Your comments on yesterday’s post seriously made my heart sing and dance with appreciation. Honestly, I was so nervous that my thoughts on the whole “blogging niche” thing wouldn’t make sense to anyone, and I would be given weird stares through the computer screen. Maybe that did happen and you’re not telling me, but whatever the case, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my peanut butter-loving heart. That’s a special place in my heart ya know. ;)
Today happens to be one of those days in which I would like to participate in a linkup (actually, I always want to participate in these random thoughts posts hosted by the amazing Amanda)!
This week’s edition of Thinking Out Loud will be focused on one of my biggest past struggles— my eating disorder. On Monday, Amanda posted about NEDA (National Eating Disorder Awareness) week, and suggested that any bloggers with past eating disorders make their Thinking Out Loud posts about their thoughts and experiences on the issue. This will surely be a more somber post than usual, but perhaps a look behind the scenes of my disorder could help raise awareness about something that so often torments young women (and men).
1. I distinctly remember the first time I was really not satisfied with my body. I was watching a video of myself dancing that I was going to send to the Orlando Ballet School as an audition tape. The thing that made me cringe the most: my hips. They were wider than I would have liked, but in reality, they were just feminine curves. The thing that pushed me further into my negative body image was comparison. A lot of my friends were petite and skinny, and I was NOT diggin’ the fact that I didn’t look just like them.
For a little light-heartedness :)
2. I think I followed the path of many others who have struggled with eating disorders. Initially, I just wanted to shed a few pounds, become healthier, and exercise more. (I didn’t even need to lose weight at all. Sure, I gained some weight, but that’s what happens to growing teenagers. I failed to realize that.) Then entered the calorie counting, fitspiration, and reading up on how to eat less. Before I knew it, my initial intentions magnified month after month into a monster that just wanted skinny.
3. I would try to hide my phone from my friends and family as I counted calories on it. One chip? That goes into the log. Gummy vitamins? Those as well. I would also overestimate calories BIG time, leaving me with fewer calories in my body every day.
4. A lot of people say they never knew that I had disordered habits because I was always snacking and excited to have food. Little did they know that everything I ate was calculated, and I was so enthusiastic about food because I was starving a lot of the time.
5.. The delicious cheesy pastas, noodle soups, and fried rice that my mom made so generously for the family were never touched by me. I had eaten those things every day prior to my eating disorder, and I was fine back then! But during my eating disorder, those foods became enemies. I cut out most carbs, most meats, most desserts, and anything that had an unknown number of calories. On the rare occasion that I did eat one of those things, I would invest extra time in estimating how many calories I would have to shave off my next meal.
6. The thing that hurts me the most: I would be judgmental and critical towards my family for what they ate. It makes me want to cry thinking about my attitude. I’m so sorry, family. Please also forgive me when some remnants of those comments come out to this day.
7. I went to bed thinking about food and woke up thinking about food. I didn’t have enough of it in my system, but I still restricted myself day after day. If anything interfered with my meal plan for the day, I would secretly (or sometimes not so secretly) be angry, frustrated, and anxious. Same thing goes for workouts. No workout=not a happy Alison.
8. At the time my eating disorder began to heighten, I was dancing for 5-6 hours a day. After the summer dance program ended, I continued to increase my exercise. Ate a few too many craisins? Gotta work it off ASAP. I thought I was doing great things for myself by increasing my strength and stamina. Although this did happen to an extent, I was compromising my overall health in the process.
9. Cold. All the time. At my school’s homecoming soccer game two years ago, my body was trembling from the cold, and nothing could make me warm. I was bundled up, I was jumping around, but I was still freezing. Everyone else was cold too, but I was suffering. My body did not have enough insulation or energy to keep me warm.
10. My dance teacher called my parents, expressing concern over my lack of energy, drawn face, and weight loss. A priest at my church even asked me why I looked so skinny! That’s when you know…
11. I knew that I wasn’t doing something right for my body, but the habits were too difficult to break…on my own. As my habits became more alarming, my parents reciprocally became concerned. God intervened through my father one day when we were on vacation in Florida. My mom had accidentally bought 10% Greek yogurt instead of fat free, and terrified of all that fat, I asked her if she could exchange it for fat free. She later talked to my dad about my request, and I later learned that he became both angry and deeply saddened. The morning after this, he put on his “dad face” with raised eyebrows, and I knew that I was in trouble for something. He told me to go weigh myself, and when I did, we saw a number that was way too low. I had lost weight since my doctor’s appointment the month before, and we both knew it. Then and there, with tears in his eyes, my dad said, “As your father, I am telling you to eat. And as my daughter, you are to obey me.” As hesitant and fearful as I was, I knew I had to obey. Not just for me, but for my family and for God. Because how the heck can I serve Him if I’m withering away to nothing?
That’s when my recovery started. When we got back to NY, my dad took me to an awesome nutritionist who was able to teach me the how and why of fueling my body. I am so fortunate to have a family that was able to pull me out before my eating disorder became any worse.
12. Blog-reading and blogging myself have been gifts in this process. Without the support, love, and experience from so many bloggers and readers out there, this would have been ten times more difficult. Thank you.
…Phew. We made it to 12 thoughts, and now I’m getting teary-eyed here. All I can say is: Thanks be to God that things have changed tremendously for the better. This journey has impacted me so deeply that I actually wrote my college essay about it. It hasn’t been easy or straightforward at all, but it’s been a wonderful learning experience.
I just found this on Pinterest— how appropriate that it’s 12 steps to recovery! Even if it is technically for Alcoholics Anonymous…It can apply to eat disorders too. ;)
I hope you all have a lovely day!
Feel free to share any of your thoughts and experiences with disordered eating if applicable.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and would like aid and/or support, you can visit the NEDA website for more information. Also, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk about anything!
Things do get better ♥