Part 2: Confessions of Disordered Eating

Sharing this journey was a huge motivation in starting a blog, and since we just entered a New Year I guess now’s as good a time as any. I have no firm 2017 resolution, but in a nut shell I’m working on letting things go, to stop living in the past and move forward. I wrote down all the things to let go of in an effort to make 2017 the best year yet, and I burned them.

One of the biggest things in that pile is my battle with disordered eating.

In part one I shared when and why I changed up my nutrition habits and the benefits from doing so. What started with the best of intentions went the opposite way over time. I went from one end of the spectrum {not paying attention to what I ate} to the complete opposite end {paying too much attention}.

For a long time the thought of an eating disorder was that furthest thing from my mind. In fact, I thought the exact opposite. I finally felt I had healthy eating under control, but if you reverse the two words to ‘disordered eating that struck a chord. I didn’t restrict intake {I love food & eating too much} and I didn’t purge {I have an extreme phobia}, but I’d developed a fixation on food intake.

Becoming consumed with healthy eating, having all consuming thoughts that debilitate your life is unhealthy, it’s disordered. It was something I communicated with very few people because I struggled finding words to explain to someone what this “mind game” was like.

I was getting such great results physically from my nutrition & workouts that I was hooked, but what began occurring mentally was rough.

Items not a part of the 10 week program I began to view as ‘bad’ – bread, pasta, potatoes, grains, sugars – that they are never acceptable, that they’ll instantly derail all the hard work I’ve put in. We all know balance is key, and that it’s okay to enjoy these things in moderation (and believe me I enjoy sweets), but I just couldn’t do it without beating myself up over it.

You think if this way of eating is working, more must be better. My mentality was carbs are bad, dairy is not good, cheese is off limits – slowly you cut more & more things from your diet. The once a week cheat day started to go out the window, and it was a struggle for me to mentally accept even eating a cheat meal.

A lot of people cannot tell you what they ate the day before, and most cannot recall what they ate last week. That wasn’t me. Yesterday, last week, last month, what I was planning for tomorrow, next week – I could recall and tell you. How I needed to accommodate my nutrition for ‘X, Y, Z’ coming up. It was mental strategy, and torture.

When you look at situations unrelated to food or eating and relate it back, that’s unhealthy… however you classify it. If we planned on going out on the boat for the day, I’d immediately be trying to figure out how I’ll navigate that in terms of sticking to my plans. Instead of just enjoying a fun day for what it is.

I felt trapped in my own head, inside a bubble that I wanted to burst. I didn’t feel at peace. Food controlled my day, and I didn’t want it to be that way. I existed in a non present state, a state of overload. And the whole time I wished I could break it. My body isn’t perfect, but I do that best I can. Why couldn’t I just learn to accept it, respect it, love it and not belittle it?

Even after you reach your breaking point, it’s hard to make changes. Along this journey I lost my period for about ten months and while I wasn’t complaining, I finally needed to come to terms with the truth. Even though I viewed this point in my life as my ideal body physically, internally my body was telling me it was not.

I’ve had anxiety come and go my entire life, and fear is what keeps you from breaking it. Not wanting people to look at you differently or comment if you decide to order a drink or two at dinner, or pizza, or dessert. Fear of being that person someone will look at and say ‘wow, she really let herself go’. Fear of losing the identity you feel you’ve created for yourself.

I don’t regret for a moment they healthy habits I picked up, I just wish I’d gone about it differently. A big anxiety of mine going into the 10 week program in 2014 was ‘what do you do when it’s over?’ I didn’t invest my time in learning how to adapt when the program ended, and how to incorporate those principles into a manageable everyday plan. I used to eat what sounded good, I didn’t go to bed thinking about what I would eat the following day, and I didn’t classify my days by what I ate. I never found the middle ground between the two spectrums.

I am huge advocate for healthy eating; I don’t think following a diet or nutrition plan is a bad thing. But there should be balance. After struggling for about a year, in the summer of 2015 I decided I’d had enough. I was exhausted.

While I still have my days I struggle, it is nothing like it was. I have come a long way and in the final part of my nutrition posts I’ll share what it’s been like working to overcome this.

{If you stuck through this thank you, got a little long winded 🙂 }

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