It’s national Eating Disorder Awareness week! This year, I’m partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association to pull back the curtain on ED and share our stories. So, I thought it would be only fitting to share mine.
As you may know, I grew up with ED. For thirteen years, it was my constant companion. I had a brutal battle with anorexia for over ten years. It made my high school and college years miserable at times. My ED made me, at 5’7″, beat myself up when I could no longer fit into size 2 jeans (thank GOD I found Stitch Fix). It made traveling a stressful nightmare, lost me a job I loved, and taxed relationships with my family and friends.
ED made me a shadow of the person I wanted to be, obsessed with whether or not I was eating a small or medium apple (cuz ya know – that’s a 20 calorie difference).
During this period of my life, I couldn’t imagine a world where I wasn’t constantly counting calories (stop without stressing about it using these steps). Now, years later, I live my life without letting my ED run my life and handle the thoughts as they come up (here’s how I handle them when they come up). This is a life I never thought was possible.
So, in honor of #NEDAwareness Week, I’m sharing 5 things I do almost every day in 2018 that I would have thought impossible a few years ago. My friends, recovery IS possible. Get free help here, too.
Five Things Made Possible After Eating Disorder Recovery
I have no concept of how many grams of carbs I’ve eaten today.
My ED began when I started counting calories after reading a Seventeen magazine article. For years, I could recall the number of calories in a Lemon Balance Bar, 1/3 cup of carrots, and just about any other food I’d eaten on the regular. I didn’t think it was possible to maintain (or lose) weight without tracking calories (here are 7 ways…).
Flash forward to 2018, and I’ve retired MyFitnessPal for good.
I follow the nutrient timing guidelines I give my #ConsistentlyLean ladies, eat plenty of protein and veggies, and drink alcohol a few times a week – all without tracking, counting or measuring.
The best part? I’m even more consistent (grab some of my best nutrition consistency tools here).
I take off my tank top during hot yoga
My entire life has been a battle against my belly. I’ve always been self conscious about my stomach – and written about this extensively. Even though I’m (mostly) over wanting a six pack, I’ve never been one to take off my shirt, run in just a sports bra, or be comfortable in a bikini.
Soooo, you can imagine how crazy it is to me that when I go to Corepower hot yoga, I’m ditching my tank top.
While I’m still not donning a bikini at the beach, I am clear that my stomach doesn’t define me and chasing the perfect, chiseled six pack goes against EVERYTHING I want for my clients. That truth is what keeps my eyes on my own mat and stops me from stressing about what I *should* look like.
I’ve put my scale in the garage.
Hold the phone. I’m no longer stressing about being up three pounds on any given day? That’s frankly an eating disorder recovery miracle.
For so many of us, the scale holds immense power. I remember climbing on the scale on Sunday mornings, absolutely disgusted at the higher number that resulted from my eating sooo inconsistently on weekends (here’s how to stop falling off the wagon).
And in fact, it’s only been in the last month or so that I’ve officially ditched my scale. With regaining the weight I lost during my breakup last fall, it’s become way too stressful to weigh myself. But instead of letting the fear of weight gain rule my life, I’m not using the scale anymore, instead focusing on other measure, like how my clothes fit (still fine btw).
I no longer see myself as a runner.
Running used to be my whole life. I ran cross country all through high school and put at least 30 miles in every week during college. It was impossible for me to comprehend a world where I wasn’t running 3+ miles daily. My psychiatrist once told me that my love of running might be fueled by my ED – I told her to eff off.
But I worked through my eating disorder recovery, I found that my heart wasn’t able to handle running long distances anymore. This was incredibly hard to bear.
I remember sitting in my doctor’s office, the crinkly hygienic paper under my butt, tears streaming down my face as my doctor told me I had to stop running – my heart wasn’t capable of handling the stress.
Looking back now, I’m grateful; this is when I discovered lifting weights and began my journey to transform my body without endless cardio.
Today, I view myself as an athletic woman, a lifter, and a coach. Sure, I may still go out and run races but those times don’t define me anymore.
I eat dark chocolate every single day.
Restriction was my jam. It made me feel powerful and strong during my eating disorder years. Even years into my eating disorder recovery, I had a really hard time letting myself indulge in anything that wasn’t nutritious. This is a huge part of why I didn’t drink alcohol before I turned 21 – I couldn’t let myself drink anything that had calories.
With lots of work, I found ways to structure indulgence in my life so that it became more normal. And now, I teach other women to do the same using my #consciousindulgence framework (taught in my #ConsistentNutrition cheatsheet).
I’ll have dark chocolate – in some form – every single day, without guilt (learn to ditch food guilt here) or stress. This has made going out to eat so much easier because now I can have a few bites of any dessert, without hating myself!
My friends, eating disorder recovery IS possible. It’s hard. It takes a long ass time. The thoughts are always there. But living outside of ED is worth every extra bite, tear, and breakdown. You got this. If you want more support and accountability from me, join my tribe!