Fuck Being 89 Pounds

Joel Kaskinen
4 min readJan 3, 2021

Yikes, I feel fat. Changing after a run, I’m looking down at myself and I look chubby. I feel gross, even after a run, and I’m spiraling.

Mental health sure has it’s challenges to overcome. One of the challenges I face is severely disordered eating habits and body image issues. You can call it body dysmorphia. You can call it an eating disorder. You can call it many things. I simply call it mental health, because I don’t like labels and I don’t want to box myself into a diagnosis that isn’t true, that limits me to something.

To clarify, no, I am not 89 pounds. In fact, I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed in my life — 145. I’m 6'4". I’ve always been skinny. I’ve always been “unhealthy” for my age, weight and height percentiles, but I’ve always felt ok, so I never let my size narrate my life. But I did let it control my mentality.

For years, I’ve sought out that 89 pound version of myself that was a high school varsity cross country runner. I was the “healthiest” I’ve ever been at that time, or so I thought. I was training, competing, and working my ass off to perform for a team, for coaches, and for medals that mean nothing. It was that performance that led to my body image and eating struggles.

I allowed myself to give my power to others. I allowed others to influence who I was, what I wanted, and why I was running. I allowed myself to fall into the trap that these coaches, these terrible fucking people, whom I trusted with my life at the time, walked me right into. I strived to be the best. Not for myself, but for my coaches, my team.

One day, I realized I wasn’t the best. I was never gonna be the best. So, why was I still performing for everyone like some day I would be? Because, I allowed my power to be taken from me. I allowed these people to influence me.

In college, I ran for myself. I trained for and ran long distance races — half marathons and marathons. I did this not only because I wanted to, but because the power was still in my coaches hands. I was still performing for them and I wanted to prove to them that I could be the best, by running in races that my high school teammates weren’t.

Running these races got me nowhere, but to the place that I am now — an even worse relationship with running, something that I once considered my true love. It led me to the toxic and unhealthy relationship that I have with food and my body. I controlled every aspect of my body at that time, and even though I thought I was the healthiest I’d ever been, perhaps the healthiest I’d ever be, I was actually the farthest from that, because I was developing habits that were, and are, detrimental to me.

Now, after years of battling these emotions and feelings, and controlling what I put into my body, and judging myself on how I looked and felt, because I was no longer that 89 pound high school cross country runner, I still suffer from this mentality that has been engrained into me from a very young and formative age.

I’m standing in my bathroom, staring at myself in the mirror. I’m 6'4". I’m 145 pounds. I’m fat. I’m anxious. I’m depressed. I’m medicated. I’m sad that this is how I feel. I’m devastated that this is what I see when I look at myself.

Here’s the real story, I should be writing:

I’m standing in my bathroom, staring at myself in the mirror. I’m 6'4". I’m 145 pounds. I weigh an appropriate weight for my height and age, I think, I don’t actually know. I’m seeking therapy for my anxiety and depression. I’m on medications for these same mental illnesses. I’ve been through some shit that contributes to my anxiety, body image issues, depression, disordered eating habits, and way in which I feel about myself. And, that’s ok.

I’ve been broken down and torn apart. I’m allowing outside forces to influence the ways in which I feel about and look at myself. I’m allowing other people to take my power away from me. That’s mental illness.

I’m spiraling, but fuck being 89 pounds. I’m not that person anymore, and honestly, thank fuck I’m not, because that was a terrible version of me, living a terrible life in which I allowed others to write for me.

I’m naming this shame today, and I’m committing to working through my body image issues, my disordered eating habits, and my mental health struggles. I’ve been working on them for about six months, but I feel a shift in my mentality and I’m curious about where this season of life is leading me.

I’m going to sit with this for a while and allow myself time to grow, because fuck being that 89 pound version of myself.

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