Your body is your most prized possession. It’s your home you were given to walk this earth with and the only one you’ve got. There are no replacements, returns, or quick fixes to keep it running smoothly. Unfortunately, that's exactly what I tried to do most of my life.
I grew up in an extremely strict religious household. My entire childhood was based on Biblical Old Testament living. We followed a diet of clean vs. unclean foods, based on the chapters of Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the Bible. We could only eat fish if it had “fins and scales” and eat only land animals with a “split hoof and that chews the cud”. The rest, we were taught, was an abomination to God.
We adhered to a strict diet of brown rice, brown flour, brown sugar and no added sweets such as ice cream, candy, cookies, etc. While this sounds healthy, an extreme form of deprivation like this during the formative years of my life made me crave those things even more. This soon developed into obsessive habits and eating disorders.
During adolescence, I developed extreme sugar cravings. Sugar became the ultimate reward in life. I craved it ALL THE TIME and looked for everywhere I could. I would steal candy from shops and hide it in my bedroom. I would eat butter and sugar in a cup because that was the only thing in the house that was sweet. I even learned how to cook so I could be around food and have access to sugar all the time. When I moved from home I subsisted on a diet of Jack in the Box curly fries and Haagen Daz ice cream. The more I ate it, the more I craved it.
In my early 20s, I started modeling had to stay a certain weight and within certain measurements. It was then that I discovered the great world of bulimia! Since my addiction to food (mostly sugar and processed carbs) was so strong, there was no way I could stop eating them. So if I was going to gorge myself on ice-cream and pizza and still fit into a size 2 at 5’10, then I had to get that food out as fast as it went in!
My struggle with bulimia went on for nearly a decade. I would eat, binge, purge, not eat for three days, go on whatever water or juice cleanse that was popular at the time, drop a few pounds for an event, then start back up again. I did anything I could to stay thin and keep within my measurements. I took drugs, tried picking up smoking, drank only coffee for days and abused laxatives to a point where I could not go to the bathroom without them. I felt my body dying inside and I didn’t care. I couldn’t stop.
In my late 20s, I hit an all-time low. I was sadder than I've ever been, I stopped socializing, modeling or doing anything that required me to get outside the house. At the time I was working from home, so I had no reason to leave. I stayed home eating ice cream and cupcakes for months. My weight ballooned to 170 pounds, and this made me hide even more. I went from being a drug-fueled party girl to a depressed model to now being depressed AND overweight. I knew my life was going down fast and I had to make a change.
In early 2010 I moved to Austin from Houston to finish my degree and hopefully get my life back on track. I started school again and worked tirelessly at a full-time job plus studying, while trying to manage my weight the whole time. I still thought the source of my happiness was a number on the scale. I would get to a point where I was happy with my weight, then something would happen in my life to cause me to slip back into a binge, and the cycle would start again. My self sabotage continued for 3 more years.
In 2012, I noticed that my hair was falling out. Not just normal falling out, but pouring out of my hair. I went to doctors all over Austin and they all said the same thing. Use Rogaine. Manage your stress. You may need hair plugs one day. I was 28, the last thing you want to hear is that nothing can be done about your hair. And how in God’s name do I manage my stress when the source of my stress is staring at me in the mirror every morning, watching my hair attach themselves to my hairbrush instead of my head?