Eating Disorder

"Come As You Are" - National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and I felt a pull to share a bit of my story. This topic is something I am passionate about as I lived so many years of my life with some form of disordered eating.

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What’s most important is to know that you don’t have to fit into a clear category, like anorexia or bulimia, to have an eating disorder and you certainly don’t have to be thin or look “sick.” Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes.

How did I know I had a problem?

I was obsessed with food and my body and these obsessions were interfering with my daily life.

I went through years of eating far too few calories and exercising far too much. If I missed one day, I would feel so much anxiety. I feared eating out because I didn’t know exactly what was in my food. I never ordered what I wanted but ordered whatever I thought had the lowest amount of calories on the menu. I hated social situations that involved food and I also avoided anything that would involve late evenings and alcohol because I had to be up and in the gym or on a run the next morning.

It's not surprising that so many “Healthy Living” bloggers have struggled with eating disorders because an easy way to cover them up is to say you’re just trying to be healthy. Yes, eating nutritious foods that make you feel good is great but being afraid of not eating “healthy” for fear of gaining weight is not great.

About a year ago I looked at my first few years of blog posts and felt so incredibly sad. The food I ate and shared was a clear indication that I had a problem yet, I thought I was being so healthy. Seeing those posts brought up so many memories and how my obsession with food only worsened my struggle with anxiety and depression and caused me to isolate myself from others.

I was never quite “thin enough” to cause alarm despite thinning hair and losing my period (although I’m sure a few people noticed some changes). I actually started gaining weight after a couple of years of this behavior because my body’s metabolism shut down and started to store fat. Yet, my mind was still in that same place and even more panicked now.

Eating disorder recovery is rarely a straight line. I have had swings towards a positive relationship with food and then swings back in the other direction. But if you look at who I was back then and who I am now, the difference is huge. The freedom is amazing. I no longer think about how much I can or cannot eat. I don’t go out to restaurants afraid of what to order. I eat things like a pizza (and a WHOLE pizza), pasta, bagels, candy, etc., without thinking twice or feeling like I need to burn it off the next day. I relish in taking days off working out and sitting on the couch to watch movies instead.

Even more than not worrying about food anymore, I have my life back. I can focus all of that time and energy on other more important things and relationships. Instead of being a woman who constantly puts herself down and believes she’s not good enough, I’m working towards being the confident and thoughtful woman I really want to be and know I can be.

Why am I sharing all of this?

To let you know that if you’re experiencing what I’ve been through, you’re not alone. And that making it to the other side of an eating disorder is 100% worth the effort and difficulty you go through to get there.

For more information and other people’s stories, here are a few great blog posts:

All of my blog posts regarding disordered eating

Answering Your Questions About Eating Disorder Recovery (lots of great links here too!)

Friend to Friend → Being Underweight and Amenorrhea

ED Posts from The Real Life RD


I am NOT a doctor, dietitian, psychiatrist or any kind of specialist. I am simply sharing my personal experience. Please reach out to a specialist or someone you trust if you think you might need help. Also, visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support for more information on finding support.

How To Move Through A Bad Body Image Moment

Aug 1, 2017

I heard this quote a while back and it really struck a chord with me:

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Can you love the part of you that hates your body? - Samantha Skelly

We are constantly bombarded with the concept of loving your body, but what if that's something you struggle with? Actually, the majority of women struggle with this concept because we live in a world where a certain body type is considered beautiful and anyone else is less than.

Whether you struggle every day or most days you feel pretty good about yourself, we all have those moments. We see a photo of us that's unflattering, our jeans are too tight, or we catch a bad angle in the mirror. I actually had some friends back in college saying they avoided looking at their bodies in the mirror because they just didn't want to see themselves. Does that make you sad? Because it makes me sad!

We all have those moments, but how do we get past them?

First, stop.

Stop thinking and take a deep breath.

Now take another.

And another.

Calming your heart rate is essential because that's what sends you into a panic. Know that the thoughts running through your head probably aren't true. The way your body looks probably won't keep you from doing anything you want to do in your life, as long as you don't let your thoughts and fears hold you back.

What next?

Find something else to do to channel that energy.

Go for a run.

Journal.

Do a boxing or HIIT workout.

Read your bible.

Walk around the block.

Choose something to the negative energy out that's good for you. It's so easy to turn to a familiar but unhealthy coping mechanism to make yourself feel better in the moment, like binge eating or drinking, because it will only make you feel worse in the end.

Once you've calmed down, pull out your rational mind. Your body does not define you. People don't love you because of your body, they love you for you. When you think about women you admire, do you think about their bodies? Probably not.

You're okay. You're going to be okay. In fact, you're pretty awesome.

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Breathe through those moments until they pass, because if you're focusing on accepting, liking and loving yourself then you will feel better when you let your rational brain take back over from those negative thoughts.

Now that you've figured out how to breathe through those moments, let's work on experiencing them less and less.

First of all, it's important to know that they probably won't ever go away. Unless you truly love every inch of your body (Samantha from Sex and The City comes to mind ;) ), you're going to have those moments every once in a while. The key is to learn how to move through them, rather than trying to make them never happen, which only ends up in you feeling bad that you can't love yourself the way you are. No one needs that shame! Understand that you're human, you're going to be affected by what you see and hear and you can't get rid of years of conditioning in just a few months.

Jumping from hating or disliking how your body looks to loving how your body looks is a big leap and can become too overwhelming or feel impossible. Start with accepting your body. That's all - just accept that this is how you look and know that we were all made differently. This might not change how you feel but just focus on acceptance.

Important interjection: Yes, you can want to change your body through nutrition and exercise, but you should still learn to accept and like yourself as you are now or you'll never love yourself at another size. It's all about being confident in who you are!

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Once you've mastered accepting your body, move on to liking your body. Think about all the things you love about yourself. Think about how you have a healthy body that has done so much for you. Think about those moments where you felt amazing and just sit in those emotions and positive thoughts about yourself.

Even when you love your body, you'll still have those moments. Those moments of seeing yourself in a negative light and feeling panicked that you have to change or you won't be accepted. When that moment happens, stop and breathe. Use your tools. Journal out your feelings, breathe, do some yoga, go on a walk. In a difficult moment, these might be the last things you want to do but do them anyway. Anything is better than panicking and using a negative coping mechanism.

Sooner or later, you're going to have more positive moments than negative ones. Those moments when you're feeling amazing, dancing with your friends or catching yourself in the mirror and thinking, "you are totes adorbs today." Okay, maybe you don't use those words, but you get me, right?

Remember, start with acceptance and most importantly,

give yourself some grace.

You're doing just fine.

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Where I’m At With Life, Health and Fitness {Part Two}

July 25, 2017

Alright, alright, it's here!

If you missed Part One, go back and check that one out first. But now, it's time for Part 2, which is all about what I've been doing recently with health and fitness (i.e. eating and exercise).

In part one, I talked about how I've backed away from coaching because I've been going through a lot personally and I not only wanted to keep to myself more but coaching started to feel disingenuous since I wasn't really sharing my story. Well, because of my history of disordered eating, it's no surprise that those kinds of negative thoughts have been coming back up as life got more stressful and my anxiety increased. While I have been working with people to help me get to the root of my negative thinking and learn to reframe false beliefs, it's not an overnight fix.

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I've been reading blogs like Robyn's for years, knowing what it looks like to have a good relationship with food but putting it in the back of my mind. Only recently did it really click. I read a couple posts thinking, "That's me! She's describing me" and it made me realize that I don't have it all together and it was time for a change.

I love following fitness programs, whether Beachbody or anything else, but I've learned that for right now, doing any program 100% isn't in my best interest. I need to focus my energy on reframing my thoughts and developing a healthier relationship with food and keep fitness something I do for fun and because I want to - not because I feel like I have to so I can achieve any kind of goal. For so long now, I thought I'd gotten past all of these struggles but life throws us curveballs and when things are hard it's easy to revert back to old patterns. Patterns are familiar and comforting, even if they're destructive.

I've been on this trajectory of backing away from too much nutrition and fitness structure for about three months now and I know I've made the right choice. I'm still doing workouts, I'm still loving my Beachbody team and I'm even in our big team challenge group this month just for the positive energy. But I've also been taking steps to heal the source of the issue, and even though it's hard to back away a little from something I actually enjoy, I know it's worth it in the grand scheme of my life.

To be honest, I was (am) very hesitant to share all of this on here. I mean really, who shares all of these personal details on the internet? But I pushed publish because I know it's important to share our struggles and let other people know they aren't alone.

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There may be many other women out there who are pushing themselves forward pretending that nothing is wrong or hoping it will all just go away once they lose those last 10 lbs, finish school, get a job, meet the perfect guy, or whatever it is that they're wishing for. All those surface level things won't fix the way you think about yourself, so take a step back and look at the bigger picture. If what's best for you is backing away, know that gaining a little weight and losing some of your fitness now to fix your mental and physical health is worth it in the long run.

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