This is a painful blog for me to post. The past few months, I’ve been silently suffering most days of the week, but am recovering every day. Through the support and love of my friends and boyfriend, through the constant check-ins with my Mom, I’m on the outward journey of a 3-months-long eating disorder. It began half-way through the month of May with overwhelming stress, loneliness, fear, and self-hate. I waded through bouts of serious binging, attempts to purge, over-exercising, total deprivation, and then would repeat the cycle. This continued for almost 90 days.
On my worst binging sprees, I’d consume well over five THOUSAND calories and on my most restrictive days, I’d eat only around 500 calories max. It goes without saying that I was a complete and total wreck. I was spending most of my afternoons and evenings in bed, reading, trying to drown out the awful voices in my head. These voices made me feel on some days that it’d be a better idea to end my life verses spend another 24 waking hours alive as I was. I felt useless. Around others (when I had to be), I’d operate and go through the motions, forcing a smile and pretended that I wasn’t fighting a bloody war inside. I’d avoid mirrors at any cost so I wouldn’t have to visualize what I was doing to myself. I’d try to hide food from Michael, anticipating the next moment I’d be alone so I could eat. When I’d binge, it wasn’t WHAT I was eating, but how much and how fast I could get it in. Afterwards, I was so dreadfully disgusted with myself that I’d attempt to purge. Since I hate throwing up slightly more, these tries wouldn’t end in success. I was left with a massive stomach ache, a pounding head, and suicidal thoughts.
In one month, I had ballooned up close to 30 pounds (in both fat regained and water weight from the over-consumption of trash carbohydrates). On my worst binging episodes, I would go as far as buying $65 worth of junk food- the majority of it baked foods… things that I hadn’t tasted in over 4 years. Things I would make others wary about for their trans-fat, sugar-content, and plain chemical shit-storm. Some examples: frosted pop-tarts, apple turnovers from the bakery, and yes, more cheesecake.
Some days, I’d cry and shovel the food into my mouth. Most days, I’d make it home with my shopping bags full of boxes and plastic containers, knowing I was going to let the hell happen again.
The following day, I’d resume the destruction with an enormously bloated stomach, insanely nauseous, and turning down any type of nourishment above 500 calories total.
After years of getting and keeping myself healthy, of healing past woes, of making new fitness goals for myself and busting through them… I felt as though I was back at square one once again.
2 weeks in, I came clean to Michael. He was very concerned about my well-being and has since checked-in with me on a daily basis with it. I thank my lucky stars that he was emotionally mature enough to both accept what was going on and to be there for me, not go running in the other direction. 3 weeks in, I came clean to my parents. They urged me to visit them at home, so I made the trip out there. I was very reluctant because I was ashamed that I was in this place to begin with- me, the true-blue fitness-freak, food-police, exercise-pro. After going into detail about all the ways I was struggling- both emotionally and mentally, I asked to receive full-treatment help at an eating disorder clinic here in Utah. There, I would start full-time residency and be with other girls my age, struggling with the same demons as I was.
My parents agreed that we’d need to let professionals tackle this one and work with me one-on-one, but decided we should start with a therapist (Heidi) and a nutritionist. I was wary at first to begin meeting with a dietician because of my 3 years of studying and loving the subject. I literally had to go in with an open mind, set aside my ego, and become the student again. It didn’t matter that I had memorized the nutritional content of tomatoes, that I knew exactly which nutrient amounts to keep bones strong and healthy, how to carb-cycle for a lean body… or even that I knew how to count calories. Here I was again, seemingly at the beginning. I simply wasn’t going to let myself gain back the last 40 and admit defeat. I hadn’t lost that part of myself.
Between May and now, I’ve been consistently working with Heidi to uncover all the unresolved emotions and issues from my divorce, family life growing up, and fears that I continue to struggle with. They’ve all allowed me to intoxicate myself with too much food. Anytime I should’ve allowed myself to cry, to scream in anger… hell, just to feel any emotion at all… I put a spoon in my mouth instead. Along with Michael, Heidi created a safe place for me to express myself, my hurt, and to truly work through the scars of my past.
It’s now been 4 weeks without any binge episodes, but the urge is still there most days of the week. I have continued exercising 6 days and week and am inching myself back into my beloved size-4s (currently in a size 6). I’ve lost half of what I gained back and it’s wonderful to see plenty of muscle definition again. My eating is clean again and I’m slowly allowing myself treats again- as long as I’m enjoying them slowly, in public, and not more than a few times a week. My clothes are still in my closet as a daily reminder of where I can be again. I haven’t given up on myself. I’m on the mend. Therapy has been a god-send for me and a lifesaver. Truly.
I want to continue this relationship with Michael, being the healthiest woman I can be- in every way possible. We both deserve that.