As you can see, I changed the name of my blog, and hopefully I’ll be changing alot about it too! Like I’ve said a million times, I want to take it more seriously because I really am falling quickly in love with the blogging world.
Since my day yesterday consisted of laying down, napping, and eating only 2 bowls of cereal (oh, and froyo) I figured I should share the reason for the new name! Bear with me, this is a long rant and don’t feel obligated to read 😉
[Note: I’m not in any way trying to impress my religious beliefs on anyone. I am only relating to you my experience with disordered eating and what worked for me.]
There is a love-hate relationship between food and I. I grew up loving-and I mean loving-all kinds of food. Lunchables and Dunkaroos didn’t satisfy my overly-mature palate. My parents are to thank for this-they never wavered on forcing me to balance those kiddie junk foods with veggies and nutrient-packed meals.
In highschool, my love for food blossomed along with my appetite. My nickname was “The Garbage Disposal“, and was given to me by guys. (I was obviously competing in the big leagues.) Running cross country kept me thin and I knew anything I ate I would just run it off. I ate what I wanted when I wanted it. No second thoughts; calories and trans fat weren’t words in my vocabulary. I never understood why normal-sized girls would always complain about being “fat”. Body image was (luckily) one of the things I never struggled with. I still look back on those days and miss them. Not so much because of what I ate, but because of how I ate. No holding back, no restrictions; everything was game.
Due to certain events-mainly a breakup (lame? I know)-I slowly but surely stuck my foot in the door of the devastating and degrading world of body image. If you’ve ever been there, you know how fast it sucks you in. For the first time, I noticed my body. My lovehandles were too flabby, my thighs were too big from running, I was too pale, my hair wasn’t the right color for me. I had a tiny stomach pooch, my arms were too hairy, my teeth weren’t straight. I just “knew” that if I hadn’t had all of these flaws, the guy would’ve stayed with me. At the same time, going off to college and being separated from my friends and family meant change. Nothing was in my control anymore. So in my mind, the only option was to take control. Some of the problems were obviously out of my control, but I figured my body-what I put in it and how I worked it-I could control. Hence started the hate relationship with food.
I started to believe any food would pack on the pounds immediately, so the only way to get “skinny” was to stop eating. In place of food, I subbed Diet Coke. I’d go all day just drinking the fake, carbonated beverage and be sooo unbelievably dizzy and uncomfortable by the end of the day that I would get home at night and decide to have some food. I’d get so mad at myself for eating crackers or cereal that I would “punish” myself by shoving anything and everything down my throat. Like it was a sin to eat food at all. I’d get beyond the point of satiation and immediately start dwelling over the food I just ate, counting the calories mentally. I would “fix” this by running 6-10 miles the next morning…every single day. Then the cycle would start all over again.
It became my little secret-something I had in the palm of my hand that was easily to control. I started turning to food for comfort when I was lonely (and you know how lonely college can be), sad, or if I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. Over my first year in college, the days of not eating were replaced by days of binge-eating. I’d follow up every single binge with a hardcore run.
I hated myself-not okay.
Fast forward to my second year. The hole I was digging for myself continued to grow, and it grew fast. I tried counseling but it was to no avail. I tried talking to friends and family and everyone told me it was “all in my head”, “no big deal”, a “lack of self-control”. Not knowing anyone who was dealing with the same issues made me believe I was the only crazy one. Self-control became my saving grace, and it was then that my “Restricted Food” list began. No sweets, no fats, no meats (unless it was lean), no snack food, mostly fruits and veggies, no white grains. Every day I was adding a list of “bad” foods. What’s funny is that even though I had a tight reign on what I ate, my weight skyrocketed to the highest point it’s ever been. I was miserable every single day, depressed, and surrounded my complete darkness. I blew off friends, events, and fun to stick with my routine so I could be in control. And then once I broke my routine with a binge, or ate something “bad” I’d hate myself even more. I could only eat at certain times, which prevented me from going out with friends. I had to get adequate sleep so I could wake up early enough for a long workout, which prevented fun nights out. I lost friend after friend because I was so irritable.
It wasn’t until God used a friend of mine to step in and bring me the hope I needed in the form of a website, what do you know! A 60-day course online made me take a real look at my life and re-prioritize. There was no magic diet or exercise prescribed. It was simply taking my eyes and thoughts off of myself and refocusing them on Jesus. It was realizing life is bigger and better than the tiny flaws I was consumed with. It was learning to accept those flaws because of the end of the day, my body isn’t mine and I didn’t make it…I don’t get to form it. It was realizing health is more important than what I look like. It was healing. It gave me what counseling and what people couldn’t provide me with.
“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” -Psalm 63:5
This has been my new saving grace. I learned (and am still learning) to reestablish a love relationship with food. I found a new passion for cooking and baking-which ironically means I’m around my self-prescribed list of “bad” foods alot. My stomach thanks me after every delicious meal I present to it, but food isn’t and never will be, the comfort for my soul. It doesn’t bring me the fulfillment and the peace I was seeking for so long. Only Christ can do that. As long as I’m eating, cooking, serving, and living for him, my soul will be satisfied. Thanks to a renewed relationship and healthy outlook on exercise, my soles are satisfied too (ha, get it?).
The journey continues. There are good and bad days, and honestly sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be truly healed. I long for a day when I can open the pantry door and just eat something without those thoughts racing through my head. But even in the bad days, I know there is hope. The blogging world has been a huge blessing to me as I read similar struggles and stories, when I once thought I was the only one.
If you are struggling with disordered eating, thoughts, or exercise addiction, know that there is hope. I’ve seen such healing in my life and I pray that you can find it too. Seriously, check out the website! Maybe it’ll be what you need, maybe not. But there is healing to be found. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it, because you’re not the only one!