My Eating Disorder Story and Recovery

  • By javeline
  • August 19, 2016
  • Comments Off on My Eating Disorder Story and Recovery

I was approached at the beginning of the year to write my eating disorder story to be published. This was something I knew was important but also something very emotionally draining to have to re live. This is longer then most posts but its my story and if it can help anyone else out there in anyways then I don’t mind sharing.

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My name is Jevranne Martel, I am happy to say I have been in full recovery for 5 and a half years now. I can’t name just one eating disorder that I am in recovery from as unfortunately I suffered from a fair bit (some I find pretty embarrassing to admit to) but none the less if my story can help someone else to not go down the same path then I don’t mind sharing.

Looking back I honestly find my journey fairly confusing as I never really had anything crazy traumatizing happen to me in my childhood. Nothing compared to the stories Ive heard of people being sexually, mentally or physically abused as children etc, but that just shows that we are all just as capable of being able to develop an eating disorder of any kind. 
I know that my eating disorder started when I was 14 years old but my disordered eating and body dysmorphia started a lot sooner then that. I remember my first thought on my body being as young as 5 years old. My aunts were always very small or in shape and healthy in my eyes but there were differences between some of my smaller aunts and some of my aunts who were larger in size. I remember comparing the differences in them and thinking that I had to focus on being a smaller size as I got older (even if my attention wasn’t directly focused there at the time). My parents had divorced around the same time and we moved with my mom to a different town, where I had to go to a different school and make new friends. In my old town I had a lot of friends and I remember being considered one of the girls who the older girls in other classes wanted to play with and take care of. I thought this would transfer over into my life naturally but it didn’t. I had a hard time at first but my teacher had asked one of the other girls to befriend me and we actually became great friends.

Going into grade 2 I remember having long hair and when it came time to take school pictures I had put my hair in front/ over my shoulder on one side. I remember when the pictures came out I got made fun of for being “prissy”. Yet it was just me putting my hair over my shoulder. I was still new and so any slightly negative comment made to me, did affect me. Later that year I became a tom boy, my best friend had been one pretty much the whole time I knew her and I felt this need to fit in and that was how I went about it. I had cut my hair short and shaved the back of my head and always wore this plaid button up as a shirt almost every day. Fashion was no longer my main priority (as I don’t think it should be for a girl at that age). I got a bit chubbier during this transition and me and my friend spent our time at recess playing with the boys, playing in the mud or playing games alone. That was the year that I really remember comparing myself to other girls who were prettier and skinnier then I was (like it affected me that I gained weight to begin with).

There were some specific moments I remember where I would look in the mirror and really felt like I was out of place. This continued into grade 3 but I had started to not dress as such of a tom boy and in grade 4 I was wanting to wear tighter clothing and started doing my hair and caring about my looks more. Not necessarily that I actively started doing something about my weight but I took notice and started trying in other ways. Not eating as big of meals or just simply starting to feel guilty eating junk foods etc. I would come home often and be upset about my looks and my body and I cried a fair bit.

Grade 5 was when it got really hard. I had gained weight and was heavier then most of the other girls in the class. I went back to wearing that plaid cover up shirt so to not wear tight form fitting clothing anymore. This was a really hard year for me and I had started to get bullied pretty severely from a few really rude boys and I wasn’t their only victim. I tried to do what I could to take as much of the pressure off the others, and have more of their bullying be focused on me. I hated seeing other people be hurt and I thought I was stronger and could handle it. It worked some days but other days they just picked on all of us. They would bully me for very petty things that now seem irrelevant but when you are young the simple things hurt the most. I got picked on for having dry skin, for my parents being divorced, for being “fat”, for dressing like a tom boy, and when I would try and fit in and would beat all the boys in the class at arm wrestles I was picked on for being “butch” or “too strong”. No matter what I did to try and not be a victim any longer it just didn’t seem to work, this continued everyday throughout the day any time they could get away with it. This unfortunately sent me into a pretty big depression, I had been pretty sad in general as a victim of being bullied but it got a lot worse when I felt there was no escape. I remember trying to move back in with my dad as a method of getting away. That didn’t last long as I felt lonelier being away from all my friends I did have. It was a really hard year in many ways and I hate admitting it but I had a lot of suicidal thoughts and a few attempts. Attempts that were all I could think of at the time. Like sitting on train tracks just praying a train would come by, or trying to drown myself in the tub or in any type of water via stream or river etc.

I wanted this to end and finally when the school year was wrapping up I felt good to not be around the bullies anymore. I still felt a lot of shame about my looks. But that summer was the year when I had started to develop breasts. That was new for me but also exciting, because I had already felt the sense of sexuality that was everywhere, in the media and society. 
When I started my grade 6 school year I remember being petrified that the bullying would continue and I was shocked when I found out that the one main bully had transferred to another school and the other two “followers” had started to look at me very differently. I was no longer a target of bullying and I started being viewed in other ways. 
Me and my best friend were still disengaged from the other “more girly” girls and we became good friends with the boys in the classroom as we had in the past (when the bullying wasn’t occurring). We all had a good time together and there was not as much pressure to try and fit in. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that we were starting to fill out and look more like women. I remember when they would make more sexualized comments towards me it made me feel special. That sounds so off to me now, but at the time when they made comments about my boobs I remember thinking I knew I should maybe feel insulted but I also didn’t feel that way. I felt that it was good attention. It was a very different more positive attention then I was used to getting from them.

That was the year that I started to buy diet pills whenever I could… any time I got any birthday money or Christmas money etc I would go buy these apple cider vinegar diet pills (I think I got away with it being 11 years old, because they looked like they could have come from the food isle). I started to take these pills in the recommended doses and then I would eventually start my routine of taking more and more to try and get desired results. I felt more attractive then I had in past years but still had a lot of self esteem issues. Me and one of the first initial bullies started to like each other and hang out. We would spend hours on the phone talking to each other and I felt like I finally fit in and was getting the attention that I felt I needed or deserved at that time.

In the second half of the school year my best friend and I had been talking about how maybe we should start socializing with the other girls more often. We became good friends with these other girls, there were 5 of us and we became a group that was more likely then not inseparable. 
That year was an all around great year especially compared to the previous ones. I had great friendships that built with girls and guys and it was a great feeling.

That summer and the following year going into grade 7 were a bit blurry for me. For some reason I didn’t seem to care about my looks as much and I started to wear sweat pants and hoodies more regularly and I would put my hair in a ponytail everyday. The girls would make comments about my clothing choices and hair style choice and I ended up being fairly depressed when it came to anytime I had spent on the french side (we were in a school that was divided from French immersion students and English students). The group of girls who were my best friends started to disengage from me at this time and I no longer seemed to be best friends with the one girl and instead became the 5th wheel of the group so to speak.

I started to become more of a loner in my area of the school. I would still socialize and I was always someone who was still nice to everyone but I would spend a lot more time alone during classes. I ended up spending any break time or lunch hours on the English side and becoming friends with a fair bit of people, which caused a rift between me and other French immersion students.
 Later in that year a few of us got nominated to be peer connectors and a group retreat was being held for us and other schools in the area. It was an absolutely amazing time and we all had so much fun. I ended up connecting really amazingly with a fair bit of people and becoming really great friends with this one girl. We lived 2 blocks away from each other and our friendship was easy and convenient but still very connected. We started to spend more time together and our friendship grew naturally. I was still friends with the other girls but I felt more connected to being part of the whole school and not stuck on just the french immersion side and with one group of friends. I would split my time whenever I could.

Grade 8 was a very different year for me and I would say that was when everything changed for me. A lot happened that year that shook my world up in many ways. I started the school year with a very different way about things. I had stopped trying to fit in with the french crowd so much and really grew and expanded on my new friendships that I had with the English students, where I felt no tension or judgement just great welcoming friends. I connected with a lot of great people and a few new students entered our school. Starting with this beautiful amazing girl named Kaylee. She was a complete zest for life and had gone through so much in her life (that we were not aware of at the time). She came to the school and people either seemed to love her or not. I wouldn’t say they hated her, but they just didn’t understand her. She didn’t seem to really care about peoples opinions and she was just herself. She dealt with a fair bit of judgement and gossip. Which was based on them just not being open minded to other ways of people being or of different personalities.

Her and I connected a lot and on a very different level then I had experienced before up to that point. We had really great talks about a fair bit. I wasn’t aware of my feelings about girls at that point as I hadn’t even had crushes on many guys yet (except for one or two) but I had moments where I found myself getting smitten by her. We had a very short time together and yet it was one of the most life changing impactful times I’ve had.

We didn’t talk in detail about this but I remember her mentioning to me once that she was bulimic and I didn’t really believe her (not that I told her that) as she wasn’t a super skinny person (a misunderstanding I had about Eating Disorders at the time). I also didn’t really know a lot about Eating Disorders and the only other situations I knew of were from my cousin and my sisters friend who were both very thin. I never connected that an eating disorder starts somewhere and comes in all shapes and sizes. I should have been there for her and made her feel more comfortable talking about it all. She was going through a lot and this was one of the many coping mechanisms she was using.

Unfortunately half way through the year we lost her to suicide, which at 14 years old was something that no one should feel the need to do. We found out later about the awful things that were happening to her and she truly just didn’t feel like she had an escape or anywhere she could turn to that she would feel safe or protected. It was a very hard time for me to go through.

This whole experience shook me to my core and really effected my life. I felt very lost and lonely even though I had so much love and support around me. I was angry, I was sad, I just missed her and couldn’t stop thinking about her and if I could have stopped it. Two of the other students that were new to our school were her cousins who joined a month or so after she did. I connected a lot with them and after her wake/ the funeral we started spending a lot more time together. With them going through it all and being closer to her then I was, I still felt like I needed to sensor my hurt and pain and be “strong” around them, like I couldn’t hurt as much as they did.

I had some very emotionally draining days and days where I completely broke down in classes, but had amazing support from teachers who I used to rebel on and their kindness and compassion, along with my peers in the class, really made me feel like my feelings were valid. I felt more understood but I still felt so lost. I felt numb. I wanted to feel again, that’s when I started cutting for the first time. I never pressed super hard but enough to sting and draw some blood. I wanted to feel something, anything, I wanted to know that I was still alive even with all this hurt. I saw the cutting as an outlet but I didn’t realize how it was effecting other area’s of my life. A couple students noticed the marks when I was raising my hand in class one day and that brought a lot of unwanted attention. I just wanted to feel, I didn’t want people to notice, I was embarrassed.

With time it all became easier and I became less emotional and started to naturally feel things again. Her cousin and I ended up connecting and we had started seeing each other. He was the first person I kissed or did anything sexual with and I felt special for the attention I got from him and that group of boys. I felt prettier and more attractive because of the attention they gave me. I would eventually start seeing the two of them, going back from one to the other, I felt like I was a “player” and that I was more in charge, oppose to all the out of control things I had felt in the past. All the control I seem to have thought I had in these situations seemed to all have to do with me and my body or how I looked. My control never seemed to come from my mind or my intelligence.

I started being viewed more sexually and that lead me to eventually feel like my self worth came from my body oppose to everything I could offer. I was still young and very naive so any attention I got I clung onto. My mother worked a lot and was not home that often because of all the hard work she did and I’m not sure if that is where that concept of me clinging onto the attention came from or not. That year was a year that I felt special being in charge and having more guys like me and getting there attention the way I did. It spilled onto the following year and in grade 9 I ended up meeting and dating another new student. He was very good-looking and someone a fair bit of the girls swooned over. We started dating pretty close to the beginning of the school year and around the same time as my parents got married.

My mother and step father were together since I was in grade 5 and were tying the knot. My mother had my sister and I be her bridesmaids. I remember being happy to be part of the day and involved as much as we were, but I also remember feeling like I was going to be in the spotlight also walking down the aisle before her, and I wanted to feel pretty and comfortable in my body.
I remember a few weeks before the wedding I felt a lot of pressure from myself to lose weight and that was the first time I started skipping meals and calorie restricting on purpose. I might have lost some weight but I was still a bit chubby.

After the wedding me and my boyfriend were still dating and a month or so later I had found out that he had cheated on me and I was completely heart broken. I felt so lost (having it be my first heart break) and he cheated on my with a pretty skinny tall blonde girl with big boobs and I just felt like I didn’t compare at all. I found out about this a couple weeks before Christmas, I had an awful feeling about it and my internal competitive side went off. That’s when it all really started at full speed. I went into the new year with a goal to lose weight and it all started innocently. I dieted like most people do. I started working out more and I started eating healthy and watching what I was eating/ not eating after a certain time etc etc. That first month (January) I remember feeling really good. I felt like I was doing things properly and getting good attention for it (something I seemed to need at the time).

The problem came when I weighed myself at the end of the month. I got on the scale and noticed I lost 10 pounds, and that felt great. I wasn’t upset about the weight lose but the problem was I do remember thinking “If I lost this much weight from doing it this way then I wonder how much I could lose from not eating all together”. And that’s when it all started. I got so many complements on that first 10 pounds and people saying that I looked good. And I wanted more.
I knew that it was noticeable and the next month when I stopped eating was even more noticeable. I dropped another 10 pounds and I did a good job of hiding that I wasn’t eating from class mates and teachers, parents, siblings etc. I was making up lies that I had already eaten or wasn’t feeling good, saying I had a big breakfast or had eaten earlier or had a big meal coming up etc etc. I did a good job of lying and my parents believed it but eventually they started to catch on. I was doing everything I needed to do to protect my new little infatuation with my eating disorder. I was doing whatever I could and everyone seemed to believe all my stories about what I was eating and how I was exercising. That is until it got a little too noticeable. I had friends and family members start to make small comments which made me rethink my lies, as I knew I was going to be figured out soon enough.

I had this new little addiction I had to protect. An addiction I had no idea was an addiction at the time or was something that would totally change my life, put me through immense ups and downs and cause a lot of mental health issues also. I believe and understand that the body is very smart and will do whatever it can to try and stop you from harming it, and also that what I went through and felt might not be the same for others. For me it got to the point where the starving hunger pain feeling that I once loved and craved from not eating started to turn into pains that actually hurt me and were very uncomfortable to experience. I hated experiencing this pain because I missed and longed for the hungry pains I used to enjoy. I had to eat to get rid of these pains but I didn’t feel happy or comfortable about having to. This started to cause a lot of anxiety and many moments where I felt complete lack of control. I had to figure out how to regain that control and get rid of the anxiety.

Around that time I started to desire and crave experiencing Bulimia for some reason. I didn’t realize that was my bodies way of regaining the control I so desperately thought I was going to lose. The only two people that I knew of that had eating disorders, I never experienced seeing them go down that whole journey and what happened to them. I never knew the eating disorders they had and what caused them to go down that path. So from what knowledge I had at the time it was more glorified (from my own head and thoughts) about how these girls looked pretty and skinny, which was a definite sign I was on a slippery slope.
The only other eating disorder story I remember was from this one movie I watched when I was younger with these two best friends who were both dancers and one ended up with an eating disorder, starting with anorexia and then bulimia and a couple of those scenes from that movie are embedded in my brain. A particular scene I remember was from after the mom found out the daughter wasn’t eating and there was moments when the mom would watch her daughter eat but then go to the bathroom after and she would sit on the other side of the bathroom door while her daughter was throwing up.

After my parents started to make comments about my weight loss and about me not eating, I knew I had to hide it from them even more. But I had to do it in a way that they really thought I was better. I became even more manipulative about anything that would protect me and my eating disorder. Around the time that I felt these feelings, urges and dealing with these comments, my parents ended up being gone for a weekend and so were my brother and sister. I had the house to myself this weekend, to indulge and to really try and make myself throw up for the first time. I had eaten a fair bit of food and I remember eating a whole container of ice-cream on top of the other stuff. When I was finally at my limits with food, I went to throw up.

Believe it or not but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I tried so hard and nothing happened, tears streaming down my face and over 30 minutes of trying and nothing happened. I finally ended up taking a pen (the back side) and shoving it into my throat and I pushed hard, hard enough that it worked in making me throw up. It was a big process for me and that didn’t seem to change throughout the years of me being sick. It was always a challenge but yet that challenge still became a bad addiction. Even though it took a lot of effort from me, I still remember feeling accomplished. Like I finally did it (which is such a twisted thought looking back at all the grief this disorder caused me and the people around me). I felt like I finally “had my cake and ate it too” so to speak.

When my family got back from being gone that weekend I remember I went right back into eating as much food as my body or I wanted at the time (whether that would be large portions or smaller ones) then I felt this peace because I would just go throw up after. I felt that I had complete control and I was a master of deception because I was lying constantly, but I didn’t feel like I was hurting anyone so I felt okay with it.

So I went back to eating “normal” and had everyone believe that whatever thoughts they were having previously about me were all just them being over worried and I was really fine. I remember this one time specifically, as it was one of the first times I really remembered having such a manipulative thought almost immediately after a comment was made.
It was within the first week or so of me being back to “eating”, my step father (a man who I adore with all my heart and truly cares about us so much) after we were done eating supper one day, everyone was out of the kitchen and I was about to walk downstairs and he said “Its really nice to see you eat with the family again” and instantly in my head I thought “ha ha sucker I’m gonna go throw all that food up right away” and I went to the washroom and did just that.

This started to become a very twisted game with my body, brain, emotions and people around me. I remember a fair bit about my eating disorder but piecing it all together is a bit hard sometimes. I remember that some days I would throw up only once ( usually a minimum of 3 times) and other days I would throw up around 7 times a day. It all depended on a variety of things, what I ate, how much I ate, when I ate, who I ate with, how I felt before I ate, how I wanted to feel, a situation that I just went through or thought of etc. Many factors caused me to want to engage in Bulimia. And the same would have gone with my Anorexia, but I noticed more of the desire with Bulimia because I would feel the instant guilt from eating and the relief was what I craved. When I would feel a certain way it would make my want to engage in either binging or purging and I had nothing else to focus on. The relief of that guilt and shame became more addictive then I would have thought.

Bulimia was a very strange experience for me, looking back and talking to others with eating disorders they always made it seem easy, they always said they were in and out of the bathroom in 3-5 minutes or less. For me it was always a huge ordeal. It took me a while to throw up and when I did my eyes would run so much, I would pop blood vessels from trying so hard, I always had all my make up smeared down my face and needed to reapply everything I did and my knuckles would be red and have marks on them, but I was still addicted. Soon enough my family and friends caught on to the bulimia and would watch me after meals to see if I went to the bathroom or not.
I would typically hang out in my room a fair bit as a teenager so instead of going to the bathroom I decided to start keeping a pale under my bed and I would just put music on and throw up into the pale after supper and wake up around 2 am when no one was awake to throw it out. That was a trick that they didn’t seem to catch on to. But they did know I was still doing it because it was very obvious in my face and eyes. But just like with my anorexia, my body started to give me signs. I would go through my whole routine of eating and planning to throw up and I would sit there and try for so long and nothing would come up, like my body was forcing it down. That hurt me so much that I couldn’t get that release as often. I started to lower the times that I would try and throw up (sometimes being successful) but most of the time having a hard time and only a little bit coming up. 
Instead I started increasing how much I worked out after I ate. I would eat enough for people to not be worried and then go into the basement and workout on our equipment until I couldn’t any longer. Some days passing out from exhaustion and lack of nutrients.

That following month I lost a bit more then the previous months. I was very strongly in the middle of very over taking eating disorder thoughts and life. I hid absolutely everything I did from everyone around me. I became a pathological liar and I lied to everyone about anything related to my body or food.
That month I felt noticeably weaker and tired. I started my routine of skipping school more regularly and staying home to sleep in and not really move much 
I was down to 108 pounds for a may long weekend camping party that is yearly held around my home town. It had been a while since I had seen everyone and the reactions to my appearance were all positive and I got lots of attention, which at 15 years old, felt good. They were not aware of the issues I had been going through, and because that was a weekend I knew I was going to have to eat around people and not have the chance to throw up, that people would just assume I lost the weight naturally.
Of course some of my cousins had already caught on but they were just taking it in and figuring out how to deal with it best they could to help me. That attention I got from so many guys really kept me motivated to lose more.

I went home after that weekend and went back to not eating as much or not being around for food related times. I remember being so obsessed, I had people over for a little party one day and every time I had a handful of chips I felt the need to go throw up, I would come back upstairs instantly and brush my teeth. I must have thrown up 3 times for 3 handfuls of chips in like an hour span. It was almost as if the alcohol made it all easier as I remember not feeling like I had to reapply my make up. My best friend caught on and started to follow me downstairs after. Which is the reason I stopped for the night or I’m sure I would have continued.

A couple weeks later my sister and mom went to an eater disorders clinic retreat, for family members dealing with someone with an eating disorder. I didn’t know that’s where they were going and when I found out I was really upset, I thought they were going to use tactics that were just as manipulative as mine and I didn’t want to lose my goals I had planned. I had this journal that I kept and wrote how I felt that day, what I ate, my measurements, and my goals. My sister came across it one day and I think that was a big motivating reason that they went. The goals up to that point were low goals for around 97 pounds which I was at that point around 103. It was weird but after they got back from the weekend clinic, things actually got worse for me. I got more paranoid about my weight and was graduating from grade 9 going into high school the following year. I wanted to look good for the dance and there we a couple other school dances that I was going to be going to as well. I remember skipping school almost every day for 3 weeks because I wasn’t eating and had no energy to get out of bed. I would wake up and have no energy, my eyes were so sunken in, I looked so frail and fragile, it took so much energy to even walk up the stairs to move from the bed to the couch. I would sleep up to 16 hours a day and that was all I did. I had hardly any energy to do almost anything. Those were the worst 3 weeks I remember, I would drink water but nothing else. I must have had a couple pieces of apple every now and then but honestly what I remember is going those 3 weeks not eating anything and only having water. I remember being so addicted that I remember having a tea one day and using some french vanilla creamer and felt so guilty I went to throw it up.

At the time I thought I had control, but I really had no control. The eating disorder had it all. I had lost everything natural and normal that a teenager should get to experience. My life was a game, it was a constant lie, a constant battle to fight, hide and protect.
Over that time the goals were getting lower. Next up was 92, then to 87, 84, 76, 73 and finally 67 pounds! I would have been DEAD! like truly Dead! 
I was so lost in my world of competition with the numbers that I completely forgot about my bodies needs to be able to even function. I was already starting to shut down more and more with my energy lowering and I just couldn’t see the other factors around me.
My destructive relationship with my eating disorder was leading me right down the path to my grave. And all documented there on paper, but no brain power to be able to see how bad those goals truly were.

I wanted peace more then anything, but for some reason the numbers on the scale, or my measurements, as low as they would get were just never enough. I always found a flaw, I always found someone smaller, or even if I saw someone who was bigger then me and I aspired to look like them I just knew I wouldn’t gain it in the places they had it.

I got down to 97 pounds, I hit my goal, in time for the dance. A few days before the dance I had to eat a bit of food because I needed energy to get out of the house, be there and dance. I starved myself for the 3 days before the dance and that day had to eat with people but ate as minimally as I could to avoid bloating. A lot of people kept telling me at the dance I was so thin and look how skinny I was etc. Looking back I see those comments were made as a point of concern not as a compliment but of course that’s how my brain took it. I had a great time none the less and enjoyed myself. The next week and a half would be the other schools dances. I had continued to lose weight and was down to 94 pounds by the last dance (the lowest I got). I remember one of the boys, who originally bullied me (the main leader) teasing me saying how chubby I was (but in a sarcastic voice) along with a few other boys. I knew they were joking so it didn’t make me actually think I was. He later came up to me with genuine concern telling me I was too thin. It upset me at the time but I started to see how many people were actually concerned.

The school year was officially over and I remember going to go visit my dad. We went and visited my grandma, where there was always some of my aunts, uncles and cousins there. We were there celebrating my sister and cousins graduating from high school. There is this one picture of my aunt hugging me. I look so thin, she looks like she is hugging me like its going to be her last time. In the summer we did lots of camping as a family. I remember we were getting ready to head out on a 10 day camping trip. My mom is an amazing baker and makes really good snack food for camping. I knew I was going to be surrounded by family and food the whole time and have no escape.

They never force fed me but once they could watch me all day long, there was this insane pressure I felt to need to constantly eat in front of them. Comments would usually be made to me if I didn’t eat as big of a portion as they did etc (because obviously my stomach wasn’t used to eating lots) I ended up over doing it every single day those 10 days, going to bed every night curled into a ball because my stomach was that full. I remember being in so much pain from all the food that it was hard to sleep. I started to really resent my family because I just wanted to have that control again. We got back from camping and had family pictures to take on my dads side. Pictures that I felt a lot of pressure to look slim for but I also new I was going to get lots of pressure to eat. I was paranoid and full of anxiety all day long. Every time I ate, all I could think about was getting back to the house to throw up. Even if I and eaten 8 hours before I still went home and had to throw up because the anxiety and guilt ate me alive.

That summer everyone thought I was recovered, but the minute I knew school was coming around I got back to my eating disorder ways to lose some of the weight I had gained. I was going into High school and didn’t want to face negative judgement. I wanted to look my best. I got back to throwing up into the puke bucket under my bed and would skip meals as much as possible for the 2 weeks leading up to school. When school started I tried to be anorexic and not eat as much in the beginning but that slowly started to change as I realized how social people in high school were around food, because most of them had vehicles. This caused me to go out for lunches a fair bit to KFC, A&W, Subway etc… I never felt good after and I could never throw up because I was at school or with these people. I started to cover up with hoodies on the days that I was eating, which became more frequent then I would have liked. I would sometimes throw up and sometimes I wouldn’t.

I felt like my eating disorder was fazing out. But of course I always found another way… that’s when I turned to laxatives (the one eating disorder I’m pretty embarrassed about) I started off taking the recommended dose and as with the apple cider pills I previously took I ended up increasing the limit. My body got so used to the recommended dose that I would need more and more to get any effect on my body. This was something I knew I had to plan for, I knew after I took those pills that they would kick in within 7-12 hours and I would have to be home. I remember one time (after a while of taking them) I took 72 laxative pills in one sitting and I got so sick, throwing up from both ends, it was awful. From that moment on I get disgusted at the thought of any medication with a candy coating and haven’t used laxatives since.

My control was completely lost yet I believed that because I was “choosing” to do those things that I was in control. Regardless of if my actions slowed down my mental disorder was still very real. I would never go out with anyone to a party or social setting unless I had at least 3 days notice to starve myself, I wouldn’t let people hug or touch me if I had eaten, for fear of them feeling how “fat” I was. This cycle continued for a while, and then I met and started to date my first boyfriend that I loved. He was so genuine and sweet and we got along really well. I felt so amazing being with him and welcomed by his family. They are such genuine people and I always enjoyed being there. I would eat with the family and I started to not want to engage in eating disorder behaviors as it wasn’t something I wanted my boyfriend at the time to know.

I enjoyed food again and started eating more and I gained a fair bit of weight. When we broke up I was heart broken and totally lost. I still ate but I was back to eating less, skipping meals and not as much junk food like I was while being with him. That summer I had made friends with this one girl who I spent a fair bit of time with. She would help me and I ended up feeling good and exercising/ getting more in shape. She introduced me to this guy who ended up being interested in me. I liked the attention I was getting from him, this extremely attractive man. Having self-esteem issues I never thought I deserved a hot guy. I felt special, but I also felt pressure to look good. I was skipping meals sporadically but at this point in time engaging more in disordered eating behaviors. I felt happy and good being single and to a point where I didn’t feel like I needed to be with anyone. I was enjoying socializing with my friends and having the odd time of hanging out with a guy. But looking back that’s when I became more promiscuous. I stopped engaging in my eating disorder behaviors as often but would sleep with guys at parties or from school who showed interest in me. I know it was some what a self esteem thing and a way to get approval but I did have fun at times. Other times when I was interested in the guy and he wasn’t interested in me I would feel used and objectified, which never felt good. The beginning of grade 11 I met another one my best friends who is always there for me. She is there for me through so much and we always have fun together. She was someone I was originally intimidated by and shortly later grew to love very easily.

I felt more body confidence around her as she had a lot of it and it was contagious. I got attention in high school regardless of the size I was, that helped me get over needing to be a certain size and just appreciating my body for what it was. I realized that everyone has different taste and I don’t need to change myself to fit a certain standard. Although I realized it I still had my issues. I had a great year with great people, great experiences surrounded by laughter and understanding but I still went through moments of weakness, I would hit depressions where I would just stop going to school and I eventually dropped out. I finally went back and the teachers really tried to work with me to stay and finish. It unfortunately didn’t work and I ended up dropping out again. I was working as a server and assumed the tips I was getting were enough to not need school.

I ended up starting to date this one guy and I moved to a new city to live with his sister and be closer to him. I again, seeing how absolutely stunning he was felt this pressure to look a certain way so started being more conscious about my eating again. I wasn’t not eating consistently just eating less and some days skipping meals all together again. I liked feeling pretty for him because we were a very social couple and went out with people a lot. It felt good to have people tell him his girlfriend was hot. But those compliments didn’t stick long enough, the eating disorder thoughts always came in at some point and would tell me not to believe those people, that they just want me to be fat so they tell me I’m not, that I had to push past and continue to lose. I felt that way but my actions rarely acted on it at this point. I wasn’t throwing up anymore (maybe once or twice a month). I really didn’t enjoy doing it when I had a partner because they could tell, and you could see they would be embarrassed about it if I did.
They didn’t want to be with the “eating disorder girl”. We had fun as a couple but we definitely were not gonna work for the long run. When we broke up I found a good balance still living away from home and took care of myself better/ started working out more. I felt great, I looked great, I had energy again to do things and I didn’t have the extra weight on me, but I still had curves.

A month or so after we broke up I actually started dating his best friend (someone who he always used to say “I cant believe I found you before he did” whenever I did something silly or weird, it was right up his ally). We started to date but I wasn’t fully invested and I had walls up that I wasn’t willing to knock down. I left to go nanny in Colorado for a few weeks and when I came back we started dating full force as I had become more invested. That September he went to Wales for 6 months to work and I was just working, living at home and visiting friends. I’m not sure what happened to cause such a crazy build in my body but for up to 8 months there I would get panic and anxiety attacks every single day, sometimes up to 7 times a day and to the point where I would throw up blood. I was not sure what was going on in my body as I felt like my life was really in an okay place. I ended up going to Wales over Christmas to visit my boyfriend for 2 weeks. While we were traveling around we were going out to eat a lot and ate a fair bit of meat and animal products. I felt pretty sick when we ate so much and I hated the way it would sit in my body. When I got back from the trip I started to wonder why I was feeling that way and what was going on. I wanted to figure out was was causing these attacks.
I remember one day specifically, I was at work and serving a table and could feel the attack come on and it was so uncontrollable that I had to leave and say excuse me in the middle of them talking. I went to the back and had a full blown attack. I couldn’t breathe, I was crying, I felt like the walls were closing in anywhere I went, even outside. It was one of the worst ones I’ve had and I felt totally lost and out of control. My bosses sat me down after with genuine concern and told me to take time of to get better and figure it out.

I decided to take a trip to Ottawa to visit my sister and my two cousins. I had an amazing time and ended up having a lot less anxiety attacks. I went a full 3 days without getting one and when I went to the bar one night, I felt this awful feeling in my stomach after we ordered and ate chicken fingers and fries. Two of my sisters friends are vegetarian and It wasn’t something I ever really thought of before but I remember that night looking at that chicken finger and going from what I always thought was just food to realizing I was eating a dead animal. My heart hurt and when I went back home I became a lot more aware. I ended up ending things with my partner and focused on figuring things out. I didn’t stop eating meat right away but I was aware that I was now eating an animal, that had just been conveniently packaged to look like food. I had seemed to have calmed down with the attacks as I was slowly eating less meat. I had entered an adult education program to get my High school graduate certification. It was going to be my year to graduate from high school, I had focus and dedicated to lose weight but I wanted to do it the right way. I ended up paying for this very specific 7 day meal plan where you could potentially lose up to 21 pounds in 7 days. A claim I now know to be a lie and a target for people with self-esteem issues. I did the full 7 days and followed the meal plan very specifically, no cheating at all. There were some days that you would eat a hard boiled egg with tomato and other specific things and other days you had to eat just a burger plain or a steak plain. I remember on both those days feeling so awful and twisted in my gut. I remember thinking “why is someone dying for me to lose weight?”.

That’s when I went pescatarian (at the time I called myself a vegetarian but I still ate fish and wasn’t aware of that term). I always believed the lie that fish don’t feel pain etc and that we needed some sort of meat, I didn’t eat it everyday but I would have salmon and tuna with salads sometimes. I was motivated by my graduation and wanted to fit into the beauty and the beast style dress we bought for me. I felt amazing and I was actually losing weight and still eating every meal. I was very specific with what I ate and had veggie chicken burgers/ veggie burgers plain with mustard, or rice stir fries , or oatmeal etc. I wouldn’t have the largest portions and my calorie intake was around 800-1200 calories for the last couple months. I fit into my dress and I felt great, I felt beautiful and happy. I was no longer getting panic attacks and I felt good about how I looked and how I did it (although looking back now I know that wasn’t enough calories or sustainable)

That September I ended up moving to Ottawa to explore and build a life of my own. I got hired at a bar that hires based mainly on looks and felt this pressure to stay thin. Around that time I made friends with this one girl who is still one of my best friends to this day. She is a tall absolutely stunning girl who would always dress more high fashion. We both respected each other for who we were and never put pressure on each other to change. I would naturally compare myself to her a fair bit but that didn’t stop me from enjoying that I had a different body shape and I had to learn to love it more. I got a gym membership and started working out more consistently but noticed that the more I worked out the bigger I got because my body needed more fuel for what I was doing. I got to see where my body tends to build muscle first. Learning to love the transition was hard for me but it was something I enjoyed. I enjoyed having people comment on my arm and leg strength and tell me I was curvy with a flat stomach. I enjoyed my curves and grew to like them. I still wanted to focus on getting my stomach tighter and all around more toned but I was enjoying the build up and respect I was having for my body. I wasn’t so worried about my looks and just enjoyed working, making money and working out. We worked long hours. It was one of those things where I would eat every day but I would have breakfast and then have to work 12 hours, and usually be so busy we couldn’t eat until we were off.
Which was when I would eat a huge meal because I was starving. I enjoyed working at the bar and had fun but worked a lot. While I was working there, the 4 of us that lived together all had this bet where we had to give up something, and my sisters part of the bet was giving up meat. This bet went on for 5 month and as summer arrived my sister was craving eating meat from all the BBQ smell outside. I ended up going to a BBQ one day, they didn’t have anything for me to eat and I was so hungry. I also hadn’t done any research up to this point about what was happening and so my choices were not clear, I had a burger and a smokey in one sitting. I felt so sick to my stomach, from guilt and from not eating meat for over a year. I was throwing up a fair bit that night. What started off as naturally throwing up ended up turning into me making myself because I wanted all that murder and death out of my body. I felt so guilty. From that day on I had given up eating all meat even fish.

I then started to really think about the effect that eating those two things had on my body and mind. I felt blurred and disconnected, it opened up this area in my brain that needed to be opened. I got this burning feeling to learn more and connect myself. Why was I feeling a certain way when consuming meat?… a way that was making me want to engage in an eating disorder again? What was happening?

Then I did research on spirituality and realized that we are energy beings. That we absorb energy from things around us and what we put in our bodies. All the energy the animals give off before they get murdered, was energy I was taking into my body. All that fear, stress, anxiety, depression, angry, sadness etc they went through was becoming my energy. I then did further research, I read a book called “skinny bitch” which I was hesitant about the title being that I was currently in a recovery stage. I read it and was blown away by the information I was reading. I cried a lot and had my eyes opened to a lot about the cruelty in eggs, dairy and the other food industries. I Ended up going vegan for 5.5 months, I felt great but I also didn’t do enough research to see footage and know more about the health aspects etc. I didn’t do the research on how to do it properly, and that’s not to say its a bad thing to do, just so many people have a misconception of what is good for them and what isn’t that they just don’t do research and get what they need (via larger portions for more nutrients).

My roommates at the time were also big dairy drinkers and they ended up convincing me that skim and 2 % milk were bad but whole homogenized milk was good and I got back on dairy, without any further research of my own. I continued to be vegetarian for the next 7 years. I continued to live my life the same, working a lot, socializing when I could and working out in the mornings or when I could. My roommates were my sister, and my 2 cousins and very body positive women. It was the perfect environment for me to be in to not engage in any eating disorder behaviors.

That summer the love of my life got into a car accident. We were friends in high school and hung out a fair bit and we started to like each other. After I moved to Ottawa we lost touch for a bit but reconnected and we were discussing us making it work when I came back home that September, a month before I was set to arrive back home, was when I got the call that he had gotten into an accident and died. This shook me to my core and I couldn’t seem to stop crying, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t believe it and would think I saw him on the streets walking and would just break down in public. I couldn’t grasp thought of losing him. It hurt me more then I ever had been hurt before and has caused a fairly large wall for me in relationships. I think of him often and miss him so much still to this day but at the time it was unbearable. I would get so emotional that I would feel like I was going to throw up. I went through a phase of losing my appetite and just becoming numb to my emotions. I hit a point where I had no more tears left to cry but always felt like I wanted to. It took me a while to move past from that.

I started to really not enjoy the bar that I was working at and decided to go down to part time so I could focus on a healthy routine and self care again. That fall I got hired as a full time nanny with an amazing 5 month old boy. I worked both jobs and it seemed to work for me.. at the beginning.
I would work Tuesday- Saturday and work Friday and Saturday a total of 21 hours (and sometimes Thursdays) with an average of 1.5 hours of sleep in between. I did this for a total of 8 months before I realized it wasn’t manageable. I had gained weight from my main job being at a house where I could eat whenever I wanted to, and from having a bad winter routine at that point. A couple months into working both jobs, I realized that I could afford to move out on my own. I was getting upset about my weight gain and wanted an escape to be able to engage in Eating disorder behaviors without my roommates knowing.

I started to do research about liposuction (even though I now realize I should have just got back to eating for my needs not my wants). Right before I moved out into my own place I had gotten the surgery. The doctor approved me at 21 years old and I spent 6,500$ on liposuction. Its a decision I now highly regret as the swelling took so long to go down, I would have been better off just working out and eating better again.

I had been having feelings of wanting to engage in eating disorder behavior again and was building resentment knowing the girls were always around. I moved out and after I was healed enough from my surgery I started to eat and throw up again at times. I do have to say that I stopped doing it as often because I really didn’t find it enjoyable anymore. I then looked into Nutri-System and ended up spending 450 or more dollars (I cant remember the exact number) on a month of meals for 3 months. I didn’t feel like it did anything and I was always not satisfied, as much as I tried to convince myself I was. I soon after ended up paying another 1500$ for cellulite reducing later treatment. All this stuff was complete b.s and me not dealing with the core issue of my problems. I spent over 24,000 dollars on weight loss products, via pills, exercise gimmicks, surgeries, lazer, meal plans etc. 24 THOUSAND dollars in a 9 year span on weight loss, for someone who was under 23 years old!… That blows me away still to this day. I could have used that money on so many better things! But instead become a slave to societies brain washing that we need to look and be a certain way. A brain washing I now am happy to be aware of and away from.

I decided to quit the bar and ended up getting another part time job working breakfasts, which was easier on me. I was a lot happier with that schedule and a couple months after I started working there me and another employee started dating. I was completely head over heels smitten with him. I fell for him very fast and we moved in after 2 months of dating. A month before I also started taking care of a second child with my nannying and was told by the one mother (who I had been with for over a year) that she got offered a promotion and was going to be moving. She asked me to go with her but I turned it down because of my relationship. I was very upset at the fact that I was not going to be around the child I had been around every day and it was a decision that took me a while to make. My boyfriend started to work more nights as he went back to school and I was working days. We hardly saw each other and that lead to us eventually breaking up 2 months later. I was completely devastated and heart broken. Then, as bad news tend to come in three’s, the second family let me know that the waiting list they had been on for a day care spot for over 2 years, had an opening. And because they were pregnant they didn’t want to lose that spot. In a matter of a week I had 3 people I love be removed from my life and I was at a complete lose. I cried, a lot, and I felt empty and numb again. It was hard for me to cope with and I lost my appetite for a while.

I was talking to my best friend about my issues and how I was wanting to eat but had no appetite. Even though she is a beautiful girl, we all have our insecurities and we connected so much more when she opened up about hers also. She motivated me to take another step in my journey and having her support helped. That’s when I looked up an eating disorder recovery group counseling. I went and wanted to see where I could go and what I could get out of it. I went to one class and we were told rules to follow at the beginning to not trigger people. We all went around and talked a bit about why we were there and I mentioned a weight number (which was something we were not suppose to do) and I was called out (in a nice way) in front of everyone. I see the good intentions now but at the time I was very pushed back and felt embarrassed for messing up so I didn’t go back.

I was still emotional and sad about my heart breaks and felt lost being in Ottawa, feeling like I had to start over. I eventually reconnected with my ex (who went to Wales) and I moved back to Manitoba to be with him. We were very happy and on cloud nine at the beginning. Unfortunately I started to really notice lots of insecurities and trust issues in him and our relationship. We started to fight more but we were still together and happy at times also. He ended up proposing to me after being back together only 5.5 months. Something I thought was too soon but still said yes because I loved him. I thought it was sweet that he still wanted to marry me even with us arguing like we were (something that sounds weird to admit now). Things got a bit better for a bit there and then they started getting worse again. I noticed signs of controlling possessiveness and snooping in my private property. I do acknowledge I was on my phone a fair bit. Because going from the city to farm life was a change I had to get used to again. He would go look through my phone and read my messages and it caused arguments etc again. Things seemed to of gotten worse after we were engaged. He got more angry and aggressive and would get mad at the smallest things. He started to tower over me when we fought. I started to feel very lost. I was away from all my friends and family and on a farm outside a small town. I had lost control and how did I always know to gain control in the past… with my eating disorder.

So I went back to bulimia. I would eat whenever he wasn’t home and throw up and a lot of the time when we ate together I would go for a drive after, say I was going for a run and I would go throw up in a ditch somewhere. I did this on multiple occasions and he eventually caught on. He noticed the weight loss and that caused more issues and tension. I lost weight and if I ever wanted to dress up and be in more form fitting clothing, it would cause an issue. He would get upset saying things like “who are you trying to impress or look good for?” not realizing it could be him. He was only okay when I was in a baggy t-shirt and pants. This caused more self esteem issues, feeling like I should be embarrassed or ashamed of my body and cover it up. It brought up more insecurities, which I had been talking to a counselor about.
I started to see one before me and my ex got engaged because I wanted to deal with eating disorder blocks I wasn’t catching and some other things. She was fantastic and helped me with so much and changed my mindset on a lot. She helped me see things in my relationship that I didn’t, she helped me learn how to have a more open mind and see the situations from all angles. She helped me with wanting to communicate better.

After about 3 month of being engaged I really started to not want to be, although I didn’t end it immediately. I didn’t want to marry someone that I fought so much with. I started to notice a rise in his anger and even though he never hit me, he would tower over me more regularly when we we fought and would pin me into corners. I started to discuss general relationship stuff with anyone in a successful marriage because I wanted advice. I wanted to know if I should stay or go. I truly didn’t know and I didn’t want people to be mad at me or disappointed.

Even with all the great counseling I was still slipping down my bulimia eating disorder slope. I was lost in my relationship and that confusion effected me. Then one fight got really bad and we were both yelling a fair bit (something that takes a lot of energy for me to do and doesn’t come to me naturally or something I enjoy). It got pretty heated and once again he had me pinned into a corner. This time he raised his closed fists to my face like he was going to punch me and then caught himself and lowered them. The tension in his hands was very real and you could tell that was something he wanted to do but took control of. That was an eye opener for me. Once I started feeling more confident about my decision to leave I started to focus more on healthy eating and exercising. I went to work one day and just looked down at the ring on my hand and just had this urge to take it off, I thought to myself “What is that doing on my finger, that doesn’t belong there”. I went home that night and ended the relationship.

I then focused on regrouping and moved to start a new job. Around that time my mother also gave me a book to read called “life without ED” by Jenni Schaffer, I was absolutely blown away. This book is a book I think everyone with an eating disorder should read. To understand the harm taking place and the lack of control you do have. She references everything in terms of ED (Eating disorder) being an abusive boyfriend. A boyfriend who just wants to control you and manipulate you into thinking he knows whats best and to follow his lead. It was a story that was all too familiar with the relationship I just got out of and with my eating disorder. It was exactly what I needed to smarten up.

I started dating a friend of mine shortly after but nothing serious and met this ridiculously amazing random girl through him. Her and I went on random adventures and had a blast together. Weight loss and the way I looked wasn’t a main concern. I was having fun and experiencing life again/ for the first real time in my adult life. 
I had a blast and it was amazing. When we got back from taking a crazy road trip I started to feel sad and lost again because I quit my job and moved back home. To a town that has a negative energy about it and I wasn’t strong enough to not focus on that negative energy. I started to engage in the bulimia and minimal eating at times. I got depressed again and would cry in my room all the time. Feeling like I was a total screw up and burden on peoples lives. I had a couple suicidal thoughts again and that shocked me enough to want to do something more.

I eventually got to a point where I was tired of wallowing in my own self pity. I was ready to do something about it. I decided it was time that I got myself into a good eating disorder recovery group and really stick it out this time. I found the perfect group and they were all amazing. We all had different stories but also some of the same stories. We all could relate to one another and we all wanted to get better. The material provided was amazing and the guidance from the counselors was perfect. We were never shamed for having a slip to our eating disorder. We were told that every bit of progress counts and focusing on the progress makes it so much easier. In the middle of going to the group I had officially stopped engaging in any eating disorder behavior and decided to refocus my life and that has stuck to this day. I recommend group therapy for anyone ready for it.

I changed things for myself. I was happy and healthy, going to the gym, sometimes not at all and not beating myself up for it, and eating mostly healthy foods but again not beating myself up for eating junk etc. I would have pride in my looks but not to a point of obsession. I would focus on how I want to feel oppose to how I want to look. I would unfortunately still have a lot of negative body thoughts over the year and a half after I recovered and days where I wanted to throw up, but I didn’t! I found something to distract me for the time of that urge. I would go for a walk, get out of the house, colour in a park etc. Those moments were tough for me but I pushed through them. When I started to really change and open up a lot of internal blocks that I still needed to deal with, was when I got more into spirituality and meditation. I was listening and reading anything I could to work more on my self love and all around gratitude and appreciation etc. I started to meditate more often and things started to come to me that really shook me up. But in a positive, clear sign of what I needed to do type way. 

I regained focus and those moments of even wanting to engage in throwing up were becoming less and less frequent.

I had moved to Edmonton and started to work at the daycare with my old nannying baby (who was 4 now). I had found such an incredibly rewarding job. I adored the children. I was in a classroom with 22 two and a half year olds but have the patients to deal with the energy and tantrums etc. I loved my job and my life. The winter months came by and I had gained my typical winter weight. I was staying at a friends place house sitting. I remember a couple times when I was having fat days, thinking “I could get away with making myself throw up right now” but I truly didn’t have that urge or want to do it. It was like I just felt fat and that’s how I always knew to deal with it. But the actual urge or temptation to do it wasn’t there. I didn’t end up making myself throw up out of sheer exhaustion from even the thought. I remember standing over the toilet after eating and looking at the toilet, then looking at my hand/ knuckles, and back at the toilet. I didn’t desire doing it, it felt like such a chore. The thought even felt like a chore. I didn’t get emotional but instead was like “fuck this shit” and walked out of the bathroom.

Around that time I met this really amazing guy who I dated for the next 3.5 years and we were very well connected, not something I had experienced before. I really enjoyed what we had in our relationship and being able to communicate well. I ended up gaining weight as we got more comfortable in the relationship. And where I normally would have been extremely hard on myself, I wasn’t. My spiritual practice and meditating more was helping me to respect and appreciate my body more and to build a strong relationship with my body and myself. Around that time I was working at a hotel restaurant and had an amazing conversation with a costumer one day. He told me three life rules that people should live by. 1- everyone needs to stop complaining, gossiping and being negative- “what you think about you bring about”. 2. start saying yes to life- by saying yes to opportunities that present themselves you open yourself up to more positive opportunities. 3- Hydrate and take care of your bodies needs. Hearing this and how he explained it really opened me up and helped me focus more on positivity, love and giving my body what it needs. I started to focus on my relationship with myself. I believe that the relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship you will ever have. I cant escape myself, so why would I want to hate someone I will always be with? I was ready to be on the same side as my body. So I focused on body appreciation and really loving the journey of change. Realizing that “imperfections are sexy” and to “rock what I got”….. things my sister and cousin told me when I was a lot younger but it never really sunk in. I had a lot of people in that time tell me how I was going to do good in the world and to focus on my goals, something I had been putting on the back burner. I started to realize I had a bigger potential then I let myself believe I ever could have. I started to open my eyes to a world of less judgement and more understanding. I started to just be me and even if I had moments of feeling fat etc, I never thought more of it. I would notice the thought, and then catch myself and say “no I’m not”, forgive myself for the thought and move on to something totally different. My spirituality really helped me but I still had a lot of blocks that I couldn’t seem to open up or hit.

I would meditate a bit more consistently. I started to remember moments of my eating disorder and then right away moments of eating that chicken finger. These moments started to happen more and more often with moments of me flashing back to that burger, steak and smokie. I was confused to what these flashes could mean. I was missing something and I knew I was so close to figuring it out but just not quite there yet.
I decided to meditate longer then usual one day and I asked for help and a clearer sign to what I was missing. I ended up getting the same images come up and then out of no where an imagine of a dairy cow and her baby came into my head. It was not a thought I’ve ever really had before. That night while watching Netflix I saw a documentary Vegucated. I clicked on the intriguing title and that started my journey to full body appreciation. I ended up watching a speech on youtube called “the best speech you will ever hear” by Gary Yourofsky. I was blown away at a lot of the things health wise that I was educated on and what meat dairy and eggs do to our bodies, the planet and to the animals. I watched this speech and I couldn’t un see and un hear what I heard and saw. I made the ethical, environmental and health changes that week and dropped the dairy and eggs from my diet.

I went vegan again, but I did the research this time and started to eating a lot larger quantities of food and of foods we have been told are bad. I started to eat massive bowls of pasta (family of 4 for one person, 1200 calorie smoothies, large bowls of oatmeal, stews, stirfries, chili’s etc etc) I started to eat between the ‘starch solution’ and ‘raw till 4’ style eating as they were both amazing for the quantity of food (no limits) and the satisfaction level I would feel also. The more I ate the better I felt and the more I lost (which was clearly natural with all the plant based food I was eating and energy levels I had). I would be bouncing off the walls with energy and on such a natural high from life.

I started to notice a change in my digestive system almost immediately. My body all around started to work better. My severe case of eczema cleared up and almost disappeared completely. My recovery times were faster, my endurance was quicker, I had this new found of respect for my food and where it came from. I no longer had to feel the guilt about my body being a graveyard for another species. I focused on bright colorful foods with lots of nutrition and I have not had a bad doctors results on any of my nutrient levels since going vegan. I fuel my body with healthy plant based foods that are grown not born. I now get the nutrients directly from the source (the plants) oppose to second hand through someone else’s body. I have a new found value and respect for life. I show gratitude daily for every part of my body no matter what it looks like, I give thanks to my thicker legs for their strength, to my belly, whatever size for being there to feed me and keep me alive, to my big nose for allowing me to smell amazing things in nature etc. I have found a sense of peace amongst my life, regardless of what comes its way I know that I will be fine and I know that I will never have a temptation to cave to an eating disorder ever again. I know I’m healed and I know the majority of that has to do with meditation and my going vegan.

I needed to have my eyes opened so that my heart could make the changes that my body so badly needed it to make. To connect myself with all life meant no longer eating animals or their bi products and when I started to fuel my body with healthy plant based foods I noticed a major change in my mental perception of life, my emotions whether they be sad, happy, angry etc were all a lot more natural and calm. I felt a sense of peace come over me and I stopped judging others for the way they looked or comparing myself. I just simply started to love. I love because love is love is love and that included everyone and everything around me, including myself and the animals. My respect for everything grew and built and it felt amazing. I now fuel my body with things it needs, oppose to the lies we’ve been told. About things that are bad for us being good. Instead of believing everything I was told I did my research. I found out who funded the articles being promoted to see if the were accurate or biased. I researched the blogs I was reading and genuinely wanted to learn the truth. With getting rid of the dairy and eggs in my diet I noticed my brain clarity open up a lot also. My memory retention was better and my body seemed to be functioning exactly how it was suppose to all these years but just couldn’t because I wasn’t feeding it the right things.

My meditation sessions became more aware and open, I felt more, I sat more still, more calm. I became even more positive and where I used to be on edge with people at times, I noticed I could deal with those situations better and have great conversations instead. I started opening up my mind, heart and eye to whatever information I could. I connected myself to the fact that my food was an innocent being and I realized the effects of taking in someone else’s energy and how that had harmed my body in so many ways for so many years. I realized the effects on our planet and nature, which I had grown a huge connection with. I just no longer could support an industry that kills billions. Especially when we have amazing plant based options everywhere around us. Since going through the insane roller coaster ride that was my eating disorder I can truly say that I know life now, I can enjoy my day without worry or fear of what food will do to me, I can be at peace knowing that no one is dying for my meal. I have found peace within myself, I have found an amazing relationship that I hold with myself and no pressure for me to always eat healthy or workout. I live my life and enjoy it. I respect my body and I can truly say that Veganism played a major role in my eating disorder recovery and my body appreciation. I highly recommend reading the books I’ve listed, Life without ED is amazing and will change your life and the other two along with the speech I’ve listed will help start you on a journey to body appreciation and respect for all life.

Regardless of your journey or the path you choose just know that love conquers all. When you choose to love yourself at every transition or phase of your journey and life, you start to have an all around more positive experience and feel happier in general. Don’t let the thoughts that you think people are thinking of you, get to you. Stop fabricating negative stories about yourself and start thinking positively. I know it may seem hard at first but continue with the positive thoughts and you will notice a major change, of what comes your way and the strength, support and peace you will feel from others and yourself. Remember, ‘what someone else thinks of you is none of your business’. You just need to be you and that alone, whatever journey you are on, is enough. YOU are Enough! And the more you believe that the easier everything will get and feel. 
This has been a journey for you, I know it has and it’s still your journey so however you feel comfortable recovering and healing, do that. It’s your journey and it may be a slow recovery or a fast one but you will get better. You will become best friends with your body again and you will love the relationship you build. Just know that you are better then that abusive relationship with your Eating Disorder, You don’t deserve to be involved with such mental, emotional and physical abuse, its time you end the relationship for good. Start your journey and know that its not all or nothing. Don’t beat yourself up for slips you may have. Don’t go back down the same path. Pick yourself up and start again. Every time you slip and start again the slips will become less frequent and your emotions won’t feel as strong and heavy. Believe in yourself! I do!

It’s time we all choose to make the relationships we have with ourselves a priority. Sometimes we need to really push past and get over our ego so to speak. Realize that you are not your thoughts, you are the awareness behind your thoughts. Be the Awareness! push past the mean things you say to yourself. You truly can do this, I believe in you so much! Don’t cave into every thought you have especially if its negative, Be the Awareness! You got this! You are stronger and more powerful then you know, I promise you of that. You can do it and you will succeed! Even if its a journey. Much Love to you all!

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