Rehab Truth: Why Orthorexia and Exercise Go Hand-In-Hand

As so often happens, “weekend Orthorexia” creeps into me after I’ve worked out. What is it about that voice in your head?

Had a nice, 6-mile run and then immediately came home and couldn’t decide what to eat.

“If I just DON’T eat, well then those calories will be saved,” I always initially (and gleefully) think. “Whatever I eat will make me bigger. NOTHING is safe.” My Braveheart chant sings.

I’ve always had a little bit of an issue with working out and then eating. Somehow, it feels like when I work out- my appetite tends to dissipate for awhile afterwards; Even though I know I need to be eating. Does anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, I went to the little grocery store by my apartment and found myself doing what I always do when I’m in this position; walking up and down- and up and down- back down and elsewhere- into the store unable to decide what is “acceptable” to my ED to eat.

But alas, at the end of the day it’s a choice to hurt yourself- and I’m enough in recovery to understand that. It’s a choice to live by your ED and a choice to weigh your healthy voice over what your weird, instinct desire is telling you.

Fruit? Do I need the (natural) sugar? Cheese? Do I need the protein and fat. Bagel chips? Do I need the carbs?

Yup. I do. Cause I can’t live my whole life being scared of food.

I spent years of my life researching food; memorizing calories.

Years of my life google searching until my eyes felt like they were burning out of my head.

I’m tired of it.

I deserve better.

Flaming Self-Respect-

And it just ain’t no life at all.

Happy Saturday!

Holidaze: Surviving The #Blessed Season With An Eating Disorder

…Because, likely, if you have an eating disorder you love Thanksgiving- but hate Thanksgiving food.

Personally, I have no problem admitting I am the scrooge of Thanksgiving (okay, fine. And Halloween… Costumes and Body Dysmorphia just DO NOT fly with me no matter if I dress like a slutty nurse or a Pentecostal nun.)

Anyways…

Give me your pilgrims, your Indians, your Thanksgiving Charlie Brown VHS, The corporate Vacation Days, Family small talk, The sweet smell of doughy rolls-

But my God, keep your stuffing, your pecan pie, your cranberry sides, your corn pudding like 1000 feet away from me.

There are times I wish I could use a get-out-of-jail-free card on my eating disorder; Thanksgiving is one of them.

If it were up to me, I’d sit at the ”kid table” far far away from the buffet of food and play airplane while someone feeds me a spoonful of carrot mash alongside my cousin’s 1-year old.

Alas, recovery- however- doesn’t exactly approve of carrot mash (although it might just  be the ONE food item I actually don’t know the calorie count on…)

Anywho, despite my silent protesting- Thanksgiving feast occurs again- as it did last year and the year before etc., etc.

Continue reading “Holidaze: Surviving The #Blessed Season With An Eating Disorder”

Eat Dessert For Breakfast Because #Recovery

It’s dat simple.

Dessert for Breakfast:


…Because 4 years ago on 11/22/11 I was a lil girl I can no longer recognize, and I’m going to enjoy 3 cookies.

“I’m tired of living like this,” I wrote then. “Can’t stand drowning in food. Just want to be a person; To enjoy a meal. To not rape myself for eating a candy bar. Need help Bradley, where are you? My god come help me. I’m tired and just want to be okay. When I look into a field I don’t see grass anymore. Don’t see the scenery. I just see a long treadmill made to run off what I ate this morning. I’ve made everything I do a way to burn calories, and the joy of life has left me in so many ways. Nothing is interesting if I can’t make it about weight. I’m 22 years old and lived like this for so long I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a meal; the last time I sat down and felt hungry. So far in and don’t know how to get out. Afraid I can’t. Can’t remember what’s enjoyable, only in theory. Was given so much, and am wasting it. Given looks and I cut them away; given a brain and am using it on everything senseless. Given morals and forgot how to abide. Can’t remember how to be apart of anything.”

Belly Button Cookie

The One Sentence You Should Never Say To Someone With An Eating Disorder 

“I can’t even tell that you have one.”

 

This sentence helped take away 8 years and 40lbs of my life.

Such a simple few words. We say it all the time.

“Oh, you’ve gained weight? Couldn’t tell.”

“You’re hungover? Couldn’t tell.”

“Wait, I don’t see any zit on your chin? What are you talking about?”

“You got a haircut? Sorry, didn’t notice.”

We’re human. Our sensors are overloaded by stigma. We don’t always notice much outside of our peripheral.

It’s okay, and likely for the good of mankind… But, to someone with an eating disorder- that sentence is a trap.

That sentence is what continues to breakdown conversation for someone who may need the professional help that our country can provide.

Continue reading “The One Sentence You Should Never Say To Someone With An Eating Disorder “

7 Things People Say About Eating Disorders That You ”Can’t Even”

1. (Said while eating a meal) “It’s such a relief to see you eating again…. (pause)… You look so healthy.”

*Clammers Fork onto Plate*

…Never eats again.

2. “Was it the media? IT WAS THE MEDIA.  Don’t believe the media – they’re airbrushed you know?! Those models aren’t even real.” 

… Yes thank you, we too know about Photoshop. Continue reading “7 Things People Say About Eating Disorders That You ”Can’t Even””

WellandGood.com: 5 Brilliant Observations About Fitness And Body Image From Lena Dunham

5 brilliant observations about fitness and body image from Lena Dunham

If you follow Lena Dunham on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that the Girls creator and actor has been developing lots of active habits.

So it’s no surprise that espnW tapped Dunham to share her thoughts on fitness and body image in an interview for its My Body Can campaign.

In the interview, Dunham discusses her surprising new fondness for running (and more established love for Tracy Anderson), what she likes about her body, and the ways exercise has improved her life, like helping her deal with anxiety.

Here are five of her brilliant observations from the interview:

1. “It [running] was the last thing I wanted to do. When it became something that actually gave me pleasure, I was shocked. Also, endorphins are real. You run with someone for an hour, you feel pretty good. Running for an hour does not make you feel worse.”

2. “When I go through weeks of not exercising, it’s easy to convince myself I don’t need to go to the gym today. I have to remind myself that when you exercise, there is a natural calm that comes from knowing that you did something with your body that day. Actually going and working out makes everything else easier and better.”

3. “As I get older, I’m realizing more and more that it doesn’t really matter if I’m good at it, it just matters that I try. My own effort, my own willingness, are becoming what’s appealing to me.”

4. “When we do exercise, when we really own and understand our bodies and claim our physicality, our superficial quibbles with our bodies lessen because we realize what our bodies can do for us. My relationship to eating, my relationship to critiquing my own shape, all of that has changed since I’ve started viewing my body much more as a tool to do my work. That’s been huge for me.”

5. “I have been 30 pounds heavier and I’ve been 30 pounds lighter, and it has never had an effect on my ability to find love or connect with people. What had an effect on my ability to find love or connect with people was never my thighs, it was how I felt about myself and the love that I was giving to myself.”

To read the complete interview, visit www.espn.go.com

(Photo: Instagram/lenadunham)

MindBodyGreen Article: My Body’s Not “Perfect,” But Here’s Why I’m Wearing A Bikini

My Body’s Not “Perfect,” But Here’s Why I’m Wearing A Bikini

Let’s talk about that “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini.” Like so many others, I have struggled for more than eight years to wear a swimsuit comfortably.For the better half of my adolescence and early 20s, I was consumed by eating disorders and body dysmorphia. After seeking residential treatment in 2013, I am now recovering remarkably well. Yet, this summer I found myself thinking I’m not toned enough to wear a swimsuit.

While I’ve made great strides in learning how to communicate and assert my negative emotions, body image continues to take work.

In the past, I would never — repeat NEVER — wear a bikini and walk around in public. All summer, I told myself I was going to break this milestone — slowly. Setting realistic goals for recovery has been a big part of keeping me on the “straight and narrow,” and I knew that allowing myself to finally “be free” and wear a bikini in public was going to help me move forward.

While I enjoy a good run, I don’t lift weights consistently. While I love a good kale salad, I also enjoy a slice of red velvet cake. I’m human, and after two years in recovery, I’m finally learning it’s okay to be just that.

I did what I set out to do recently and it wasn’t easy (and it didn’t last long) but it was incredibly liberating. That being said, here are the eight stages of wearing a swimsuit even though you aren’t perfect:

1. Invest in the perfect suit.

Don’t settle. Choose the swimsuit that makes you feel like a trendsetter. The one that will allow you to strut around with Marilyn Monroe glam. One-piece, tankini, bikini — whichever will invoke that little feeling inside that says, ‘’This is me.”

2. Ask someone you trust for a little support.

Someone who will smile with you and understand that this experience is a vulnerable one for anyone recovering from disordered eating and body-image dysmorphia. Go with a person who makes you feel human and who can help you laugh at the anxiety a swimsuit can cause in people.

3. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish from this experience.

Do you want to swim in the ocean? Lay on a float in the pool? Water ski behind a boat on a lake? You don’t have to wear a swimsuit to do these things, but for so many years you probably let your anxiety take away from the experience of going to the beach, a pool party, or a lake event. Embrace who you are today and what you’re going to do in your new swimsuit.

4. Get there and commit.

You’re at the beach now. You’ve committed, but you’re unsteady. You’re not ready. You’re hanging out for a while — towel around your waist, cover-up button-down hanging off your shoulders.

You’re thinking: Are they looking at me? Are they wondering why I’m not getting in the water? I should, but I can’t. They’ll stare. They’ll see cellulite. My stomach isn’t as flat as they might think it is. Does my butt jiggle more than I can see in the mirror?

You understand today that you’re putting yourself out there in order to stop living under the blanket of fear of your own body.

5. Focus on feeling confident in your bathing suit.

You know what you came to do. You’re taking the plunge, but it doesn’t mean it’s not scary. You’re standing there with your confidante as he or she encourages you to remember what is it you want from this. The sense of vulnerability hasn’t left you.

6. Push through the panic.

You drop your towel and think there’s no going back now. Your legs are exposed. You can’t remember the last time you let the world see this much of your body.

7. Accept the vulnerable feeling.

You’ve wanted this. You’re almost there. All summer long you’ve worn athletic shorts over your swimsuit bottom so that you’re skimming the line of baring it all. You’re recovering, and recovering means pushing. You remind yourself you want to swim in that ocean today. You’ve watched people do this for so many years — the ease with which they wade in completely untethered to the social anxiety of what their body looks like.

8. Bare it and own it.

You’re standing there and you’re exposed. You notice that no one is stopping and staring at you — the world keeps moving. No one is shielding their eyes from your stretch marks. Now the entire world can see your skin as it was fashioned to be.

Be proud and embrace yourself for getting outside of your comfort zone. You don’t have to hide your skin from anyone.

A Note On Thin-Shaming*

Recently, I had an article run about wearing a bikini freely for the first time in 8 years. I wrote about the process of it and tips for someone if they wish to wear a swimsuit but are suffering with the same body image dysmorphia that continue to plague my daily existence- 2 years in recovery from an eating disorder.

People, I’ve found, are often not honest enough about this process- that there’s this long, snaking route in recovery in which you have to learn to respect your body after you’ve done heinous things to it. The years of fighting and learning to accept this body- the time you’ve spent growing weary of your own self-hatred.

Anyway, this article ran with my body on display. It’s liberating. Now that my half naked bikini bod is out there on the web, it allows me to stop hiding behind the self-absorbed “fear” of what people *might* think about my shape and figure.

It’s been mostly well-received with the audience- however, there’s a notable amount of “thin-shaming” comments and it continues to plague me. Why? Shouldn’t I be relieved that people aren’t saying cruel remarks about my body? The truth is I am to some extent. But it’s incredibly shorthanded and discouraging to read people’s notion of what “can” and “cannot be” body image struggle.

One commenter wrote “How disappointing. This girl is skinny,” and a slew of comments she’d wished to see in a ‘real’ bikini woman instead of me. Another commenter wrote that I was “seeking attention,” and another said “This is gross. She’s thin.”

Fat-shaming is not acceptable, but I must reiterate tonight that neither is Thin-shame. It is NOT acceptable as women to put “standards” on eating disorders. It is hypocritical and culturally fucked up- and yet on it happens everywhere.

I spent 8 years on the side-lines of my life. 8 years sitting on boats sweating through my clothes with my legs sticking to leather seats because I was too anxious to live. These comments are firstly shallow, but also strive to discredit my 8-year struggle in and out of treatment as though it isn’t a “valid” enough experience with eating disorders.

Do women realize the hypocrisy of their words when they do this? That when a commenter writes “but this girl is thin, show me a real woman” what she really is saying is that larger people should, in fact, be the ones to worry about wearing their bare skin on a beach. It perplexes me and it is a slight on all bodies.

Is it easier to be “thin-shamed”? Sure. Culturally, it is. But it’s unacceptable that people feel like it’s okay to comment freely about a persons weight in ANY circumstance. I didn’t write that article for people to comment on my weight (though of course I knew it’d happen), I didn’t write this article for reassurance. Yes, my naked-ish body is out there- but nobody reading that article knows the crevices of it like I do. None of them can see the stretch marks I continue to manage, the acne scars around my chin, or the skin I wish I could heal from sun damage.

I wrote that article for the millions of women/men who are also sitting on the sidelines of their own existence. For the people that hide behind towels and miss out on their lives just as I have missed out on mine. I am biologically thinner, yes, but that does not make me tone. I am a “real woman” too with the same body insecurity as anyone else, and I write honestly and openly in order to weave others together through the same experiences- not to have other women turn on each other and discredit that experience- and I will continue to take the podium for ALL women- of ALL types- who have suffered with eating disorders and the struggle to recover from them.

*Mic Drop*