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Body Positivity Time with Carly

Next up for my body positivity campaign is the amazing Carly of who is also a body positivity advocate and a great friend of mine. Carly was an immediate thought when I first thought of this blog idea as she has wrote many posts on this topic, such as this one here, so I was over the moon when she agreed to be involved. Without further ado, here is Carly’s story….

“When Rachel approached me to ask if I would like to tell my story for her body positive campaign I was over the moon. Rachel herself and her writing have been a real inspiration to me with my own blog and in changing how I feel about myself. I was a little nervous because there are some really sensitive topics that still cause a twinge of emotion when I talk about them but I hope by being as honest as I can that I will help even just one person, so here goes…

My name is Carly, I am 22 years old and I come from a little place in Wales known as the Rhondda Valleys but have since relocated to the city of Newport with my wonderful husband to be, Ian.
I’ll start my story with a distinct memory of when I was about eight years old attending a pool party with some friends. I remember looking at the tall, thin girls in their two piece swimsuits and feeling less than self confident. I hid my chubby prepubescent body in an unattractive black suit and whenever I was out of the water I made sure I had a towel wrapped around me. How sad I feel when I think back to not only that day but to many other events and occurrences in my young life that made me feel inadequate because of my body. I wasn’t exactly a large child, I had some extra pudge on my tummy and legs but I was active and healthy. I was a real outdoors kind of girl, constantly building dens, climbing trees, riding motorobikes and playing sports. However, I was always conscious of the fact that I was bigger than most of my girl friends. It got so bad that I even quit my beloved kick boxing lessons because I believed I looked fat in my costume! Growing up there were thin girls on tv, in magazines, everywhere I looked. I truly believed that the slim girls were better than me, right up until the ripe old age of 20. That’s when everything for me really changed.
I’d had a very emotionally and physically abusive relationship with an older boy I met at a gig. We were together for five years and he would constantly put me down, make malicious comments and attack me. He cheated on me with over fifteen different girls. I became shy, nervous and would constantly compare myself to the girls he chose over me, to the point of obsession. I still wasn’t overweight, at a healthy size 12, I could eat what I wanted and would never gain any weight. If only I could’ve realised how lucky I was back then. 
When I finally saw the light and ended our relationship, I met someone else but I was unstable. I drank a lot, became angry when I was intoxicated and I was addicted to self harm. It was at that point in my life when I hit a real low and decided I would do something about my weight. I believed that cutting down on what I ate would help but after no noticeable results I began to eat just one meal a day. The weight dropped off me and I felt beautiful. I splurged on fancy clothes to show off my new figure and people would compliment me regularly. However, losing just a few stone wasn’t enough for me and before long I was purging after anything I ate. My throat was swollen and hoarse and I would panic if I had no where to make myself sick. The more weight I lost, the more I starved myself and within a few months I had stopped eating completely. 

It was at this point that one of the most painful things happened to me. I still get upset over it now and I’m sorry it’s difficult but, sadly, it’s part of who I am. My relationship was suffering massively, because of my eating disorder, when I found out I was pregnant. My emotions ranged from angry and afraid to excited and confused. I didn’t want children with the person I was with, we weren’t good for each other and he wasn’t very supportive. It happened by accident and, when I went for a scan, I was even more surprised to find out that I was carrying twins. Unfortunately my body couldn’t sustain itself let alone two others and I lost the babies. I was devastated and spiralled further out of control.

I felt physically repulsed by food and even healthy food terrified me. My main focus became getting thin. I was moody and spent a lot of my time by myself, exercising and pouring over pro anorexia blogs for tips on how to lose more weight. I developed depression and the anxiety that I already suffered with worsened. I also suffered with OCD where I cleaned everything and would hoard food that I would never eat. I felt alone but I couldn’t stop. 

I got so thin and malnourished that my skin turned grey and would peel off, my hair fell out in big clumps and my whole body ached. My menstruation stopped completely and I lost my sex drive. One day, in my usual morning run to college, I fainted and was rushed to hospital. It was there that I was told I had two options – get better or die.

Luckily I took the doctors advice seriously and started doing some research in to recovering from anorexia and other eating disorders. I was referred to specialists and started to follow blogs. I made many online friends who were going through the same thing and before long I was eating, and eating and eating. I couldn’t stop. This is called extreme hunger and nearly 50% of people recovering from an eating disorder will go through it. It was terrifying transitioning from a person who was afraid of calories in toothpaste to a person who could eat half a loaf of bread and still be hungry. That was the hardest time of my life and I couldn’t have gotten through it had it not been for my amazing family. 

So here we are, I am now three months away from being considered fully recovered. I am the biggest I have ever been but I am healthy and happy. I still get boughts of extreme hunger every now and again but otherwise I eat when and what my body craves. It was when I was half way through my recovery that I met Ian. He has always told me how beautiful I am and he loves my body, rolls and all. I feel confident and comfortable around him and I am less self conscious than I ever was before, despite being bigger than I was pre-eating disorder. I am not going to lie to you and say that I never have bad days. of course I do. There are still times when I look in the mirror and pray for my size 12 body back (ironic!) And there are times I throw my clothes around, declaring everything to be “too small” whilst climbing back in to bed and refusing to face the world but what good does that do me? 

Finding body positive communities online has really helped me to understand that you are beautiful regardless of your size. I have come such a long way to get to where I am today and I will never try to change my body again. I have come to know how strong I really am and have rediscovered who I am and am always trying to better myself in other ways. One of the things I learned through my experiences is how to listen to what your body wants. It is intelligent and we neglect how wonderful the human body really is. When I was thin it grew hair all over to keep me warm, when I was getting well it padded me in my most vital areas albeit leaving me with a pregnant tummy but so what? My body cares for me every day and I will do the same for it by eating good food and continuing my journey to self love until I can say that I am beautiful.
Thank you for reading my story and many thanks to Rachel for enabling me to spread it and hopefully help more and more people to overcome their self loathing! 🙂 x” 

I am so proud of Carly for sharing this. She is one of the strongest people I know and she is such an inspiration. 

Don’t forget you can get involved too by following the links in this blog post here.

Stay happy and positive.

Love Rach xoxo


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