Thanks But No Thanks

Before I get into my post, I want to wish Emily a very happy birthday! She’s one of the most inspiring bloggers out there and she always leaves the sweetest comments. She has given me so much support over the past couple of years and I really appreciate that. Go over to her blog and wish her a happy birthday!

It’s probably no secret, but I love researching various health topics. I think it’s good to be informed about these issues so you can be an advocate for yourself in times of health crises or even just to defend your healthy lifestyle if need be.

That being said, it bothers me when others are misinformed about health, food and exercise…especially when they try to pass along their ‘advice’ to me as if it’s at all helpful.

Take for instance a situation I had with my mom the other day. I will admit, I was in a negative headspace at the time–I was having some ED-driven thoughts about eating and my weight and I reached out to her for some advice. I wasn’t really seeking advice, just reassurance that I don’t need to lose weight or drastically change my eating and exercise habits just because I’m currently feeling uncomfortable in my body. Unfortunately, my mom isn’t the most well-versed in eating disorders or nutrition, so what she ended up telling me was way off the mark and a little triggering.

  • “Maybe you need to switch up your workouts more.” A good thought, but I actually do this anyway. One day, I’ll focus on legs, then I’ll focus on arms, then abs, then maybe a yoga/stretching day and repeat. I understand the idea behind switching up workouts, but the problem is, she doesn’t understand my exercise addiction. I feel guilty when I take rest days, unplanned or not. She told me that when it’s cold outside, I should just run up and down the stairs for cardio. Ummmm…no. I’m trying to work on making exercise more than just a tool for my eating disorder–it’s something I want to enjoy for its own sake. I don’t need someone telling me to do something I don’t want to do just to maybe get results.
Lifting is something I love to do, and I'm NOT giving it up.

Lifting is something I love to do, and I’m NOT giving it up.

  • “If you’re worried about your weight, maybe you shouldn’t eat so many bananas.” Uh, I eat 1, maybe 2 bananas per day, tops. Even if I was following the 80-10-10 lifestyle and eating 10+ bananas a day, I wouldn’t be gaining weight from the bananas. Sorry, but fruit is good for you. I refuse to cut bananas out of my life because they’re something I enjoy eating daily, in moderation, and they’re way healthier than the breakfasts my family eats. I’m sick of being stuck in a restrictive mindset…the last thing I need is more restrictions.
How is this banana and other fruit unhealthier than your processed cereal?

How is this banana and other fruit unhealthier than my family’s processed cereal?

  • “I think you look healthy.” Probably everyone who’s struggled with an eating disorder will cringe at this one. This is still the last thing I want to hear, especially from my own mom, who was there for me during the worst days of my ED. Yes, I expect honesty but I also expect her to understand that I’m still struggling with my body image. To make things even more confusing, she will sometimes say that I’m ‘so little’ and petite but other times tell me that I look healthy and if I wanted to, I could lose 5 pounds. Not in the least bit helpful, and extremely triggering.
I may not love my body, but I don't need someone else telling me that I could lose a few pounds.

I may not love my body, but I don’t need someone else telling me that I could lose a few pounds.

It’s frustrating to me that people like my mom, or the rest of my family, or friends want to spew all their own advice at me without realizing that I’ve probably spent a lot more time researching this stuff than they have. I just finished a college-level nutrition class, I’ve done a lot of research on the vegan diet and its various forms as well as other diets such as paleo. Maybe what I’m doing isn’t working for me, but I want a dietitian to tell me that, not just an average person I know who gets their nutrition knowledge from The Today Show. I’m not saying that I know all, because I don’t and I’m certainly no RD, but I don’t want to be lectured at by someone who knows even less than I do. It’s not at all helpful, it’s confusing and at the worst, it’s very triggering to someone who’s struggled with and still deals with an eating disorder.

Do you ever deal with bad nutrition/exercise/health advice from people around you?

Am I Healthy?

Just a warning in advance, this post talks a lot about birth control and all that fun girl stuff, so any guy readers out there–you can skip this one! I know this is just what you want to read the day before Thanksgiving, but I thought it was an important topic that a lot of women out there can relate to!

I’m not sure I’ve ever shared my full birth control story on here but I’ll just give you all a quick rundown so you have a little background as to where I’m coming from. After I was diagnosed with anorexia in the spring of 2009, I started seeing a dietitian and therapist. I stopped seeing the dietitian after a few months but I kept going to therapy appointment regularly until I graduated from high school in May 2010. One thing that both my doctor and therapist recommended a few months into recovery was that I take birth control to jump start my periods. Before this point, I had NEVER had my period before, ever. I was 17 at the time this was suggested to me, and I always felt so awkward at school when girls would talk about their ‘time of the month’ because I had literally never had one, and I was almost out of high school! But at the same time, I was scared out of my mind to take BC. I had heard all the horror stories, mostly of weight gain, and in the early stages of ED recovery, weight gain was the last thing on my mind. So I put off taking it for various reasons until January of 2010. My first period felt like a blessing and a curse–I knew that meant that I was at least capable of having one, but the potential side effects still scared me.

After high school graduation, and early on in my BC experience.

After high school graduation, and early on in my BC experience.

Fast forward 3 years. I had been on low dose BC since early 2010 without many side effects. I liked that it regulated my period and how I always knew exactly when it was coming. BC also kept my moderate acne at bay for the most part, which I also loved. But earlier this year, I started getting headaches more frequently with my period, and my acne was coming back more often. I started toying with the idea of getting off BC, at least for a few months, to see if my body could get it back on its own. Part of me was definitely hoping that I wouldn’t get it back, and that would help me justify to myself that I was still too thin.

Well, I got my wish. I got off BC in May of this year, and as of now (late November) I still haven’t gotten my period back. It’s been a full six months since I’ve had one, and while I love not having to deal with all that crap, I’m also worried. My doctor said to come back and see her if in six months I hadn’t had a period. Back in May, I was so sure that wouldn’t happen. But it did.

I’m kind of scared to go back to the doctor, because I really don’t want to be put back on BC. I’m not so sure how I feel about hormones being pumped into my body, and even though the kind I was using was pretty symptom-free, it did create some problems for me a few years after I started taking it. A lot of people say BC is also a crutch–it doesn’t solve the underlying issue of amenorrhea.

I won’t lie–missing my period kind of helps me validate that I might not be at my healthiest weight. I struggle with this a lot, because even though I haven’t weighed myself since this summer, I’m pretty sure I’m at my highest weight ever. I may still be technically underweight or on the low end of the healthy spectrum, but I don’t have the most positive body image still and having a more physical manifestation of my ED struggles helps me cope with it.

Not going to lie, I don't feel comfortable with how my body looks in this photo.

Not going to lie, I don’t feel comfortable with how my body looks in this photo.

The question is, am I healthy? I’ve been worried that my lack of a period might be due to a more serious issue, like PCOS (it is fairly common in women who aren’t overweight), but I do know that missing a period for even a few months isn’t healthy. As much as I’ve enjoyed spending half of this year without one, I know I need to be more proactive and take control of my health. So I plan on going back to my doctor in December or January to check in on this and hopefully get to the bottom of this issue.

I promise I’ll be back after Thanksgiving to share some less awkward stuff (like fun recipes, etc.) but I would appreciate any and all advice you guys have about this topic!

Have you ever had a similar experience?

WIAW: “Normal” Eating

This WIAW will be more ED focused than most of them, but I’ve got a few fun things to share so hopefully that’ll make up for the more serious talk!

So remember way back when (aka March) when I talked about how I was fed up with how much I was restricting? And I mentioned in other posts after that one about how I was working on making changes. Well…honestly…that didn’t happen. I didn’t make much of an effort to increase my eats, other than an extra handful of something here and there. I didn’t really make a conscious effort at all until…well, a couple of days ago. Okay, so it really started a few weeks back but lately I’ve been making big strides in eating more. And not only eating more, but feeling okay and ‘safe’ with it. Safe was one of the words my ED used to justify restriction–it felt safe and ‘normal’ to me. But now that I’ve seen the light, and realized I can eat way more and not balloon out of control well…I’m kinda saying goodbye to ED.

I know I still need to increase more. 2000+ calories seems to be the magic number for a lot of people. I’m fairly active, between walking to classes and doing daily full body workouts. But I’m also a small girl and I’m thinking I probably need fewer calories than somebody taller or wither a bigger build. But I know that what I’m eating now, even though it’s more than I was eating for too many months, still isn’t quite enough.

Anyways, enough of the chit chat. Let’s see how I’ve been normalizing my eating, and what better time to do it than WIAW?

Just as good as it looks, and so easy to make!

Yes, I made this. And yes, I also have been eating it. What exactly is it? It’s coconut whipped ‘cream’, completely vegan and totally yum. I followed Angela’s method, using a little bit of maple syrup and peppermint extract to sweeten it up. While mine didn’t turn out as fluffy as hers (maybe my canned coconut milk had a defect?) it is still delicious, creamy and crave-worthy. I’ve been enjoying a spoonful here and there and enjoying my new found love of coconut.

Another Whole Foods salad bar box? #sorryimnotsorry

This isn’t anything new…oh, wait, actually it kinda is! It was my first time trying beets (they had them in raw form at the salad bar) and I’m officially a fan. I’m also apparently a fan of veggies dipped in a big dollop of fresh guac and dumping tons of pumpkin seeds on my salad. Embrace the fats, people. So good.

Tall iced Americano. With 2 pumps pumpkin spice syrup and a splash of u/s vanilla almond milk. Welcome, fall.

It sure didn’t feel fall-like on Monday when I stopped into Starbucks for this new-to-me drink. But it totally got me in the mood for it. I finally gave in and tried the pumpkin spice syrup that everyone raves about. I took home my pumpkin-spiked Americano and added in some vanilla almond milk (seriously, Sbux, why don’t you have this?) It was good, but not amazing. I guess I’m more of a peppermint mocha kinda girl.

Disclaimer: not taken while actually driving.

Guys, I’m sorry. But I’m officially addicted to the ‘driving selfie’. Except I always take them in the parking lot, or mayyyyyybe at a stop light if I’m feeling rebellious 😉 I just like making goofy faces and seeing the reaction of my fellow drivers.

This meal made me a tofu lover. Mixed greens/broc slaw with raspberry acai vinaigrette. Curry spiked ketchup. Tofu “fingers”. Alexia chipotle sweet potato fries.

I was never a big fan of tofu. Yes, I know I’m a crazy vegan, but it’s true. I would eat it sometimes, but never loved it. All that changed when I made Angela’s tofu nuggets over the weekend. They were crazy good on their own. But they were even better dipped in ketchup. Oh yeah, now I also like ketchup too. I found an organic brand with only 2 grams of sugar, and it’s pretty good.

This truly was a bowl of decadence, and I enjoyed every bite.

My nightly snacks are taking on a different look lately. I don’t go for cereal much anymore. Instead, I like a bunch of different flavors and textures in one bowl. Enter, this bowl of healthy vegan decadence. Healthy, because the base was a protein microwave cake, made with a plant-based protein powder, some flax and almond milk. Decadent, because it was topped with a spoonful of Whole Foods vegan chocolate mousse (just a few healthful ingredients, but tastes so rich), Nada Moo coconut milk ice cream, semisweet chocolate chips and a little of the mint coconut whipped ‘cream’. Yeah, this was just as good as it sounds and looks. I think I’ll be repeating this soon.

So close to 90,000 miles! Alejandro and I will have to throw a party when that happens.

Contrary to what Alejandro’s odometer says, he’s only 4 years old. That’s kind of a lot of miles for that few years, but a lot of long distance driving was done in Alejandro before my parents let me have him. Oh yeah, in case you didn’t know, Alejandro’s my car, a super hot red Hyundai Santa Fe. I’m not totally crazy, promise.

Leftover tofu fingers with ketchup. Kale massaged with nooch and lemon juice. Fresh figs. Almond peanut cashew butter mixed with maple syrup and chocolate chips.

This was a lunch, but it’s a lot like my typical snackplates. What can I say, I love variety! My lunches lately have been more substantial, incorporating veggies, protein (usually edamame or my favorite protein powder) and fat (usually nut butter).

Breakfast is getting more delicious! Chocolate mint kale protein smoothie topped with mint coconut whipped ‘cream’ and chocolate chips.

Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? Okay, this wasn’t quite dessert, since it incorporated greens and protein (but I don’t exactly shy away from those things in my desserts) but the addition of the whipped ‘cream’ definitely took it over the top. And this pudding like breakfast packed 20 grams of protein, plus kale! Who wouldn’t go for that?

Sweet and salty kale salad–kale massaged with lemon juice and nooch, kalamata olives, strawberries, figs and dry-roasted edamame. Half sweet potato topped with maple-infused almond peanut cashew butter. Pumpkin spice iced Americano.

Coffee at lunch…why not? But let’s talk about this salad for a second–so good. I always love sweet and salty combos, and this was just amazing for a random mix. The sweet potato was great too. But that’s a given.

Do you like sweet and salty salad combos? Did you try anything new (food related or not) over the weekend?

Best Of…December!

Hey everyone! Have you been enjoying your weekend so far? I can’t believe we’re already a week into the new year, it’s completely crazy. I feel like just yesterday it was Christmas, but that was already 2 weeks ago!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about my monthly “Best Of…” post! I love recapping my favorite moments from the previous month, and even though I just did a 2011 recap post, I almost neglected a recap of December.

Best Recipe: Coffee Maple Pecan Butter

I probably had the most recipes ever this month, from raw salted caramel dip to nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies to raw mini pecan pies. All were delicious and devoured (I was surprised that my dad ate half of the cookies–he really loved them!) but this nut butter takes the cake. It was my first attempt at making nut butter, and since it was so successful, I hope to make another kind soon.

Best Fun Post: Oh We Need a Little Christmas [Inspiration]

I love looking for random inspiring photos on Pinterest and weheartit, so this was just a fun little way to get in the Christmas spirit!

Best Challenge: Jumping on the Bandwagon

I joined in on the NaNeFoMo train, and I didn’t regret it. In fact, I want to make it one of my goals for this year to try one new food each month. Food ruts and ‘safe foods’ are fine and all but if I truly want to challenge my ED and find new food loves, I’ve gotta branch out and try new things. Kombucha and vegan marshmallows are still on my list!

Best Really Long Post: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Super long post, but then again when isn’t a recap post really long, especially a Christmas recap post? Christmas 2011 was honestly one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while, not sure why–maybe because we actually had a ton of snow and got to go sledding? Yeah, that was probably it 😉

Best Fashion Post: Shopping & Sledding

Sadly, it was my only fashion post of the month, but I really want to get back to doing my Style Phile posts every once in a while. Fashion is one of my obsessions, so I’d like to include it a little more on this blog. After all, it’s not all about the food!

What was the best part of December for you? Christmas, and Christmas break!

What are you anticipating in January? Starting my new classes in about a week. 

My Story: Part 2

In part 1, I left off with my first day in recovery from anorexia. Part 2 is my recovery journey up til today!

 

From March until mid-May, my parents were pretty much the only ones in charge of my eating. I had a few checkup appointments to make sure my weight wasn’t slipping drastically. Those first couple of months were so hard for me, physically and emotionally. For the first several weeks, I was uncomfortably full after every meal and snack. I had never had to eat portions that large, especially not during the depths of my ED. I don’t know the exact number of calories I was eating during my early recovery, but it was a far cry from the maybe 500-600 I had had a month or two prior. My parents were pretty good at enforcing the eating rules–if I refused to eat something at dinner, they would sit there with me until I ate a sufficient amount. They didn’t push me way too far out of my comfort zone by making me eat really high-calorie things; they tried to work with me to find things I’d like, but they couldn’t be clearly disordered choices, and I had to eat enough of them to meet my needs. However, I can remember several times that I sneakily slipped some food into the trash when they weren’t looking–and they never noticed. I actually did this quite a lot over the first several months of my recovery, and I regret that I did that, but it happened. I was still struggling a lot with the disordered thoughts, and still occasionally had outbursts concerning my food and my body.

Summer 2009. Working on recovery.

A week or so before school got out in May, I started seeing a dietician. I really hated her from the very beginning, and looking back, she didn’t help me very much. See, I knew a lot about nutrition, I had just taken it to the extreme–I didn’t need someone who was mostly specialized in helping people with diabetes telling me that I needed to get in a certain number of servings of grains or whatever. She just basically gave me the same rough meal plan every time I saw her, and she got super-pissed when I dropped a few pounds a couple of times. That just made me feel like crap, because I was honestly trying to eat more–it’s just that when you’ve been eating so little and suddenly you start eating a lot more, your metabolism speeds up like crazy and you can lose weight even when you’re eating a lot. At the end of the summer, I stopped seeing her for good.

In June, I was scheduled to go on a mission trip with my church’s other high schoolers to San Francisco. I was so excited, but my mom said if I didn’t keep my weight up, I couldn’t go. That really made me push harder and resolve to eat more. I ended up being able to go, and I can honestly say it was an amazing experience. Okay, so I was still only making “safe” food choices and I know I probably did not eat enough on the trip because I didn’t feel comfortable with a lot of the food, but I didn’t use the trip as an excuse to purposely restrict and try to lose weight, and I’m proud of myself for that. Working with impoverished people in the Bay Area (specifically little kids) taught me that others have it so much worse than I do, and I should be thankful for what I have.

Golden Gate Bridge!

This awesome huge cross we saw on a hike (San Fran was very cloudy when we went).

Right after I got back from the mission trip, my family flew out to Wisconsin to visit my grandparents, and then soon after that we had our yearly trip to Estes Park and then I went to yearbook camp. So it was a crazy busy summer! My eating was pretty good in Estes Park–I was surprisingly mostly okay with eating out for dinner every night–and also at yearbook camp, since I was just there for the day and had most of my meals at home. Wisconsin was, well, a different story, kind of. My dad’s side of my family are all really big into red meat and stuff, and even though I wasn’t veg at the time, I still hated red meat and any milk that isn’t skim and that was a lot of what we had there. We ended up going to the store and getting a bunch of stuff I like, but I still felt like my choices were being judged by everyone. Luckily, when we stayed with my mom’s parents, they were way more understanding of my healthy food preferences, because my grandpa has had heart problems and now eats really healthy. It was a fun trip, but exhausting for my ED.

At the pool in Estes Park.

 My senior year started, and I also started seeing a therapist. The first few sessions, I didn’t talk much, and I almost always ended the session in tears. But as the months went on, I opened up more and tried to share my feelings and struggles. I also made a lot of strides with my eating. I had a “partial” every other day, which basically meant no class, so every other day after my 3rd period class, I’d drive home for lunch and the rest of the day. I could have used that as an opportunity to restrict, because no one was at home, but I didn’t. I kept eating a substantial amount. I’m not quite sure where my weight was at that time, but I’m thinking it was around my original 85 pounds. I was fairly comfortable at that weight…but my “goal weight”, as determined by my therapist, was 90 pounds. That was (and still is, somewhat) such a scary weight for me, because I had literally NEVER been over 85 pounds. But I’m a naturally petite girl, so I think the 90 pound goal weight was taking that into account. And really, it’s only 5 pounds over my original weight, but the number was so scary to me. Okay, I know that 90 pounds is technically underweight for my height, but that was the weight my doctor and therapist suggested. Maybe it was meant as just a starting point, but unfortunately, I have held tight to that number throughout my recovery.

My favorite senior picture 😀

 

September 2009. Getting ready for talent show my high school put on every year. My senior year, I was in 5 acts!

 

Also, I had NEVER gotten my period…ever! Not even before my anorexia. I think it has to do somewhat with being a late bloomer, and then when my intake was restricted, I had no chance to start my period. So my therapist started pushing my parents into making me take birth control to jump-start my periods, and build up my bone strength. I was so dead set against this, basically because I was terrified of the weight gain I’ve heard goes along with taking it. So I didn’t start taking it until January 2010.

Everything was going pretty well–until Thanksgiving of 2009. My grandpa on my dad’s side came to visit, and he brought along his “girlfriend”. This already made us kinda uncomfortable, because his wife (my grandma) had passed away in 2007, and we all still really missed her. She was such a beautiful, compassionate, intelligent woman and no one could ever replace her in our hearts. But he brought this new woman just the same, and we tried to make the best of it. However, little did we know that she, um, likes to speak her mind…particularly when it comes to eating and bodies. Two of the things I was most uncomfortable about. She made several comments regarding people’s sizes and then one night after we had a nice dinner out, she said that we had all eaten so much and we should weigh ourselves to make sure we hadn’t gained. This comment really set me and my mom off. When we got home, I cried so hard and I was also screaming because I was so mad at her. My mom was also really mad but was trying to get me to calm down. But everyone had already heard everything, so they basically knew I had an eating disorder. I definitely did not want to tell them, especially her, but there was nothing I could do. The damage had been done. I felt even worse, because my dad was blaming me for upsetting them, but I think everyone was just upset and angry and confused.

Being crazy on New Years Eve.

 

Christmas and New Year’s came and went. I started taking birth control towards the end of January, at the prompting of my therapist and parents. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled to be taking it. I mean, I’d gone the full 17 and half years of my life without getting my period once! But once I got used to it, it wasn’t too bad. My periods were always on schedule, without too much pain or anything. They became routine and normal for the most part. When we went to Phoenix (my hometown!) for spring break, I unexpectedly got it (and for the next two weeks following!) but we assumed that was because I had attempted to skip it. I know that a lot of people disagree about using BC to jump-start periods, but I think it was a good thing for me, simply because I was so far behind in getting my period. If I hadn’t gone on it, I might have never gotten my period. I’m not sure if it helps with restoring bone density, but I plan on continuing to take it until I experience problems with it.

Spring break 2010. With my sissy by a hot tub.

 

My favorite picture I took on the trip. This makes me want to move back there.

 My senior year was winding down fast. Before I knew it, it was my senior luncheon. Around this time, I had started to restrict a little bit again. I thought it wasn’t noticeable, but apparently I dropped a little bit of weight and my parents started getting more strict about my eating again. It made me feel like I was a little kid again–here I was, a few months away from being a legal adult and going away to college, and my mom and dad were making sure I was eating plenty. I think it motivated me to keep going with my recovery–I didn’t want to be treated like a baby who had to constantly be monitored. I also stopped seeing my therapist around this time, because she wasn’t really helping me progress anymore. In fact, my parents thought she was giving up on helping me!

 

Class of 2010 baby!

 

Graduation came and went, and my summer started. It was fun, but mostly uneventful. We went to Estes Park as usual, and my mom and I drove up to the college I was going to go to in the fall for a freshman preview. Towards the end of the summer, I started getting pretty anxious. I was worried about what I’d be eating, how I’d get along with my roommate, how hard classes would be, etc. I knew it would be so so hard leaving home for the first time, but I was pretty ready for it.

Can you spot me (haha)?

A lot of my worries were for nothing, though, which was good. While I didn’t really like the dining hall food, I’d found other options–sushi and frozen vegan burritos from a mini convenience-type store in the dining hall near me and getting groceries to prepare in my room every time I’d go home for the weekend. I still got to see my parents every other weekend when I’d go home. I made a few friends in classes and in my hall. Classes weren’t ridiculously hard. But…I did not get along AT ALL with my roommate. At first, we’d go to the dining hall together, but over time, I realized what a toxic person she was. I wasn’t vegetarian at the time, so she acted like she was superior because she was. She would make fun of me for my healthy choices (despite being veg, she mostly ate junk food). She was constantly in the room, but she would rarely talk to me, she was always on her computer. She went to bed super-late (like 1 am) even though she had morning classes, but would sleep in til noon on weekends so I couldn’t turn on the lights or anything. She was just an overall anti-social person who had awful hygiene habits. I really began to dread going back to my room, because chances are, she was in there. My roommate experience really kind of soured my freshman year of college, but luckily I had my family and friends to support me. I went out to eat with one of my new friends a lot, and we really bonded, plus I became more comfortable eating out with people I didn’t know really well. So overall, my freshman year was pretty good.

Despite my roommate issues, I was still usually pretty happy.

However, sophomore year so far has been so much better! I’m now in a single suite, and loving it! I love having a bathroom I only have to share with two other girls, and having a room all to myself. I can do whatever I want in here–sing out loud, take a nap, workout and even dance to Lady Gaga 😉 I do have to deal with a floor of loud freshman, but it’s not as bad as last year at all. I wish I had a car so I could be more independent and not have to rely on my parents to buy me groceries, and I feel a little weird for being one of the few upperclassmen still in the dorms, but the dorm I’m in is so nice–it’s like a hotel.

Recovery-wise, I have struggled a little bit more than I did last year. Without constant supervision, I’ve found it all too easy to slip back a little into restriction. It’s nowhere near what it was during the height of my anorexia, but it still isn’t good. I still have a long list of fear foods, but I’m gradually expanding my “safe” foods list. I’ve found that going vegetarian/mostly vegan has helped me discover and love new foods I’d probably never try if I was still eating meat. But I’ve found that I’ve been relying a lot on the groceries my parents buy. There’s nothing wrong with that, because I’m eating way better than most college kids and I’m pretty well-stocked, but the fact that I’m sort of scared to eat dining hall food (besides the salad bar) isn’t good. I’m working on trying to eat there more so I can face my fears of all the “fattening” food there. I know they have healthier choices, I just have to take a leap and check them out.

Happy and health(ier) in 2011.

So that’s my story, in a (big) nutshell. I’m so appreciative of the comments you’ve all left, and while I wouldn’t wish an eating disorder on anyone, I’m glad so many of you can relate. It makes me feel less weird 😉

 

My Story: Part 1

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the well wishes for my foot! Unfortunately, I went to urgent care on Friday night and the doctor there told me I have plantar fasciitis. I’m so so glad it’s not fractured, but there isn’t much that can be done for PF. I did buy some gel inserts for my shoes and am planning on icing it and trying a new pain reliever, but the pain might become a chronic thing that only gets better with steroid injections. I hope it starts to feel a little bit better soon, though! I’ll be recapping my weekend on Wednesday (WIAW time!!!!!!) so be sure to check back for some amazing recipes!

Today I wanted to share my eating disorder story with you. This is a hard post for me to write, but it feels right and I know that much of the blogging community is so incredibly supportive, not to mention a lot of bloggers have also dealt with EDs/disordered eating and can relate.

My anorexia really began in the fall of 2008, but it’s safe to say that I started engaging in disordered eating a couple of years earlier, when I was a freshman in high school. I was in a required health class at school, and of course, we learned all about nutrition. I learned that fats are “bad” and you shouldn’t eat too much, or anything deemed unhealthy. Well, I took that information and ran with it. I was never a  junk food eater but I started actively seeking out fat-free products at the grocery store. I wasn’t really restricting or anything, so my parents didn’t notice the small change in my eating habits.

9th grade. Before my ED, but I still felt insecure in my body.

In the fall of my junior year, I started looking at Yahoo Answers, which is basically just an online community where you can ask questions and get answers from other users. It started out innocently enough–I was just asking for school and fashion advice and answering others’ questions. But for whatever reason, I really became dissatisfied with my body during this time. I’ve always been a small girl, one of the shortest and most petite of girls my age. I’ve also been teased a lot for my size, and I’ve never had much self-esteem because of it, plus I’m fairly shy. Not to mention, my best friend since third grade and I were slowly drifting apart and I found myself distant from the close-knit group of friends I’d had since elementary school. I started feeling like if I could improve my body somehow, my life and relationships would be so much better. So I started asking questions about if I was skinny enough, how to lose weight, etc. At that time, I was 85 pounds at a height of 5’1. So definitely not fat at all; in fact, that’s pretty thin. And honestly, my ED didn’t start out with a desire to lose weight. I just wanted to improve myself, so I started trying to eat super-healthy.

But it wasn’t that healthy. I started out being focused on cutting out fats. I was eating mostly fat-free products, which aren’t too nutritious. I really liked this one Lean Cuisine meal with shrimp and noodles because it was really low in fat and pretty low in calories too. I also would eat plain black beans and plain rice for dinner…that was it, and it wasn’t even a serving size. Around that time, I’d discovered almond butter, and I loved it, but I was so scared of fats that I would only eat maybe a teaspoon a day, if that. In February 2009 or so, I started cutting back on carbs too after reading about people’s weight loss success on low-carb diets. At this point, my eating had definitely become restricted, not only in variety, but also amount. I would have a slice of light toast with half a teaspoon of almond butter and “hot chocolate” made with Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder and water for breakfast, a sugar-free Jell-O and a jelly sandwich made on one slice (cut in half) of light bread for lunch, a sugar-free pudding or a small handful of pretzel twists for a snack and then a miniscule amount of the dinner my family was having. I thought I was being so healthy, and I thought I’d be satisfied with my shrinking body, but I wasn’t. I saw myself as fat and ugly every single day. I was freezing cold all the time, my feet were constantly purple, I was losing hair, my skin was dried out and it hurt to sit down for any amount of time. I used a tape measure every day to measure my arms, legs and waist to see if they’d gotten any smaller, since we didn’t have a scale I could use. I tried to convince myself I was happy this way, but I wasn’t.

February of my junior year. Almost at my worst point, but I couldn't see how sick and skinny I was.

My parents started really catching on in March. I was continuing to eat a tiny amount, while also working out in P.E. class every day for 45 minutes. Almost every day after school, I’d come home and sleep because I was so weak and exhausted. My mom showed me an article from Seventeen about a girl who had anorexia and she said it sounded like me. Of course, I denied it, but I knew deep down I had a problem–I just couldn’t stop. Slowly starving myself gave me a high, it made me feel good…at least for the short term.

Then came the day that I had to go to the doctor. I don’t think I was scared at all, because I honestly didn’t think I’d lost any weight. Then I stepped on the scale…76 pounds. I’d lost 9 pounds in the matter of a few months. I know that sounds like such a small number, but keep in mind, I was already pretty underweight to begin with. I’d lost 12 percent of my body weight, which is a lot.

The next day, I woke up thinking everything would be normal. But it wasn’t. My parents sat me down and had a long talk about my anorexia. They knew I’d been asking for advice on Yahoo Answers and they knew a lot of other stuff I thought I’d been hiding well. After the talk, I cried pretty much all day. My parents also started forcing me to eat–and it felt like a LOT! I felt so full, disgusting and fat that entire day and many more to come. That night, my dad made me eat an apple and I was so mad that I threw it at him and said I hated them so much. I really regret saying that now, but I know my mind was in such a sick place back then that I couldn’t see that they were trying to help. I just thought they were trying to make me fat…

April 2009. The beginning of my recovery.

 

Part 2 coming soon!