic of perfectionism Brené Brown’s research is pretty much the best place to start.

 

To give you a little taste check out this video!

 

Hugs,
Aga

 

The Story of my Eating Disorder

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My body image issues probably came up somewhere around age six when I started doing ballet. Through this sport I was constantly surrounded by a very specific body type that was most definitely not my body type. While I was always tall and more of a mesomorph I wanted to be the opposite: I wanted to be tiny and frail like a feather. I remember quite clearly that during all the years to come I was never pleased with what I saw in the mirror and how my body felt.

I finally gave up ballet when I turned fifteen and started running and playing around with my brother’s weights. As I worked out less than I had in the years before and due to puberty, I gained some pounds.

At nineteen, I was in a weird place in life with plenty of family issues and when I met my first boyfriend he became my world, he became my refuge and soon my only goal was to please. I felt insecure and during the following years this would only become worse and worse. When we finally moved in together the situation got pretty bad. I had lost some weight in the months before but it rapidly got way out of hand.

While I thought that I would be happier the lower the weight dropped, the unhappier I actually got. It was a constant struggle to keep my weight this low and looking back now I see that I was disappearing more and more. Not just in a physical way, but more so in a mental way. I was depressed, constantly tired, irritated and generally not fun to be around. However, at that time this was actually fine with me, because I didn’t want to be around people anyway, because social situations usually meant food and questions as well as attention to my body and behavior.

Two years later my boyfriend broke up with me and to say that my world crushed is an understatement. I was heartbroken and in so much pain and most of all fear. I just couldn’t imagine fending for myself. I wish I could tell you that it got better soon and that I discovered life and lived happily ever after, but that wouldn’t be the truth.

I firmly believe that as with any other addiction you learn how to live with it, how to manage it, but you’ll never be completely free of it. As with any other dependence you might reach a point where you’re ‘clean’, but there is always this slightly higher chance to fall back into old patterns.

However, and here comes the brighter part, through professional as well as lots of self-help and introspection I slowly started coming back to life. I gained weight and although this was difficult in itself, I got accustomed to my new body at some point. Thanks to years of intensive work in therapy I’m at a place where I can say that I truly love myself. Most days (!) I love and honor my body and am aware of what it’s capable of. On days when this is not the case, I know what I need to do to distance myself from those detrimental thoughts and how to get out of the funk. Due to the crazy dieting some issues took some more time to heal (for instance digestion, hormones etc.), but today I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.

Exercise has always played an important role in my life and it also did when I was deeply caught in my disorder. However, nowadays I don’t see exercise as a tool to manipulate my body into some unrealistic shape, but to empower myself, to keep myself healthy and strong as well as happy. I’m the first one to admit that working out helps me feel beautiful. Not just in an aesthetic way, but more so in a wholehearted way.

And as cliché as it sounds I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I am proud of my story. I’m no longer ashamed of my past, because I’m well aware that I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for my experience.

I think that I’ll end it here for now with this final note: If anyone reading is currently going through a tough time or might have this nagging feeling in the back of their mind that maybe their relationship with food and body image is about to get out of hand, reach out to someone. Even if you might not feel ready to completely step out of the vicious cycle of undereating – overtraining – starving – binging – hating (or whatever else it might be) no one deserves to face those fears and all the confusion and pain all by themselves.

I know that when you’re in the midst of all of it you feel like everyone is your enemy. All those worried inquiries by family and friends might just make you angry and really resent them, but then again if you think about it, what would you do if you saw one of your friends go through something like this?

And lastly: know that there is a way out of it. I as well as all the other women and men who’ve dealt with this disease are the living proof. And trust me when I say that your eating disorder will never be able to give you what a healthy mind and body can.

 

Hugs,
Aga

 

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Me around 2012 versus me just a few nights ago