Almost 35 years ago I started on a journey with an eating disorder, unaware at the time that my life would no longer be my own, but the product of a vicious and destructive cycle created by binging, purging, and starving myself. A form of self punishment I could say now, as I look back over the 20 years of struggling with this pain.
This is my journey to recovery.
The words bulimia and anorexia were not known among my family and friends when I began this journey. Even as a little girl I began to develop the characteristics which contributed to my obsessions with food. I remember a growing fascination with new diets and being thin. I discovered that people love you when you look pretty and have the “perfect” shape. I truly believed acceptance only came by pleasing others and being the person they wanted me to be.
My family was not always close like it is now. Growing up I was distant from my father, but longed to please him. His standard for me was high and I knew, or felt at the time, that he would only love me if I reached his level of excellence.
Being me was just not good enough...or so I thought.
It was then, that I began the painful process of stuffing my feelings and repressing any negative emotion, thinking that excellence meant being the perfect person physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I felt like I was starving for a love and acceptance that was not based on performance, but a love that said, “ You are valuable because of who you are, and not what you do”.
On the outside I thought I had it all together, but inside I was falling apart.
I became very vulnerable in my quest to please others. As I stumbled around looking for love, I had no problem finding a destructive teenage relationship. Hopeful for love, I only found more heartache and pain.
It took way too long for me to realize that I was no longer in control of my eating. What started as “a great idea for being perfect”, soon turned into a vicious cycle that controlled my waking hours. I went from starving myself to binge eating and purging,…and then back again to starving.
My journey to recovery began years later when I put my faith and trust in God. I gave my life to Jesus Christ and asked Him to give me a new life and a new path.
However, the miracle recovery didn't happen overnight! It took time for me to re-program my mind and emotions.
The daily lies I told myself were much more damaging than what anyone could have said or done to me in the past.
The Lord showed me that I was valuable and worthy of His unconditional love. Not because of what I do, but because of who I am. I learned that I couldn't rely on other people to supply my needs, but could only trust in Him who knows my every thought and action and loves me regardless of how I feel.
God forgave me even before I asked... and He gave me the compassion and strength to focus my study and training in nutrition and coaching so that I could help others find nutritional balance and freedom from what I'll call "Prison" and the walls were my skin.
I didn’t understand why it was so hard to stop my insanity. I was angry at myself for continually failing. But what I learned is that it takes time to peel back the layers of pain and false perceptions to become healthy. It took knowing how to feed my body to find energy and balance. I made a choice to trust God. I needed Him. He showed me an unconditional love I had never felt before.
I had to let go of the areas of my life that I felt I needed to control, and to understand that my perceptions of truth were a lie. It took time to re-program the filters in my brain to accept that I have purpose. And that my value comes from inside. I am learning to be the best "me" that I can be.
I write about this journey in hope that it shines a glimmer of light to those with the daily struggle of disordered eating. There is recovery. However, it is essential that you step out courageously and find support. The false perceptions of reality will keep you from finding your own healthy path.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder (I know it's hard) but please ask for help. I know the pain and loneliness you feel. I spent a too long on that path alone.
The struggle is not about food…..it’s about knowing in your heart that you are unconditionally loved and accepted for who you are and feeling the freedom to finally let go of control.
The truth is: You are worth it! even if you don’t believe it now. Today is the right time to start living the life you have imagined.
Sincerely, Your Friend
Renewable health coaching can help you to break with old eating habits, thought patterns, and the crazy cycle of pain you feel - to find your true beauty and purpose:
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