2003 started with a break up. I had too much time to get myself in trouble. I was devoting most my waking hours to my career, and as soon as I was out of the office, I was out partying as hard as I had been working. I was hitting the bottle hard, and not taking care of my body. At the time I didn't realize, but I was wasting away. Coffee for breakfast, often skipping lunch or barely eating a late lunch and drinking alcohol as my dinner. I was getting to bed late and scraping myself out of bed the following morning to do it all again. The gym was a joke back then. I was definitely not working out, although I continued to pay for my 24 Hour Fitness membership just so I could say I belonged to a gym. These behaviors lasted for several months. I lost weight rapidly, eventually people started asking me if I was okay. At 5'10" I was hovering around 130 pounds. No muscle, no butt, clothes falling off. My normal size 8 jeans went down to a 4, and I thought it was great. This anorexia lasted several months until one night changed me forever. It was 4th of July and my friends were throwing a party. There was a smorgasbord of appetizers and treats. I hadn't been around so much readily available food in quite a while. I ate. I ate, and I ate, and I ate. I ate so much, that I felt terrible sick. I remember the car ride home. The sick feeling I felt from over eating, and I was hoping I would make it home and not succumb to this car sick feeling I felt. As soon as I was dropped off I ran to the bathroom, and my relief was immediate. I didn't know then that the feeling I felt would become addictive. That feeling created a new pattern of destructive behaviors. A few days of low calories, mostly from coffee and alcohol, followed by a day of binging and purging. Within a few months the effects of my behaviors had taken a toll. Debilitating migraines, tooth decay, hair loss and my skin was grey. I had insomnia and was frequently disoriented.
During this time I met my husband. We worked together and he quickly saw I wasn't eating well. His family owned a deli and he would bring me sandwiches at lunch. He thought he could save me with food, but that would be like saving an alcoholic with beers. The thing about eating disorders as opposed to other addictions is you cannot eliminate or avoid it. Everyone must eat. Every day. Several times per day.
Within a couple months of marriage, I found out we were expecting. I thought carrying my precious child would stop my purging, and it did mostly. I know there was at least once I could not stay strong enough and gave in to the relieving feeling of purging. As a mom, I definitely scaled back my problem, but food was still a necessity, and if I ever over ate, I knew there was a way out from that feeling.
Over the following 6 years or so, I yo-yo'd my weight. Gaining during pregnancies, and continuing to gain more weight even after pregnancy, at one point weighing 170lbs. I was unhappy, unhealthy, tired, and just over all miserable.
Then in the summer of 2013, I came across the "If It Fits Your Macros" diet. During the first three months of incorporating iifym, I gained a 6 pack (okay, maybe a 2-pack), and realized I NEVER once over ate, felt "too full," or purged. It was the first time I was able to eat, without restrictions, and not fear food or what would happen when I ate. I am not "cured" from this disorder. It is with me forever, but I can control it far better than I ever have. My skin is a normal color, my teeth are the healthiest they have ever been, my hair stopped falling out, and my migraines have not made an appearance in a couple years. My over all health is noticeably better than 10 years ago.
I have feared talking about my eating disorder for years. I'm not even sure my closest friends are privy to this information. I was ashamed and knew better, but couldn't stop, but I feel like talking about it helps hold me accountable, and also may help someone else who struggles with similar issues.
Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses that impact 8 million people each year in the United States. If you, or someone you know, suffers from an eating disorder, visit www.ANewJourney.net or call 1-844-348-6212