I hope you’re all doing well. I hope you’re ready for this, because I’m about to break out some heavy things. I’ve dealt with disordered eating for several years and having experienced it and overcoming it, I now want to share with the world what I’ve learned from it, and hopefully help you beautiful souls.
I’ve never been clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder, but through my education (BS in dietetics) and never ending research, I’ve recognized mild to severe disordered eating behavior within myself. I’m going to share with you how I’ve overcome what I thought would stay with me for the rest of my life-I hope it helps!
As a girl getting ready to go to college who battled with her fluctuating weight all through childhood, my first severe action to lose weight and lose the chub was taking Hydroxycut. In fact, a friend and I took them together to hold each other accountable and to see how “hot” we could get.
Going into college and trying to kick my unhealthy and expensive habit, I gained back weight. This happened about 4 more times until 2 years ago when I finally took control of my life.
Then I’d turn to drinking pots of coffee to suppress my appetite, then I’d quit once my heart felt like it was going to explode and my teeth turned yellow.
After I would force myself to eat as little as possible through the day, making it a game, where I’d count to 1000 and say, no more food. But I’d eventually get so hungry that on my “cheat day” I’d binge so much I’d almost puke from eating so much food, and then it would flood into the next day where I’d do it all again.
Then it was low carb-so no bread, no pasta, potatoes, etc and eventually I turned away from fruit or carrots/spring peas because they had 5 more grams of carbs than other vegetables….WTF?
I tried intermittent fasting where I’d only eat food during a certain amount of hours but instead of the scientific evidence that can actually work for some people, I’d push it to the extreme where I’d only eat in a window of 4 hours.
I remember once forcing myself to not eat as long as I could, and when I felt so hungry and so tired from no energy, I forced myself to nap just so I could get through to the next few hours until it was time to eat. I spent times when I was doing the low calorie thing where I’d actually fantasize about food, literally fantasizing about meals-like food pornography.
Food gawker was my favorite app and website at the time. If you’ve never been there, it’s basically food porn. Go see for yourself, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I would write recipes when my stomach was empty. I would ogle rich chocolate cakes and crispy looking golden french fries when my hands would shake due to low blood sugar. I lit chocolate and vanilla scented candles to get the sense of eating these ingredients instead of actually consuming them, even after I hadn’t had a bowel movement for 5 days due to lack of food.
I’d try to reward myself for not eating over my calorie limit with new, smaller-sized leggings or pants–for good behavior and a motivator. I obsessed over celebrities’ weight who were my height and compared my thighs to theirs in photos I had spent hours searching.
What this did was hurt me even further, and never gave me the satisfaction I longed for each time I dropped to a new low weight. It was never enough. I would never be good enough.
My lowest weight standing at 5’9″ was 127 lbs. Granted, I haven’t been this weight since I was 14 but I had gained every inch of my height when I was 14. To be fair, as an adult my lowest weight was 140 lbs. My highest weight….167 lbs. While I was never overweight (I had come really close) or obese, I have learned a lot from my actions and how these actions affect me physically and mentally.
Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned, and how you can apply them to yourself when you need motivation and some support.
- No matter how little you weigh, it’s not what actually makes you happy. You may love to fit in new clothes that look cute and fit on your frame a little better and you may receive more compliments, but if you’re not happy with yourself on the inside, you’ll never make peace with yourself and you’ll always find a flaw. Always.
- Your true friends will reveal themselves and guys will show you exactly what they want from you. I’ve had friends who were as flaky as a Paris Hilton wannabe who wanted nothing to do with me when I gained some weight. But I also had friends who couldn’t care less if I had changed physically. As for guys, more of them showed up and texted than I knew what to do with, but of course they weren’t the guys I wanted attention from. When I’d gain some weight back, they thinned (no pun intended). It’s funny how that works….
- Health > being “skinny. Way better!! I get it, though. Finding a treasure like 80 calorie chocolate cereal when you’re on a low calorie diet is like finding gold, but it never made me feel satisfied or fulfilled. I always felt like something was missing. Now, when I eat a huge bowl of oatmeal and fruit or a big plate of rice, beans, and veggies, I can feel the nutrients and health spill through my blood and into every cell. It’s invigorating once you learn what this feels like! It’s so addicting, when I have tried to eat Lucky Charms or a bag of nasty baked chips, I only feel emptiness.
- The energy you have and the love you gain from working out. I always looked at working out like an activity to solely repent for my bad eating habits. I hated doing it or even thinking about it because I turned it into an evil thing. Now, I see it as a release and an escape for when I’m feeling stressed and under pressure, and to get away from the craziness of the world. It makes me stronger, clearer, and lean. It will keep me feeling and looking young for as long as I stay consistent, who doesn’t want that?
- Food is NOT the enemy. I used to think it was. I used to think, “why do I have to eat? I wish I would lose my appetite so I don’t have to eat.” For the purpose of staying skinny. Little did I know then, that you can eat 2000+ calories a day without working out and can maintain or even drop your weight!! I had lowered my calories so low and damaged my metabolism badly enough to where I’d eat 1200 calories and pack on pounds.
What I needed was a realty check and someone to smack me for being so cruel to myself. I watched my mom all through my childhood abuse diet pills, weight loss shakes, criticize herself in the mirror when shorts didn’t fit, and to starving herself on the latest fad diet.
I even watched her lying in a hospital bed with giardia-a bacterium you can ingest that basically prevents your body from receiving and nutrients or calories from your intake-happy at the fact that she’d lost 50 pounds because of it. Then, I heard her say later when she’d regained most of that weight back that “if only she caught it again to lose the extra weight.”
I share this with you-any of you out there who are have gone or are going through similar things. You are more than a body, than a pair of legs, than a pretty set of eyes. You have a soul, a beautiful mind and someone out there loves and cares for you. You are important to this world where the size and shape of your body means nothing to no one.
Sure, being fit and slender at a healthy body weight can bring you happiness and it should-it can mean you are healthy. I strive for this daily and I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to look beautiful and attractive, but if you are hurting yourself to get there, you’ll never get there.
Beauty comes from within, and I thought this was the biggest load of shit I’d ever heard.
But its true.
When you love yourself, it comes out to your physical appearance. Hating yourself only pushes you back and keeps holding you back. Here are some people who’ve helped me on my journey:
Andie Mitchell and her journey through weight loss and acceptance for herself
Taralynn who overcome an eating disorder after losing several pounds in her early twenties
This Girl Audra on YouTube who teaches others on the importance of severe diets, restrictions, and exercise abuse
Annie Jaffrey on YouTube who is so awe inspiring-she teaches positivity and shares self care practices and shows that being beautiful truly does come from within
Banana Blondie on YouTube who is forty year old mom of two, who practices yoga, and looks better than most twenty-year olds, AND, has a good outlook on herself-physically and mentally.
I hope these tips and my experience help! This is what I’ve learned through my past of disordered eating, and I’ll always be learning. Next, I will share what my diet and exercise looks like now, and how I manage my day through the stress of work, life, and family issues. As always, love yourself and you’ll find yourself will eventually love you too <3
Have any of you struggled with disordered eating? How did you overcome it?