Let’s Be Friends:

My Journey to Self-Love

Social media is a wonderful, creative and ever-evolving world. Unfortunately it can also be a place that harbors comparison and feelings of self-doubt. When I started my blog, I vowed to be transparent and real, and to be honest I feel like I’ve let you guys and myself down.  

I struggled with the vicious cycle of anorexia for years and became a person I didn’t recognize. I lied to people I loved the most, pushed those who tried to help me away and became severely depressed. ALL of my self worth came from the number I saw on the scale that day.  

At my lowest point, I remember doing lunges across my bedroom floor at 1am because I couldn’t sleep without knowing I had worked off the handful of grapes I ate before bed that night. I would “study” during lunch at school because I knew I didn’t have to eat if I was alone. I would starve myself for days in anticipation for an event or birthday dinner where I knew I would be required to eat. My hair began to fall out. I would go through a minimum of 10 different outfits a day and frequently miss special occasions because I was having a full on breakdown in my closet. 

As ridiculous as all of that sounds to me now, it was once my reality. I weighed about 90-95 pounds at the time and the vicious disease took over every. single. aspect. of my life and mind. The food deprivation led into a series of binge and emotional eating episodes. My depression worsened and I have never felt so alone and empty. 

Today, I am more confident than I have ever been. Not because of the way I look but because I have learned to LOVE my body just as it is. My thighs touch, I have cellulite and I usually don’t go a day without eating some kind of chocolate. Sometimes I work out 4 times a week and others I’m lucky if I make it to the gym once. Some days I eat salads and egg whites… others I eat Pad Thai and ice cream. But guess what? I’ve learned to forgive myself. I’ve learned that there are more important things in life than a number on a scale.

I’ve never shared any of this publicly and I am hoping my story will resonate with someone, as I have encountered so many beautiful women battling insecurities and comparison lately. A few weeks ago I read that Teenage girls in America are TWELVE times more likely to die from an eating disorder than any other illness.  Let that sink in for a second. You might not be able to personally relate to this post, but I guarantee someone close to you can. 

Everyone’s journey with health and fitness is unique, but I’m sharing a few of the things that have helped me overcome my eating disorder and get on track to lead a healthier and HAPPIER lifestyle. 

Love Your Body EXACTLY How It Is. Not tomorrow, not next year, but right this minute. This mindset has helped me more than anything. Sure, we all have days where our jeans fit a little tighter and we don’t feel our best. Guess what? Your body is just as valuable on those off days. I became a victim to the “things will be so much better when I weigh a certain weight” or “I can really be happy when I look like this” mindset. I even skipped out on my senior spring break because of how terrible I felt about my body. It’s so important to remember that you are deserving of love right now as you are… not at a different weight, not under different circumstances.  

Embrace Intuitive Eating. I used to label all foods as “good” or “bad” and I would NEVER touch the so-called bad ones. I thought I was being healthy, but there was no balance in my diet. When I was going through all of this, I don’t think I touched a french fry or slice of pizza for over two years. I would eat the same 3-4 “approved” meals over and over again. I’m all about a healthy lifestyle but you have to cut yourself some slack and mix things up. 

Find A Workout That You LOVE. It took me years to learn the difference between a routine and an obsession. I used to run 5-8 miles a day because I told myself I HAD to. I’m so thankful to have found Pure Barre because I now look forward to working out. I go to the Pure Barre Brentwood studio which is full of women who encourage you and lift you up. On the days I can’t make it to Pure Barre or the gym, I have found that simply going on a walk elevates my mood and keeps me from feeling discouraged about my fitness routine, 

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. I constantly remind myself of the quote “comparison is the thief of joy.” My friends joke about my overuse of the saying but I truly believe that it can change your outlook. Focus on yourself, celebrate others and wonderful things will happen. 

My journey to self-love has wound a complicated path, but I am so thankful to be where I am today. The fact that I’m even able to post these pictures makes me realize just how far I’ve come. If you are dealing with an eating disorder or even a lack of self confidence, know that you are not alone and you can get through this. Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

Xo Hunter

SPORTS BRA + PANTS  // CALIA BY CARRIE

PHOTOGRAPHY // CAMERON PREMO

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. I love this! And the quote "comparison is the thief of joy". Thank you for that. I have a hard time comparing myself to my friends. They are all skinnier then me but I need to know that I need to be the perfect me and your the perfect you. Thank you again!❤

  2. I loved reading this. I have suffered from an eating disorder for years. I was teased as a little kid for being overweight and that stuck with me for ever. Once I lost the weight I never felt good enough and that’s when my eating disorder began and it’s still something I struggle with today honestly. It takes over your life and it’s all you can think about. You can’t even concentrate on anything else. Each day I try to work on it and develop a good relationship with myself and food. Your story is so inspiring and I hope one day I am able to have the confidence you have and love my body just the same. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story! Went through similar struggles and can totally relate. Its so nice to live life where I can enjoy food and not beat myself up over it. Eating sensibly & in moderation as well as maintaining an active lifestyle & positive attitude about myself have been key, just like you. Way to go!

  4. Very moving Hunter. I have a friend that I never knew was suffering with an eating disorder and it took a terrible toll on her health and body that she is still struggling with. She thinks she is hiding it from our circle of friends, but it is obvious she is still struggling. Truly inspirational.

  5. The most beautiful thing about you is your kindness and your heart! Your smile is always genuine and warm! I have loved watching you grow up and into this beautiful, smart, passionate about life, young woman. You have made my Morgan’s day by just talking to her and sending her your grown out clothes! She looks up to you and I couldn’t be happier with her choice of a good role model. We love you Hunter!!!

  6. Thank you for posting this! I felt like I was reading something I wrote. I don’t talk about this either but I struggled for 10+ years and my life was exactly how you described for a long time. Part of the problem is that not enough people talk about it (myself included) so thanks for being brave!

  7. Wow!!!! I can relate to this on so many levels!!! I’m currently in recovery. I even have a recovery based blog that started out as a fitness and nutrition blog. As my story grew and evolved I started recognizing things in my life and in the way that I was eating and taking care of myself that have come to a turnaround. The initial start of this was an intervention from a dear friend of mine that literally saved my life ! I am truly blessed and amazed to see your story keep speaking and being open about it as there are so many young women who need to hear this and to know that there is hope on the other side of an eating disorder!

  8. ♥️💙 thank you for being brave enough to share your story. It matters, and it brings light and hope to someone who hasn’t fully recovered, yet.

  9. Thank you for being honest girl! This is/was my story as well and it’s so much more freeing when you’re not a slave to food or a number on a scale! Keep being honest like this, women need it!

  10. Hey Hunter! I’m a tri delt at Ole Miss, a couple of pledge classes behind you. Just wanted to say thank you so much for this wonderful post. It hit home in a strong way. I’ll make a long story super short by saying "ditto" to all of it. I’ve been following you on instagram and through your blog religiously and I get excited for every post. keep it up, i’m loving it! would love to see more about your skin care. you’re amazing’ thanks again, Louise

  11. Hunter,

    I came across your Instagram. I follow your mom because let’s face it; she’s amazing at what she does AND she is Carrie Underwod’s make up artist. Not that I’m jealous or anything. Ahem…okay I really am.

    Anyways, I came across your moms post about you struggling with an eating disorder and I decided to read your blog. I was intrigued to see another beautiful woman, like yourself, struggle with body image. I recently just left a treatment center for an eating disorder I’ve been struggling with for 12 years. I never received any help until last year. Thank you thank so much for having enough courage to share your story. I recently decided to go public with my personal struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia and it was one of the toughest things I had to face. But reading and seeing stories like yours, and seeing so many people learning how to overcome this disease and the amount of power it has over our lives. It gives me some comfort knowing, I’m not alone with battling this disorder. I may not know you from a personal level, but it gives me much hope and strength seeing you and others finding it within themselves to overcome this horrific and deadly addiction in their lives. Thank you for sharing your story and for touching my life. keeo fighting the good fight!

  12. Love this! Everything stated above was basically my life for 5+ years. I am thankfully in recovery as well and have slowly come to the point of loving myself and my body just the way it is! When I was initially diagnosed l would’ve never imagined I would be where I am today! It’s truly feel that we go through things like this so that we can share our story and maybe just maybe be a little glimmer of hope in someone else’s life! You’re inspirational and I am so glad you shared your story!!!

  13. Thank you SO much for sharing! I would never have thought that someone as pretty and fashionable as you, would have gone through this! My entire life, ive always been told…”you should weigh something like this”….” men don’t like girls that look a certain way”…”Upscale girls will not want to be your friend if you don’t look like Barbie”! I’ve always had insecurities, the words I hear are so ingrained in my head and heart that I now take medication for anxiety and depression. I follow your Instagram because you inspire me! You inspire me to express myself with clothes that I would never think to wear! To actually make an effort to do my hair and make up( I usually wear my hair in a pony and eye liner) and I always feel better!! Thank you for being beautiful and jenuin YOU and for sharing!! Xo Amanda from Ga!

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