You may not know who E.D. is yet, and hopefully you will never have to deal with HIM in your head, running your thoughts or leading you down a not so good path. But, If you are like most women you have struggled with variations of E.D. before.
Let me tell you a little more about him…E.D. is not a boyfriend, or any kind and supportive family member. He is surely not a friend or neighbor. E.D. (AKA Eating Disorder) is the voice that tells you to change clothes because of how your jeans fit. HE tells you to eat less than what you are hungry for or to exercise harder so that you will look better in your bikini. HE is most often quite critical of how you look, how you eat, and how you exercise, but HE is also the one coaching you to trick your body with diet pills, a false sense of beauty and even what is healthy and what is not. HE might count calories for you, or tell you to loose a few more pounds. Beware, HE may even tell you to take extreme measures like restricting, purging or over exercising. E.D. is not trustworthy, nor empowering. In fact, HE is quite the opposite.
Speaking about E.D. is the beginning of thinking of an Eating Disorder as a relationship rather than a condition. This is one step towards beginning of a successful road to recovery that I have seen in working with hundreds of women and their personal versions of E.D.. Finding separation, empowerment and even freedom when it comes to our personal relationships to our own version of E.D. is a journey far too many of us have taken and even more of us strive to begin.
This week we have a VERY special story for you. This is a real life success story, from a very dedicated and passionate woman. It is insightful, inspiring and a real-life journey to health and happiness. Part of the journey for her is sharing, inspiring and reminding each of you that life without E.D. is a life much more liberating and full of vast exploration and possibility.
Some things you should know:
- 42% of all 3rd grade girls want to be thinner
- Over 10 million women struggle with anorexia or bulimia each year
- The average american women is 5’4 weighing 140 lbs, while the average female fashion model is 5’11 weighing 110 lbs.
- 50 % of teenage girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors to control their weight
This is powerful much needed work to heal a national problem. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, emotional eating, or disordered eating of any sort, there are many, many resources for you to explore. You are not alone. Feel free to reach out and we can point you in many supportive directions. If you feel inspired to share your story too, please leave a comment here on our BLOG or FACEBOOK and we will be honored to read about your own unique journey.
Learning how to fall in love with life and finding a path to listening and being true to yourself can be yours. Being in honor of your whole self ~ mind, body and spirit. There is the possibility for health and freedom. It starts with the first step. It starts with asking for help and getting the support you need.
The Story Goes…
My life without E.D. began one year ago, in May of 2012. He had destroyed my most intimate relationship, he had mangled my study abroad experience, and he was preparing to kill me.
Sure signs of an eating disorder began seven years ago at age fourteen in my hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I held my hands over my belly each night and morning praying God would give me a flat, lean belly; a belly that looked liked all the girls at my high school. When praying did not work, I began to do workouts in my bedroom each night and morning with endless abdominal exercises that would crank my neck and irk my low back.
These home workouts led to restricted eating and abundant exercising. Throughout high school, I wanted to be different, to distinguish myself from the other girls. I led a “healthy,” “active,” and “disciplined” lifestyle, one that had no balance and little indulgence.
When the time came to choose a college, Boulder, Colorado screamed health, activity and discipline. My parents hesitated to send in my application, but I pleaded with them to let me spread my wings and soar. I knew that E.D had my back if I began to fall, they knew they could take me home if my grades at C.U. were not up to par.
Instead of gaining “the freshman fifteen,” I lost fifteen pounds my freshman year. Exercise became an obsession, an activity that determined my class schedule because fitting a workout in between each class would make learning bearable. E.D. was discreet and lived under the radar of parents, friends and teachers. He surfaced in December of 2012, weeks before I was to leave for study abroad in Belgium.
After a fall semester obsessed with running, yoga and cheating on my long distance boyfriend, E.D broke up with my best friend and lover of seven years. E.D told me he kept me from achieving my dreams and I was too fat to be with someone as balanced and healthy as him.
I left for Belgium with a broken heart, a raging eating disorder and no will to fight. Most memories of my study abroad experience contain running, yoga and restricting delicious foods. When I returned, I was twenty pounds underweight, pale as a ghost and I lacked the energy to eat a meal with my family.
My mother took me to the doctor to treat an ear infection, which led to a blood panel, which led to my first therapy appointment. E.D convinced the therapist I was just depressed and ready to find balance again, but I had never had balance in the first place.
I gained ten pounds and moved back to Colorado with the intention of healing myself. That meant no running, just really long hikes and multiple yoga classes a day. I lived in a huge house where no one knew where I was going, so I trained for a half marathon alone. That race saved my life.
I posted an image of the start line on the Internet, without realizing I had not told my family I was in Utah running a race. My father flew to Boulder the next day and my journey began.
We toured several treatment centers (residence and outpatient) and created a team of therapists and doctors in Boulder to keep me in check. I began the nine-month Thrive Program with Sue and a five-month Intensive Outpatient Program at La Luna. I spent thirteen hours a week in therapy sessions (individual and group), one hour a month at the doctor’s office for blood tests and countless hours practicing self-care.
E.D kicked and screamed his way out of me. It has been a challenging year, but one I will never forget. Sue taught me balance and pleasure, La Luna taught me I am not alone, the doctors taught me weight is not the end all, be all.
Life without E.D is delicious. I eat what my body needs as well as what I want. I continue to exercise, but only doing the activities I truly love and that make me feel good. Life is no longer a disciplined obligation, it is a balanced and pleasurable experience with decadent breads, cheeses and chocolates to enjoy.