Would you call this an eating disorder phase?
I almost deleted this post at least three times. But I’m sharing anyway. Sometimes, something fires us up so much that we have to share, even if it’s super scary, vulnerable, and raw.
A few months back, I was listening to a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, The FitCast (be sure to check it out). I was especially excited to listen to two strong women talk about strength training (another fave). I was minutes away from my office, I had just exited the freeway. There were only a few minutes left when one of the guests made a passing comment that irked me.
I went through a disordered eating phase.
As I heard those words and drove into the parking structure, something turned in my stomach. It felt like she punched me in the stomach with just 7 words. And although I knew exactly what I was feeling, it took me a little longer to understand why.
I sat with those awful feelings and that pain all morning. I prayed about it. I talked with a close friend. And sometime in the middle of all that, I realized what hurt so much.
I didn’t have a disordered eating phase. I had an eating disorder.
I had a brutal battle with anorexia for over ten years. It made my high school and college years miserable at times. It 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. It wasn’t a “phase” that I could snap out of, like my emo Evanescence phase.
If it were, I could have stopped self-destructing before my fifteenth birthday (not my twenty-fifth).
If it were a phase, March 31, 2005, the date of my clinical diagnosis, would not still stand out in my mind. I had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa the day before. I kept saying to myself: no no no, there must be a mistake; I was just trying to lose a few pounds. I’m not super skinny like all the real anorexic girls. I didn’t even cry when she told me I needed more help than she could offer. I just kept thinking to myself, I’ll just start eating again; I’ll be fine by summer.
It was the next day that I realized that this quick fix would not be happening. In an attempt to “get better,” I forced myself to bring more for lunch but when I was faced with the prospect of eating the additional 35-calorie wedge of Laughing Cow Light Cheese, I burst into tears and threw the cheese away, disgusted with myself. It was in that moment that I understood that I had a problem. A normal, rational person who was trying to lose weight would be able to eat more if a doctor told them they needed to: I couldn’t.
Does that sound like a phase to you?
I look around the fitness industry, and all I see are trainers who make disordered eating this messy thing all women share. And honestly, there is some validity to that. Many women have an unhealthy relationship with food, whether that’s over-eating, under-eating, emotional eating, or assigning morality to the foods they eat.
But eating disorders are a different beast all together (please get help if you’re struggling). When trainers comment about their “disordered eating phase” they minimize the struggle many of us faced and fought our way through. I’m not okay with that.
I’m an eating disorder survivor.
So instead of alluding gently to an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise, I’m speaking my truth and standing up for the women who have reclaimed their lives from eating disorder hell. Instead of continuing to hide my battle scars, I’ll continue to speak out about about my journey to moderation and accepting my body, because the scars make me the woman I am today.
A coach, dog mom, partner, and friend
A personal trainer, nutrition coach, and eating disorder survivor (warrior).
I’m passionate about helping women move through their eating disorders, battles or phases.
Just a couple years ago, I wanted to make a change but my doctor’s voice rang in my head: you’ll never be able to diet or lose weight like a “normal person.”
Needless to say, I thought losing weight, getting stronger, and feeling better were out of reach. I was so scared that my eating disorder tendencies and obsession would stop me from reaching my goals.
But now? In 2017, I’m living, breathing proof that it is possible to love our bodies and also change them, WITHOUT reverting back to our eating disorder tendencies.
My friends, are you ready? If you want to take that step towards lovingly changing your body, without obsession, restriction or stress, let’s talk. I’m passionate about working with YOU to reach your goals, because life is so much better outside of restriction.