Part two in my blog series about my eating disorder. In case you missed it, you can read part 1 here.

Disclaimer: This is my story. What worked for me might not work for you. Always listen to your body. When in doubt, consult a doctor, not Google.

She remembered who she was and the game changed.

Lalah Delilah

Acceptance. Such an interesting word. But such a hard thing to do sometimes. They say it is the first step towards healing. And I was finally taking it. After years of abusing my body, at first with restrictive diets and over-exercising, then with binge after binge and zero exercise, I was finally accepting I had a problem. So, let’s fix it, right? Yeah… Easier said than done, trust me.

When family & friends won’t help you

I think the funniest thing in all this (and also the hardest to understand for me) was how after years of telling me I had a problem, when I finally accepted it and named the problem, those closest to me starting telling I had no problem.

Yep, you read that right. I distinctly remember my mum telling me all the time that how I was acting and eating and living was not normal. Finally, after years of denial, I went home and told her I know I have binge-eating disorder. She looked at me and said “That’s stupid, honey, you’re not sick. You just need to start eating normal again. It’s all about will, it’s not a disorder”.

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.

Maya Angelou

You do You

With nobody around to support me, all I had left was myself, my own strength, social media and God. Not necessarily in that order.

I turned first to social media. There are a lot of helpful groups for binge-eating disorder, bulimia and more. I created a fake account because I was to ashamed to let my friends see I belonged in such groups. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that inside of these groups, I found the strength to be myself. Those people may have been complete strangers, but they understood me. I’m not gonna tell you I healed thanks to them. I didn’t. But it does a lot of good to know there are others in the world who face the same demons as you.

The advice that changed everything

At this point, I thought I was accepting my binge-eating disorder. It took me a while to realize I wasn’t. I still did not have the mentality I needed in order to heal. My self-esteem was lower than ever. I was fat, ugly, stupid, incapable and unworthy. And I was still trying to lose weight, I was still trying to compensate the binges with days of not eating.

Until one day, an advice changed everything. I don’t even remember where I heard it – maybe it was Youtube, or Facebook or a book. To be honest I don’t have the exact quote. It was someone who had overcome binge-eating disorder by allowing herself to eat. Just let yourself eat whatever you want whenever you want without caring. Throw away the scale and focus on you, focus on feeling good. Tired – both physically and mentally of this disease – I did just that. I would just eat. It didn’t matter anyway. For more than a year I had tried to battle binge-eating disorder and I had just gained more and more weight, reaching my heaviest ever. At least, if I keep gaining, maybe I could regain my happiness.

Regaining happiness

Not too long after this decision, I started going out with friends again. I went out for lunch with my co-workers, I went on a date for dinner. There were days when thoughts of guilt came crawling back to me. But every time I focused on the good part – finally I wasn’t alone anymore. I actually had a life again. I went to the restaurant and order what I was craving, whatever that was. And I felt good and laughed with friends while eating.

Did I still gain weight? Absolutely. Was I eating healthy? NO! I know that wasn’t ok. I was going to the other end of unhealthy, after going close to anorexia and then binge-eating disorder. But my body and my mind needed that. I needed to regain my happiness, no matter what. And that is what I did.

The shift

I don’t remember exactly when the shift happened. One day, as I was at the grocery store, I was attracted to the fruits and veggies. I was craving a salad! Without even thinking about it I bought all the fruits and veggies I wanted, went home and made myself one big salad.

The days that followed I realized I was actually craving healthier foods. I was out for lunch with my co-workers and again I wanted a salad. Then after a few days I wanted dessert after the salad. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was truly healing at that point. My body was, after so many years, functioning properly again. It had left behind the years of abuse and needed a healthy, balanced diet. I won’t lie, I had days when I wanted to start counting calories again, now that I could eat salads. But I resisted. I was feeling good, I was happy. And finally, I knew this mattered more than anything else.

Slowly, my energy levels begun to rise as well. And I was eating a balanced diet, I actually didn’t feel like a balloon all the time. So somehow, somewhere along that line, I start feeling like I wanted to work out again. I started slowly, with yoga and swimming. I didn’t feel like sweating so I kept it easy. I did what felt good. It would be a little over a year until I’d want to actually hit the gym again. But I took the time. I did not rush it. And today I can honestly say I’m in my best shape ever.

Comparison is an act of violence against the self.

Iyanla Vanzant

Today

So here I am, on New Year’s Eve morning in 2017. Since all this journey started in 2010 a lot has changed. It’s been almost 8 years of struggle, of hating myself, of loosing myself and of learning to accept everything I am. Christmas was great – with food and family and friends. New Year’s Eve will be the same.

I am back to working out. I’ve been back to the gym now for almost a year. I found my passion for the sports again. I even got certified as a Personal Trainer. I’m not practicing yet, I don’t know if I ever will. But I wanted to get the diploma as training has always been such a passion for me. Who knows where I’d be today if I had kept training because of my passion instead of a diet! Or if I hadn’t ruined my health until I needed to stop working out altogether. Truth is I’ll never know.

All I can do now is use the lessons I have learned. Use them for myself and hopefully use them to help others. Help heal those who are already far gone in eating disorders, or help those who are getting dangerously close to them. I hope my story inspires you, I hope it helps you avoid making the same mistakes I did. If you are in one of these situations, you can reach out to me either in the comments, or privately on the Contact Us webpage. Finally, if you struggled with an eating disorder and would like to share your story, don’t hesitate to send it to us!

And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.

Mark Anthony

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