I wish we would have this conversation sitting on the couch looking eye to eye because today I’m talking about something really vulnerable that I haven’t talked publicly about in a long time. When we are neck deep in a struggle, we want the get healed quick miracle process… but healing doesn’t work that way and this episode is not that quick fix. I’m here to share my eating disorder, and my path to freedom. My hope is that whether you’re neck deep in an eating disorder or you struggle with your body image, that you’ll be able to walk away from this podcast episode encouraged and with practical tools to support you in walking into more freedom.
I believe God has more freedom than you could possibly imagine. But there is no quick fix to freedom. It takes work, discipline, courage, honesty, and the willingness to fail and fall over and over and over again. However, if we are brave enough—we will use those fumbles as our greatest teachers.
“This is especially true of people who rumble with failure. These are people who choose courage over comfort, accountability over blame, and are able to embed key learnings from failures into their lives.” — Brene Brown
All throughout high school, I was an athlete and I was so focused on training to be a D1 athlete that I didn’t stop to worry about body image. However, once I got to college as a D1 tennis player, I noticed the body dysmorphia in my fellow athletes with whom I spent all of my time. I didn’t get it—but slowly their disfunction rubbed off on me.
Almost overnight, food was my main thought. Our coach had us do weigh ins every week and keep daily food journals. One day after practice, my friends and I ate a lot of food. One girl suggested we go throw up our food, so we went behind the dumpsters outside our dorm and she taught us how to throw up our food.
I continued to do this for once or twice a week and I felt guilty about it and honestly I was bad at it. I stopped throwing up my food, but I would binge eat and count calories to make sure I could burn off all of them afterwards. As a collegiate athlete, I was already working out 6 hours a day, but I would work out even more on top of that.
Fast forward, I ultimately quit tennis for a lot of reasons. I thought the eating disorder would just dissolve because of this, but my relationship with food remained the same. It was then that I realized I had a problem and I did not want to wait to reach my rock bottom before I sought help.
Admit You Have a Problem
The cliché is true—the first step is admitting you have a problem. I remember my “aha!” moment clearly, but it didn’t change my relationship with food.
Pause—Identify Your Triggers in the Moment
I had to pause to take note of what would come up for me every time I would binge. Why did I do that? What led to this? A friend introduced me to “HALT” – was I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Where in your life are you feeling a loss of control? What are you not wanting to feel? Often we inflict pain on ourselves because it’s easier to pinpoint—I feel pain because I ripped that hang nail off + now I’m bleeding as opposed to digging into the dark, murky, cold, waters of my past.
Refuse to Demonize Food
Do you ever shame your body with friends and then all of a sudden you’re all just self-shaming Mean Girls-style? When I moved to Los Angeles, the women I lived with decided that none of us were allowed to body shame or demonize food. Friends, we were built for community.
Healing is NOT Linear, But Healing is Possible
The healing process is slow, it takes community, and it is not linear. We have to praise the progress instead of focusing on failures and dig into the root of our problems. Never rule out therapy, 12-step programs, or inpatient/outpatient programs. Even if you have to put your life on pause for a year—investing in your well-being is the best thing you can do with your time and money.
Today, I have learned to listen to and honor my body when it comes to working out and when it comes to eating. When I reach for a donut, I know that I an eating it because I feel like eating it and not because I want to numb out.
“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom” — The Scarlet Letter
Being obsessed with food is not normal. Not being able to eat without counting calories or mentally noting how much you’ll have to work out later is dysfunctional. Throwing up your food and starving yourself is bondage. Pretending like an eating disorder is not a problem is insane.
There is freedom for you.
More than you can possibly imagine.
You won’t know how much the weight of this bondage is crushing you until you start stepping towards freedom + I promise you it’s worth the work; it’s worth bringing to light; and it’s worth fighting for…because you are worth it.
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Hey, single ladies— are you frustrated by the dating world? This episode is brought to you by my free guide called “6 Tips to Activate Your Dating Life with Intention and Clarity.” These resources helped propel me from sitting on the couch to out on a date. Head over to Bit.ly/trwdating to check it out! With you on the journey.