Behind the Scenes #11: I Used to Have Hips

Hi guys!

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)! 

Thinking-Out-Loud

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.

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For a little light-heartedness :)

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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.

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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. 

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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. ;)

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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 dailymovesandgrooves@gmail.com if you want to talk about anything!

Things do get better ♥ 

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36 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes #11: I Used to Have Hips

  1. I really, really loved this post. I am SO glad that you are on a better path now, and that you were able to see past the destructive habits. I have a lot of similarities to you I think, and am currently suffering with a few of the issues now – namely calorie counting and over exercising. I think my head rationalizes it by saying ‘well I have to make sure in eating enough’, but I know that I’m not and counting just fuels this behaviour. Thank you for this post, it really is a reminder to me that I have to get my act together! X

    • During my recovery, I sometimes counted calories to “make sure I was getting enough” as well, but that proved to be an issue when I started restricting myself again (not as much, but I still did). Letting go of it completely allowed me to feel liberated and finally comfortable with just EATING, even if it did take a while to get to that point.
      Wishing you the best, Aimee :)

  2. I just want to give you the biggest hug — thanks so much for sharing your story, girl <3 I can relate to so many of the things that you went to, and it's honestly hard for me to imagine doing that to myself now that I look back on it… Like… why was I unnecessarily robbing myself of happiness? Because I thought being thinner would make me happier? Never did — I only became more miserable.

    It seriously breaks my heart to think that so many people are suffering in silence, which is why I really love the opportunity that NEDA gives to speak a little more about it. Thanks for participating this week :D

    • Thank you for hosting a Thinking Out Loud that focuses on NEDA. After experiencing an eating disorder myself, I’ve noticed how common such disorders actually are. It truly is heartbreaking, but you and so many other bloggers have done a wonderful thing in bringing awareness to the cause for hope and joy.

  3. This is proving to be an emotional day for me too. All the posts that I’ve had time to read so far have made me tear..yours very much too! Purposefully over-estimating my calories by rounding it off to a much higher number was a sick favorite of mine. And the cold..oh the cold! All.the.time. Last winter I was certain I would pass away! And our winters are so mild compare to elsewhere..but my hands sported a permanent shade of blue for the entire season..and them digits continuously hurt and swelled. It was when the skin actually tore that I went to see a Doctor to treat the cold. But I was diagnosed with anorexia…and the rest is history. You have done amazingly well girl <3

  4. Such an honest post lady! You have such a bright future in front of you and I am so happy you have the clarity to see this now. I don’t know if you realize this, but to be so insightful at such a young age is a gift and you will definitely help many others your age (and older!) with your story and words. xo

  5. I can so relate to what you said about going to bed thinking about food. I used to always think about food. I used to play games with food… I’d look at a menu and pick one thing from each section I would choose to eat if calories didn’t count. I was STARVING.

  6. One of the most remarkable things about this post, and about you as a person, is that you recognize the complex motivations that contributed to your disorder and appreciate the support you received from your family and from God. It’s refreshing to hear young women like yourself take this attitude toward your experience and provide support to others. I recommend that now, as you are moving towards a healthier lifestyle, you keep an eye out for fellow women and men in your community who may show signs of suffering from similar disorders. It is much more prevalent than most people think, and there are many varieties in how such disorders manifest in different people. If you take the same kindness you were given and bestow it unto others, you can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life they experience. So long as you deliver your help and concern in a way that is not perceived as judgmental or biased, then I suspect your message of hope will be well received by those who suffer from such disorders. A great place to start is at VHS; as I remember it, many students there still needed a support system for issues like this one. Maybe you and your friends can think of way to make such support more available. However, you can always extend your help in smaller and more direct ways–by lending a kind word to a fellow student, or by being observant of others in your religious and local communities.

    • Ahh, Roselby! :) Thanks so much for your comment.
      I do also believe that eating disorders are more prevalent than most think. Sometimes I don’t know whether it’s my place to confront a person if I don’t know him/her well, but you make a great point. They might be waiting for the help that they don’t even know they need. That’s what happened to me.
      Thanks again, Roselby :)

  7. I think part of the reason that all of us HLB’s get along so well is because we have very similar past’s with ED’s. Yes, everyone’s story is different, but most of us have struggled with some form of one and we all help each other recover! I really want to get my post written. I just don’t know if I’m ready to write it all out! I think our stories are very similar. So happy you’ve come to a better place. It’s amazing that your family was so supportive. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% recovered, but I’m in such a better place than a year ago!

  8. Wow I can relate to this whole post! It’s scary and sad to think of how engrossed I was in the illness and that nothing or no one else mattered. I never want to be that person. This post just goes to show you that with God and good support anything is possible. Everyday I want to distance myself from the disorder more and more and reading your blog has tremendously helped me..in more way than you know!
    Thank you for posting this and thank you for always being a real and responsible healthy living blogger!!
    Ps loved that last 12 step pic!!

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  10. Alison, you are such a beautiful person inside and out. I am so happy that you recovered, seriously. You’re so strong for sharing this.
    I faced the over exercising, tracking, weight loss, always feeling cold, etc. My parents cried when they found out. I recovered on my own, because in all honesty, I got to a mere skeleton figure. *eek*
    I’m so happy that your relationship with food and exercise has gotten better. You rock!

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