My struggles with healthy living, weight loss and body image. Part 3.
So my doctor recommended I download an app called 'My Fitness Pal' in an effort to track my calories and to make sure I was in fact getting enough to sustain myself. Unfortunately though, this had the opposite effect.
Positive comments about how I looked had started my obsession with losing the pounds. I began using the app to obsessively track my caloric intake, going so far as to weigh out my salads and listing the calories in the app's daily tracker.
I'd noticed I could earn back calories from physical exercise - the app has a built in pedometer which equates to calories the more steps you do. Over my lunch time supervisions I began pacing the playground, counting my steps over and over in my head. It began as an effort to keep warm and maybe have the occasional sweet treat with my extra calories, but I always felt so guilty for cheating the diet no matter how small the sin, I was still regularly under my rda or cals, clocking in at around 1500 instead of a minimum of about 2k. The counting of calories and steps became a coping mechanism. OCD is about control, and when you feel like you have none, your body and mind develop ways to cope. When I felt out of control I would count. Constantly. A cycle of numbers would always be going around in my head, and I began to rapidly decline into an emotional well. It would hurt my head to be so fixated on this. Combined with my lack of energy I felt worse than ever, but I still looked good which was (and still is unfortunately) important to me.
Every weight loss felt like a victory. I'd also obsessively begun to weight myself every day, a habit I still struggle to get out of. I was exercising, walking home and doing a strict weights regime. If I missed this I would feel so guilty it would make me sick to my stomach. If I ate something unhealthy, I would loathe myself and the feelings of guilt would overpower me. I began to really dislike myself. Counting became worse, and my head became more crowded with negative thoughts, until one day in a particularly difficult ICT lesson I was delivering, I snapped, breaking down into tears and very quickly needing to find cover for my lesson. My school friends and colleagues were great, all comforting me and trying to help, but I just hated what was happening. My head was constantly in pain, I felt weak and tired and just couldn't cope. I went back to the doctors who prescribed a mild dose of Sertraline - an OCD combatant and anti-depressant, and signed me off work with anxiety.