A New York woman said she was so obsessed with dieting and exercise that her periods temporarily stopped before she learned to appreciate her body.
Emma Nacewicz, from Bellmore, said she first became self-conscious about her body during high school, when she started buying the same clothing brands as her friends to fit in.
However, she often had to find the biggest size available and the clothes were too tight on her so, after graduating college, she decided to lose weight.
Nacewicz loved hearing compliments about how great she looked – but she soon began avoiding social events out of fear of going off her eating plan and limiting herself to just grilled chicken if she did go out for dinner.
Her extreme diet even affected her reproductive health – her periods stopped for five months – and, after dropping down to 160 pounds, she was unable to lose any more weight no matter how hard she tried.
That’s when Nacewicz, 29, said she realize her eating habits weren’t healthy and she decided to no longer worry about the number on the scale.
Nacewicz, now a nutritionist, happily weighs 210 pounds and says that, through Instagram, she hopes to inspire others to gain the same level of confidence she has.
Emma Nacewicz, 29 (pictured), from Bellmore, New York, said she first became conscious about her body in high school and often had to buy the biggest size clothing
She decided to lose weight after graduating from college. Nacewicz would exercise at least two hours a day eat just chicken and vegetables when she ate out. Pictured, left and right: Nacewicz when she was dieting
‘At that time everything seemed great on the outside,’ Nacewicz said of when she started her weight loss journey.
‘I was losing weight, people were telling me how great I looked and asking me for advice to help them get those same results. Who doesn’t love being told they look good?’
However, she said that to achieve her results, she was doing an hour of cardio and an hour of weight training every day and severely restricting her food intake.
‘This started a spiral down a hole of having a disordered relationship with food where I was only consuming egg whites, chicken and veggies,’ Nacewicz said.
‘I was dying to have desserts, missing out on events and birthdays for the fear of eating off my plan and having to “make up” for it at the gym the next day, all to have a smaller body.’
When Nacewicz would go out to eat, she would only drink water or vodka seltzers, and limited her choices at restaurants to plain grilled chicken with vegetables.
Her food restriction even caused her periods to stop for five months.
Extreme dieting and excessive exercise can cause a sudden decrease in body fat, which in turn lowers estrogen levels and can cause periods to stop.
After dropping down to 160 pounds, Nacewicz wasn’t able to lose any more weight.
‘My body was trying to protect me,’ she said. ‘I realized life is too short to force myself into a smaller body and lose out on what really matters which are memories, relationships and connections.’
During her dieting, her periods stopped for five months and she was unable to lose any more weight after hitting 160 pounds. That’s when Nacewicz (left and right) decided to stop restricting her calories
Nacewicz (pictured) is a nutritionist who weighs 210 pounds and hopes to inspire others to not equate their self-worth to the number on the scale
That’s when Nacewicz began following Intuitive eating, which is about being in touch with your body cues like hunger, fullness and satisfaction.
Nacewicz says she hopes to be able to inspire other people not to compare themselves to what they see on social media.
‘Accepting the fact that I can’t look like the models all over Instagram was hard but it was the most freeing feeling realizing that I am beautiful just the way I am,’ she said.
‘I started by unfollowing all the accounts that made me feel like I had to change something about my body and that was an important step.’
With her Instagram account, she says she wants to dispel the notion that beauty is defined by size.
‘Self-confidence doesn’t happen overnight, but taking small steps each day to accept your differences and know that they are what make you unique and you will help the process,’ Nacewicz said.