Getting real about my health transformation!
(Disclaimer: contains content that may be triggering for people with eating disorders.)
What’s the reason for starting your health transformation?
Is it to lose pounds? To fit into a smaller size? Or maybe its for medical reasons?
For me, I was tired of being tired. I was achy and sore, had no energy at the end of the day and was constantly thinking about food. I would wake up in the morning and have brain fog and feel kind of blahhh, not really wanting to get out of bed. I knew food was the reason for making me feel that way, so over the past 10 months I’ve made some significant changes to kick start my personal health transformation.
In my early teens I remember going to the local convenience store to buy bags of chips or candy or tubs of ice cream with the intent of eating all of it when I got home, spaced out in front of the TV. I would do it in private and then hide all the wrappers. I also felt awkward eating in front of people, so I wouldn’t eat anything at school all day, only to go home and binge on crackers or granola bars. At the time, I didn’t know why I was doing it but looking back it was always to help relieve the anxiety I was feeling.
Years later when I reached my early 20s, my weird eating habits turned into a full-fledged eating disorder. Binging and purging every night on junk food, I felt shameful about it, I hid it for years, I was barely sleeping and I started gaining extra weight, not too mention all the money I was spending.
I was stuck in the cycle of binging and purging, feeling guilty and then restricting food all day long. Telling myself I wasn’t going to eat the next day or working out for hours at the gym thinking I would burn off the calories. I was depressed, I never wanted socialized and I ended up dropping out of college because my mind was constantly preoccupied with food.
After years of feeling completely out of control, I finally let my family and my doctor know what was going on. They were so supportive and put in a lot of effort finding therapists, support groups, books and other sorts of treatment to help me.
It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder and it’s been a roller coaster. I’ve had good weeks and bad weeks, it's a constant battle of me vs. that annoying voice inside my head telling me to EAT and EAT some more. However, last September I reached my breaking point. I was just DONE dealing with this problem. I couldn’t possibly spend any more time or energy on it. So I decided to make some major dietary and wellness changes.
Like many people who've dealt with an obsession with food, we’re very knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition. I know what I should be eating to be healthy, I know the constant sugar highs and blood sugar crashes just perpetuate the binge cycles and make cravings worse. The only way for me to put a stop to it would be to eat nutrient dense, real, whole foods and find other outlets to relieve anxiety.
Now, for the first time in a long time, I can truthfully say it feels possible to overcome an eating disorder and it’s all because I changed my eating habits and made it a priority to incorporate a solid wellness routine into my day. I practice more yoga and mindfulness and use tools like aromatherapy and listening to inspirational podcasts to ease my body and mind.
I try to eat intuitively, meaning I eat when I feel hungry and stop eating when I’m full. If I really want a piece of chocolate or a slice of bread, I’ll have it. No more labelling foods as good or bad or cheat meals. I stock my kitchen with foods that are anti-inflammatory and won’t spike my blood sugar or cause cravings. I keep snacks on hand that curb hunger and keep me fuelled during my work day. I started eating a low carb, low sugar, high fat diet (keto-ish). I will also mention, I’ve been a vegetarian for close to 20 years and this past year have transitioned to a more vegan diet for the animals rights movement.
All I can say now is, WOW!
Mentally, I have no more brain fog and more stable moods. Emotionally, I feel like I don’t need to use food as a crutch when I'm feeling anxious. Physically, it’s nice not having the cravings and blood sugar crashes or feeling constantly hungry. I’ve also lost 25lbs in the process but that’s just a bonus!
So, I look back on this picture taken just before I started my health transformation and remember how bloated, puffy and defeated I felt and now a year later, I feel strong, clear minded and grounded! It’s taken me years to listen to my body and give it the nutrients it requires to function optimally and now that I do, I can say it’s truly a lifestyle and not a diet. It’s been a process and a learning curve but it’s so freeing when you start to see and feel the benefits of eating healthily and taking care of your mental health!
I realize eating disorder recovery is different for everyone and there are many variations it can present it self as, so if this is something you or perhaps someone you know struggles with, please open up about it. Talk about it and look into treatment options that would be best for you. National Eating Disorder Information Centre
I wish you all the best on your health & wellness journey and feel free to share your story in the comment section!