Recovering From An Eating Disorder With Real Food
This post goes pretty deep more me, but I believe that it is important for me to open up to you and I can only hope that someone else who maybe struggling with an eating disorder can find my experience to be helpful.
I struggled with a an eating disorder since I was 11 years old and at 14 was hospitalized and almost died. I remember the recovery process and it was always just about me being able to accept food and eat food. In therapy the focus was never about what food did for my body or why I needed certain nutrients to thrive. My eating disorder began as anorexia and evolved into bulimia as well. I feared food, I feared getting fat, I had a fear that fat would make me fat . When I did eat it would always be FAT FREE or LOW FAT. But mostly I would only eat vegetables and fruit. That fear of food continued for years. Even when I was at a healthy weight I was drinking diet soda like crazy, eating sugar free/ fat free yogurts that were full of artificial sweeteners, I ate soy burgers because I was afraid of red meat, I would count my calories, and if I did eat too much I would run 5 miles on the treadmill. Even today I would be lying to you if I said I never had fears of food pop into my head, but I am able to eliminate those fears because my relationship with food is COMPLETELY different.
The way I looked at food changed when I was introduced to the Paleo Diet. I prefer to call it a lifestyle because I hate the word diet. But what the paleo approach did for me was gave me an understanding of what real food is and the difference between fats ( some fats nourish our body, and some fats cause damage to our body). I also have learned that if I just eat real food I will nourish my body and there is no need then to be afraid of food. I have learned how our food is really meant to be grown and our meats raised, and most importantly I have learned why my body needs certain macronutrients like fat and protein to be healthy and survive.
When I looked at food this way it was like a weight off of my shoulder. For the first time in years I was able to eat a steak and not feel the guilt or feel like I had to purge. I wasn't counting calories because by eating real food that wasn't processed and full of sugars or artificial sugars, my body was able to let me know when I was full. This way is not about GOOD or BAD food, and that is NOT how I look at food now. I choose to eat REAL FOOD and I give myself the freedom with real food. I choose food that supports the health of my body and nourishes it. Food that supports the environment not food that causes more damage. When I look at foods now and make the conscious choice not to eat McDonalds I am not choosing to abstain because I am afraid of the fries and the burger. I just don't want to eat food that I know is causing damage to my body because I love my body and want it to thrive!! I love hamburgers and fries. I will go right down the road to my local burger joint where they serve grass fed burgers with french fries from fresh potatoes cooked in nourishing fats like duck fat, tallow or coconut oil! I know I am nourishing my body. I know that the food I am eating is grown in a way that supports sustainability and is not harming the environment!! This is how real food has truly healed me. I have connected with my body on such a deeper level now. I know what my body needs, I know how certain foods make my body feel. I know if I eat too much sugar my body will get inflamed and won't feel very good so I just don't eat very much sugar. It is not because I am afraid anymore, it is because I know what it will do to my body and how I will feel.
The addictive thoughts never completely leave with an eating disorder even when you are fully healed. It is like an alcoholic, you may be sober and at a point where you are able to be around alcohol without consuming, but you will always have to continue to work on yourself and sometimes have thoughts of alcohol especially when you get into low places. With me I still have body dysmorphia at times. It has been even more challenging since going through my journey of hormone and adrenal dysfunction because I have little control over how my body is feeling. I will be posting more updates on that healing journey at another time. I have had to cut my activity and I have gained weight because of my hormones being out of balance. But, I have been able to cope because I know that I am once again nourishing my body with nutrients I need to support my hormones with real food. Years ago I would have just slipped back into a binge and purge cycle or not eaten at all if I gained the slightest bit of weight. I don't over-exercise any more either because I am taking care of my body. I listen to my body! For anyone out there still struggling try switching your focus to the nourishment certain foods provide instead of looking at food as just good or bad. It really has made such a huge difference in my recovery! I don't feel restricted anymore, I feel a sense of freedom! I eat REAL FOOD, the food our bodies are meant to eat with no regrets and no sense of guilt because I know I am feeding my body what it needs and I know the food is building my body up from the inside out!!
To those on the path to recovery believe in yourself, you will get there! You deserve to be loved and live without fear. You are beautiful! You may not see it now but if you dig deep you will eventually discover truly how beautiful and special you are! I am always here to support or answer any questions if you are struggling from an eating disorder. Please reach send me an email!!