Life get’s better.
Your thoughts get less consumed by food, exercise, and body image.
Your days get happier.
Life gets better.
Your time gets more intentional.
You start feeling more like you.
Did I mention life gets better?
NOTE–I want to preface here that I am speaking from MY experience. I know there are a lot of eating disorders out there, but this is my story. You can read more about my store here and here. And more about my recovery here and here.
I felt like I needed to pop in and chat ED because it’s that time of year. That time of year when food becomes the center of our lives. That time of year that used to make me want to crawl into my bed and not leave my room until it was over. For most people, the holidays are about family and celebration, but during the time I suffered from my eating disorder, it was the worst time of year. I remember Christmas back in 2010, allowing myself an extra 100 calories that day to make my total a whopping 1300. I would meticulously count every morsel that went into my body and that extra 100 calories allowed me to eat a half a cookie. Then, after I ate it, came the shame. I think the shame I felt about food and exercise was the worst part because it consumed me. It’s all I thought about hour after hour, minute after minute.
I finally watched To the Bone on Netflix and while I don’t think it was the BEST movie to portray the true essence of an eating disorder, I think it did a great job personifying the difference between someone with an eating disorder and someone without one. You see, someone with an eating disorder is not choosing to constantly obsess over what they ate, what they are going to eat next, and how they are going to burn it off. It’s a mental illness, a chemical imbalance in the brain. Those who have never had an eating disorder don’t fully understand the crawling feeling of what it feels like to be owned by your thoughts. You’re in control, but completely out of control at the same time. And no, you can’t just eat the cookie and be done with it. It’s not that easy.
Life After an Eating Disorder
As time goes on and my mindset gets healthier and more intuitive, life gets so much better. Life has always been good, but being able to fully experience life in the present is wonderful. I was just chatting with Davida this week about this and as crazy as this sounds, sometimes it’s hard for me to even remember that time in my life. It’s almost like somehow my mind is blocking that negative time out of my thoughts and making it impossible for me to relive. If you would have asked me 6 years ago what life would be like today, there’s no way I would have told you I’d be drinking beer and eating cheese curds and okay with it.
Now that I finally feel more like myself than I ever have, I have been making a lot more time for me lately. I bring up me time because I feel like I was never able to fully give myself what I needed because I was literally ALWAYS thinking about food. Pottery has been a huge stress reliever and all around happy place for me. I love that I can be creative and phone-free for 2 hours a week. I’ve taken pottery since I was a junior in high school and thank goodness it’s like riding a bike because it came right back to me! I’ve also started doing yoga again. I say started and I mean all of 3 times in the last month. There was a while where I was practicing multiple times per week and holy cow am I realizing what it can do for the soul. It really does center me and rope me in a little bit. If you live in Minneapolis you should definitely check out Tarana! Other things I’ve been doing for me include lots of facemasks, going to bed early, and quality time spent with my people.
To circle back to the holidays, I am excited about this time of year. It’s the first time in my life where my thoughts surrounding food are healthy meaning that I am finally able to enjoy food like food should be enjoyed. I am a fit “foodie” after all. Instead of packing my own food and not drinking at holiday parties, I’m excited to eat 2 servings of mashed potatoes and a boatload of cookies and then to bounce right back into my lifestyle the next day like nothing happened. Balance in its true form, people.
Well, that’s all I have for you! Life is good and I hope posts like these can give those who are struggling a little glimmer of light because it does get better.
Great that you’re healthy now. I’m just researching this topic and writing an essay on anorexia nervosa and it is very interesting to learn the stories of those who coped with ED. I have read many stories about EDs at https://samploon.com/free-essays/anorexia-nervosa/ and was surprised how many people suffer from ED and it’s mindblowing. And I discovered for myself how many EDs there are. And it is necessary to spread awareness, and so that no one would say such phrases as – what is the problem, just eat. Society must understand how to communicate with people with ED in order to help them.
After 2 try it stiil same did not work for me sorry mam
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You are very gorgeous Lee. Thank you for sharing your valuable experiences with us and also keep on posting, so that we can enjoy your blog every time we read
I didn’t realize you had struggled with an ED, Lee. Thanks for letting us know, and thanks for the reminder that it’s perfectly okay to have freedom around food during the holidays.
Hi Lee – I just looked back and read your story from the beginning. I relate to your food obsessed personally in so many ways. I had to give pause when I read that you were addicted to chewing gum. When I was restrictive, I would chew two packs a day as a way of distracting myself from actually being hungry. It’s exhausting being scared to buy things in bulk because you are unsure if you can control your behaviors. I’m still working on deciphering if abstaining is easier for me than moderation – which it is but I still want to enjoy those things in life. I want to be able to have a cookie at a party and not allow that to be a gateway to eating all the other treats until I’m uncomfortably full and just want to go home. I’ve made progress over the past two years but am still a work in progress. Thank you for sharing your relatable story and giving hope to so many who are quietly suffering with the same behaviors.
Megan! Thank you for sharing part of your story. SOOOO many people can relate to the gum thing and it’s crazy! My one piece of advice — keep surrounding yourself with normal eaters + putting yourself in the challenging situation of being at a party with cookies. I feel like the more I hid, the slower I recovered! You gotta just get out there! <3
<3 <3 <3
Really, REALLY loved reading this post. I can absolutely relate to counting every single calorie that entered my mouth and dreading every part of my rigid lifestyle. I heard that To the Bone “glamorized” eating disorders too much, so I haven’t watched it yet. I did watch Feed, another story about anorexia, and it does an amazing job of showcasing anorexia as a mentally abusive and manipulative entity. However, I can not be so sure that everyone will resonate with it, but I suggest checking it out!
Anyhow, I am so happy that you are in a much better place, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am definitely looking forward to eating all my sweet potato mash and apple pie too!
I need to watch Feed!
Thank you so much for this! My 17 year old daughter is in recovery from an eating disorder, and I get so hopeful every time I hear someone else talk about their recovery and being beyond it. And who speaks knowledgeably about the truth of eating disorders – it is not a choice but a brain chemical issue.
I am so happy you are doing well and enjoying life!
My mom was a major player in my recovery. Seriously so grateful for my mom and sister!
I love this post! You rock! And i don’t know if i’ve commented about it before, but if i did i’ll say it again-i’m so glad you have grown to like beer! You were missing out. 😉 Enjoy all of the upcoming holidays!
I’m so glad I love beer tooooo!!!! It’s a way better drunk, too 😛
Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve struggled with disordered eating and extreme calorie counting on and off throughout my life, and the holidays are ALWAYS when it sneaks up on me. The stress of being constantly surrounded by unfamiliar food’s and worried about how people perceive me + just THE HOLIDAYS. So tough.
Glad to hear you’re doing well!
It really is a tough time and sooooo many more people than we know struggle with food issues!
Love this so much!
Glad to hear you are doing well now, great post!
Thank you Bailey!
I loved this post what a beautiful model.
Yes I love these posts. Thanks for sharing and being honest Lee! So happy you’ve come through it!
<3 Thanks Rachel!