Why a “health/wellness” New Years Resolution can potentially be toxic:

With the New Year resolutions coming a vast majority of you will make a resolution to create more healthy lifestyle habits, which is AMAZING! However, this industry is a BILLION dollar industry. As in any highly successful industry it is about the MONEY. You will get a million and ten people offering you ways to cut the work in half and they will blind you into thinking that that is possible. You need to step into this industry with CLEAR goals, plenty of research, and a purpose. You can’t be innocent and vulnerable you HAVE to stick up for yourself. I used to be a part the fitness industry, I used to work with others in the fitness industry, I am dating a former body builder/personal trainer who left the fitness industry, I have walked away from the industry with others. I can tell you (we can all tell you) there are plenty of good people in the industry, however there are double the bad people. THIS IS NOT TO TURN YOU AWAY FROM BETTERING YOURSELF BUT RATHER TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO JUST FOCUS ON YOURSELF AND IGNORE THE INDUSTRY.

Do you truly understand there are NO (none) shortcuts:

Okay, lets start with this. Losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle is HARD work but it is some of the most rewarding work. That being said there are million short cuts out there (diet pills, fad diets, detox teas, etc) that will be offered to you and it will be tempting to take them and you may even try them before you really get to a lifestyle you sustain. However, none of these things WORK and help you actually lose weight you can keep off. They are filled with things that are toxic and harmful to your body. Trust me because I have found my sustainable lifestyle but only after years of chasing fads. I bought into Doctor Oz articles, diet pills, skinny/detox teas, and I tried them time after time. I even landed myself in the hospital after taking some fat burners, which got my heart rate so high it was simulating an anxiety attack for me again and again. It was horrible. I tried the products, sometimes I lost weight, and sometimes I didn’t lose weight. However, in the moments I did lose weight I gained it RIGHT back. There are absolutely no short cuts.

I think the hardest thing that you need to understand about weight loss is it’s not supposed to be a quick process. In fact the faster you lose large amounts of weight the less likely you are to keep it off. Losing weight to fast usually is done so through extreme diets, unhealthy measures, and a whole bunch of water weight loss methods. The best way to lose weight is at a slower and sustainable rate. You want to make sure that you are losing it in a way that you can keep up with. Thats why huge caloric deficits and extreme workouts won’t work in the long run. I know you want to lose that weight fast but you also want to keep it off. The way you lose the weight is a HUGE determinent in you keeping it off or not. Stop taking shortcuts and buckle in for a long and rewarding ride.

There are so many people (like SO SO MANY) that will take advantage of you: 

If you want to hire a coach or trainer, I get it, I pay good money each month for a coach. However, there are a few things you should take into consideration when looking for a coach.

  1. Certifications: Certifications are by no means necessary to be a coach. A lot of people have tons of workout knowledge without the certifications but you have to make sure it is clear to you what their knowledge is! For example, my coach has worked with competitors and the common crowd. She has over 15 years of fitness experience and she does extreme research on her own time. She requires you to fill out a 4-5 page application asking questions that might effect how your body functions in terms of your fitness goals. She also sends long emails, like paragraphs long, explaining to you why she wants you to do what she wants you to do. That is the type of coach I don’t mind paying a lot of money for because I trust her and she hast yieled me great results.
  2. Money: NEVER make finding the cheapest plan your top priority in search of a coach. There are a million people out there who will sell you a cheap program but usually this is because they don’t have the qualifications to charge you for more. Cheaper programs usually mean less hands on experience and the loss of personalization. Every single body is different and if you are not getting a plan customized to you then you really aren’t getting the best plan.
  3. That being said about money don’t think that if you pay more that it means you will get quality service. Please read up on the person who you are buying a program from. Search their name in Facebook, Instagram, google, BBB, etc. See if they have client testimonials and what their qualifications are. There are to many coaches out there who offer “personalized plans” for a high price yet they truly are scamming you out of your money. Do not just go to someone who has a bunch of followers on social media and go to their website and buy a plan. FOLLOWERS DOES NOT EQUAL QUALIFICATIONS.

If a person pushes their discount code or a link on you then chances are they probably don’t want to help you (not true for all but for a vast majority and its hard finding the good ones). If they send you short emails and ask little about you then they probably don’t want to help you. If they don’t have satisfied clients then they are probably in it for the money. BE CAUTIOUS and do your research, which leads me to my next point.

Do your damn research:

Make sure you can wade your way through what actually is total crap and what is true. Study form, study proper nutrition, study SUSTAINABLE fat loss, etc everything that you want to do RESEARCH IT. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have spoken with someone who only stays with a trainer because said trainer isn’t explaining to them WHY they are telling them to do what they are doing. A coach can provide some great guidance but at the end of the day their goal should be to teach you and eventually cut you loose with the knowledge on how to do it yourself. To many coaches create fear and don’t educate so they can keep you coming back to them. There are so many resources out there but make sure you are reading scholarly articles versus just something that you googled and found on a website pushing their own agenda. There are also a LOT of educated people on instagram but I have to tell you 9/10 the person with the most followers on instagram is NOT the most educated. A lot of people assume since they lost weight they have what it takes to tell others how to lose weight and quite frankly that is just not true. Ask yourself what are this person’s credentials? Are they roping you in by selling a solution to a problem? Do they seem like they post more to educate or to sell products? These are genuine questions you have to ask yourself.

Don’t jump into this whole process vunerable, make sure that you do know the basics so that you can succeed and wade through the bullshit.

Finally, choose a gym WITHOUT getting taken advantage of: 

If you are just starting out you don’t need an expansive gym membership or a huge gym with tons of equipment. In fact it is possible to do this without a gym membership at all, I’ll be it, it certainly helps depending on what your goals are and what you are willing do. Again, it’s a money industry, and guess what the gym is no different. If you have someone who is used to the gym maybe have them go with you to navigate what you need for a membership. For starters you can go to a basic gym and get the most basic membership. There are a lot of huge fancy gyms out there with a lot of fancy amenities they will try to sell you on. You can always always UPGRADE your gym membership but most gyms lock you into a membership so you cannot downgrade. So start small and you can always go bigger. Think of it this way, say you want to buy a super expensive product but you don’t know if you’ll like it so you want to try it out first, what would you do? You would buy a sample size or ask someone for a sample. Take a basic membership at a gym as the same thing, trying it out before you commit to a huge part of it. That being said, TONS of gyms have free trial passes so before you even sign on for a gym membership at all shop around for a gym you will like and feel comfortable in. So literally don’t pay a DIME before you see if you like it.

In conclusion: 

This is a subject I am really passionate about. Fitness helped me get over my eating disorder but I also learned the hard way the industry also greatly contributed to it in the first place. There are so many good people looking to change others lives in the industry but sadly there are also so many bad. I know this blog seems harsh and a little bit of an attack on the fitness industry but I type it because I wan’t everyone to be able to better themselves without getting preyed on. Choosing to live healthier is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and unfortunately a lot of people know that and take advantage of it. I just want to warn you about what IS out there so you can push right past it and start working on the best version of you.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Relationships with Food: Where am I now

Under my old blog I wrote a post called “Viewing Food as the Enemy” In it I talked about overcoming an eating disorder and developing a great relationship with food. Lets go over a few things. Did you overcame an eating disorder like I did? Do you just assume since you are working out, eating healthy, looking good, etc you have a great relationship with food? Sound familiar? Let me tell you, if this is true for you and you do feel you have a good relationship, GREAT. However, it is okay for you to admit you don’t. It took a TON TON TON of soul searching but I finally realized that I was lying to myself. While I certainly have made significant strides I hadn’t fixed my relationship with food completely.

So I don’t want to blog about JUST eating disorders, I do want to be a lifestyle blogger, but on top of doing that I do feel like it is my duty to talk about mental health every once in a while and blog my opinions about it. I say that because I am willing to talk about it and open up about it and people need that.

With that being said, this is not always going to be my blog content, but please read on.

Its not that simple:

This may sound ass backwards to those into fitness and it may be hard to understand but in order for one with an eating disorder to completely restore their relationship with food they cannot view ANY food as BAD. For me I see it as multi-step. Step 1, they truly must understand that food is not the enemy, things in moderation will not hurt you, you can eat what you crave, feeding your body is loving it, etc. Essentially, in this step you need to know that there is NO food that you must restrict yourself from. Once this is understood you really have repaired your relationship with food. Then you may choose to not only choose foods that nourish your body and that are good for you but ALSO indulge in things that may not be good for you. If that is what you truly desire.

I know people’s heart were in the right place when they said this but one thing I couldn’t STAND was “The craving will only last so long the guilt will last for a while”. Like thanks for the encouragement to stick to my plan but also you don’t understand how my brain works. Someone says that, it doesn’t matter who, and that food becomes the enemy. Those who have had EDS don’t have that logical thinking of “One thing won’t make me fat” we often think “This one thing WILL make me fat”. Those who currently are battling ED 100 percent do not have that logical thinking. I am not trying to contribute to an overly sensitized and offended world but God sayings like that push my buttons.

First off, you’re implying that we eat food not to enjoy the taste. Sorry, but food is MEANT TO BE TASTED. Period. Yes, it is meant to fuel our body. However, in this world we have endless options to eat things that are good for us and we ENJOY the taste of. Nobody should be forcing anything down their throats just to look good when they do not enjoy the taste. This line of “dedication to your goals”  and “having a shit relationship with food” are constantly crossing. I hear people all the time who eat one food so much they become physically sick from it and they can’t eat it anymore. Hell, I have done this with many foods myself.

Second off, you’re promoting the harmful diet culture. I understand what a “diet” is but honestly that is NOT what we should be calling it. The best term is a lifestyle change or even “a temporary caloric deficit” would be better. You are not supposed to be in a caloric deficit for long periods of time and diet culture definitely does not address that. Diet culture is CONSTANTLY promoting a certain look, certain harmful diets, etc. We refer to it so often that even if we aren’t intending to play into it we definitely are. At the end of the day NO FOOD in this world is bad for us in MODERATION (In absence of allergies or health conditions). So stop telling people what they can and can’t eat and if you don’t agree with this philosophy then you and I were not made to connect in this world and that is okay. However, I refuse to tell someone something is bad for them and play into the fear of food.

Even preaching what I did I was darkly behind the scenes falling into diet culture: 

“Eating this will completely ruin my results”, “Not doing this last bike sprint is going to hinder my progress”, “If I eat this much then I will look a certain way”. It is ALL bullshit but yet it is CONSTANTLY promoted. Naturally, I couldn’t even realize I was subtly falling a victim to it because it is so dang normalized. I didn’t still have my eating disorder but I also didn’t have the healthiest view on food. I think people now have a harder time coming to the fact that they have a disorder because diet culture now promotes disordered thinking as healthy. Coaches are out there giving barely any food to their clients. Young girls are having a harder and harder time getting over their eating disorders because they can’t even recognize what they are doing is disordered. A large part of this is due to the diet culture and the “lifestyle” a lot of us are promoting on social media. We need to take a step back and REALLY push more mental health self-care as well.

So where am I now with my relationship with food?

While my relationship with food CERTAINLY is not perfect, it is in the process of being healed. I don’t know how long it will be before I stop having any fears of food all together or before I NEVER have an irrational thought in regards to foods and calories, but they are occurring less and less.

Right now, I am working on being more forgiving, enjoying what I am doing, and not focusing so much on the food. After all the experience should be what its about not the food. For me, its more important to focus on the company I am with than whats going in my mouth. Does this mean I binge? Absolutely not. I am very sensible but it is a different mindset. It’s not consciously thinking of every little bit and piece that goes in my mouth and trying to add up how many calories in my head.

In taking this approach and being more forgiving I feel like it has opened my eyes to how ridiculous I was being before. I still have fitness goals, I still wanna eat healthy 80-90 percent of the time, but I am not letting it eat me alive. We can’t let ONE thing consume us so much. Think of it this way, say you are trying to grow a brand. In growing that brand you rely on another brand or industry solely to make YOUR brand succeed. Well what happens if that brand comes crashing down? You go with it because you didn’t focus on just you. You essentially were just a walking advertisement for them. YOU need to be the walking advertisement for your mental health. You can’t put ALL your health and sanity into JUST fitness because when that changes, you hit a wall, etc. you won’t know what to do with yourself because you have so deeply associated your health with that. The best thing you can do is learn how to develop and flourish your mental health and do what things make you mentally better. This may be fitness but it may also be OTHER things. For me, it may be reading, it may be having some wine with friends, writing these blogs, choosing what type of content I get to put out, and really all of that helps me to be a better me. NOT JUST FITNESS, while I do love fitness I am not relying on it solely for my mental clarity.

When all is said in done I did what I needed to do in order to have my healthy relationship with food and be happy with my life. I think one of the most important things in this world is a healthy relationship with food. Whether we like it or not our lives are going to be centered around food. Whether it be for energy, to get better, or in social situations. So if you don’t have a good relationship with food, and fitness or anything else you may be obsessing about isn’t fixing it, then you need to reevaluate your approach. I highly suggest doing what I did and taking a step back and being honest with yourself. It is not easy, it is not comfortable, but nothing worth it is.

That is my thought for the day, so if this spoke to you at all I am very glad and know you can always talk to me about it.

My Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook Page are below! I am usually most responsive on Instagram if you need to talk.

Happy Friday my people, its a wonderful life 🙂

Anxiety’s role in my Eating Disorder

Hello guys. I am back. I would like to start by saying I am sorry for taking so long to write another blog post. There has been TONS going on in my life and unfortunately the blog fell behind a little. I am still sharing my story and helping others through Instagram and Facebook but that takes up a mass amount of my time. I also am currently working full time and studying to get a fitness nutrition certification so sitting down and writing is really hard. That being said I wanted to talk about the link between anxiety and my eating disorder or a little more broadly my weight.

My anxiety has always been of an obsessive nature from obsessing over what people think of me, thinking negative thoughts when things don’t go my way, planning all the time, etc. Growing up skinny and having people always actively notice how skinny I was and then when that suddenly stopped it triggered something inside of me that created a bridge between my anxiety and my weight, which obviously led to an eating disorder. In this blog I will go over specific triggers of the anxiety linked to my weight.

The big bad scale:

scalefrustration

The scale was my biggest battle, it still is, and I believe that it always will be. The link between anxiety and the scale is obvious because the scale literally triggered anxiety attacks for me. Not just the weighing myself but the thought of the scale and just looking at the scale would put me in a frenzy. When I thought about weighing myself it literally felt like 100 pounds got added to me. I would physically FEEL like my feet were 50 pound weights each and that when I stepped on the scale I was going to be so overwhelmed by the number I saw, and guess what I was.

I really did this to myself with the scale. When I initially lost a ton of weight from running back in 2014 I obsessively weighed myself to see how much weight I lost. I would become consumed by trying to keep the number down. I didn’t care about muscle or strength I just wanted to be stick thin again. This is what made it really hard when I gained weight back even if a large chunk of it may have been muscle. In doing that I have made it the hardest habit to kick. I knew I wasn’t at that low weight anymore but I couldn’t just tell myself to not weigh myself because I was to invested and almost addicted to doing it. I was waiting for some magical thing to happen where I lost 20 pounds again even though I was eating like shit, working out half assed, and drinking 3-5 nights a week. I was literally triggering my anxiety attacks myself. When I looked at the scale and didn’t like the number I saw I freaked out, I thought my life was over, that my body was ruined and I would never be able to have the body I want. It caused anxiety attacks and me being upset for days after.

I rarely weigh myself anymore but I do still get overly concerned about my weight at times and it can be a source of anxiety for me. I avoid the scale at all costs if anything that is negative is going on in my mind. If I cannot look at that scale and not be bothered by what I see I don’t weigh myself. This isn’t just for my own safety but because it eases my anxiety. Before I looked at the scale as something that I HAD to do. I NEEDED to know my weight in order to measure my success but now I am perfectly fine with living in ignorance to my weight as long as I am happy with what I see in the mirror.

Obsessive habits: 

d8b762916f43c5293ed6f3b6bab52f14--body-image-fine-art-print

I have mentioned that some of my biggest habits were

  1. Body Checking
  2. Covering my midsection with something

In my anxiety I have obsessive habits when I get thoughts into my head and can’t let go of them. I put this in my previous post about anxiety (my last blog before this if you have not read it yet). Within my eating disorder I started forming obsessive habits that are still hard to shake. They became so obsessive that I was doing them multiple times a day or every time I sat down (covering my midsection). I won’t go to in depth about this because it truly speaks for itself.

I woke up every single morning and spent up to 20 minutes looking at my body, through out the day, and at night. Anytime I sat down I became so obsessive over the “rolls” on my stomach that I had to cover them up with whatever was close by pillows, my purse, ANYTHING.

I still fight with the body checking but I have gotten much better at it.

Irrationally thinking:

Anxiety

It was hard to talk myself down from a ledge that was my mind. I was so set in my ways and convinced of certain things ( I.e. Eating pizza one time will make me gain weight that I will never lose) that straying from those certain things would cause anxiety. When I lock into something like a certain thought or belief it makes it extremely hard for me to change my mind and that is why getting over an eating disorder, among a million other reasons, is such a big deal. It literally required getting over thoughts that I had set in stone in my brain and accepted as the truth. To get over the disorder I had to change my whole perception of reality, which I am still shaping today.

Its similar to how I am with all life situations feeling the need to plan everything out, obsessing over my loved ones safety, etc. I.e. If a loved one doesn’t let me know that they are safe when they arrive somewhere then I go into obsessive thinking that something happened to them. That can lead to obsessive actions such as texting and calling.

So lets relate the anxiety tendency to the eating disorder:

Action: I eat a food that is not good for me (I.e. pizza, tacos, a piece of cake, candy, anything)

Thought process: Why did I do this, my body is ruined, I weigh so much weight now, I will never be able to lose weight, I am such an idiot. I give myself anxiety thinking all of this.

Obsessive reaction: In being so obsessed about my weight I act on my eating disorder because in my mind that’s what is going to solve my irrational thought process.

Obsessive thought processes are apart of my anxiety in all aspects of life not just my weight. However, in already having the habit of these thought processes it was easy for me to make that transition into being anxious about my weight and having irrational thought processes about that. Truly speaking many of us have issues with our weight and have some negative connotations linked to it but clearly mine was a little more unhealthy than most and contributed to an eating disorder.

Where I am today:

A lot of my eating disorder was triggering of my anxiety because I was actually working myself up into anxiety attacks, however the reason that was happening is because I had started linking anxious thoughts to my weight.

I am not perfect, I am not cured of all bad thoughts and habits about my body. I still struggle daily. Whats different is that  I would never cause harm to my body now. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have negative thoughts about my body from time to time or that I don’t struggle with myself. Now a days I think my biggest battle is still the scale and my weight, I am trying to train myself to know that my weight is not reflective of my success. Truly there is so much that goes into the fluctuation of weight from food, water, hormones, etc that relying solely on the scale would be ridiculous. However, I know how hard it is to train my mind (Someone who is recovered) so I know its even harder to train someone who isn’t recovered mind to think this.

 

Anxiety: My “silent” struggle

So my blog name is “Bulimia to Bodybuilding” so obviously its about my struggles with my eating disorders. Well a lot of people who struggle with eating disorders also struggle with other things, for me it is anxiety. Anxiety has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember and I definitely think there was a link between my anxiety and my eating disorder.

Ever since I was a young young girl I have been all over the place. All of the stories that are told to me about my childhood involve me going crazy, being defiant, worrying, or not sleeping. I was over energized and never slept. When I got older (6-7) that didn’t change. At that age I was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety and as a result of that I was unable to sleep. At that age I was put on medication for all three of those problems, however I have since taken myself off my ADHD medication. Ever since then I have dealt with anxiety in all different forms, types, ways, etc. While I outgrew my ADHD it felt like as an adult I grew more into my anxiety. I have a very distinct memory of the first time my mom called me a “worry wart”. She parked under a light pole in the parking lot and I was convinced it would fall on the car and crush it. I had irrational thinking such as this my whole life. I will say that living with my anxiety was much much easier until about last Summer (2016). My Uncle in England suddenly died and I have pin pointed my anxiety getting much worse to that. I don’t know why this is exactly but it was probably because it was such a drastic change that I had absolutely no control over and it really has been bad since then. I had anxiety before then I just know that it got way worse at this point.

Now a days I am “diagnosed” by society as a high functioning anxiety type. This means I can live a normal life just like anyone else, do normal things like everyone else, function normally, but I am constantly dealing with my anxiety. There isn’t a day that goes by that is completely anxiety free but there are days that it is better than others. It is hard to live with anxiety day in and day out but it has become something I am used to. I still deal with it in a lot of ways, which I will go over shortly, but I am trying to find new methods to cope with it. My anxiety levels fluctuate, sometimes its just an increased heart rate that triggers negative emotions and other times it very hard for me to even want to get out of bed. While I am high-functioning and I can live a normal life it does not mean that anxiety never interferes with my life because it definitely does. It can be the root of a lot of issues because of how my anxious habits have formed and how I act.

Not everybody is going to deal with something like an eating disorder but a lot of people DO deal with things like anxiety, depression, etc and I wanted to reach out to them and let them know they aren’t alone as well. I am so open about my eating disorder that talking about my anxiety isn’t hard at all. However, I know A LOT of people struggle with being open about it and feel isolated so I want to let them know they aren’t alone.

Anxiety and my eating disorder: 

I am going to make a separate blog about this but my eating disorder and my anxiety are definitely linked in some way. Most episodes of my eating disorder were triggered by anxiety attacks over my weight, weighing myself, what I ate, etc. I would get down about my weight and my body and go into full on panic mode.

However, in recovering from my eating disorder I don’t think an anxiety attack over my weight would lead me to my eating disorder again. I have learned to not rely on my eating disorder as a coping mechanism for anxiety linked to weight and body image.

What triggers me/what are my habits? 

tumblr_me3dfr1IAG1qiihii1-1[1]

Some days it easy to tell what my anxiety is linked to other days it is not. It is really hard for me to pinpoint all of my anxiety triggers but I am aware of some of them. I will just go over a few things that have really been points of bad anxiety for me.

  1. Being uncertain of plans: Don’t get me wrong I am okay with going with the flow at times and I love just sitting and unwinding at home but I like to have at least a little structure to what I am doing. Heck, even if I am sitting and unwinding I have planned times I am going to do that. I know this isn’t a good habit to have AT ALL but if things aren’t structured I get anxious. I think this may be because I am uncomfortable with situations that are out of my hands and I like to have at least a bit of an idea of what is going to happen. I often like to make and take care of all the plans myself, which can drive my loved ones insane so I am working on loosening the reigns a little.
  2. Becoming obsessive/overthinking: This specific one can come in many different forms. Obsessing over what someone said, something I said, situations, jumping to conclusions, you name it. I can become so obsessive over things that it literally consumes my whole entire thought process and I have a difficult time moving away from it until its resolved or someone can help me feel better about it.
  3. Thinking about loved ones injured: This one is pretty morbid but I get MAJOR anxiety over thinking about a love one getting hurt or worse. It gets so bad that when they are driving somewhere and I haven’t heard from them or I simply haven’t heard from them in a while I start automatically assuming the worst and causing a full on anxiety attack within myself. Its hard for me to not try and get into contact with them (text or call a whole bunch) because I just want to know if they are okay.
  4. Random fits of increased heart rate: This is one of my least favorites because at least I can pinpoint the reasoning behind the other ones. Sometimes when I am relaxing, out, or basically doing something OTHER than working out my heart race increases. When this happens I get super anxious and start feeling a lot of negative emotions that are not linked to anything. This is really hard to deal with because it is hard to cope with it if I don’t know what is happening. It is also hard to understand because when my heart race increases while I workout I DO NOT get any of these emotions. I am hoping one day I can understand why this happens.

These are not all something that I deal with to this extreme every single day nor are they this bad always. They are more of a worst case scenario and description of things I deal with when my anxiety is at its worst. There is probably a less dramatic version of them that I deal with daily but what I am explaining is me at my extremes. These are also just some of my anxious habits I have many more but these are obviously my worst, which is why I brought them to light.

What do I do to cope with the anxiety?

img[1]

 

Sometimes its hard to deal with anxiety and my coping mechanisms don’t always work  but having them in place and having them work a majority of the time is very helpful and better than having no coping mechanisms in place at all

  • Working out: Working out has helped me in so many ways from overcoming an eating disorder to helping with my anxiety. Its great, especially for anxiety about my body image and weight, because I know I am taking control of my life and can fix any issues I may have with myself through the gym. It is my time that directly benefits me and it is very calming.
  • Practicing self love: This can come in many forms. Relaxing, getting my nails done, reading, focusing on my mental health, etc. I love forms of self love (read my blog on Self-Love if you have not already) focusing on YOUR needs instead of worrying about everyone else even for just half an hour is extremely calming. It is important to do this all the time anxiety or not. We cannot be the best versions of ourselves if we do not practice self-love
  • Deep breathing: I do this the most with problem number 4 in my last section. When my heart rate gets super increased I attempt to lower it by using deep  breathing exercises. Usually when the heart rate gets back down the negative feelings go away.
  • Asking myself “What problem do you have in this moment” or “What are you anxious about”: If deep breathing doesn’t work I like to use this method and have found it very useful. Sometimes when I cannot pin point what is causing me to be anxious I try to truly think of what in the world is making me anxious in THAT moment. Is it something that is CURRENTLY occurring? Or is it something that happened in the past or am I worrying about the future? 99% of the time there is nothing going on in that exact moment that there is a need for me to be anxious about and I begin to take the moment as is. A good book on this is “The Power or Now” by Eckhart Toll. It teaches you to be in the moment because that is really all there s. We are always in THIS moment we aren’t in the past or in the future.
  • Unplugging from my phone even for a few minutes: I am easily over stimulated and sometimes if I sit on my phone for too long I can feel my anxiety increasing. I have found it helpful that even if its just for 5 minutes it feels good to not be connected to technology. In this time I like to read or focus on something non-technology related. Sometimes I even like to just close my eyes. Being constantly connected to the phone creates anxiety because there is so much information coming at us at once its a lot to process. Just take a few minute break from it a couple of times a day!
  • Law of attraction: I am not going to go into depth about the Law of attraction but I will suggest some great books to you about it. Simply put it has to do with keeping your vibrations high so that it matches the vibrations of the things you would like to attract. The things you want most in this world you have to believe are yours, are attainable, and you need to not focus on your lack of having it. When I use this, practice it, and think of it I know that I can have ANYTHING I want and so there is no reason to be worried or overly stressed because I have access to making it mine. There is so much more depth to this than what I am saying I just know you are better served reading a book about it than me explaining it to you. To understand more about this read
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero 
  • Law of Attraction by Michael J Losier 
  • The Law of Attraction: The teachings of Abraham by Esther and Jerry Hicks
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne 

There are tons of books out there on this topic these are just a few that I know of. A lot of books on meditation will emphasize on this as well.

Recently, I started new methods of coping with anxiety.  If you told me to try these methods  last year I flat out would of made fun of you. I have always been spiritual, believed in paranormal, etc but if you told me that simple solutions like these can make your life better I literally would of laughed in your face and said yeah it doesn’t work like that (this includes the law of attraction)

  1. Meditation: So many different people told me that I should meditate for my anxiety and other issues but I was always scared to try. I felt like my anxiety would be a huge inhibitor. My mind races and is never silent it goes 1000 thoughts a minute and I felt sitting in silence would just increase this. I didn’t believe I was able to meditate to cure my anxiety BECAUSE of my anxiety. However, I have been using a guided meditation and its actually so wonderful because its the few minutes a day I actually do no have thoughts racing.
  2. Essential oils: It is pretty well known that lavender is supposed to help with anxiety so I decided to dig a little deeper into that. I had a bad reaction to hormones that I was given I was bloated, had digestive issues, was all over the place emotionally and I decided that I was kind of tired of relying on medication full of chemicals to fix everything. This and other things is what made me want to start looking for more natural remedies. So far I am really enjoying essential oils just the smell of some are extremely calming and it makes me happy knowing that I am finding more natural solutions to my issues. I am still new to them though so if you have any advice I will gladly take it.

I am medicated for anxiety but I am not going to list that as a coping mechanism. Even on medication anxiety still breaks through and I can’t rely on it to cure me so I have to come up with other ways. I am not telling you to go off your medication but to find ways to cope with it than solely that.

Why am I writing about this?

I spend a lot of time talking about how I am recovered from my eating disorder, however I wanted to write this blog because I wanted to bring attention to the fact that I am far from perfect or healed. I love to give advice on how I overcame what I overcame, fitness, etc. but I never want people to think I have it all together or think I think that. The truth about life is just because we overcome one HUGE thing doesn’t mean we are going to be free from trials and issues the rest of our lives. The thing we need to learn is that our life doesn’t need to be inhibited permanently from this and we can live with them. Don’t let your issues become your identity.

-I have now shared my struggle with anxiety with you guys and hope that it causes you to feel that you are not alone or that you do not have to be ashamed of your anxiety. Never hesitate to reach out to me with tips on how to improve anxiety, your anxiety stories success or failure, or really just about anything. I will talk about anxiety more in my blog but this is just what I wanted to share for now.

Surviving the holidays and staying in recovery (a short but effective blog)

Family celebration

This time last year it felt like everyone who knew what I was going through, including my own self, was worried about me. The holidays were a toss up there was going to be alcohol, tons of food, and my gym at the time was closed on holidays. Sure there were obviously steps I was going to take to stay in recovery but it was going to be a really testing time.

I am super proud to say that I made it through the holidays without incident, which was HUGE for me. I feel like making it through the holidays made recovery easier after that. Once I knew I was strong enough to make it through “holiday eating” I knew day to day living in recovery was achievable for me.

So since I spent my blog “Viewing food as the enemy” talking a little bit about the holidays as well as relationship with food, I won’t go into much more detail.  I will jump right into tips for staying in recovery (go ahead and read that blog if you have not already). 

Please note that most of these tips can be for anyone for staying on track and not completely giving up over the holidays.

MY tips and what I did to stay in recovery:

1) Stick to your diet plan 80-90 percent of the week. Give yourself a chance to ENJOY the food you are eating on the holidays. In your “diet” (diet is in quotes because its a lifestyle not a diet) you should be giving yourself at least a cheat meal a week to reset your body and mind.  If you don’t understand this concept think of it this way, when all you eat is what you perceive as healthy for you and NEVER allow yourself to eat the foods you enjoy what happens? You binge or you fall of track because you can’t hold out on your cravings any longer.

Use the holiday itself as your “treat/cheat meal”. Every other meal of the week stay on track, eat healthy, and make healthy choices. If you make healthy food choices every/most meals besides your holiday meal you are much more likely to not feel as guilty about eating something bad on the holidays. I know hearing eat every other meal healthy sounds a little daunting but keep in mind when I say healthy foods I mean actual well balanced, healthy, and nutritious foods. I don’t mean deprive yourself of carbs, deprive yourself of eating, I don’t mean deprive yourself at all! There are plenty of healthy options to eat that are delicious and a thousand different ways to cook them. Turkey bacon, protein pancakes, fruit, sweet potato, whole grain bread, etc. The list goes on and the way you can cook them is endless. You don’t have to deprive yourself or keep a narrow foods list like I did when I was “eating healthy”. Even during a normal time of year be expansive and explore healthy food recipes versus sticking to the same thing day in and day out. Nobody wants to eat for fuel they want to enjoy their food it makes them more likely to stay on track.

The point is eat healthy and take care of your body (exercise, be active, practice self-love) all week and allow yourself to be a little flexible on the holiday ITSELF (not every day surrounding the holiday).

2) Everything in moderation. Your family more than likely does thanksgiving/ christmas with all the food right there out on the table or buffet style. That sure does make it tempting to pile it all on your plate at once. The problem with that is now it is tempting to eat that ginormous sized portion of food on you plate.

Moderation is taking what you feel like you’ll eat at first. Just put a little bit on your plate and eat it THEN see how you feel. Are you full? Or are you still a little hungry? If you are full then let it be you don’t need to eat more at that moment! If you aren’t you can allow yourself a little bit more food! The key is listening to you body and how it ties into your emotions, for example if you are overly full you are more likely to be upset with yourself and do something stupid. However, if you eat,not in excess, but for enjoyment and don’t make yourself overly full you are more likely to be happier with yourself.

Think of it this way you have two options. One, watch everyone else you love enjoy a nice meal and completely deprive yourself of it, which most likely end in you binging the food because you don’t want to hold out anymore. Two, you can enjoy the food and the occasion with your family and have a great experience where you stayed in control and got to enjoy the food.

3) Don’t overdo or even do the alcohol. I won’t lie I drank thanksgiving and Christmas even though it was a huge trigger for me. I know stupid of me, however I stayed in touch with my body and listened to when I felt it was saying if you have another drink you’re going to disassociate with yourself (I still practice this to THIS day and I haven’t gotten sick solely from drinking to much in forever). That was a little reckless of me considering it was my first holidays in recovery but I am not perfect. Remember I was in recovery I didn’t have it all figured out (still don’t) there were BOUND to be bumps in the road. If you have issues with overeating when you are drinking then avoid the alcohol so that you can enjoy your food yet stay in control of how much you eat. My problem with when I drank to much is I started not caring and I ate EVERYTHING in site EVERYTHING. I was a lot more controlled by the time thanksgiving came around but I was beyond far from cured. It is a holiday but you ARE in recovery so you do need to take measures to control yourself even if it means cutting out a privilege like drinking (drinking is an privilege eating is not you must eat to survive)

If you DO NOT have an issue with alcohol and alcohol isn’t a trigger of yours STILL drink in moderation. Listen to your body and stay in control. I don’t care if drinking isn’t one of your triggers the majority of people lose control when they drink to much. The key to staying in recovery is BEING IN CONTROL. Once you lose control of your thoughts, feelings, and your sense of self it makes falling out of recovery easier. In order to stay in recovery we need to be aware of our bodies and our feelings. We need to listen to when our body is telling us we are getting full so we don’t eat anymore, we need to have the self control to eat smaller portions slowly so we don’t end up binging, we need to stay in touch with our emotions so we can control our actions. Drinking too much alcohol can take all of that away. I am not dumb I know  some of you may drink over the holidays but if you do tread carefully.

I strongly suggest you DON’T drink over the holidays I think your chances of staying in recovery are 10X better if you do not add alcohol into the mix. 

4) Tell someone. Tell someone who will be with you at thanksgiving/christmas about your issues. You are not burdening the ones you love, your situation is what it is, and I guarantee you that your loved ones would much rather you make it through the holiday without causing harm to yourself then living in ignorance to your situation. When my mom found out we were at an event and I am happy she knew because for the first time in forever I got to enjoy the wonderful event that took place. I knew she knew and I didn’t want to let her down so instead I enjoyed myself and didn’t do anything that would ruin her or my time. It may be hard for your loved ones to hear this, but like I said if they are truly your loved ones they care more about your health then you burdening them. The truth is, it is more of a burden to them if you actually act on impulses then having to maybe keep an extra eye out for you.

Having someone at your meal who knows what you’re going through gives you a sense of accountability. You can’t sneak off, you can’t not eat, etc. This may make you uncomfortable but if you are serious about staying in recovery I suggest doing it because things that make you uncomfortable are going to be what help you recover.

5) Stay in touch with your therapist/support system. Don’t fall off you therapy or treatment on the holidays. Fully throw yourself into it, this is the time you will be put to the test, and this is the time you should be utilizing your methods. I suggest finding a buddy, probably somebody ahead of you in recovery, and talk to them over the holidays. Don’t pair with someone that is unsure of their recovery and has negative feelings still associated with it. If that’s where YOU are at that is where you are at BUT in looking for a “mentor” you want to make sure it is somebody who can talk to you positively about the situation not pull you down.

You wouldn’t want someone who is going to encourage you to act on your disease, someone who is going to share dark thoughts with you, or someone who is at the same place in recovery as you. Can you support these people who aren’t doing well in recovery? Of course you can support them but you also want to make sure BOTH of you find a positive influencer who is going to encourage you to stay in recovery during the holidays. Maybe get a few people together and you guys can find someone who is doing well in recovery or is recovered. Never hesitate to reach out to people who are open about their recovery process over social media or in person. They are usually more than willing to help you and guide you in the right direction. I know I can’t cure anyone but when I talk to them I like to be an ear they can talk to and I like to guide them towards help and treatment. Find someone who will do that for you rather than support your negative actions and tell you its okay to do what you are doing. Like I said you can support others on their journey but the person you are reaching out to for actual help and accountability should have a positive outlook on recovery.

Most importantly, you must continue your professional treatment. Finding someone with experience in recovery is great but people like that, including myself, do not always have professional training in how to handle helping people with this disease. There are many situations that are beyond our abilities to handle and while it may be easier talking to us I highly suggest understanding that your therapist, treatment counselor, etc are all in your corner. Make the most of your time with them, listen to what they have to tell you, BE OPEN AND HONEST ABOUT EVERYTHING, and trust them as the key to your recover especially over the holidays.

6) Avoid weighing yourself, examining yourself, etc. After your meal just let yourself be. Give yourself time to digest and your body to get back to normal don’t step on a scale the following few days and avoid spending excess time in front of a mirror. Doing so is going to make you more likely to be upset and triggering for you. Just because we become bloated from a single meal does not mean our bodies are ruined forever so not looking at these changes after eating can help you avoid getting down on yourself.

Most importantly learn to enjoy yourself over these holidays. They are meant to be happy and joyous time with family. Don’t let the disease take your memories from you. You want to be able to look back and say you enjoyed your time with your loved ones, you enjoyed your holidays, and that you enjoyed life. You don’t want to look back and say the disease took moments of your life away from you.

General tips for anyone trying to stay on track during the holidays:

  1. Follow tips 1-3 for those in recovery
  2. If you are drinking alcohol drink things that contain lower calories. For example, a vodka tonic has a lot less calories than a vodka cranberry or a vodka with soda.
  3. Stay on track of your workouts, don’t fall off just because it is a holiday week. Getting the usual amount of workouts you get in normally helps it make it a normal week for you.
  4. Offer to cook dishes that you may want to eat as a healthier alternative for the holiday. If you have a problem with the dishes being served and need something for your diet or to stay on track then cook it! There is nothing wrong with bringing something that fits your needs to the table.
  5. Enjoy yourself. Life is about balance so don’t deprive yourself on the holidays your goals are still achievable if you give yourself a meal off. You don’t need to go absolutely crazy for three days straight but learn to enjoy yourself for the day.
  6. Trying to avoid going back for seconds hours later? Bring your own snacks to eat while everyone is going back for more. There are plenty of healthy snack options out there.

There are plenty of tips, recipes, resources, etc out there that give you the tools to stay on track during your holiday season. Never hesitate to reach out for help or support this holiday season. Remember its supposed to be a happy time so don’t let it be a bad experience for you.

happy-holidays[1]

Denial is really what is holding you back: My story of my denial.

One of the most cliche lines may be  “The first step is admitting you have a problem”.  It may piss off anyone who hasn’t admitted they have a problem yet. As someone who has recovered I can see the statement and go yup that is 100% true but I can also understand that it is hard to grasp because I have BEEN in denial. I was in denial for SO long. In this blog I am going to go into being in denial and the excuses I made for myself.

Denialloses[1]

Disclaimer this blog is going to go into a lot of symptoms that may cross over into someone who is unhappy with their body so I feel it necessary to say the following:

Let me be perfectly clear some things may overlap or have a few things in common with people with body image issues versus people with eating disorders. However, do not get body image issues in terms of not liking what you see in the mirror confused with eating disorders. Just because you do not like what you see in the mirror DOES NOT mean you have an eating disorder. The last thing I want to do is write this blog and then have people who definitely DO NOT have eating disorders thinking that they fall under that category simply because I said something they can relate too. In fact lets define a few things.

  1. Unhappiness with your body: Being upset with what you see in the mirror, knowing what you see in the mirror is the truth but having a hard time being happy with it/accepting it, feeling uncomfortable with your weight what you are wearing, etc. (I put these in here because while they are not good things to have they aren’t quite eating disorders or indicators of one).
    VERSUS
  2. Body Dysmorphia (often something that is tied to eating disorders) : This mainly means that one has such mental issues with their body that what they see in the mirror is not what is actually there. They are over exaggerating the negative aspects and flaws in their mind, things that others may not even see but they believe they do. Part of the Mayo Clinic definition for this disease is “When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. Your perceived flaw and the repetitive behaviors cause you significant distress, and impact your ability to function in your daily life.”

The definitions of anorexia and bulimia may be a bit much to handle and unnecessary to share for this specific blog post. Those who suffer from not liking what they see in the mirror feelings are not just discredited  because they don’t have an eating disorder that is not what I am trying to say. Often times when that goes unsolved it can lead to something worse but not everybody who doesn’t like what they see results to an eating disorder. Okay but what am I getting at?  Not loving what you see in the mirror is hard on anyone and I deeply sympathize and am here for people who struggle with this. However, I am trying to be very clear in the difference between these two things so as my blog is not taken the wrong way and impressionable minds don’t begin to think they have a disorder.

That being said:

The BIGGEST part for me was having to admit I had a problem. While I struggled with this disease for years and had moments where I admitted I had a problem, consistently believing that I did have one was an issue for me. The only moments of clarity I REALLY had were just looking at myself and realizing what I was doing but shortly after I faded back into the background. I think this is why I told my boyfriend when I did because I was having a moment where I knew I had a problem and I was terrified of fading back into ignorance and I needed out and a different way of life. I needed someone else to know so that I couldn’t just easily hide in the background again and do what I wanted to do.

Here were some of my symptoms of my body dysmorphia/eating disorder, which I was doing for so long I didn’t see a problem and I believed they were NORMAL. However, thinking about my body consumed my whole entire day and the majority of my energy:

  1. Spending endless amounts of time examining each bit of my body in the mirror/ Body shaming myself
  2. Not being able to leave the house without makeup I believed that if I look pretty than nobody would focus on my body
  3. ALWAYS having my midsection covered by a pillow, my purse, my jacket, anything I could grab.
  4. Weighing myself and having complete and total break downs over the numbers that triggered me.
  5. Limiting my foods based on calories, what I believed to be healthy, and never allowing myself a cheat meal.
  6. Binge eating as a result of 5
  7. Acting on my eating disorder

These are just SOME Of the things that I did to myself on a daily basis but I was so used to this being my normal that they became part of my daily routine without failure or even thinking about it twice. Truth of the matter is I think, well I KNOW,  my body dysmorphia started in high school as it is the time when I started forming some of these habits like obsessing over what I saw in the mirror and covering my midsection. I very rarely acted on the disorder (I did a few times) but it went untreated and I think thats why it grew into a full blown disorder. However, since I started doing some of these things in high school  by the time I was 19-20 years old they didn’t seem wrong.  I look back on it and realize how absolutely miserable I was for YEARS. I can’t believe I let these habits dictate my life from my teens till I was 22 years old and that I would of rather denied my problems then be happy.

Why did I deny it? I can’t say for sure but I was very aware of the stigma on eating disorders. Mine developed in the time of high school and college where every girl being pretty was so important and our self-worth was very defined on what others thought of you (at least thats what I thought). I think the biggest reason I wouldn’t admit it is because I viewed myself as damaged. I grew up with ADHD and anxiety, I have never been able to sleep naturally as a result of that, and I felt like adding something else on top of that would make so undesirable. I felt so damaged and I figured everyone else would view me as damaged and not want to be around me, date me, would hold it against me, use it to make fun of me. To me if I just kept silent and pushed it down then I was normal and not broken. At one point I remember vividly not wanting to admit it because I had lost 20 pounds the natural way and if I admitted I had gone back to my problem I had it figured in my head that everyone would talk about me and they would say that’s how I lost the weight. I was so concerned about what others thought that I was slowly letting my health and sanity slip away.

So what were my excuses/ how was I denying it?

“I am not making myself sick after every meal its an occasional occurrence”

“I am so drunk so if I just do it I will probably sober up” (said after binging) 

“I am only doing it because I need to relieve some of the pressure of feeling too full” 

“I can’t have an eating disorder because I workout and go to the gym, so I am healthy” 

“I eat ‘healthy’ so I do not have an eating disorder”

“I eat so I don’t have an eating disorder”

“Look at these people with eating disorders I am nothing like them so I do not have one”

“People have it worse then me I don’t have one” 

“Look at my body its not perfect so clearly I am not doing it enough to have a problem”

You name it I said it to myself to talk myself out of thinking I had a problem. Let me tell you every single one of these excuses were just those, excuses. If you are acting on impulses of an eating disorder no matter how much or how little, you HAVE one. It doesn’t matter if you the fittest person but still act on it, you have one. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t losing weight from it, you have one. You act on it YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, do not let it get any worse admit to the problem and figure out where you go towards happiness from there. If you are also realizing that you may have body dysmorphia (you are realizing your obsession of your body, your daily rituals, etc indicate it) then also go and get help with that before it develops into ANYTHING further.

There were moments, my god were there moments, where inner me fought and kicked and screamed and said let me out and I just wanted to get better so bad. However, I just could never let her out. I got as far as admitting it to myself but then I could never admit to anybody else. Its really hard to move forward when you are the only person that knows you have a disorder and you only believe it a fraction of the time because the sick part of me always talked the one that wanted help out of reaching out to anyone.

So know we look at when I went into recovery. It wasn’t planned , I didn’t 100 percent intend for it to happen, I just enlightened someone else on what I was going through. Even when I was telling that person I was really playing it off as not a huge deal. I think when I was telling him I was more than likely already slipping back into the I don’t have a problem mode. So when I essentially had no choice but TO recover (at least that’s how I saw it, I look back now and I guess I could have easily slipped back but thank God I was strong enough not to) it was kind of like hitting a brick wall in terms of coming to a realization I had a problem. I was literally STILL telling myself these excuses, still playing it off as not a big deal, but it really was hard to do this because I had so many people telling me I did have something that needed to be dealt with. Nobody ever judged me for it or talked down to me because of it, but they did tell me I had a problem. So getting over that mental hurdle so I could FULLY recover was a big challenge of mine. I think when I was forced to face these habits that most certainly were NOT normal or positive and I had to try to change them THATS when I realized okay, I may have an issue.

SO DENIAL IS WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK! If you want a better life you need to admit you have a problem because when you admit you have a problem you open up avenues of ways to tackle it. If you don’t admit you have a problem you are closing yourself off to any solutions. Plain and simple there is a WHOLE LIFE beyond what you are living right now. I was tired and I was miserable but tired and miserable were my normal. I absolutely loved my friends and family and the memories I had with them don’t get me wrong, but within myself I felt this way and I no doubt could of enjoyed those memories more if I had just gotten help. I understand it I do you aren’t ready to come to terms with what you are doing to yourself, you aren’t ready to uproot your way of living, and you are so scared of judgment or feeling alone because of this. Is recovery hard? Yes, yes it is. Is living with an eating disorder harder? Absolutely. You have to choose which hard you want. The hard where you are fighting to better your life and starting to live this whole entire new POSITIVE AND HAPPY life outside your eating disorder? Or do you want to live this life that is hard and makes you miserable? You aren’t alone, you aren’t damaged, and nobody will view you as so (if they do that is SERIOUSLY not anybody you would ever want to be around anyways). In speaking out and seeking help you come to realize that there are many like you, that there are people you can talk to, I struggled for years and I didn’t have someone who knew what it was like when I was in recovery because I was still remaining pretty silent  (was I alone in my recovery no I had support but not from anyone who knew what it was like, however I am beyond grateful for the support I did have) . THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO  BE THE CASE FOR YOU. If you don’t think you have a problem try to think positive thoughts when you don’t like what you are seeing in the mirror, try to not even look at yourself in the mirror for a day, completely try to wipe yourself clean of your body habits for one day. Is it to extremely hard for you? Then you may want to look into talking to someone about those issues. You just need to come to terms and admit the issues you have so you can be happier.

Think to yourself are you really living a “normal” life or are you tired and miserable too? Wouldn’t you much rather live something better? Than start looking past your denial and excuses and take the first step forward.

f3d22250e8dc14e8f97bfefe142bf992--alcohol-rehab-cas[1]

Viewing Food as the Enemy

img_4102

 

It is November and the holidays are coming up. A binge eating opportunity literally handed to you on a silver platter with people telling you its OKAY to do it because of the date. Know this, these people do not mean you any harm, they just do not know the struggles we face. It is also important to understand that we can’t judge others who want to do this on a special occasion such as the holidays. This is because they very well may have a positive relationship with food so doing so doesn’t have any negative consequences.  So I want to make two blogs pertaining to the holiday

1) A prerequisite, if you will, about relationship with food and healthy versus unhealthy habits

2) The second blog will  be keys to my success last year to a positive and health holiday season.

But first a little side note

The more people who reach out to me for eating disorders the more and more I begin to really think about the struggles, my struggles, their struggles, etc. For me, it all seems like a blur I told someone, that someone made it so I would have to get help,  and then I was getting help and working towards recovery. Before that (and this is a blog for another time) I mentally really hadn’t come to the realization that I did have an eating disorder. I had come up with all the excuses in the book as to why I wasn’t actually bulimic. Its not after every meal, I workout to lose weight, you name it I said it. I think is a pretty common thing but let me tell you none of them are excuses. I did have a problem. I think I may have intentionally blocked some things out of my memory so as not to get emotional about them or let them control my life. The more I connect with people though its almost like the more I remember details about all the struggles. It resurfaces but this isn’t a bad thing it is actually a beautiful thing. In order to be the full and best person for someone to share their stories with I need to not hold anything back emotionally . These memories don’t put me in a bad place because I am strong as hell now and I can face them, I am not even the least bit worried. So please keep reaching out so we can talk. Please note that I am not actually trained in this field and I want to help as many people as I can and support them on recovery but it is crucial to get professional help as well.

First off, some of us may not even understand that we have an unhealthy relationship with food so lets go over a few scenarios on healthy vs unhealthy

  • Healthy: No food (outside of dietary restrictions) is banned. Every food is fine to eat once in a while or in moderation.
  • Unhealthy: Banning yourself from EVER eating a food you want or like because of the calories in it, the nutritional value, or because it will make you skinny not to eat it or fat to eat it.
  • Healthy: Eating to the point you feel full
  • Unhealthy: Not being able to stop eating after you are full or eating to the point you are so full you hate yourself, all the time.
  • Healthy: Thinking about your next meal and what you are going to eat
  • Unhealthy: Being overwhelmed with the fact you need to eat all day and obsessing over what and the calories.
  • Healthy: Eating something that had no benefit to them and move on from it
  • Unhealthy: Obsessing over eating something bad and punishing yourself for it

THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MAY INDICATE AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

What is society doing wrong to promote a negative relationship with food?

Let me start by saying this. We live in a society where we have to cater to the needs of a lot of different people getting offended easily. Some have very valid reasons and some do not. I am all for preparing people for reality but there IS a line and it can’t all just be deal with it and tough love. One of these instances where we need to be careful is within the messages we are sending and I am seeing TONS of “fitness models”, “models”, etc sending a not so good one. Again these people may not mean any harm but our brains are easily shaped and molded by those we look up to. If we are in a role where we are out in the public eye, which is becoming more common and easier with social media, than we need to pay close attention to what we say.

Here is one of my least favorite quotes in the whole entire world “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. The person who said this was a popular model she was a girl that I am sure everyone pointed to in a magazine and said I want to be like HER. Therefore, they look up to her and listen closely to her. In turn you have tons of little girls thinking that their anorexia or bulimia is sexy and the cool thing to have. They end up extremely sick and families are destroyed because of it. As I mentioned earlier the wrong message is easier to send out these days with the uprise of social media. Just recently I saw a “fitness model” someone a TON of people look up to post an Instagram story of her doing some “Extra cardio to earn her food”. This is SO so so so so so so so so (x13423432) wrong. We NEED food to survive. Undereating shuts our bodily functions down, makes us sick, and causes us to gain weight in the long run. So saying you are going to the gym to earn your food implies that your options are go to the gym and earn it OR don’t eat. Neither of these are great options. To often the public eye of society promotes unhealthy habits with the click of a button or a simple sentence. The problem with society is we have people in the public eye who think their poor relationship with food is normal and are encouraging others to think it is okay as well.

If you are going to put yourself in the public eye than you have an obligation to do better for society. I don’t care what you think you do. You have to many people looking up to you wondering what you are doing and wanting to be just like you. If you tell them to do something and they get hurt, sick, or fail that is all on YOU. I am sorry for that little tough love moment but it needed to be said. So please think of what you are posting and how it can influence someone before you post it. To many people are looking for someone else to tell them what to think so lets shape the world to think the right things.

For those of you in recovery or skeptical of food find someone who is open with their struggles yet still sports a positive relationship on food!

How did my relationship with food get damaged? How is it now?: 

Growing up I LOVED food and to me food was something GOOD. I was skinny I could eat whatever I wanted but when that stopped I became a little more weary of it. It wasn’t until very recently that I got a complete understanding of nutrition and making the right choices.

Ironically enough I don’t think my relationship with food was severely damaged until after my first attempt at recovery and I will tell you why. When the eating disorder first got really bad in 2014-2015 I KNEW that what I was putting into my body was bad. My binge eating was stuffed pasta with alfredo sauce, Hershey’s bars, demolishing full bags of food, etc. I had enough nutrition knowledge to know that those things were not good for me I just had this idea that I would never have a good body so it didn’t matter what I ate. YES, binge eating, wanting to be skinny, ALL of that is definitely a negative relationship with food. What I am saying is it wasn’t AS bad until I picked the eating disorder back up.

When I decided to start losing weight the healthy way, through exercise and diet, my personal trainer gave me a foods list of things I could eat. Through NO fault of her own I became obsessed with the list. Essentially, I deemed it the only foods I could eat. The truth of the matter is that there were so many other food options available to me that I was leaving way to much room for me to feel guilty if I slipped up because it wasn’t a super expansive list of foods. In reality it was just a list meant to help me get started but I clung onto it. This list was SUPER easy to abide by during the summer I could easily access a grocery store, I had TONS of time, it was not a problem. However, when I got to college I had my downfall. I went to school in the middle of nowhere and the grocery store was across town, then we had a chef in my sorority house who didn’t cook TOO healthy, and then obviously sticking to that list of food became harder and harder.

This was bad for me mentally because I was CONSTANTLY going off of that list of food so in my brain I wasn’t constantly making unhealthy choices causing me to get angry with myself. At first I wasn’t insanely hard on myself, I wasn’t exactly happy but it was a minor slip in mindset, but I didn’t slip back into any old ways. Then a little bit of weight got put on and I started getting real hard on myself about the food I ate (yet still went out and binge ate and binge drank), and then finally I saw to many changes in my body for the worst combined with not being happy with my diet. So there I was a few months clean(ish) and then back to my eating disorder I went. I didn’t just take a step down I fell hard. I stopped caring I chose drinking over working out, I chose to go and binge eat every night after I drank, and I chose to tell myself I would fix it in the summer. Yes I fixed it that summer but then I went back to school and that vicious cycle repeated. It took me FOREVER to find the in between, to get rid of the guilt. I had deemed all food and any food the enemy and the eating disorder as the only way to lose weight. It didn’t just change overnight it took PRACTICE and seeing that what I was doing was working to really understand that food was okay.

I remember when I used to eat pizza during my negative relationship (a VERY rare occasion) I would take a wad of napkins and wipe all the grease off of it. Today me and food may not have perfected our relationship but I will tell you that we are doing so much better than we used to do. Now I can eat cupcakes, pizza, sushi, whatever I want in moderation. However, it all didn’t happen at once. First off, I was put on a meal plan and once I saw that eating a little more expansive amount of foods on that meal plan caused me to lose weight and body fat I began to understand that it isn’t about not eating food or depriving yourself of calories it is about making the right food choices. Once I was making good food choices and seeing results in the gym I felt like it was okay to treat myself to some unhealthy things in moderation. At first I felt really guilty but the more I treated myself to something unhealthy on occasion the more I noticed it wasn’t hindering my results. So for me it clicked that it wasn’t about depriving myself of all foods for weight loss it was about balancing nutrient dense food and foods that stop me from wanting to completely binge out.

In all honesty after vacation I failed once, it was a few days after we got back. I went out and drank and had something unhealthy and I made myself sick. I called my mom crying but I think it may have taken that failure for me to realize that I needed to stop drinking and focus on my health. This reduced the amount of instances I was binging and I was able to put myself in a clear mind space to focus on recovery. I am not perfect I had failures and ups and downs but here I am recovered.

I encourage you all to do the same. Make the hard choice, possibly sacrifice friends who don’t get it, sacrifice the things you love but is holding you back. You only have your health and once you lose that you have nothing.

What are some helpful tips to practice positive relationships with food?

By now you should know I write a lot about what worked for me. However, I have realized something. When I explain to people what they can do or give them advice I feel like I sound silly. I am telling the most simple things to them and I know putting it to action is actually what is harder.This is partially because I don’t have psychological training and I can only give help from an I’ve been there stand point. My goal is to be the person that supports someone in their journey to recovery to go encourage them to go and get help. I am here to tell you its okay to get help don’t be ashamed. I am here to provide as much guidance as I can. Here is one thing I want to make clear, these actions ARE simple and effective. What is hard is getting yourself to stick to them enough to make them habits. I cannot stress this enough do the action at all costs. I don’t care if it seems silly, I don’t care if you don’t see it pay off in the first few weeks, I don’t care if you do not feel like doing it DO IT. What happens is you begin to start doing them without having to think about it because they are becoming habits. Our habits define us so when we are forming positive habits we are changing our actions and our mindsets. So here are just a few suggestions.

I am mainly going to go over this in the next blog but I wanted to give a few tips to practice in the mean time

  1. Try putting smaller portions on your plate. If you put all the food on your plate at once you may be tempted to binge and eat it all even PAST when you are full causing you to be upset with yourself.
  2. Stick to meals that make you feel good about yourself MOST of the time. Give yourself 1-2 unhealthy meals a week instead of completely depriving yourself preventing a binge.
  3. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are full stop there is a difference between full and being full to the point where you want to throw up. The best way to do this is to take mini breaks in between eating. Don’t go for 6 slices of pizza all at once. Have two and assess how you feel. THIS HAS BEEN SO HELPFUL FOR ME.

Practice these tips to get yourself started and next week I will give more tips on how I survived my first holidays without resorting to an eating disorder for the first time in years. You aren’t alone these holidays. Reach out to me or reach out to someone. We can talk about what you can do and we can hold one another accountable. You are never alone.