Worthwhile Reads 6/14/15

Good morning! I’m excited to announce that I have decided to move to a self-hosted website, and will be blogging from http://www.lovedandworthyoflove.com from now on! As a warning, I have no idea what in the hell I’m doing when it comes to website design, so you may need to be patient with me as I work out the kinks. And, if you have any advice, I will gladly take some!

Today, I’m linking up with Amanda to share some links with you all on both this blog and my new site as I work on the transition from one to the other. Enjoy!

Recovery

How Much My Body Influences My Appearance

Our outward appearance is only one, small part of our being and it is not all that is seen in us.

WIAW: Hunger Shame

An excellent, timely reminder that physically experiencing hunger is a good sign of health and nothing to feel ashamed of.

A 15-Minute Yoga Practice To Cultivate Compassion And Self-Love In Recovery

Even in the yoga community, it can be tempting to get caught up in the trap of aesthetics and competition. Here’s a yoga practice that focuses on something deeper than appearances or skill level.

Taming Triggers In Recovery

I still struggle with being caught off-guard by unexpected triggers, and these are some good tools to have in mind for when we inevitably face something that provokes our disorders.

In Defense Of Fat: Learning To Love My ‘Big, Fat Body’

The farther I get in recovery, the more convinced I am that the solution to our body dissatisfaction is self-love, not changes stemming from self-hatred.

Cellulite: Get Over It!

Is something as unattainable and insignificant as a flawless body really worth us hating ourselves? Hell no.

Why I Stock My Kitchen With ‘Unhealthy’ Foods

Sometimes, it’s healthy to be ‘unhealthy’.

Why We Need To Stop Telling Women To ‘Eat Right’

Yes, yes, and yes to this entire article.

Reframing Our Thoughts

Thoughts can be incredibly powerful, for better or for worse.

Life, Etc. 

The Art Of Goodbye

Moving on in any area of life can be bittersweet, and these are some lovely suggestions for saying goodbye with intention and grace.

Go Your Own Way

Don’t get caught up in the way your life “should” look – get caught up living it.

Let Your Anxiety Speak

The best way to get through emotions is to let them be felt.

Is America’s Obesity Epidemic Actually A Spiritual Crisis?

An interesting perspective on the idea that obesity could be partially caused by lack of spiritual fulfillment.

10 Words That You’ve Probably Misused

I try not to be too much of a stickler when it comes to grammar and linguistics, but misused words are a definite pet peeve of mine.

Is Your Barista Flirting With You? 

Speaking from experience, they probably just want the tips😉

That’s it this week, everybody! Enjoy the reads and have a wonderful Sunday!

Five Things Friday 6/12/15

Good morning! I hope that your week thus far has been a pleasant one. Mine has been busy and full of ups and downs, but it has been pretty decent overall. Seeing as it is already Friday, I am linking up with Clare today to finish off the work week. Enjoy!

Five Things I Ate

IMG_6866

A sliver of this amazing ice cream cake that I made for work. Having a taste was a big challenge for me, and it was not entirely free from disorder thoughts and obstacles, but this cake was damn delicious.

IMG_6834

A couple of milk duds for an afternoon chocolate fix.

IMG_6833

Eggs Benedict, which used to be one of my absolute favorite dishes. I hadn’t eaten it in a long time because of disordered rules and fears, and I decided to challenge myself by getting it at a restaurant with some family friends the other day. I ordered half of a classic Benedict and half of a veggie Benedict, and both were wonderful!

IMG_6829

Spinach salad with blue cheese, chicken, cranberries, and raspberry vinaigrette while out to dinner the other night.

IMG_6890

I did something yesterday that I never imagined myself doing – I ate my oatmeal out of a nearly-empty peanut butter jar. I have to admit, it is an excellent way to avoid wasting peanut butter and it’s incredibly travel-friendly!

Five Things I PinnedLIVING SUCCESS 3D--YOUR THOUGHTS

They don’t have to hold the amount of power that we given them.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream - easy homemade ice cream packed with cinnamon flavor! Recipe from SugarHero.com

This cinnamon ice cream looks delightful. Ice cream is usually not my favorite dessert, but when it is as hot as it has been lately, it starts looking much more appealing.

ABC's of Recovery

These are great, although I would add that “eating healthy” should include eating in a way that benefits your mental and physical health, not in the moderately disordered way that our society advertises as healthy.

Simple

I wish I could quit you, gold jewelry.

You Should Be Happy in Your Body!

Fuck yeah.

Five Things Making Me Happy

IMG_6874

Warm summer evenings, when I can sit on the back porch while I eat my dinner.

IMG_6887

This wonderful new perfume that I got recently. We have had it for sale at my work for a long time, and I went back and forth about whether I should spend my money on it. The other day, I mentioned how much I loved the scent to my coworker who is in charge of our inventory, and she decided to give it to me!

IMG_6871

Being able to ride my bike down to the grocery store and come back with a basketful of groceries. The other day, I think I broke a personal record by carrying three full bags back with me on my bike. It may have been the greatest accomplishment of my year, if not my life. On a side note, I wish this bag were actually being used to shop at Trader Joe’s but, alas, we do not have one in the state of Montana yet.

Heading to Portland next week! It’s sort of strange that I’m going on vacation again, seeing as I just got home and I am not one who vacations much, but that’s how the dates ended up working out this time around. I will get to visit my family, several friends, and a few coworkers from Indiana who will be in town for a conference. It should be a fun couple of days to explore the city with all kinds of lovely people.

That’s it for this Friday! I hope your weekend gets off to a wonderful start!

Currently: June 2015

Good Thursday morning, lovely people! Today, I’m linking up with Amanda to do some Thinking Out Loud, and I decided to write a more casual post than I have in the last few weeks. Recovery is something that is constantly on my mind, but I do live a life outside of this blog, and after several weeks of heavier posts I thought that it might be fun to share some of the general goings on in my life. I have seen Julia and Amanda share similar posts, and I always find it interesting seeing what others are up to, so I figured I might as well take a turn.

Current Book:

IMG_6870

Songs Without Words by Ann Packer. The writing style isn’t entirely impressive to me, but the story is interesting and it has held my attention for the last couple of weeks.

Current Music: 

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 8.16.20 AM

This is a wee bit embarrassing, because I hate Fifty Shades of Grey and I typically am not fond of R&B as a music genre, but I love this song. We all have our musical indulgences, right?

Current TV Show: 

MasterChef! The food that is created looks unbelievable, and I love how supportive the judges are of the contestants, even when they are offering criticism.

Current Movie:

Generally speaking, I’m not particularly fond of movies, but I’m anxious to see Me And Earl And The Dying Girl when it comes out. I have also heard from my brother that Spy is good, and he is ridiculously critical of movies, so maybe I’ll get out to the movies one of these days.

Current Phone Wallpaper: 

IMG_6894

Poppies! What else?

Current Nail Color: 

IMG_6882

IMG_6892

I usually don’t bother to paint my fingernails, but I decided to go for it yesterday. I opted for Essie’s Cocktails & Coconuts on my fingers, and I have some shade of coral on my toes.

Current Drink: 

IMG_6877

IMG_3620

La Croix sparkling water, cold brewed coffee, and water with lime. I realized that I might be drinking too much water after I happened upon an article that talked about electrolyte depletion, so I have been adding some citrus juice to my plain water along with a touch of salt. I honestly think that it has helped – I don’t feel constantly thirsty as often, which is wonderful!

Current Food: 

FullSizeRender

The winning combination of blueberries, dark chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips. Yay carbs!

Current Obsession:

 Montana Necklace - Montana State Necklace - State Necklace - Silver or Gold - Custom State Necklace - State Outline Necklace- Montana

Gold Ring ,Ethnic gold ring, Gold Lace Ring, Gold Lace Filigree Ring, Lace Large Ring, Handmade Jewelry, 22K Gold plated Lace Ring

Feather necklace // Gold feather necklace // Long feather necklace

Gold jewelry. All of it.

Current Wish: 

IMG_3469

That summer would slow the fuck down. I am incredibly excited to move to Oregon at the end of the summer, but summers in Montana are the best time of year (or the only bearable time of year as far as I’m concerned) and this summer is already flying by way too quickly.

Current Need: 

A new bike. This is definitely not a need, but rather a severe want. I love riding my bike, but I bought the one that I have at the height of my disorder, which makes it somewhat of a painful reminder for me. Additionally, it’s not the greatest bike and it has quite a bit of trouble shifting gears. If I had unlimited funds, I would gladly settle for one of these beauties instead.

Current Procrastination: 

Going through all of my possessions and ridding myself of a great deal of them before I move. Ugh. Also, paying my credit card bill. Double ugh.

Current Excitement: 

Portland's skyline

I’m going to Portland, Oregon next week to visit family and friends for a few days! It should be fun, and I will get to scope out the city that will become my home in a couple of months.

Current Mood: 

Photo on 6-11-15 at 10.50 AM #2

Pretty gosh darn content. I had a couple of rough days this week, but every day provides an opportunity to make things better. And right now, I have a full cup of coffee and the sun is out. What more could I ask for?

Current Bane Of My Existence:

IMG_6884

These stupid, godforsaken reddish weeds that have popped up all over my garden. They’re out of control!

Current Blessing:

IMG_2621

Not to sound cliche, but it’s hard to pick just one! Today, I am feeling like my job is one of my greatest blessings. Hot damn, do I love my job, and I am starting to feel nostalgic as I get closer to leaving. I feel wonderfully blessed to walk into work with a smile on my face every day. Plus, how could I be unhappy when I’m surrounded by coffee all day?

Current Link: 

Yoga With Adriene! I love her videos so much that it has become hard for me to do a yoga video by anybody else. Her attitude of self-compassion, ease, and lightheartedness is absolutely wonderful.

That’s it this Thursday, guys and gals! What exciting and ugh-worthy things are going on in your lives these days?

What I Ate Wednesday 6/10/15: New Associations

Good morning! How is your Wednesday treating you so far? Mine is off to a busy start, and the first thing I’m doing this morning is linking up with Jenn to share a day’s worth of food with you!

As I pondered what the theme of yesterday’s meals was, I was reminded of how powerful food associations can be. Take, for example, the fact that I didn’t eat shaved ice, navy bean soup, or chicken salad for years after my hellish recovery from having my wisdom teeth removed, when those were the only foods I ate. I have realized that I have some similar food associations that hold strong connections to my eating disorder, but I have also seen that it is possible to incorporate these foods into my life once again, out of a disordered context.

For breakfast, I ate oatmeal with peanut butter, a banana, egg whites, and a couple of blueberries on top. Although oatmeal has become my favorite breakfast, I first started eating it regularly during the summer in which my eating disorder flourished. While I worked at camp and quietly dissolved into sickness, I ate a measly amount of oatmeal with a Barbie-sized dollop of peanut butter and part of a banana every morning, until I deemed oatmeal unsafe and swapped it for Rice Krispies with Splenda. In the year and a half since I began recovery, I have found that I truly do love oatmeal for breakfast, although I now eat it in much healthier quantities and enjoy it far more.

IMG_6842_Fotor

Mid-morning, I started to get hungry again, so I enjoyed part of a toasted maple-peach bran muffin with my morning cup of coffee.

IMG_6846

For lunch, I packed a salad with a ton o’ vegetables, chicken cooked with cayenne pepper, garlic, and honey (try it if you haven’t), sesame seeds, peanuts, lime juice, and chili vinaigrette. I ate my salad with carrots and homemade hummus, some kettle-cooked potato chips, and part of a nectarine. Salads like this still occasionally remind me of the worst of my disorder, when I topped a pile of lettuce with a piece or two of chicken and a drizzle of red wine vinegar, but this lunch was miles away from what I used to consider a substantial salad-based meal. Recovery has taught me that nothing is wrong with eating salads in and of itself, but I now know that a salad only containing vegetables will not fuel my body in the way that it needs to be fueled. As long as I accompany my salads with other things and make sure that they include some forms of protein and fat, I am able to wholeheartedly enjoy them as meal components without feeling like I’m living in the worst days with my eating disorder.

IMG_6848_Fotor

After lunch, I ate a bite of a chocolate chip cookie and had a shot of cold-brewed coffee concentrate with a coworker, which adequately caffeinated me for the remainder of my shift. When I was finished with work, I ate this Chobani yogurt, which I had stashed in the freezer all morning. It was the perfect afternoon snack on an afternoon that was grotesquely hot. I had some time to kill before heading to the farmer’s market, so I went for a walk and read for a while.

  
After hanging out at the farmer’s market, where I socialized with various friends and acquaintances, admired jewelry I can’t afford, and purchased some fresh spinach, I headed home. I ran to the grocery store to pick up a few ingredients to make birthday treats for Birthday Wednesday at work, and then settled in to prepare some dinner for myself. For days, I have been wanting eggs, so I decided to scramble some eggs in a bit of avocado oil with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. I like my eggs pretty spicy, so I added a good bit of salsa and hot sauce to the eggs, along with garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. I ate my delicious egg concoction in two corn tortillas, with a little salad on the side. Eggs on a plain tortilla was one of my go-to meals as I spiraled into my eating disorder, and in early recovery. For that reason, I haven’t been eating eggs prepared this way lately, but it was what sounded good to me yesterday. And, at this point in recovery, I found that I could eat them and enjoy my meal rather than dwell on how reminiscent it was of difficult times past.

IMG_6858_Fotor

It is also rare that I eat two salads in one day anymore, because I used to always eat two salads per day without exception, and it was not because I just loved salad and couldn’t get enough of it. These days, however, if I eat two salads it is because I am in the mood for salad and, as was the case yesterday, it is brutally hot outside and salad sounds cool and refreshing. As with many things in eating disorder recovery, the motivation for eating a salad is far more important than the act itself.

After dinner, I rode my bike down to visit my grandpa and my dog briefly before returning to my house to prepare the birthday treats to take into work today. For the desserts, I made blueberry crumble bars and ice cream cake, and I snacked on some blueberries (along with a little Life cereal) while I finished preparing them.

IMG_6859

I did some chores around the house and a bit of yoga after I finished with the desserts, eventually deciding to call it a night and get some sleep. I was still hungry after my blueberry snacking, so I finished my night off with a piece of peanut butter toast (duh) and a couple of chocolate chips.

IMG_6861

The associations we have with food can be incredibly strong, and I am glad that I am at a place in recovery where I am able to enjoy foods that used to feel too heavily weighted with painful memories. Although there are some foods that I have no intention of reintroducing into my diet (Splenda and diet yogurt, anybody?), I love that I have been able to enjoy so many foods in recovery once again.

Worthwhile Reads 6/7/15

Good morning! Is it seriously Sunday already? Just when I think time can’t move any faster, it surprises me by doing just that. I suppose that’s another reason to live each day to its fullest potential, which means linking up with Amanda to share some links with y’all on this gorgeous day! I have quite a few reads for you this week, so I hope you’re ready to soak in some information. And if you’re not, feel free to bookmark this page and return at a later date🙂

Recovery

Why You Shouldn’t Blame Yourself For Binge Eating

This is an interesting article about the relationship between depression, impulsivity, and binge eating. I do feel the need to issue a trigger warning, though, because I know that any talk of binge eating scared me into restriction for quite some time. If you have similar sensitivities, I suggest skipping this post for now. 

Surviving The One Eating Disorder Nobody Talks About

Eating disorders are not limited to only anorexia and bulimia. There are so many people struggling with disordered eating that may not meet our ideas of diagnostic criteria, which brings about its own set of challenges.

13 Things Never To Say To A Woman With Anorexia

Even those who love us most can say some incredibly ignorant things. Here are a few comments to avoid. 

The Real Reason You Don’t Know How To Eat

Our societal obsession with knowing what to do and how to do it, especially when it comes to our bodies, is taking us farther and farther from the intuition we are born with.

The Final Proof You Need To Stop The Scale Obsession

This post makes an excellent case for ditching our obsession with weight.

Distinguishing Your Voice From That Of Your Eating Disorder 

Sometimes it can be truly difficult to differentiate between our healthy selves and our disordered selves, and these are some wonderful tips for making the right choice. 

The Unicorn Syndrome

I love this post! In recovery, we often think of all of the ways that we must be the exception. This belief that we must be different, that recovery does not apply to us in the same way as it applies to others, can keep us stuck in our disorders. This post has some great tips for trusting the process rather than letting fear hold us back.

The Real Problem

Often times, it is not our behaviors that are problematic, but our attitudes and negative thoughts about those behaviors that cause us distress.

How To Cope When The Negative Thoughts Return 

Even far into recovery, it’s reasonable to expect a return of negative thoughts from time to time, but it is entirely possible to move forward with awareness and effective coping strategies. 

5 Tips For a Saying Goodbye To Your Scale

Scales can suck it. 

To Eat Or Not Eat

I love what Alison says- there is no question! We always have permission to eat. 

Dadbod Isn’t That Funny When You’re A Guy Recovering From An Eating Disorder

Kudos to the author of this post for speaking out about the challenges of recovery from a male perspective. 

Life, Etc.

Saying Goodbye To Guilt & Shame

Guilt and shame are two emotions that are often associated with eating disorders and addictive behaviors. They can be confused with one another, and this article articulates some of the important differences between the two.

What Our Obsession With So-Called “Bikini Bodies” Says About Us

It’s almost summer, which means we will begin to be exposed to more and more pressure to have a “bikini body”. This is an excellent societal critique of what this obsession says about us.

Yoga Saved My Life! (But Not Really)

This is a wonderful perspective on the power we have within our own lives. It is unlikely that one thing will completely change our lives. Rather, a multitude of things can lead us to personal growth, which is what truly changes us.

How To Accept People. Even Those You Hate. 

We don’t have to like everybody, but we do need to find a way to coexist with most of the population while taking care of ourselves. On the flip side of this, however, I think that there are some instances when it is best for our mental health to entirely avoid the toxic people in our lives, at least for a while.

You Can Be Loved: For Those Of Us With Mental Illness

Beautiful. 

Before You Dismiss The Concept Of Thin Privilege, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

Unfortunately, thin privilege is alive and well in our society. 

9 Things For Your Computer That You Should Start Doing

Seeing as I once crashed my laptop’s motherboard by riding my bike with it in the basket (it turns out computers don’t enjoy riding in baskets), I know that I could use some tips on practical computer maintanence, and these ones are practical and manageable. 

That’s it for this week – enjoy what’s left of the weekend!

Five Things Friday 6/5/15

Good morning and Happy Friday! I have the day off today, aside from some childcare that I am doing for a neighbor, and I have not quite decided what I will do with my day off. Right now, I’m thinking I will drink coffee, go for a walk, do some journaling, and possibly hit up a thrift store or two, but we will see what transpires. Before I do any of that, however, I’m linking up with Clare to share some of what’s been going on over the past week!

Five Things I Ate

An impulsively purchased apricot while at the grocery store the other day. I was buying a few things and I was feeling fairly hungry, so I tacked on an apricot before I walked home. Seeing as I was hungry and I am trying to only follow the “rules” of eating when hungry and stopping when full instead of all of the bullshit rules my disorder tries to perpetuate, it was probably the best 38 cents I’ve ever spent.

IMG_6825_Fotor

A beet and pear salad and bison burger, split with my mom in the Minneapolis airport. If you’re in the airport in Minneapolis and need a good place to eat, I recommend the French Meadow Bakery. Expectations for food are generally low in airports, but this place was genuinely fresh and tasty.

IMG_6768_Fotor

French Toast Crunch! This cereal was a favorite of my childhood, and my mom bought me a box the other day as a weird little gift. If I had a cassette player to listen to and stirrup pants to wear while eating this cereal, I would swear it was 1996.

IMG_6828_Fotor

A piece of this fabulous chocolate-covered espresso bean sugar cookie that we sampled at work the other day, which was just as good as it sounds.

IMG_6817 (1)_Fotor

Good coffee! I loved my trip away from home, but I sure did miss making my own, perfect (as far as I’m concerned) drink every day.

IMG_6776_Fotor

Five Things I Pinned

Sometimes this is exactly how I feel, but does anybody really have their shit together?

Hell yes.

It can be tough to find the best social work resources online. Well, we’ve done the work for you — here are 10 books every social worker should read and why.

I haven’t read any of these! Time to book it down to the library, I guess.

evrydayfeminism:

Absolutely adore this.

Girl power.

Thai Curry Cheat Sheet

I cook with curry paste quite often, but I honestly never really know what I’m doing. This is so helpful!

Five Things Making Me Happy

When I went to the farmer’s market the other day, a vendor who I know gave me these lovely little poppies. Poppies happen to be my favorite flowers, and these beauties have been gracing my windowsill ever since!

IMG_6820_Fotor

I bought myself a new pair of shoes! I don’t buy new clothes or shoes very often, but these are my all-time favorite brand and they are perfect for work. Maybe I didn’t need them per se, but sometimes it’s nice to treat ourselves to something we really want just because we want it.

IMG_6822_Fotor

This squirrel. My college town has black squirrels, and I saw this one on my last day there. It looks like this squirrel was going for some sort of ombre look, which I think it was totally rocking.

IMG_6756_Fotor

My mom’s best friend, who we stayed with on our trip last week, has a husband who is an incredible potter. As a gift before we left, my mom’s friend gave me this gorgeous bowl. I am ridiculously paranoid about breaking it before I move, so I haven’t used it much, but I absolutely love it!

IMG_0073_Fotor

These amazing socks that we have for sale at work, which I think I might just have to purchase for myself. They speak the truth.

IMG_6819_Fotor

I am honored to have my story shared on Robyn’s website today! I love her outlook on life and food, and her blog has been an inspiration to me time and time again. I’m so grateful for her to putting the request out there for readers’ stories, and for choosing to share mine. I know this is a sixth thing, but I make my own rules.

That’s it this Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thinking Out Loud 6/4/15: The Stories We Tell

Happy Thursday morning, lovely readers! I’m linking up with Amanda today to share some of my thoughts on our stories, and how and why we share them.

Stories have more power than we often acknowledge. Both in what is shared and what is omitted, strong messages can be conveyed through a story. When I was out of town last week, I was doing a fair amount of reflecting on my own story, specifically what has transpired over the last two years, and I was feeling the weighty grief of time lost to my eating disorder. Frustrated in my recovery, I prayed and thought about what I needed to do next to propel me further along in the recovery process. As I opened my mind up to some answers, I was struck by an overwhelming feeling that I would not progress any further until I shared my story, my whole story, with a broader audience.

IMG_6737_Fotor

Throughout the recovery process, I have been selective about which stories I choose to acknowledge. In recovery communities, I openly embrace my story of the path of anorexia to health. But, in the vast community of people who knew me pre-weight loss, I have continued to be silent about the reality of my eating disorder. I have chosen to let people believe what they will about my weight loss, letting very few into the world of disordered eating that nearly swallowed me whole. Deep within me, I have known that this is because a small part of me still wanted to be seen as a successful weight loss story. I wanted to believe that I could be the woman in Fitness magazine’s ‘I Did It!’ before-and-after section, which I read monthly for inspiration as I slid further into disordered eating and exercise two years ago. By choosing to keep the painful realities of anorexia out of the public eye, I was allowing others, and at least a tiny piece of myself, to believe that I had dieted myself to happiness just as I had set out to do. I did not refrain from telling people the truth as a way of purposefully deceiving anybody, but as a way of protecting myself. I shielded others from the truth because it was still too painful for me to admit that my weight loss did not make me happy in the way that I had so badly hoped it would.

It was as I sat in a coffee shop in my college town last week, confronted with the tragic reality that losing weight had led not to a life of happiness but one of isolation and despair, that I felt this need to share my whole story with a wider audience. I knew what I had to do to wholeheartedly pursue recovery, and I began writing.

A day or two later, after some more deliberation, I decided to share what I had written with my Facebook friends. I am not one to post on Facebook often, but it seemed to be the best way to reach the largest audience. I realized that I did not want anybody in my life to believe that my weight loss was an achievement, or something to be proud of. I did not want anybody to think that a smaller frame was worth the pain I endured. With a barely-audible “fuck it” in the crowded coffee shop, I pushed the “Post” button and published the following update:

Friends, Family, and Anyone In Between:

I have been thinking for some time about writing a sort of “coming out” post about the last two years of my life, which have been the hardest and most tumultuous thus far. As many of you know, I spent much of my adolescence and early adulthood at a very high body weight. In the fall of my senior year of college, I embarked on a diet and exercise regimen that began fairly innocently through calorie-counting and consciously increasing my activity levels. Before long, and without me entirely realizing it, however, I found myself restricting food further and further, and increasing exercise to unreasonable levels. I also eventually developed some characteristics that I now know are symptoms of starvation, including increased obsessiveness and intolerable anxiety. As my brain suffered from the effects of starvation, I became more and more lost in the world of disordered eating and further removed from reality. Even more, I began experiencing physical signs that my body was beginning to shut down entirely. It simply could not sustain itself any longer under the conditions of anorexia, what would eventually become my official diagnosis. Those months were the darkest, most painful time in my life and I did not know if I would ever live a normal life again, or if I wanted to live at all.

By the grace of God and through a great deal of hard work, I am still alive and I am working toward a recovered life. This process has been harder than I ever imagined it would be, and it is challenging for me to believe that it has even happened. In some ways, I am grateful for the process because I know that it has made me stronger and it has given me a sense of what my mission in this life is: to empower young women and men so that they do not buy into our dangerous, dieting culture, and to help those in the throes of eating disorders who feel as terribly alone and frightened as I once felt. For those things, I am grateful, but I would not wish the hell of an eating disorder on anybody, including my past or present self.

I am not entirely sure why I felt the need to write this, except perhaps as a warning, or as a way to be honest with myself. As I lost weight, many people cheered me on, even going so far to say that I looked healthy when I was quite literally dying. I can’t blame anybody for this, as we are all victims of our sick, diet-obsessed culture. For far too long, I felt proud of myself for my weight loss, as well. I tried to convince myself that my eating disorder had made me happy when the reality was that I was completely miserable, alone, and utterly petrified. I write this to say, simply and honestly, that choosing to diet was the worst mistake of my life. I may have struggled to accept my appearance as an overweight person, but I wanted to die when I was an underweight person. It has taken me years to accept that my quest to lose weight truly was all for nothing. Rather than enriching my life, my weight loss made me into a person that I hated, a person who lost sight of everything wonderful in life along with each pound.

Fortunately, I am gaining a life of health and happiness back through recovery, but I cannot overemphasize how badly I wish I had never ventured down this path. We have no way of knowing who will develop anorexia, but we do know that it does not develop without an initial quest to lose weight. If you find yourself trying to lose weight, I encourage you to ditch the sick diet mentality that our society loves to tout. Practice self-care, practice listening to your body, but do not give yourself arbitrary rules. And, please, if you see warning signs of disordered eating and exercise, do not be afraid to speak up. There is far too much at stake to turn a blind eye.

As soon as I shared those words, I felt a sense of freedom wash over me. I didn’t have to hide anymore. I didn’t have to pretend to be somebody I was not. I could finally openly reject the diet culture and, rather than feeling like a failure for not achieving happiness through weight loss, I could authentically become an advocate for full recovery.

Once I knit my story together and shared it publicly, a wonderful thing happened. Several people sent me messages sharing their stories of disordered eating, thanking me for acknowledging the pain that so often goes unseen. A girl who I knew in college added me to a support group on Facebook that she had been a part of during inpatient treatment for her own eating disorder. People who I saw in the coming days asked me questions and opened up to me about their struggles, sharing parts of their stories that had previously been untold. It became clear to me that living my truth was helping others to do the same, and I felt as if I was finally pursuing the life that I want.

Our stories are our own, and we should only share them on our terms. However, I cannot overemphasize how gratifying it was to break through the shame of my eating disorder enough to share my journey. As we find the courage to share our stories, we enable others to free themselves from the heavy bonds of shame that may be holding them down.  As I read the comments and messages that came in over the following days and had meaningful conversations with friends and acquaintances, I was left thinking of a favorite quote by Desmond Tutu: “My humanity is bound up with yours, for we can only be human together.” Our humanity unites us, and it is through our stories that we are reminded of this precious fabric that weaves us together.

IMG_6647_Fotor

What I Ate Wednesday 6/3/15: Back To Reality

Good morning and Happy Wednesday! First of all, I find it utterly unacceptable that it is already June. I know that’s what everybody says, but holy shit, time flies! On Monday, I started back at work after my vacation, which was honestly kind of nice. I had a wonderful trip, but I missed my coworkers and my job (say what?) and it’s somewhat comforting to get back into the swing of things. I also feel like I made some substantial recovery progress while I was away, and I’m excited to bring that growth back with me. Now that I’m back to real life, I’m linking up with Jenn and Meghan to share a day’s worth of food with you!

While I was on vacation, I started putting peanut butter in my oatmeal, a habit that has continued since I returned. Yesterday’s bowl contained oats, a spoonful of peanut butter, whipped egg whites, a banana, and a few blueberries. It was all kinds of perfect.

IMG_6785_Fotor

A ways into my shift at work, I was hungry for a snack and I needed some caffeination, so I toasted up a homemade cranberry banana muffin and ate it with my morning cup of coffee.

IMG_6786_Fotor

When lunch rolled around, I was ready to dive into my tuna sandwich, which I enjoyed with some Taro chips that I bought in the Minneapolis airport. I also had some carrot sticks and a bit of homemade hummus., as well as a container of Chobani mango greek yogurt, which is one of my favorite flavors. Unfortunately, this particular container was a bit older than one would prefer and tasted somewhat like metal. Live and learn, I suppose.

IMG_6793_Fotor

A while after lunch, I was feeling the need for another small cup of coffee, and I had a bit of a sweet tooth. I drank my second cup of coffee alongside a partially melted peanut butter Lindor Truffle, which was delicious even though it looked rather unappealing.

IMG_6795_Fotor

I ended up staying late at work to learn about some additional graphics assistant tasks that I am going to be taking on, and I had plans to meet up with work friends at the downtown farmer’s market afterward. On the way, I stopped at the grocery store for a sparkling water and some baby carrots, which I ate with the second half of this packet of peanut butter that I had conveniently stowed in my purse for a rainy day.

IMG_6800_Fotor

The farmer’s market was cold, wet, and dreary, so I didn’t end up staying too long. After some time spent walking through the market with friends, I headed home to start making dinner. I needed a couple of things from the grocery store and I only live a few blocks away, so I hopped down there to pick up the necessary ingredients. For dinner, I made a pasta bake with rotini pasta, a little ground beef, squash, mushrooms, homemade tomato sauce, cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese. It was sort of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of dinner, but it turned out pretty tasty. I also sautéed some green beans with garlic and ate a salad with balsamic vinaigrette on the side.

IMG_6808_Fotor

When I was finished with dinner, I went for a short walk around the neighborhood in the post-rain calm of the evening and did a little yoga. Afterward, I was a bit peckish and I decided that I wanted a bit of dessert to enjoy while I began writing this post. I had a little bowl of blueberries with some dark chocolate and white chocolate chips, alongside a child-sized glass of white wine, which is something that should probably be an oxymoron.

IMG_6812_Fotor

After I finished writing the majority of this post, I felt like I needed a little time to just relax. It had been a pretty non-stop day, so I gave myself a few minutes to stretch, watch some TV, and unwind. Before bed, I was hungry again and I knew that I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning that required fasting beforehand, so I made sure to have a snack before bed to avoid waking up absolutely ravenous. I ate my usual snack of peanut butter on toast with another handful of blueberries and a few raisins and called it a night.

IMG_6814

It is still hard for me to believe that I am in this place in recovery, where a trip away from home does not mean a week of starvation and returning home does not necessarily mean returning to a world of only ‘safe’ foods and disordered behaviors. I am gradually learning to take charge of my recovery, to not let it be something that stops or starts at any time, but that continues and grows each day. I felt some immense growth while on vacation, and I wholly believe that the growth will only continue from this point forward.

That’s it for this Wednesday – I hope you are able to push through the mid-week slump and enjoy the rest of your day!

Worthwhile Reads 5/31/15

Happy Sunday morning to you from Montana! I arrived home late last night after a long day of travel and a semi-conscious collapse into my bed. Today, however, I am bright-eyes, bushy-tailed, and ready to link up with Amanda to share some good reads with you!

Recovery

The Non-Intuitive Side Of Intuitive Eating

Eating intuitively is an excellent goal, but it should never turn into another diet to follow.

PTSD And Bulimia

A fascinating article on the connection between bulimia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Traveling With Ed

I love the empathetic tone of this post. Traveling without an eating disorder is stressful enough, but traveling with one can be nearly debilitating and it is so important to acknowledge the additional stress and prepare.

Perfectionism And Eating

I never considered myself a perfectionist, but in retrospect there were many ways that my anxiety about inadequacy shone through in my life before anorexia. Of course, anybody can develop disordered eating patterns, but those who know their tendency to be perfectionists may want to be especially careful to not become obsessive about food and exercise.

YOU Have To Make The Decision

Another fabulous post from Julia that rings true. We will have to choose recovery for ourselves over and over again. Friends and family can be wonderful supports and treatment facilities can be necessary interventions, but we are the ones who make the changes to choose health over sickness.

5 Ways To Boost Your Body Image (Without Going On A Diet)

Ultimately, dieting does not increase our self-image in a way that is sustainable. Here are some tips on how to feel better about yourself while avoiding the dangers of dieting.

Melissa McCarthy: “People Don’t Stop At Size 12

I absolute love that Melissa McCarthy has become one of the few celebrities who acknowledges her weight and refuses to succumb to the idea that she needs to change herself. She seems to live a happy life just as she is, and I admire that she has not become the newest Jenny Craig or Atkins Diet spokeswoman. When I was overweight, I felt as if I was not seen as a complete, valuable person, and I hope that Melissa’s attitude will help others realize that people are worthy of love and acceptance at every size.

Have These Lies Taught You That It’s Okay To Body Shame? Here’s Why They’re Wrong

Mainstream society believes a lot of things about weight that are simply not true, and these things are used as excuses for body shaming. The bottom line is that shame is never a useful tool for helping people, and the appearance of others’ bodies should not concern us in any way whatsoever.

Life, Etc.

10 Benefits Of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

I’m so happy to be back into reading once again. I had forgotten who great it is to finish a good book.

10 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

I like this little summary of current events as a way to stay informed without being overwhelmed.

The Place Where You Are

A lovely, short reflection on life in the moment.

The Psychology Of Choice

An interesting article on how we make decisions.

What Not To Say To Someone With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

I struggled with OCD as a child, and exhibited similar symptoms when I was at my lowest weight due to anorexia as well. Mental illnesses are serious, and downplaying them is never helpful.

That’s this week’s list for you! Go forth, and enjoy your Sunday!