body image & autoimmune disease: a journey into the healing process.

part one: skinny does not equal healthy.

From high school tennis to running track and then to working out excessively during my freshman year of college, I was extremely fit. I will not say healthy because my heart was filled with sadness and my self-worth was non-existent… but my body looked amazing (according to American beauty standards). I was thin with toned legs, a toned booty and a flat stomach.

me (right) & my sister in May of 2014.

Throughout college, I was extremely miserable. I was in a period of heavy depression. I cried myself to sleep every night and I had no sense of love or respect for myself… but I looked good, right?

All of the intense stress and toxicity in my life lead to a serious diagnosis of celiac disease – an autoimmune disease that is centralized in the small intestine. I had no idea just how far from healthy I truly was.

My entire world changed when I was diagnosed – I had to alter my entire lifestyle. I was experiencing symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, bloating and depression (just to name a few). I was always in pain and struggled to function and do simple daily tasks.

Celiac took a heavy toll on my body – a body, mind & soul that was extremely unhealthy at the time of diagnosis. On top of that, I had spent years eating foods full of gluten, the trigger that caused the intense symptoms of Celiac. My life was a complete mess.

After my endoscopy in 2015.

My healing process didn’t really start until 2018 and my healing from Celiac didn’t begin until I started working with a holistic doctor that summer. Not only did I have to work on healing my intestines, but I had to start healing from the trauma and toxicity I had been living in throughout college.

When I decided to focus on my personal healing journey, I really had to take a step back and access each and every part of my life – especially my issues with body image.

In my teens and early college, I honestly never really struggled with negative views of body image. I was extremely active at the time and I was living in a body that was accepted by societies standards so I could not complain. It was only when I started healing from Celiac (and in the process gaining weight) that I started to really struggle with body image.

I remember the first time I was told I was “overweight” and I remember the first time someone called me “fat”. Those comments do not even compare to the horrible things I would tell myself about my body every day. My negative self talk and negative view of body image was destroying my healing process. I was throwing anger at my body (especially my stomach) – the part of me that was struggling to heal.

While I was working with my holistic doctor, I realized that something inside of me desperately needed to change. My negative self-talk towards my body was hindering my healing process in ways that I cannot even begin to explain. When I was throwing insults at my body I was literally hindering the healing process and causing myself to keep falling back into physical sickness.

It was not until I took control of my thoughts that I began to feel my gut begin to heal. Not only is it important to provide your earthly body with healthy foods but it is essential to shower your body with healthy thoughts. Our minds are so powerful and when we begin to fill our environment with body positivity, our thoughts about our bodies begin to change…

to be continued…