Self-love: ˈˌself ˈləv/ noun; regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic). Loving who you see in the mirror every day is a lifelong journey, that some of us sadly, leave this world without achieving, which is just as difficult, if not more than finding our purpose in life.

I remember being very young, maybe first or second grade and struggling with an eating disorder that I didn’t know I had, yet. I’d come home from school and skip meals because I had to do homework and I was an excellent student, so my parents just saw a very dedicated child. I remained like that for many years, throughout my adolescence and even as a young adult. Also being 14 and at the school, I went to in Panama we did physicals every 3 months and we’d be told if we were underweight, healthy or overweight and I would just wait for my professor to say I was underweight and be so happy about it. I tried multiple times to purposely throw up my food and I wasn’t able to it didn’t matter how hard I tried and I remember how mad I’d get every time. If I would eat out with my friends often, I’d in a way punish myself for eating and not eat the rest of the day. I’d freak out when I saw myself gaining weight and I’d go on this ‘coffee diets’ I prescribed myself, in which I’d drink coffee pretty much all day since coffee works as a diuretic and it takes away your appetite and it makes you go the bathroom pretty much all day. I’d think okay, all you need is coffee and refill that all day and you’re set if you get hungry just don’t eat and your body will get used to it and your stomach will get smaller in no time. I was constantly reminded if I was getting too skinny, or if I was gaining weight and I kept living in this cycle for almost my whole life.
When did I change? So about two years ago when I met Isaac, of course in every new relationship most of the dates require some type of food, which we did eat together all the time. But one day, he asked me if I had eaten that day because he noticed I didn’t really eat when we weren’t together and it definitely caught me off guard that he noticed that I obviously had an eating disorder and I was scared because someone else other than me knew, and somehow it made it that much more real. I remember right before we moved to Arizona, he promised me that he’d make sure I ate every day, which is one of the reasons I love him and value our relationship so much, because to me it meant that he’ll always take care of me and he was going to help me fight with problems I had that I decided to ignore for many years.
Today… I still struggle some days wishing I was a size 4 instead of the size 11 I am today, that my body wasn’t as curvy as it is and I try not to punish myself for eating and mainly I try not to forget to eat and as far as Isaac goes, he always makes sure I’m packing myself enough food for lunch and he notices if I don’t wanna eat, he asks me what or when was the last thing or time I ate and if it’s been too long we eat something together. He’s one of the most influential reasons why I feel healthy today, why I came to realize that skinny is not always healthy, that taking care of myself is what’s important, that genetically my family is full of curvy women and I need to embrace my true self and not praise all the women that I see in social media not knowing their lives and daily struggles. That I’m 170 lbs and healthy nonetheless.
I hope that sharing such a raw experience of my constant battles of the not so talked about eating disorders help you if you’re battling the same demons, or if you see any similar red flags on someone you love, that you help them overcome this never-ending battle we have with ourselves.
XO, Gaby.

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