I don’t talk about eating disorders often on my blog but I do talk about disordered eating. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week and I’ve been seeing a lot of posts from my friends and felt compelled to share my own story. The theme for this year is “Come as you are.”
Come as You Are sends a message to individuals at all stages of body acceptance and eating disorders recovery that their stories are valid. We invite everyone, especially those whose stories have not been widely recognized, to have the opportunity to speak out, share their experiences, and connect with others.
Often when I share my own story, I always say, “I didn’t have an eating disorder, but I knew I was becoming obsessive and didn’t want it to become something I couldn’t control or stop.” That little but in there is a big but no pun intended.
I used to think once you had this mind set, you always would have inner demons to battle but I was wrong.
After my sophomore year of college, I wanted to lose the freshman 15 I put on. I did it successfully though exercise and essentially weight watchers by counting points in my head. My mother had a chart that I used to calculate points.
I lived on a lot of artificial sugar, no nuts, no cheese, low fat or no fat everything, anything high fiber and little carbs (except for beer). I ran almost every day for 30-40 minutes doing intervals after working the breakfast/lunch shift on very little sleep because I went out every night. I also added strength training 2 or 3 days a week on my mom’s deck with a pair of 8 lb dumbbells after my run. The thought of having the energy to do all that is exhausting to just write. I was religious in fitting in my workouts.
I was never an unhealthy weight so I never labeled myself as having an eating disorder. Looking back I 100% had disordered eating.
I had impeccable will power. Once the chef at the restaurant I worked at put cheese on my salad and you would have thought he spit it in. I removed every shred before eating the lettuce and grilled chicken. Another time, we finished dinner at home and I wanted something sweet and I remember getting so bitchy to my mom that we had run out of diet coke. My mood and emotions could completely change based on food and it wasn’t for the better.
Well, I went back to college in the Fall and eventually the will power broke down as one might imagine. I was frustrated that I no longer could be “perfect.” My moods and self worth started to be based on what I ate or what the scale said.
The following summer, I told my mom I no longer wanted to feel this way and I began meeting with a nutritionist and therapist. I wish I remembered all the great things I learned but truth be told, I was given a prescription for adderall that allowed me regain some of my will power and continue my disordered behaviors.
This started a new chapter for another time but I stopped taking adderall about 10 years ago. I still can’t believe how much it messed with my hunger cues from knowing when I was actually hungry to being able to know when I was actually full.
For 6 years, I struggled to find a healthy relationship with food all while blogging here on SarahFit. The reason I chose Sarah “FIT” was because through my journey of ups and downs, I always stayed active and enjoyed exercising without being unhealthy about it. It wasn’t about being a fitness instagram model because those just didn’t exist, in fact I probably would NOT have chosen the name SarahFit back then if it did because I would never have felt “fit” enough. I don’t think I even knew a single account whose handle was their first name followed by “fit” at the time. Not claiming to be creative, just saying I was early to this game.
Four years ago, as many of you know and have followed, I found my happy place with food. It coincided with getting pregnant with Tommy and I’ve never looked back. You can read more about how pregnancy changed my relationship with food and exercise.
I share this today to let you know that you are not alone. It’s never too early or too late to ask for help. This is my story and my very condensed journey of how I came to achieve body acceptance.
I love that this year’s NEDA week message isn’t about being sick enough to say you had an eating disorder. It’s about rejecting diet culture, accepting your body, respecting others’ bodies and fighting weight stigma no matter where you currently stand.
You might be thinking, aren’t you doing the “FASTer Way To Fat Loss” program? I chose this program because I wanted to try something new. No food was off limits. I liked the idea of intermittent fasting because I often struggle to stop eating mindless at night after dinner. If anything, the program showed me how to eat better calories during the day so I don’t want to mindlessly eat at night. Being overweight is not ideal for health reasons and as you get older, it gets harder to lose weight so I don’t think wanting to lose 5 lbs is an unhealthy desire after having a baby. If you need a little help doing it, I don’t see that as being a trigger for unhealthy behavior.
I’d love, if you want, in honor of NEDAW to share your story and experience of body acceptance below.