In todays world the media puts so much emphasis on the latest “diet trends” or “fads”, the new workouts celebrities are doing, etc. While some of these are bad, some are not terrible and can work. You hear about those who have food addictions, those whose eating patterns have caused them to gain a substantial amount of weight. There is not as much focus on another type of food addiction, or lack there of, meaning those who are addicted to NOT eating enough, who let NOT eating control them, or even binging and purging. My guess is there is not as much focus because it is NOT pretty, an ugly side to “skinny”. In my opinion a whole lot uglier than those who are overweight just trying to lose. Reality is that both are JUST as dangerous. Obesity and NOT eating can BOTH kill you.
I personally think it is hard for a lot of women to admit they have an issue with food either way (and men for that matter). Why do I feel this way? Well for starters I used to be one of them, and it took me a while to even acknowledge that I was suffering from one of these diseases.
If you follow me at all/ really know me you probably know about my diagnosis with Rheumatoid Arthritis in college, and how I used that dark time as motivation and inspiration to hopefully help others. As well as lead me to the career I have now. Truth is there is an even darker time in my life that came before that most people (even some very close to me) do not know about…. For years I have all but blocked it from my brain as if it never happened because it hurts me to think back. Why? I am not completely sure but imagine because I am so much of a different person now than I was then. More often than not now I think the big man upstairs forces us to bring those pains back into our lives full surface, not for hurt but to use for good in some way. I am pretty confident God has been forcing me to face this for a while now so I have finally chosen to do so.
A little history ……
I graduated high school in 2004, was in a good relationship, seemed happy, was a typical teenager. I had always wanted to go The University of Alabama but decided to stay in state and go to Kennesaw….. for a guy (bad choice #1). I wasn’t fat by any means, but I was definitely thick, ate like crap, drank all the time and food meant nothing really to me. Growing up I can remember my mom getting me Dairy Queen Blizzards almost daily (and I still love those btw 😉 ). In 2005 I had surgery on my tonsils and was unable to eat solid food for a while, this caused me to drop weight which I had never really done before. My boyfriend made me feel like it was a good thing SO I figured I was continue to try to lose. I had a job I worked at part time while in school that allowed me to be on the internet a lot. I researched and found information on how if you restricted calories you would really lose weight. So I started counting, I wouldn’t eat over 1000 a day, and weight was falling off! I thought it was great….
I would only eat 100 calorie things most of the time, you can read how I feel about those more here . Long story short those things are filled with absolutely no nutrients a lot of sugar and just plain crap, so only eating 1000 calories a day of basically junk my body was depleted of all nutrients…bad. This continued for a while and I eventually started restricting myself more. Eating fewer and fewer calories. Although I never literally starved myself completely, I let food and calories consume me. If I were to eat 1 calorie over how ever many I was aiming for that day it would eat (no pun intended) me up inside.
By 2006 I had gotten down to about 100 lbs (I am 5’8 btw (not ok)). I was also planning on transferring to the University of Alabama in the fall. I was still in the relationship but was miserable. Not necessarily because of him either, but because of me. I can remember the look on my moms face when she looked at me, she and other family members would say things but I just brushed them off. I can remember if I was to sit for a while and go to stand up I would see stars, but didn’t think anything of it. After all skinny was what every girl wanted right?
My mom was persistent for a while about me getting help. I finally went against my will but the information I was given changed me somehow. I really do not remember what was told to me unfortunately but I do remember I committed myself to change, and slowly but surely I did. One thing I remember I had to do was drink those nasty old people drinks like Boost or Ensure multiple times a day…. not exactly the protein shakes I like today ha. I also was not allowed to count calories AT ALL. If I was seen adding anything up I would get in trouble.
Luckily for me this worked. It did NOT happen overnight and when I started at Alabama I still had issues with watching what I ate, but thankfully (and this is the ONLY time I would say this) I drank a lot of beer which led to me eating bad late at night…. which led to weight gain. I would say by the time I was diagnosed with RA I was back to a healthy weight.
As a result of everything I screwed my metabolism and thyroid causing me to have hypothyroidism. My metabolism slowed down so much from lack of food when it did try to process what I ate it didn’t process it effectively. Thankfully that was it though and it can be corrected with medicine everyday (but not exactly fun).
We all have vices, no one is perfect. Everyone has gone through some sort of dark time in their life and if you haven’t you probably will…. but I personally think it is how you choose to deal with them that matters. Use them to inspire or help others by learning from your mistakes. It may have taken me about 10 years to open up about this particular time for me, but I have to say that I am extremely lucky to have only suffered for about a year or so with it. I never fully admitted it was anorexia until recently. Regardless I truly believe it helped form me into who I am today. I have come a LONG way and LOVE food now. I seriously do not know how I ever restricted myself in that way. I pride myself in how much I eat now ha…. I have learned to fuel my body with the right foods and how to work with others teaching them the same.
Treat your body right, you deserve it, it deserves it, and you will live a much more fulfilled life. 🙂
If you or anyone you know may be experiencing or going through an eating disorder, don’t hesitate, work with them to get help. It really could be the difference in life and death.