This post contains a mild trigger warning:
Nikki discusses eating disorders and the mental hurdles pertaining to them. We’ve tried to keep things light, but of course some details are necessary.
– By Nikki –
When I was a teenager I struggled heavily with an eating disorder.
There, I said it.
I’ve avoided writing about it because I have always felt like it’s something that I could control. My lowest point was when I was in high school and I found myself forcing a toothbrush down my throat to get rid of what I just ate. I would skip meals and exercise all the time, only to end up binge eating later in the week. I actually put on about 15 pounds from this issue in high school.
I finally got a handle on it in college. I stared counting my calories to make sure that I am consuming enough food, and I made it a point to exercise four to five days a week. I lost the weight (the 15 pounds) that I had gained overtime and I became very strong and confident. However, even now after all of my progress I have to keep a rigid routine to keep myself on track. If I skip a day or two at the gym, I start getting antsy about my size. If I have a splurge night, I start to worry that the girl that lost control in high school is going to come back. During busy times I often still forget to eat, or sometimes it is just too exhausting to consume food. I have to keep a close eye on my calories — avoiding both overeating and undereating — or the vicious cycle will continue for who-knows-how-long.
There is no voice dramatically telling me that I’m fat while eating dinner. Well, not anymore at least — that voice used to ring loud, honestly. I remember when I was in the trenches of my eating disorder and I saw myself in a window. Defeated by damaging self-image, I saw the unhappiest girl on the planet. Consequently, my weight fluctuated in high school because of this problem. However, sometimes I thought if I counted my calories and ate enough to get by I could achieve a smaller frame.
See, I let the voice in at times in my life, but now I choose to ignore her. It’s true, my eating disorder does manifest itself as a voice, but I have chosen for a long time now to act like she doesn’t exist and it works. So now I try to eat healthy foods on most days, and I usually give myself Saturday night to enjoy a fun cheat meal and dessert. I try to exercise four to five days a week to keep my body strong and on most days this process works for me. I feel better and more confident than I ever have. I think feeling good about my health routine and my confidence go hand-in-hand.
Honestly I don’t diet. I choose to live an overall healthy lifestyle and sprinkle in my splurge days. I usually can’t be around people that have food anxiety for long, and I don’t have any secret weight loss tips. Truthfully I think most diets and weight loss tips are bologna. I’m here to say I no longer weigh myself. I get obsessed with a number and I can’t function. I just pay attention to how my clothes fit me. I don’t do body transformation photos anymore because they make me get back into obsessive thought patterns about my body. I just live and if people ask my advice on how to lose weight I avoid giving it. It takes time to lose weight and to get fit. These overnight weight loss plans honestly cause more harm than good. I’ve been there, but I’ve come to the realization that many people don’t like to listen to experience, and they have to learn on their own the best strategy for themselves.
Each time I tell my story I get told that there is something wrong with my views on this issue. Despite my clean bill of health from my doctor. Despite my clothes fitting better. I don’t think that many people like to see other people being happy. In fact, if they can drag an otherwise happy person down, they will. Don’t let these people get you down. Instead try to just be happy and make deep connections with people that offer love and respect. No, cutting people completely off isn’t always the answer — often that’s unhealthy and harmful in my opinion — but just know the limits of what can and can’t be talked about with these people.
For those of us like me who struggle with an eating disorder, know that no matter how small or in shape I became, I was never able to perceive myself as good enough until I accepted myself for who I was instead of the number on a scale or the reflection in a mirror. That’s never easy to do, but hope can be found through surrounding yourself with encouraging people and seeking the help needed.
If you have dealt with any form of eating disorder, we would love to hear your story. Tell us your story in as many or a few details as you like. We’ll be around in the comments to talk!
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