It’s funny…I’ve had this post written for months, it just hasn’t ever felt right to post it. I had coffee with a yogi friend (Hey Justyn!) this morning and was inspired to inspire. What I mean, is I was inspired to open up about my story…My eating disorder story.
Before I start…here is a previous post leading up to this one that would be a good read to catch you up…The Story: Part 1,
Fitness and Healthy Living have been an important part of my life since I can remember. I grew up in Milwaukee in a healthy household playing competitive sports with an extremely active family. I went to the University of Minnesota for college where I studied a mixture of things: Health/Fitness and Design. I was very involved in my college’s student government and had a lot of friends. While at school, I had a love/hate relationship with my health. Body image has been something I’ve struggled with since high school, and my junior year of college I developed an extremely poor relationship with food and exercise. A family history of depression mixed with the stress of school left me in a terrible state of mind. I began to control exactly what I put in my body and how many calories I expended each day. I was eating anywhere from 1100 – 1300 calories and taking exercise to the extremes (40 minute HIIT workouts, long runs, etc.). For the amount I was working out, I definitely didn’t eat enough. While some people would say 1,300 calories is perfectly normal for a female, I wasn’t eating enough for the amount I was working out and was restricting myself from certain kinds of foods: (healthy) fats and carbs.
What made things so extreme for me was the calorie counting. Once I started that, things went downhill quickly. Why? Because I knew exactly how much food down to the calorie I was consuming each day. High fat foods and carbs became the enemy and fruits/vegetables were a godsend, they were my safe foods. When I say quickly, I mean quickly. I dropped 30 pounds in less than 2 months. I didn’t have 30 pounds to lose. I went from probably a healthy 6/8 to an unhealthy 0 and 150 pounds to 118. (don’t forget, I am 5’8″) I also went from a D cup (which is what I am now) to about an A/B. I had no definition in my face and I was skinny…not fit. Thing is, I thought that looked good.
Looking at the above photos, you may think that I look pretty normal in all 4, but mentally, I was not. I am a muscular person and have been since forever. When I was at my thinnest, I had no muscles in my legs, my upper body was very dainty, and I lost my girl bumps (boobs and butt). That’s just no fun. Relationships dwindled, school was put on the back burner and my happiness level was at about a 1.0 on a 10-scale. All of my energy was put towards how I looked and what other thought of me. I thought that being “skinny” looked good.
Holy zambonie that makes me sound like a huge Debbie Downer! Well let me tell you, I was the most positive depressed person you’d ever meet. I did what it took to overcome my eating disorder by surrounding myself with positive people, blogging, yoga, meditation and regular visits to a therapist. My first step to recovery was realizing that my relationship with food and my body, wasn’t normal or healthy. I knew there was no way I’d be able to live so restricted and things needed to change. I didn’t get better over night, but I began doing things differently such as incorporating workouts that weren’t so vigorous like as yoga and walking, and eating ALL foods in moderation instead of limiting myself to certain ones. I didn’t have the smoothest of recoveries. A little something called binge eating snuck up on me. I could not control my hunger and intuitive eating was an absolute struggle. Remember when I said I had “safe” foods. Well, those foods are the ones I binged on….like an entire 3 pound bag of grapes. No human should consume 3 pounds of grapes at a single sitting…let me warn you…you will feel like complete shit afterwards.
2 years ago, when I set off into recovery, I met Blake. This is when things changed for the good. I so badly wanted to feel normal around food and feel good about myself. I wanted to be able to go out to restaurants and not even think about how many calories I was consuming or what it would take to burn it off. Blake helped me intuitize (yes, I created this word) my eating. Blake is probably the most intuitive eaters I have ever met. He eats when he is hungry and stops when he is full. Easier said then done people.
About 3.5 years later- here I am today: happy and healthy. I live for myself and for those that I love. I’m only 23 and I feel like I have gone through so much. Of course I still have those days where I feel like I ate too much or feel blah about how I’m looking. That’s normal. I also still suffer from depression and am working on weening myself off my anti-depressant. Taking a step back, I really do love where I am at and feel so blessed every single day. My family, Blake, and close friends (Linley, Carly, etc) supports my recent career move and I am so excited to be in a place (health-wise and finance-wise) where I can venture into my own happy place each day and call it my job.
Today I couldn’t imagine not eating avocado or Greek yogurt because “there’s just too many calories.” I also couldn’t imagine running 4 miles in 31 minutes (okay, that was pretty bad ass…and I hope to do this again soon!). Today I believe strong is healthy and muscles are sexy.
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything that has happened in my life up until this point has made me who I am today. Once I started loving myself for who I am, life started playing in my favor. I think everyone is beautiful in their own way and deserves to be loved by all. So let’s wake up every single day with unconditional love for our bodies and the life that we have created for ourselves.
If you have questions about ANYTHING I am very open about my story and would be happy to answer. Use the comment section below to do so OR email me at fitfoodiefinds(at)gmail(dot)com.
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Your story is similar to mine as I do 35 min HIIT workouts and track my calories. What helped you stop tracking calories and instead listen intuitively to your body’s needs? Thank you for all the wonderful inspiration.
Now that you’re in a much better place, I have to ask. Do you weigh yourself or do you just eat/workout to make yourself feel good and nourish your body?
Your story speaks to me on many levels… I, too, am a restrict-then-binge eater, who is still on her way towards recovery. On top of a disordered relationship with food, I am also a recovering alcoholic (one year sober, this month!).
Anything which sets the tone for recovery, speaks volumes to my soul. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, strength, and hope!
I am so happy my story resonated with you Sarah! Keep on keepin’ on, my dear!
Congratulations on one year!
I came across you down an Instagram rabbit hole. I love your blog and loved it when I discovered you’re in my all time fav big city! I recognized some of the locations in your photographs. I’m from Texas and I visit my son there often! Love the ice coffee at Isles Bun and Coffee! Maybe someday we will cross paths! Thanks for being an inspiration.
Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by! So glad you love Minne 😀 Where does your son live in the cities?!
Wow, Lee, I had no idea about your past! Thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s so important to talk about things like that, to show people who still are struggling that there is a way out and that anyone can change.
Has there been something specific that has made you realise your situation and that you need to change something? Have friends or Family talked to you about this and told you that you are too skinny or behaving unhealthily? It’s so important to have trustworthy people by your side that support you no matter what!
I’m happy for you that you’ve overcome all these issues and love your mindset and attitude now! 🙂
I know you have heard this quite a few times since you originally posted, but I feel compelled to tell you I’ve been through a very similar circumstance.. I was so incredibly restrictive for the last 3 years that there were times when I wouldn’t eat anything or go out because I didn’t feel skinny enough. I finally broke down (crying, in a restaurant in front of my boyfriend’s family!) and realized I couldn’t do it anymore, no matter how bad I wanted to stay skinny. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to look back at photos of my “skinny” self and not believe that I looked better that way. I have come to the realization that there is no way our bodies are meant to look like that. Not to mention the damage I’ve done to my self-esteem! I’m so glad you were able to find a healthy lifestyle and found your way out of the restrictive tunnel!
Lee – I just read this and got tears in my eyes! It was like reading parts of my own “story”. I can truly, truly know what you mean when all you wanted to do was ” feel normal around food and feel good about myself” with Blake. When I met Johnny (My boyfriend) I so badly wanted to be normal around food too. He used to make me dinner and I just screw it I can do this! Best thing that ever happened to me food healing wise! Anyway I 100% agree in that “I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything that has happened in my life up until this point has made me who I am today. Once I started loving myself for who I am, life started playing in my favor. I think everyone is beautiful in their own way and deserves to be loved by all. So let’s wake up every single day with unconditional love for our bodies and the life that we have created for ourselves” – Just beautiful.
SO glad I have found your blog. Thanks for sharing your story and I can’t wait to keep reading 🙂
I’m glad this resonated with you. It’s so crazy home many other women have similar stories. I just wish I lived by all of you so we could be besties in real life. Let’s all move to AUSTRALIA!
I know, it is nuts. Me too, how amazing would that actually be!! Haha doooo it 🙂
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AHHHH I did not notice that you posted this back in August! I read the first part a few months back and have been anxiously awaiting part 2. Thanks so much for sharing! I am currently dealing with all of the above right now and it’s so encouraging to see that you overcame it. I think you are so wonderful!
Aww man I’m sorry you missed it! And thanks for opening up about your story, I really appreciate it 🙂 Have an awesome weekend!
My favorite part about this post was realizing that you’re not perfect! I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and have had my own struggles with food and feel like eating intuitively like a “normal” person is as elusive as the “perfect” body I’ve given up on. I’ve always appreciated your posts, but now knowing that your healthy lifestyle was something you had to work towards will bring new light to your blog. Also, thrilled to see more fats in your posts! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! This made my day 🙂
Gah I loved your post and wish I were at a happier phase like you. I just graduated college (23 years old too). Used to be real health/exercise-conscious (no 4.5 mn miles though – DAYUM girl). But now I have nothing to stay disciplined for. I just feel super sluggish and gave into chocolate and everything in the “enemies” category. Night binges. Can’t stop…. I suppose I’ll be coming back to read this and the posters to gather more insight as I struggle through… Seems like I’m the only Dude with this issue. But great post, thanks for sharing. Inspiring in a bittersweet way, like I wish I were there.
Well thanks for the comment Mike! I did a binge eating post to…you can read that here: https://fitfoodiefinds.com/2013/08/how-i-overcame-binge-eating/ Have a great day!
So glad you shared this girl! So many gals out there struggle with the exact same thing…and might not even know it!!
Somehow I missed this post!! Thanks for sharing your story, letting us in, and encouraging ALL of us to live the happy healthy life 🙂
Okay, totally late on reading those post but I just did and OH my. We share such similar stories, and I could not be more proud of you for all the progress and success you have made in your journey! It’s such a wonderful thing to read!
You’re such an inspiration for this post and it really made me happy with how much has changed for you and how you’re such a positive influence now.
Lee, thank you so much for sharing your story! I had a similar experience with food obsession – more so the restricting of it. My decision to get “healthy” started when I was 15 and by 16/17 I was down 40 lbs – resting in the low 90s (I’m 5’4″). At that point I was given an ultimatum of gain/not lose any more weight or go into treatment. I pulled myself up/kicking myself in the butt (realizing I could die from this) and was close to 110bs by high school graduation. I continued to eat healthy and exercise through my first couple years or college (never letting myself go too much overboard, but still watching what I ate) and continued to gain a few more pounds over those year – I really don’t think realization sank in until I studied abroad my junior year and just enjoyed life – the food, activity (not structured or scheduled), and realizing what it took to be happy and enjoy the moment. That was over 5 years ago now, but I’m now the healthiest/happiest I’ve been – I have much more muscle (thank you crossfit), more energy (good foods), don’t own a scale (it is no one’s friend), and follow and intuitive eating style of healthy foods and not calories, and keep my fridge stocked with healthy fats, protein, and fruits and veggies. I am now a dietitian and personal trainer – my nutrition education saved my life – food as fuel. I love what I do and passing that passion on to others. Take care of your body right and it will take care of you.
Thank you for being an inspiration to others!
Look at you! You are an inspiration to others. I couldn’t imaging going through all of that in high school, so major props to you! You have a great story and I am sure you inspire and motivate your clients on a daily basis. Isn’t it crazy that something like studying abroad can really open up your eyes to true happiness. I’m glad you are in such a good place right now. It makes me happy that you are so confident in the words you speak about your story and yourself in general! Thanks for the comment, Ingrid!
this is so wonderful to read. I went through a really similar situation my junior and senior years in high school. I fooled myself by saying I was eating SO healthy and making myself believe it. really I was harming my body and doing damage I couldn’t even imagine to my psyche. It took me 2 years after finally telling my mom that I thought I was obsessive and unhealthy to finally reach full recovery and completely let go of my food fear! Dealing with an ED is definitely a life long thing, because I know that when I’m sad or stressed those thoughts/behaviors always want to creep back out. But having friends. family, and great faith makes me strong enough to keep on my healthy living !
So great to see you sharing your story, I’m glad it’s one of recovery just like mine 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this! I can definitely empathize with you in every aspect of this disorder. It is not an easy one to overcome and takes much strength and perseverance. Thank you for offering encouragement through this story! SO happy you are doing so well 🙂
I never would have guessed any of this about you. I agree, people do need to open up about such things more and I thank you for doing it. You’re awesome, Lee!