A Spiritual Journey: Learning How God Paints Us Beautiful
It’s About Time I was Honest by Opening Myself Up To The World
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My vision for this blog is one of healing. It’s my ministry. Mine is a story of the ebb and flow of a twenty-year addiction. There are so many misconceptions about eating disorders (ED, pronounced E-D), and I’d like to share what I know and what I’m learning. I believe God has called me to share my struggles, not only to help others heal but also to help the friends and families of those who struggle with EDs learn more about the disease to better understand their loved ones.
My eating disorder first started in high school. I weighed 82 pounds my tenth grade year, and then I hit puberty over the summer. I literally gained almost 40 pounds overnight. Okay, overnight is a bit of a stretch, but it was over a brief period of time. People said, “Oh, you look healthy now.” This confused me because I was never unhealthy; I was always just a very thin, lean kid. I began experimenting with restriction, but nothing too serious at first. I didn’t get entrenched, but I was flirting with anorexia.
It hit hard the summer between my junior and senior year of college. I was a Division I collegiate swimmer, and a roommate of mine had lost weight the summer before our junior year. Apparently I wasn’t secure with the way my body looked because I wanted mine to look like hers. I severally restricted that summer. I wouldn’t eat anything over amount of fat and sugar grams. I didn’t eat very much. I don’t remember counting calories, and I didn’t weigh myself either.
I returned for my senior swim season to what should have been my best season because I had a stellar (for me) junior year, but I came back extremely thin and underweight. At weigh-in, I was low.
I continued to restrict throughout the season while doing two-a-day workouts a few times a week. I also ran in the evenings on my own. I made the mistake of having escargot the night before my 100 fly race (my best event) at my conference swim meet, and I had no energy. I had some ice cream once the meet was over. From that point, I stopped restricting. And then I couldn’t stop eating sugar. Compulsion overtook me. I basically traded one addiction for another because I suddenly had no willpower. I’d restricted my body for nine months from sugar and fat, so that was all I craved.
Stuck in the compulsion mode, in grad school I experimented with bulimia for a while. Anorexia was still part of my mentality, but I always spoke of it as something I dealt with in the past. Then, I restricted again the summer before I got married in 2005. I had several people tell me I was too thin. Deep down I knew it was an issue, but I was unwilling to face it.
I began restricting again when my third child was 7 mo old. I ate voraciously after my twins were born. I couldn’t eat enough because of expending so many calories producing so much milk. I had a hard time keeping weight on. I continued eating a lot of food, even after I stopped producing and naturally gained a little bit of weight…and that freaked me out.
So after my third child was born, I was determined not to let that happen. I started dieting while I was still producing milk for him. I was literally sick for three months straight. I was also constantly dizzy and often felt as though I could pass out while I driving. Yet, somehow I never equated it with my lack of calories.
During this time, I ate very healthful foods. Because it had become such a way of life, I literally did not recognize that I had a problem. Eventually, I was okay for about four months, and then I hit a weight I wasn’t comfortable with and started restricting hard core again. This past time, though, I recognized I had a problem and was actually willing to do something about it for the first time ever. That was big.