My dreams could only be achieved if I was the perfect size, I believed, in high school. I was a card-carrying proud member of the perfectionist club. I convinced myself that if I could control my weight [that] I could control my life and my destiny. With body image issues early on and a schedule in high school that was so intense even the President might balk at it, I was prime for my bulimia to kick into high gear.
Since I was about 11, the number on my scale ruled me. I was a perfect 99 pounds, size 0, and hadn’t hit puberty yet. By twelve, everything shifted. Suddenly I had hips, boobs and a butt. To top it off, my weight breeched the dreaded three-digits on my scale. Inappropriate. Size 0. Size perfect, I thought to myself. It was about then that I started sporadically throwing up my food. Just, you know, when I would feel TOO full.
By high school, I was overwhelmed, overworked, depressed and lonely. The problem was, I knew what I wanted to do since I was five: entertain people. Writing projects about the habits of fish and studying the square root of x just seemed to be impeding my mission in life. I felt I was wasting my time, and my youth, on subjects that neither interested me, nor would be applicable to my future. I wanted my future to start right away. I just needed a goal…a number…like a number on a scale. Perfect! Once I hit my ideal weight, I reasoned to myself, I would have control over my future. My weight was the single thread that I could knit my life to my purpose.
I poured over SELF and Shape magazines, ogling the perfect size 0 models. When I looked like that, I would be a success in my mind. Mirrors and my scale were my only measurement. So I turned to my trusty friend the toilet. Good ol’ bulimia. I made so many stupid excuses to convince myself that I was making a smart choice.
There’s an old Indian proverb, which I now live by: “You cannot wake up someone who is only pretending to be sleeping.” I wanted to be ignorant of the fact that I was slowly KILLING myself. I’d stop throwing up after I graduated. I’d stop after I got an agent. I’d stop after I book my first film. Excuse, after excuse, after excuse. Truth is, I didn’t stop. I was an addict. I was addicted to bulimia and I was addicted to this idea of perfection.
I don’t remember the specific moment I realized this monster. But slowly, I started to come out with it. Talking was the key. Once I started talking, I realized I had become so sickly obsessed with myself, I was disgusted. The world is so much bigger than just me, and yet all I could think, talk, eat, sleep, drink and breathe about was ME and this stupid number on a scale. I was literally sick of myself. I got help from friends and family. My mom even sat on me once to prevent me from going to barf (that’s a good mom).
Plus, after years of throwing up, I realized that I really was no thinner, happier or successful as when I started. Bulimia doesn’t work. It just messes you up.
It was then that I found Pilates. And through Pilates I found teaching, and in teaching others, I realized that I wasn’t alone in this weight-obsessed world. I could communicate with others about their body image issues, because I have been there. I admitted to my shortcomings and no longer inundated my mind with a message of perfection. Don’t get me wrong—I always strive to do my best, but I’ve realized my humanity. And in realizing that I am human, just like everybody else, I found health. And in health, I found my success.
Weight is just a number. It has no power over you, unless you give it power. And personally, as a 25-year old business owner and freelance writer, with a Lionsgate-distributed feature film and two more films in the works, there are a lot more important numbers in your life than the numbers on a scale.
Kim MacKenzie is President of Body Archer LLC. Not only is she a pilates instructor and creator of the Core Strengthening & Body Arching™ Stretch Program but she is also a screenwriter and producer. Her latest film BRO’ is available nationwide through Lionsgate. She is also currently producing the cooking show “Don’t Kill Your Date (and Other Cooking Tips),” as well as working on a few other screenplays in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter @Kim_MacKenzie and @BodyArcher
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