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What. A. Day. Work was insane. Let me just say that Valentine’s Day Parties = LOTS of candy= crazy hyper kids. ‘Nuff said. But I can’t complain too much… When kids give you a Valentine (with a super cool rub-on tattoo, to top it all off) you just can’t get too frustrated with them… is it sad that a little Valentine’s Day card and a hug totally made my day?

After work, I had plans but they were moved to tomorrow night so what did I do? I took an impromptu trip to Whole Foods of course. However, I did learn that going at night is not the best idea when you want to stock up because most of their fresh bread was gone and the Greek Yogurts were almost bare (wasn’t able to find the caramel Oikos… 😦 ). BUT I did get tons and tons of cool stuff such as nutritional yeast (I can’t wait to try May’s recipes!), falafel mix, homemade hummus, kiwis, cocoa dusted almonds (oh my gosh… they are SO good!), cool new cereal with tons of grains in the mix, more tofu, Amazing Grass products, and TONS of bars (I went a tad bit overboard). And more. You will see plenty of new things very very soon 🙂

As for dinner, it was perfect. Absolute perfection. I was starving when I finally got home (though I did snack on several un-pictured cocoa dusted almonds on the way home) and I threw together some things that I bought and some soup I had on hand.

Tomato soup in my love bowl..

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With 1/2 a sourdough roll, a small bite of cornbread, and some raw sharp Cheddar Cheese.I couldn’t decided between the roll or the cornbread so I decided to have the best of both worlds.

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And let me just saying that crumbling the cheese into the soup so it gets all melty and then tearing off bits of crunchy crusty sourdough is one of the most amazing combinations in the world. For real.

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The cheese itself was really great. I love raw cheddar but I haven’t had it in a while. 😀 I welcome it back into my life with open arms.

Dessert will be forthcoming but I’m not sure what I want yet…

And before I get to the heart of this post, today I am thankful for…

  1. Hugs from kids that make my day.
  2. Amazing friends
  3. Something as simple as having food… I never think about how that small fact makes me blessed.
  4. I’m just simply happy. (Who says I can’t have 4 things that I’m thankful for…)

 

And now, in regards to yesterday’s question of whether food blogs help or hinder those with eating disorders, recovering, or have had one in the past. The reason I asked is because I have noticed several people around the blogging world who are very open and honest about their history and struggles with ED’s and I started thinking about how common it is in the blogging community. And how many of those out there who have experience with an ED but may not feel comfortable talking about it.

I have debated whether or not to write about this but after seeing all of those out there who have overcome eating disorders or are working through them, I feel like I can say this and (hopefully) not be judged by it. I also want this blog to be truthful and honest and I feel like if I don’t share this huge part of me, I’m not being honest. I have a history of an eating disorder. For the most part, I have overcome it. But I still have hard days. And with my injury and not being able to exercise, it’s resurfaced. But I know now that I am stronger than my ED and so I tell that little voice to shut up. It’s still something that I struggle with, as do most people who have had an ED at one point I think. Maybe I’m wrong about that? I’m not sure. Anyways, my story…

I cannot pinpoint exactly when it began, it was sometime when I was a Junior in high school, around when I was 16. I was incredibly obsessive about counting calories; I wrote down every single morsel that passed my lips. I read pro-anorexia food blogs on the internet and read article after article on how to lose weight and cut calories. I would weigh myself daily and if I gained anything in the slightest, it would cause me to go into this absolute depression. I was steadily losing weight ounce by ounce but it wasn’t fast enough for me. It was all that I thought about and it completely consumed my life. Every day was simply a battle to lose more weight and resist the temptation of food. Food was evil and food was the enemy. I went from someone who was thin but healthy to someone who was sickly and unhealthy. I was losing my hair, I had absolutely no energy, I was always moody and unhappy and I had bones sticking out everywhere. Everyone was always commenting on how thin I was but when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was fat. For someone who has never experienced this, it sounds crazy but when you have an eating disorder, when you look in the mirror you are really not seeing yourself. You are seeing your flaws, most of which are all in your head. When I look at pictures of myself at that time, I am­­­ seeing myself in a completely different perspective. I looked horrible.

My mom would cook a meal and I would only eat the stuff that I deemed “healthy” and only small bites of it at that; when this happened, my parents became frustrated and angry with me. I think that my parents reacted how they did because they did not know how to help me and they were worried about me. Like a lot of people, I think that they thought if they could just get me to eat, everything would be ok. My friends, specifically my best friend, were a trigger for my eating disorder but she was also the main thing that started me on the road to recovery. My junior year of high school, when this began, I started a new school where I knew only a couple of people and I met this girl who became my best friend. She and I hit it off immediately and became really close. I later found out that she had suffered from anorexia two years before I met her and still struggled with it. She was not overweight when I met her but was at a healthy weight. She was taller and just more big boned than I was, I had always been fairly thin and on the shorter side; she and I looked completely different. As best friends we shared everything, especially how we hated our bodies and our “flaws.” She then started going to a personal trainer to get her in shape for sports and he told her that she needed to lose a few pounds. He started her on a diet and made her do work outs frequently and she started losing weight and loved it.  By the end of my Junior year, it was apparent that she had a problem but the rest of her friends and I were at a loss of what to do. Meanwhile, I was seeing how she was rapidly losing weight and I began to copy her as well. I would eat around her and my other friends while I was at school but then I would go home and eat nothing for the rest of the day. I was losing weight as well but it was less noticeable because I was smaller.

By the beginning of my senior year, I was down to a very low weight and my best friend was even worse. I was worried about her so much that I did not recognize my eating disorder for what it was. I was trying to help her while battling the very same thing she was. Looking back, I see that in the beginning we pushed each other to get lower and lower. As she lost weight, I wanted to lose more. As she saw me losing weight, she wanted to lose more. We would compare our weights even though we never should weigh the same thing, our body types being so different. It became a sick competition to see who could be skinnier. The sad part is, I had no idea what I was doing to myself. In my mind, I did not have a problem, my friend did. Physically, she did much worse damage to herself than I did to myself.  She became so frail and so fragile and seeing her like that was awful, it is the scariest thing I have ever seen. She was a walking skeleton. She lost probably half of her hair, her skin had this sickly tinge to it, she was pale, always cold. I cannot even describe it. To this day, I have never seen anyone that thin actually up and living and not lying in a hospital bed. When I hugged her, I wanted to cry because you could feel every bone in her body. She was so fragile, you were almost afraid you were going to break her by just touching her. I loved her but it killed me to see her like that. There is one picture I will never get out of my mind; one time when I was with her I could see every rib and her spine and every single bone in her body. It literally took my breath away. I did not know until that point that it had gotten so bad. At that point, I was scared she was going to die. But that was also a defining point for me because much later when I realized I had a problem, looking back on that and realizing how I felt when I saw her like that, I did not want anyone to have to see me like that and go through the worry I went through with her.

I have been told that most eating disorders come from a need of wanting to control an aspect of your life when you feel like you have no control over the rest of your life. I do not think my eating disorder came from a need for control, I think it was really about food and weight. I wanted to be thin. I liked it when people told me I was thin. The more weight I lost, the more I wanted to keep going. I never really thought about what started my eating disorder even after I realized that I really did have a problem, I just knew that I had to do something about it. The key to my recovery was simply coming to terms with that fact that I had a problem. The other key to my recovery was simply being sick of the daily struggle with food. I was tired of wanting to kill myself for eating what I determined was too many calories, I was tired of looking in the mirror and hating my body. I was just tired. I couldn’t do it anymore. I did not get professional help but I did begin to educate myself about food. I researched how many calories I needed and how food fuels the body. I began to look at food as fuel rather than something to hate. I also began cooking; this started as wanting to control what I ate and know what exactly was in what I was eating. My passion for cooking and baking then surfaced. I began to exercise and eat a little more, bit by bit, and my body began to become toned and I liked it. I never gained all of the weight back that I lost in my struggle with my eating disorder but I am at a healthy weight now. I see food as fuel for my body and I know that the quality of food I put in my body is important in what I get out of my body; however, I also see food as something to be enjoyed and savored, not something to hate. Running is also something that has helped me to conquer my disorder. I now appreciate for my body for what it can do. I can look in the mirror and actually like how I look, which is a huge accomplishment and something I never thought would be possible.

 

I tell you this story, as hard as it is and afraid as I am of what people may say, because I feel for those who are struggling with eating disorders. If I help one person in my lifetime with this, just one, then I feel like I will have accomplished something. It pains me to no end that girls (and guys) struggle with food and body issues to such a degree that so many develop eating disorders. Food is something that is supposed to be enjoyed.. not over-analyzed and feared. Food is not the enemy.

And so back to yesterday’s question… Do food blogs help or hinder those with ED’s, who have a history of an ED, or are recovering from an ED? I think that everyone who commented had valid points and there was a lot of truth to what was said. I think the consensus, and my opinion as well, is that it really depends on the person. I have thought and thought about it and for me, healthy living and food blogs helped me. They introduced me to a new world of people with a passion for cooking and healthy living. They showed me what a balanced meal actually looked like and made me realize that what I was eating really was not normal or good for me. I was inspired to try new recipes and cook in new ways. I was also inspired to begin running. And all of these things, along with my faith, well they saved me. Pure and simple. But I can see where these blogs could really hinder someone. It is so easy to get caught up in them and compare yourself. But we can’t do that. This community is a community of support and encouragement… we shouldn’t take that and turn it into something that makes us feel bad about ourselves. We are all different and unique, and that is truly what makes us special.

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