Community Stories

Stephanie: Free from Numbers

Stephanie: Free from Numbers | Libero Magazine
I can choose to love myself because, in spite of what any numbers or person tells me, God chooses to love me. This will always be enough to keep me going on my journey to freedom.

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I can think back now and realize how easy it was to fall into the obsessive and destructive patterns that sparked from just wanting to lose a ‘few kilos’.

I began a compulsive daily ritual in which I would step on the scale to see the number I would allow to define me for the rest of the day, week … month, year.

 

I ate increasingly less at every meal with hopes of going to bed with an aching, hungry stomach, and awakening to see a smaller number, believing it would somehow make me happy and feel more worthwhile.

This pattern continued for a few years, as I restricted, controlled and took away any pleasure I once had in eating foods I liked and my body craved. I also developed an aversion to social events and hanging out with even my closest friends, simply because I feared the food and what it would do to me.

And while this disordered eating may have been triggered by someone in my life who chose to define me by their ‘standards of beauty,’ telling me I wasn’t good enough the way I was … it slowly became something I kept telling myself, over and over, every morning when I stepped on the scale.

I came to identify myself by the scale’s numbers.

My friendships, relationships, family, and school were all dramatically affected by my choice to let a number decide my worth.

A value that could never truly capture who I really was deep down.

I struggled to recognize my disorder, believing I was just being healthy and choosing the ‘better for me’ foods, when I was actually obsessing about when I would let myself eat, what I was going to eat, and how I could somehow manage to lose another kilo by the next week.

I finally realized I was choosing to live by a meaningless number, and allowing it to dictate every part of my everyday life. I knew I needed to start a journey towards building a truly healthy relationship between food and myself.

I now reminisce about how I longed to see myself for who I knew God designed me to be – the unique beauty He had created in and through me. I wrestled and struggled with this for so long, having become so dependent and reliant on external things in my life to justify my worth, like people’s opinions and a number on a scale. But I decided this life was too precious to waste while wasting away.

This is what I was doing – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually wasting me away.

It has been a long journey. I have struggled with reactive eating after years of restriction, social anxiety while attending events that involved food, and body image battles while attempting to feel comfortable in my clothing and skin at a healthy weight.

I continue to face the fear of those numbers. But I am much stronger, and instead choose to ask myself each day, “How will I define myself today?”

Will it be by a number on the scale, or by the love, laughter and people who make life worth living?

God has given me a life to be lived to the fullest with every moment to be experienced for what it is – a blessing.

Jim Elliot said, ‘Wherever you are; be all there.’ For so long, I let myself exist in a place of anxiety, eating disorders and sadness – when instead I can choose to be all here in every moment of loveliness, happiness and goodness.

I can choose to love myself because, in spite of what any numbers or person tells me, God chooses to love me. This will always be enough to keep me going on my journey to freedom.

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Did you know “Libero” means “Free”? Libero started with a story shared by our Founder Lauren Bersaglio back in 2010. We believe when we share our stories we can champion mental health, end stigma, and spread hope. We would love to have you share your story and celebrate freedom with the rest of the Libero community! Click here to learn more!


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