Updated: Feb 18
The constant struggle with “good” and “bad” food, the never ending search for skinny, hormonal imbalance, bodybuilding, Crossfit. The constant go-go-go lifestyle, burned out, not loving myself and being a constant critic of the person I see in the mirror. More women that we think struggle, or have struggled with some kind of eating disorder. What is an eating disorder for you?
Since I was 17 I suffered from an eating disorder, I never even knew until recently that having an eating disorder is so much more then anorexia or bulimia. For me it is the obsession over food, and my own body. The constant struggle of trying the newest diet, looking a certain way or being a certain size. I come to realize that most people do, specially women. It doesn’t have to be noticeable, it comes in all shapes and forms.
For me it started around 17, I was so sure that I was not good enough. I was fat, and I hated the person I saw in the mirror. The person staring back at me was ugly, worthless and gross.
I do not even know how it started or why, but I guess it was all around me even then. Before Instagram and Facebook, there was still all the magazines, everyone was a size 0. I was probably a size 6 or 8 at this time. I got it in my mind even in the beginning as a teenager that I was fat, that I needed to change.
I started smoking cigarettes because I read somewhere that it helps models feel full, so they don’t have to eat. So in school instead of eating lunch I lied saying that I had to study and I went out to have a cigarette.
I started going to the gym, I went first thing in the morning before school, and then after school. I remember that the owner of the gym made a comment that she was hoping that I was eating enough considering all the time I spent at the gym. I always rolled my eyes and said of course I do, slightly irritated that she even cared.
When it was time to eat dinner I lied to my parents and told them that I was going to eat at my boyfriends house, and at my boyfriends house I told his parents that I already ate at home.
When Laxative Pills Becomes Your Best Friend
I weighed myself every morning and every night. Making sure that whatever my weight was in the morning, I wanted it to be in the evening or less. If it wasn't, then I made sure it was by eating these laxative pills, or forcing myself to throw up. I lied to everyone and I just kept on hating myself, and I got mad at people when they commented and told me to eat. It made me happy when people said that I looked skinny, it made me feel good for a minute, but I couldn’t see it in the mirror so I thought they lied.
This kept going on for about a year, until my boyfriend and my mom noticed what was going on. I was missing school and my grades was dropping, I was doing well in school before all of it started. I didn’t listen to my mom and it was not until one of my professors, from business class sat me down and told me that she was worried about me. She told me how smart she thought I was, but she knew that I was missing school and that my grades were slowly dropping. She said that I should go and talk to the school counselor. She kind of made me do it, since she said that in order for me to keep my grades I needed to talk to the counselor and do extra assignments. I didn't really care about school, but I did not want my parents to be upset that I was getting less then A, so i went to see the school counselor.
Thing started to turn around, until I started binge-eating
That was the change for me, I started to trust the school counselor and will forever be grateful that my professor saw that I needed guidance to get through whatever I was struggling with.
My mom started to track to make sure I ate food, and I realized that I could not longer lie to her.
I did start to feel better, but after I graduated and moved into my own apartment I started binge eating instead. After I had my binge eating sessions I wanted to throw up, I couldn't do it so I kept on eating those laxative pills.
Same year I went to Australia and traveled for almost a year together with one of my good friends. We didn’t care about anything and had the time of our life.
On the inside I hated myself, I knew I had gained a lot of weight and I hated myself for it.
Then my body starting to break down - Hello Bleeding Ulcer!
A year later coming back home, I gained a lot of weight. My body was tired, I had been drinking too much and I’ve been eating junk food almost every day. I ended up with a bleeding ulcer, hospitalized for a week, and on special diet for eight weeks. Just turning 21, I had to spend all summer thinking about just eating simple food, no alcohol, no spicy food, no coffee etc.
They told me to look into mindfulness and meditation, I had tried yoga the first time when I was 14 so I figured I needed to get back on the "yoga train". This is definitely the start on my healing journey, I did not know it back then but getting the ulcer changed my life for the better.
Most women have struggled with an eating disorder without even realizing it
Not until recent years I have realized that I have been dealing with an eating disorder my whole adulthood until a couple of years ago, and I can see that most women do in one way or the other. I have had a difficult relationship to food, I saw everything as good or bad. I’ve tried every diet there is, some have worked some have not.
It’s been a strange back and forth, constant battle of not being skinny enough, and not excepting my body for what it does for me.
A constant inner struggle with my own body
It was not until I started Crossfit a few years back that I got this feeling of appreciation for my body, I realized that it could do way more than I ever thought. And I was eating! I also had a moment of trying bodybuilding, which was amazing to see the changes I could make in my body. But I realized that living like that and constantly tracking every macro, made me think about food all day long, which led my down toward old habits - stuck to the scale and constantly assessing every inch of my body.
Now I eat intuitively, I eat when I am hungry and I do not make it my whole life to always think about what I am eating. I know what my body likes and I love treating my body right, if I eat junk food I feel it right away. I break out, I get bloated, I feel sluggish and lethargic. When I eat organic, homemade food I feel good, my body thrives on vegetarian/vegan plant based and gluten-free food. Sometimes I fast, sometimes I want to stuff my face in a donut. That is OK, I am happy for everything my body does for me and for sticking with me through all the pain I caused myself.
My biggest lesson is to love myself, and to be grateful for the body I am in. Yes sometimes we all need a little discipline, to not eat cookies all the time, and to go and workout. I don’t do it anymore because I think I am fat and not good enough. I do it because my body deserve it, my body deserve to feel good, I deserve to feel good!
Saying goodbye to my eating disorder has taking me almost 15 years, and I realize that it all starts with how I talk to myself. Just because one thing works for someone else, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. All of our bodies are different.
Now I say thank you before every meal to my food, to raise the frequency of the food. Yep, it actually works!
Do you have questions about food, and do you think loosing those 5 pounds will make you feel happier? Do you recognize yourself in my story, or parts of it? Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss, I promise that you can find a balance and you see your own inner badass and increase your self-worth and confidence!
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