Let’s Have Lunch: Why Eating Is Such a Struggle for Me

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!

For other recent pieces from Nikki, be sure to check out:
Dear Future Nikki
Animal Crossing | The Game That Defines Nikki


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Dear Future Nikki

Dear Future Nikki,

As I have been applying for jobs to truly get my career started, I have come to the realization that I have gotten a lot done in the past six years (2013-2019). I’m certainly not trying to pat myself on the back, but these past few years have been anything but easy. Right after I graduated I applied for jobs, and had a number of interviews throughout the past few months. Remember that one time that I thought I had made it? I thought without a doubt I would start my career in June 2019 at a university not far from where I live. After a great phone interview and a successful in-person interview, I felt very connected to this college. I waited for the invitation to return to the university for what I thought could’ve been a dream job. I checked my email one day and got a rejection reply. At first I was very bummed, and I began to worry that I was a failure. Continue reading “Dear Future Nikki”

Saying Goodbye to Ezri

– By Nikki –

On April 11 at 6:00 a.m., my beautiful cat went into cardiac arrest. When we adopted her one year and eight months ago she was only five months old. Me, Matt and Lucy all slowly adjusted to the new kitty in our lives. Ezri followed Lucy everywhere and they were genuinely best friends. The morning after Lucy, my childhood cat, passed away Ezri curled up in a ball next to me when my husband left for work. I remember waking up a few hours after he left and she was still beside me. This tradition would continue every morning for the rest of her short life.

57972792_1238131979695886_9049055136969654272_n Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to Ezri”

Our Ezri is Not Feeling So Well

– By Nikki –

I’m here to deliver some not-so-great news. For the past week our cat Ezri has stopped eating, drinking, and being her silly self. Yesterday afternoon we received some heartbreaking news from the vet. There is a fairly high probability she could have leukemia.

Our options are pretty grim at the moment, and we are doing everything we can to get her eating and drinking again. We are giving her antibiotics, fluids, and pills to make her hungry again. If she continues to decrease in health we might have to make some hard decisions at the end of this week. Continue reading “Our Ezri is Not Feeling So Well”

Goodbye Lucy

– By Nikki –

I have always felt my emotions so very deeply. I think I inherited that trait from my father. He is a sensitive and empathetic man who says very little to most. In many ways I am similar to him. We both hate confrontation, we both hate showing others how we are really feeling, and most importantly we both hate feeling.

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My best friend Lucy passed away last night. She had a baseball sized mass in her stomach, and our options were very limited. Now she’s gone and I hate what I am feeling. I want to numb all of this out and distract myself from these emotions. Continue reading “Goodbye Lucy”

How to Love Selflessly

– By Nikki –

Love is important in all forms, but today I want to talk about friendship (or as C.S. Lewis calls it “philia”) and how to accomplish loving a person selflessly. For those of you who want to learn more about his views on that type of love specifically, here is a helpful link, and I would suggest reading his essays in The Four Loves.

For as long as I can remember friendship has always made my life more enjoyable. My childhood best friends still make my life great because when we see each other we reminisce about growing up together. When I think of my high school best friends I still enjoy their company on occasion and we always remember the pains of puberty. And my college friends are also still very meaningful to me. I can remember running with a friend of mine and then getting to class a second before it was about to start. I remember the parties and the pains of becoming an adult because I spent them with people that took care of me, and I thought that maybe I took care of them as well. My husband and I even started out as best friends. I told him everything, and honestly friendship is an essential ingredient in our love story. Continue reading “How to Love Selflessly”

Light

– By Nikki –

I hear a voice more harsh than a gunshot whispering in my ear.

“No one will understand, listen, or care about you,” it claims, wrapping it’s arms around my neck and dragging me out of the existing moment I am participating in. I struggle against the weight of the constricting arms that are slowly choking me to death. I try to to verbalize what is going on, but all that I see is your hard face not noticing me.

I close my eyes and allow the darkness to overtake me.

I don’t feel anything.
I don’t have an opinion. Continue reading “Light”

Social Media and the Filtering of Life

– By Nikki –

I have been given a great number of blessings in this life, despite my rough start. I am finally happy, and I want people to share that happiness with me. However, there is a certain social media network that has been controlling me for too many years.

That technology is Facebook, and of it I have come to a revelation. It would be wrong of me to turn special moments in my life into preprogrammed moments for social media.

I freely admit my problem: I am obsessed with Facebook because I want people to see that I am all right. I had a tough go growing up, and at times I want to be able to share with the people that I’m fine now. I am no longer the little girl that lost her mother 14 years ago. I don’t need the sympathy of others. Thanks to God I am doing well. Continue reading “Social Media and the Filtering of Life”

Baby Curls

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– By Nikki –

When I was a little girl, my mother would tell me that the small curls gathered frizzly around my face whenever my hair was in a ponytail were call baby curls. She thought they were pretty, and she loved them. I guess she called them baby curls because they reminded her of the hair that I had as a baby. Despite my mother’s love for these curls I hated them with a burning passion.

Whenever I looked in the mirror as a kid I would see a literal mane around my entire head. It looked like I had shoved my finger into an electrical outlet. I would go to school and see girls with pretty, straight hair. I would catch myself becoming envious of these girls, and I would often compare myself to them. My mother was always saying that I was a natural beauty, and that I just needed to enjoy being a kid.  While all of her ideas were practical, and important for a young girl to think about, things like being a natural beauty bored me to no end. I wanted to be cute and girly, but my mom just wanted me to act my age. Continue reading “Baby Curls”

Fighting Back: The Daily Reality of Being a Woman

– By Nikki –

I walked out into the sunny area that I like to run regularly by myself. The day started out well with coffee and breakfast at home, but slowly I had begun to feel depleted by the weariness of my daily responsibilities. I had deadlines to meet, and time was creeping up on me.

I always start out my run by turning on my app that helps me keep up my mileage, and I usually find a playlist that encourages me to keep going even when I want to stop. However, today was different because of the stress my brain was putting me under. I was overthinking certain parts of an assignment I had to get finished for graduate school.

I felt my heart rate picking up at a faster than usual pace. My breath was coming out in small gasps. I slowed myself to a walk and attempted to find a different playlist. Failing that, instead of worrying about what I was listening to I gazed at the path ahead of me. The sun was out, and the normal harshness of St. Louis’s hot summer weather had been replaced with a genuinely nice and comfortable day. An 82 °F (26 °C) day in July? Rare indeed. The trees were green and beautiful.

As I contemplated the beauty of the moment, I felt myself stop walking before I even realized it. I snapped out of my daze to see why my body had stopped moving to see two very large men standing in front of me. Continue reading “Fighting Back: The Daily Reality of Being a Woman”