My eating disorder story and my life after recovery
My eating disorder – I have never spoken publicly about my story. I have never answered personal questions. And I have never really gone into the details, but I think it is time.
When the eating disorder started…
My eating disorder started when I was 15 years old. But I also remember thoughts when I did not like placing my thighs on a chair because I thought they looked too big. That was when I was 7 years old. I remember when I was 11, looking at myself in the mirror, and when I saw my back, I saw some form of rolls or folds. And believed that it is not supposed to be there. It should not be there. I was around 11 years old.
Eating disorder recovery journey…
The conscious disordered eating behaviors and thoughts started when I was about 15 years old. I did not recover until I was 26-28. Recovery for an eating disorder does not happen instantly. You don’t wake up and think, ‘Yes I am good now.’ I think more often it’s when you start looking back you realize your thoughts, patterns and behaviors have changed or improved.
The reason I am hesitant to mention an age, is because I believed I recovered. Looking back I was intuitively eating, exercising, and moving. And because I felt so confident in the way I felt, I wanted to join a body physique competition. But that, unfortunately, spiraled things down. I went from one extreme into another. Orthorexia into binge eating. I struggled actively with binge eating for probably a year or more. So, for another year I was working on my relationship with food and slow recovery.
I WILL ANSWER SOME OF YOUR QUESTIONS AS HONESTLY AND TRANSPARENTLY AS POSSIBLE.
Were you actually overweight or was it just in your head?
Looking back at my pictures I was never overweight. When I struggled with binge eating I did gain weight and I got the heaviest I have ever been. And for me, it was bigger because it was the heaviest I have ever been. But looking objectively at my body I was not overweight. So as I recovered and went back into intuitive eating and a healthy relationship with food – my weight dropped back down to where my body seems to be comfortable. Without me needing to do much about it.
Do you suffer any consequences of having an eating disorder in your past?
I believe an eating disorder is like alcoholism. Someone who struggles with alcohol might be a dry alcoholic and sober, but they will never have a total healthy or easy relationship with alcohol. They will always need to restrain from drinking, and they will always be aware of alcohol.
An eating disorder is similar. I probably will never have a fully easy relationship with food in the way someone will have who has never struggled with food. So, I think food will be always a conscious thing for me. I do not act on these thoughts. I don’t act on disordered eating behaviors. And that is probably the consequence of recovery and healing. But food is conscious for me. Less than it has ever been before probably since I was around 15 years old, and it will probably stay that way.
Does anyone else in your family have issues with food?
Bless my beautiful mum. I don’t think that she struggles with food, but she does talk about food. She does talk about her body and not liking her body. She does talk about restricting her food intake from time to time. Especially because she believes she has a sweet tooth. So she sometimes restricts chocolate, for example. Yes, mum talks about it. Or has spoken about it in the past. When I was younger she went on a diet because there was a time she gained quite a bit of weight.
Do you still struggle at times?
I think I have answered this question. I would not say struggle, I would say I have thoughts that pop up. Or I have triggers that pop up if someone who does not know me might compare my body to someone else’s body. One of my past clients has said ‘My daughter is even smaller than you are’. So I don’t struggle with it, but I hear it. It is that conscious awareness of a sentence. The same with food…..that conscious awareness of food. It is not just like some of the other things we do in our life. That is kind of what I experience. But I would not say struggle.
What food do you eat to stay healthy and strong?
I eat everything! Apart from onions. I don’t like onions. And I don’t eat onions. But apart from that I actually eat everything. However mainly my diet consists of lots of vegetables. Some fruit. A little bit of meat. I do enjoy lentils and chickpeas from time to time. But my body does not quite like them. I stay off dairy because my body again does not like it. I try not to have too much bread because my body does not like it.
So I believe that I know what my body enjoys, and what makes my body feel good. I know what I can eat to really experience that joy and pleasure in life. And having that drive and motivation. I also know what food really steals that from me. And I do try to stay away from it. It does not mean that I don’t eat chocolate or a piece of cake (or 2, or 3….haha).
What I eat everyday…
So every day I have vegetables, some form of stir fry and salad. Some form of protein, a little bit of fat. Very much a balanced diet that I talk about. I eat a little bit of everything, combining food that is good for you that sustains the energy. That stabilizes the blood sugar. Because it just helps you to get through the day in a much easier way. And I believe this is what keeps my bodyweight stable because it is more an intuitive way of eating. And if one day I eat more because we bake a cake (and I have 3 pieces), the next day I naturally eat less because my body had more calories.
So it always balances itself out and it is quite beautiful to observe and watch and learn to trust our body. Knowing it will do what it needs to do. Don’t interfere because it is the mind that interferes with rules and fears. But if we trusted our bodies, they are pretty good at letting us know what is good for us.
Did you eat a very restrictive diet?
Yes, I did. I don’t want to go into too much detail. Not because I don’t want to be open and vulnerable. But more so, I don’t want to give other people ideas of destructive eating (which I did).
Do you believe in an eating plan, or just intuitive?
It depends on where someone is at. It really depends. I have clients for example who I give a generic plan not based on calories but more to balance their food and way of eating. If someone comes to me with a very restrictive eating disorder and is underweight – I go more with a precise plan and give them precise suggestions with how much, when and what they need to eat. But then I also, at the same time, teach them to then slowly find that trust. And then, move into a more intuitive way of eating.
The same if someone struggles with binge eating. I help them to stabilize their blood sugar. I help them to look into all the binge eating triggers and teach them to eat more intuitively. At the end of the day, ideally, that is where we want to end up. Intuitive eating. And I believe that is what really helped me in my recovery.
So even after binge eating and gaining all the weight. The reason why I lost that weight, (even though it was never my focus), was because my focus was on healing my relationship with food. To be easy around food. To get rid of the food fear. And not to need to eat a whole jar of peanut butter in a few days, but more to have the food in the house and not to worry about it. To be able to have cakes and chocolate and have a little bit of it, and leave the rest for when I am ready.
So that was my focus. And the weight went down naturally. In the beginning, it depends on where someone is at. I might give them more guidelines.
Thank you for being here and reading about my story
This is me. Let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to hear more about my story. I am more than happy to answer those questions if this helps or inspires you let me know.
Your recovery is worth it!
I really want to encourage you – your recovery is worth it. Your food freedom. Feeling in control around food. Feeling empowered and in charge of food is so WORTH IT. Sometimes it can be scary to start this process. But at the end of the day, it is really worth it. If you work on it for 6-12 months- it’s hard, but the rest of your life is pleasant and enjoyable. You can move away from the struggle x
6 KEY STEPS TO END BINGE EATING CYCLE & RELEASE EMOTIONAL WEIGHT
- Regain power over food!
- Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.
- We can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.
FREE GUIDEBEAT NIGHT TIME BINGE EATING SIMPLE YET POWERFUL ACTION STEPS
- Learn the reasons for binge eating and overeating at night time.
- Understand what to eat and how much to eat so that you don’t binge at night time.
- Address the root cause of why you feel addicted to food to heal from inside out.
- Eat flexibly without restrictions and restrictive food rules.