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what its like to have an eating disorder, are eating disorders hereditary, skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Ever wonder what it’s like to have an eating disorder? It’s sad. If the eating disorders don’t kill you, the loneliness will. As I stood there looking in the mirror, facing the truth of my anorexic reflection I realized that I hated what I saw. As long as I could remember, I had never liked what I saw staring back at me in the mirror. Sure, if I tried really hard I could find one thing that was tolerable. One thing that was passable as average, but mostly I disgusted myself. The eating disorders had taken hold of me and now I was down the rabbit hole and sinking faster and faster into some alternative universe where nothing made sense and everything was upside down.

READ ALSO: Are Eating Disorders Genetic?

Logically, I knew that the khakis that I wore to work were so big that I had started wearing long johns under my uniform just to appear larger than I was which was ironic because I was severely restricting what I ate in order to lose weight.

I know what it’s like to have an eating disorder. I knew I was anorexic. It wasn’t a secret to me.

On some level, I knew that I was severely underweight but I wasn’t going to admit it, not even to myself. Admitting that I was at an acceptable weight or below without feeling happy, complete with myself, meant failure; failure at keeping control of my life. I knew that if I lost the tiniest bit of control of the runaway train that was my life, the entire thing would derail.

It’s hard to go full-on all the time. I was going to university full time, working full time, living in a large city away from all of my family and friends. I had bit off more than I could chew but I wasn’t ready to admit that I had eating disorders. I’d rather die than admit failure. Funny how I never knew what that statement truly meant before that very moment.

READ ALSO: Netflix’s Bones realistically portrays life with eating disorders

I’d left behind my entire life; my family, my friends, my boyfriend. I did all of this to run away from my life, thinking that if I got far enough away from it all, everything would work itself out but it didn’t. Feeling out of control and overwhelmed, nothing was working out the way I had planned it to be. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it all back on track so I restricted and micromanaged in the only place I still had complete control; my food. I clung to my eating disorders for dear life, ironic since they were killing me.

Being a girl with eating disorders became the only description of myself that I recognized myself. It defined my existence.

I’d started restricting a couple of years prior but I’d been caught. It was embarrassing and I promised to stop but I never did. I couldn’t. If I would have let the chaos in for a second, my entire world have unraveled and it was pretty much held together by a stick of bubblegum and a prayer as it was so for 8 years, I hid what I was doing. I felt like a fraud.

It was the one secret that I couldn’t share with anyone because they’d try to save me from myself. I didn’t want to be saved. Or maybe I did but I wasn’t willing to turn my life over to someone else to save. I thought I had it under control. I didn’t.

READ ALSO: Eating Disorders Affect More than Just Your Body

I spent my days hiding the real me from everyone who cared about me.  This made me bitter and angry. Why couldn’t they just accept me as I was? Why’d they try to change me? Why must they try to stop me? Didn’t they realize that this was the only thing that had gotten me through? I wore my thigh gap with hard-earned pride, why were they trying to take this small victory from me?

My eating disorders made me feel in control.

I needed to restrict to feel normal and the threat that someone would try to make me stop sent me into personal seclusion, becoming prone to crying inexplicably and blowing up for no apparent reason. Most days, I straddled between the reality of my disease and the delusion that it would all end up fine. Stupidly, I held on to that delusion like I was drowning and it was my only salvation.

READ ALSO: All Little Girls think they’re Fat

To let reality in, to let anyone in, meant to face the fact that I had already lost all control. Then one day, when I was at my bottom, the delusion was sweeping me away and drowning me but reality kept whispering in my ear, “This will be the last time. This is your last chance to save yourself.” That’s when I knew the eating disorders had to end.

I relinquished control. It wasn’t taken from me. I gave it up. My only real choice was that I had to give myself over to something bigger than myself, to be honest, and start fresh. Eating disorders are lonely and isolating. I just wanted to be free of the shackles of the lies. Hopeful, I wanted to live and love and grow old and that was not going to happen if I didn’t give up control of my runaway life. Embracing the chaos and facing my fears was my only option. None of that was going to happen if I was dead.

Eating Disorders will kill you if you don’t stop. Ask for help.

If you know someone who has eating disorders or suspect that your child might be headed down that road, I’ve written a checklist of warning signs that you might not have otherwise known to look for. Eating disorders no matter how inconsequential they may seem at first can quickly spiral out of control. Never ignore the signs because if you do, it may be too late to save your child.

This is just one day in the life of a girl with eating disorders, imagine how hard it is to live that life day after day with no end in sight?

This is what it is like in the day of a girl with eating disorders.

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what its like to have an eating disorder, are eating disorders hereditary, skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Have you ever wondered are eating disorders genetic? I have since the day I gave birth to my first daughter because the last thing I wanted to pass down to my girls were eating disorders. Many of you know that I have been in recovery from bulimia and anorexia for nearly 20 years, with very few slip-ups. But eating disorders don’t just magically leave, they plague you for life. It’s impossible to unlearn those behaviors and almost as hard not to act upon your instinct. I know that’s not what anyone wants to hear but it is my truth.

Today, it finally happened. The day I’ve been dreading since she was born. The day she compared herself to me. The day I had to really consider …

Are eating disorders genetic?

Unfortunately, my research says, yes, eating disorders are, in fact, genetic just like Bipolar disorder, depression and so many other mental illnesses. We like to think we can protect our children from illnesses but what do we do when we are the very people who gave them the genes to develop the disorder? It’s through no fault of our own. We can do everything right and still not be able to protect them from these kinds of things. I’ve tried my best to do everything right and I am super aware of the behaviors because of my own experience but what if none of that can stop any of it?

For me, there is no competition. She is better than me in every single way. She is a tall, leggy blonde with blue eyes that smile, a sweet voice and the perfect peaches and cream complexion. She is everything I hoped to be as a young girl. She is smart, graceful and strong. She is independent, cultured and not afraid to stand up for herself and for what’s right. She is my idea of perfection.

 

In many ways, we are alike. That strong, independent bossy streak that runs deep in her, is all me. Her smile, me too. The intelligence, well she got that from both of us and the culture is something I have been instilling from birth. However, the tall, graceful leggy blonde is not me at all.

I have always been average to tall, 5’7”, dark hair, hazel ish-brown eyes and small boned. My parents are not big people. My mom is 5’3” and my dad is probably around 5’10”. So, I was always the youngest and often one of the smaller kids in the class.

Today, as I was cleaning out my attic to prepare for the yearly garage sale, I was pretty excited because I have a bunch of “vintage” clothing that my newly 12-year-old can rock. These are pieces I loved but just will never look right on me again. I’m not 21 anymore and I’ve birthed 2 children; half tops and low-rise flared jeans are just not appropriate for me in my current situation. Read; an adult with some junk in the trunk and a tiny spare tire.

Anyways, as we sifted through the tubs, I got very excited because I was excited to pass these pieces on. Then it hit me, she is bigger than me now then I was at 21 ( because I was 3 years deep into my eating disorders; I was anorexic.) I knew this might happen, I’d planned to adjust for it but I forgot.

You see, a few months back, I told my oldest about my eating disorders as a preemptive strike. Now, I really struggled with whether or not I should tell the girls because I don’t want them to think less of me, think its ok or, worse still, be responsible for planting that seed in their brain. But I told her because she is starting to outgrow me in height.

Her feet are passing me by and I noticed that when I tried to give her a pair of my shoes, she compared her feet to mine. Firstly, we have different builds. Secondly, she is a ballet dancer who dances in pointe; wide feet are a by-product. But none of that matters because she was comparing herself to me and I was the bar by which she was measuring herself. She judged her difference as a deficit. I assured her that different does not mean less than, it only means not the same.

Today, as we sifted again through the bins, she began trying things on. Things she knew I wore to my bridal shower and on our honeymoon and I could see her judging herself. It broke my heart. I had to jump in and explain that we have different builds and that I was not healthy when I was that size, the size that is smaller than a 12-year-old child. In all honesty, my 9-year-old happily accepted and fits into one of my favorite outfits from when I was 25. I was sick. I could have died and none of that is ok.

I’ve tried to explain that I had already gone through puberty and my shape was different than hers is now. I also explained how I had no boobs and hairy legs when I was her age; to give her some perspective. Still, I saw the defeat in her eyes when she tried on one of my favorite skirts from the 90’s and she couldn’t fasten it.

I know that feeling because even though I was not a huge tween, I was huge compared to my mom. I outgrew her clothes around the same time. This was also the same time; I began my lifelong battle with body dysmorphic disorder so all of this is scaring the shit out of me. Like, I am literally lying awake at night wondering how this is all going to play out and praying that eating disorders are not genetic because they never go away. You are never cured. You are just in a constant state of recovery for the rest of your life. I don’t want that for my girls.

To this day, I follow girls in recovery on Instagram. I’m invested in their recovery from eating disorders. Part of it is because I miss being in control like that and part of it is to cheer them on in their recovery. I want them to get better; to survive and have a life and a family and be able to eat food without mental anguish; cruelty-free without torture. But then I get this thought in my head, what if I’m cheering them on and they see me, overweight now, and relapse?

The same way I am terrified that my clothes are going to push my daughter in that direction. She is almost as tall as me and she is going to be much taller. She is also built more athletically than me. Her father is bigger than my father. She is buying S/M in clothes and I am L/XL and I am afraid she is going to see the gap narrowing too much and see herself as bigger than she is. So, I have to get healthier so I don’t negatively affect the way she sees herself.

Believe me, I know this might sound crazy to many of you, especially if you’ve never had eating disorders but if you have, you know what I am talking about. And if it came down to it, if one of us has to be sick or feel bad or unhappy, please God, let it be me.

I may not be able to change her genetic makeup and predispositions but I can certainly be aware and be present and try my hardest to not let genetics outrank my nurturing. Maybe the answer to the question, “are eating disorders genetic?” might be yes but the outcome doesn’t have to be the same as it was for me.

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Maura Kelly, sex and relationship blogger for Marie Claire, wrote a post yesterday titled, Should “Fatties” Get a Room? (Even on TV?).The post was about the sitcom Mike & Molly, “the show centers around a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group  has drawn complaints for its abundance of fat jokes [as well as] cries from some viewers who aren’t comfortable watching intimacy between two plus-sized actors.” In her post, she expressed her disdain for having to watch two “Fatties” make out, or simply walk across a room. This post garnered a lot of attention on the blogosphere and spread through twitter like a wildfire. I know, I was there..fanning the flames. I thought, what a monumental asshole this broad is behaving like. My next thought, who the hell is running that joint Marie Claire? Are there no editors? Talk about free speech!

OK, so she wrote a post about a sitcom. The problem is how she wrote it. The voice she used was very condescending and insulting. I agree with her that I don’t like to watch two people make out either but it has nothing to do with size, shape, color; I simply do not want to feel like I am watching porn. If that is what I wanted, well, I’d let the Big Guy choose something. But Ms. Kelly just kept repeatedly stepping in the proverbial dog shit. It was as if she backed up and stepped in it all over again, just to make sure she got it on her shoe. As evidenced by this quote

So anyway, yes, I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

As if that were not enough, she continued on

But … I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.
(I’m happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it’s cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you’re getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there’s plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you’ll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can’t afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)

This part is simply insulting to injury because you see Ms. Kelly has had self-admitted issues with eating disorders, anorexia in particular, herself. So, really she shouldn’t be giving diet and nutritional advice to anyone. ANYONE! She claims to be recovered. Of course, having had my own experience with eating disorders, I know that being a recovered Anorexic is about the same as being a “recovered” alcoholic. You may have stopped the behavior but you have to take it one day at a time because you can’t unlearn what you’ve already become privy to. You may decide that it’s not the way for you and stop the behavior but your mind still knows the path.

I’m no shrink but I’d say, from my own past experience, I had NO tolerance for overweight people because I was insane with an obsession with my own weight. I felt like if I could control myself from eating, what I ate, how much I ate, when I ate, if I ate; then why couldn’t others show the same self-control? You develop a disgust because partly they don’t have your self-control, but with that, they also do not have your misery. The misery that wanting brings and this causes some jealousy and resentment. I’m not saying she still has eating issues but I think maybe she still needs to work through to her own resolution. This is not an excuse and probably not understandable to anyone who has not experienced these issues.

I’ve been “recovering” from these issues for 13 years and I still battle with acceptance of my own body. I have chosen to do it the right way, the slow..healthy, working out, eating the right way. With the time it takes the body to heal it also gives the mind and spirit time to heal, appropriately. I do not cringe at heavy set people anymore. That was my own self-loathing being externalized. I say to each his own. There is a terrible obesity epidemic in the United States and, for health’s sake, I hope people can come around to healthier lifestyles.

There is nothing wrong with the show Mike and Molly, it is representative of a large part of our population. What’s wrong with having a show that lets us see these two people falling in love? Don’t they deserve the same happiness that anyone else deserves? Shame on you Maura Kelly for projecting your own issues onto the overweight people of the world. Does it make you feel better to make them feel worse? Just remember how miserable you felt when you were obsessing over your weight, and now realize that your piece may have done that for some poor overweight woman or girl! If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

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Lilly Collins, Netflix, To the Bone, eating disorders, anorexia, To the Bone Realistically Portrays Life with Eating disorders, life with eating disorders

Have you ever watched a movie or seen a show and thought to yourself, “Damn, that’s me! That’s my life!” I know it happens all the time because the human condition is a shared one. We don’t live in a vacuum and life is just a series of conditions, right?

The other day, I watched a movie and I saw me, exactly who I once was and it scared me because, by the way it was written, it was someone else too. Someone else had been where I had been and that made me think again about whether or not my girls might some day go down that same path. It was the Netflix Original To the Bone.

I see me, or rather, who I used to be. The anorexic girl. The one with the conflicted home life. The Unpresent dad, the checked out Mom who tried to help in her own way, while at the same time refusing to admit that there’s a problem at all.

Denial. It where we thrived. My job was to keep my dirty secret. Their job was to pretend it wasn’t happening. I fell through the cracks of a childhood held together by rubber bands and chewing gum.

I was alone, so very alone with my disease. People don’t really want to know when these sorts of things are happening, even if they suspect or even glimpse it with their own eyes, it’s too uncomfortable to discuss; to face head on. So we all pretend it’s not happening. Meanwhile, a child is dying.

READ ALSO: A Day in the Life of a Girl with Eating Disorders

It won’t go away. It doesn’t just stop. Sometimes, the darkness is so enveloping and the loneliness so crippling that you hope they don’t notice. You’d rather just disappear into the abyss without any fanfare or long, drawn out goodbyes. You want to cease to exist and other people’s concern only serves to prolong your agony.

Lilly Collins, Netflix, To the Bone, eating disorders, anorexia, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight,Lilly Collins, Netflix, To the Bone, eating disorders, anorexia, To the Bone Realistically Portrays Life with Eating disorders, life with eating disorders

The worst part for me was realizing that I was so good at it. Worse, I was so good at hiding it and it turned me into someone I despised because the only way to survive is to lie. Soon, you’re lying about everything to keep the one secret that you hold dearest to your heart.

There are never good days. It’s just a series of days you control better than others. You are being held at gun point in a prison of your own making; your head. There is no escape. There is no chance for parole. There is just a life sentence and, if you’re lucky, a life lived in daily recovery. Every day, for the rest of your life, you have to choose life because the alternative is that you die. You will literally die.

Though it may seem soothing and tempting, the thought of no longer having to endure; but the fucking guilt of it all is unbearable so every day, you get up, and you make the choice to live or to die.

For 8 years, I restricted and threw up every single day. Every single thing I ate. I threw up. I never binged, unless it was on alcohol and that was more to forget the world of shit I was living in, the complete loss of control and the fact that I was really hungry. I was starving in every sense of the word.

Five years before that, I began dieting. It was my gateway drug to starvation. I was 12-years-old when my journey started. 12, the magical age of awkward bodies caught between a child and a woman. My dad suggested that maybe I needed to “run more”. That was enough especially at that time in adolescence when you gain weight, right before you begin to develop and everything goes to the right place. You know, the exact same age as my daughter is today.

I’ve spent my entire motherhood tenure doing everything I can to not repeat this cycle. Here we are. This precipice that silently scares me to death. I’m constantly looking for all the signs. But I’ve done a good job. She thinks she’s perfect. She loves herself and her body. Then, it happened, beyond my control.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Healthy Daughters

As we were leaving the pediatricians office after her well visit last week, our dr was telling the girls where they rank on the charts. My 12-year-old has consistently ranked around the 98th percentile since birth. But this time, the new dr ( a female and girl Mom) told her “your BMI is a little high, so technically you are overweight.

I shot her a death stare as I wanted to murder her on the spot but didn’t want to make a big deal of it in front of the girls. She continued, but that’s to be expected in a girl your age because most girls put on a little weight during puberty before everything goes where it’s supposed to go.

I saw the gut punch on my daughters face. I felt the humiliation of being told that you’re not perfect. Then, I saw her second guess what she’s always known about herself … we she good enough?

I spent the ride home assuring her that the doctor said this was normal at this age. I assured her that she eats right and is very active and an athlete. She trusts me because I’m her mother. She accepted my words. But I know that now, forever, the seed of doubt has been planted and that crushes me.

Words have weight. Thoughts sometimes should be kept inside your head. Actions are forever.

I know there has been some controversy about the movie To the Bone. But coming from someone who knows, I think it was far from making anorexia seem desirable, or acting as if it stems from a desire to “look skinny.” The writing is sensitive but unsparingly real because it comes from personal experience. There were lines in there that only someone who has suffered from eating disorders would say or know. An anorexic can spot another anorexic from a mile away.

It’s the directorial film debut of Marti Noxon, a writer and executive producer on such shows as UnREAL and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and to write To the Bone she drew on her own battle with anorexia. (The film’s credits note that it is based on actual events.) I wouldn’t recommend you show it to your teen daughter but as a parent of a teen girl, or someone who loves someone living with this disorder or even for the girl surviving it…this movie, in my opinion, is a must see.

Have you seen To the Bone and what were your thoughts?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, so I binge a lot of Netflix, but my opinion about To the Bone and my personal experience with eating disorders are all my own.

 

 

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tips for raising healthy daughters, heart health

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with the Healthy For Good initiative of the American Heart Association. The views, opinions and positions expressed within this post belong to The Truth and do not necessarily represent those of The American Heart Association unless explicitly stated.

Food is something that I’ve always had a strained relationship with. Kind of like that bad boyfriend you just can’t quit. Let me rephrase it, it’s not the quitting part that I’ve had the problem with, it’s the walking away in a healthy way.

As many of you know, I have a past with eating disorders. It started when I was 12, the same age my oldest daughter is now, and it lasted actively until I was 25-years-old — though anyone who has ever survived disordered eating will tell you, much like alcoholism, it’s a lifelong disease but unlike alcohol, you can’t quit food and that has always been the trick.

I won’t spend a lot of time explaining my past with anorexia and bulimia because I’ve done that already. If you are interested, you can read all about my eating disorders here and my body dysmorphic disorder here. I just wanted you to know where I’m coming from now. We are all products of our past, after all.

As I said, I have daughters; my oldest is 12 and my youngest is 10 and one of my biggest fears since becoming a mom is that they’d inherit my predisposition to eating disorders. So, I decided years ago that I needed to shift my thinking from dieting and restricting to eating healthy, moving more and controlling my portions. For better or worse, we are our children’s first role models. They see and hear everything we do, even the words we don’t speak. These little people are smarter than we usually give them credit for.

But how does a woman who has spent her entire adult life, since she was 12-years-old, having a love/hate relationship with food and her own body teach two little girls to be healthy?

It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s something I work on every single day. I have become very aware of just how disordered I was through this journey of motherhood but it’s also made me more mindful of what kind of relationship with food that I want to model for my girls.

My eating disorders have made it so that I have a better handle on what to say and not say, do and not do, in relation to food and body image with my girls. I’d like to think, if anything good could possibly ever come from eating disorders, it was that they made me better equipped to raise strong, positive self-image, self-loving, confident and healthy girls and that almost makes what I went through worth it.

Here are my tips for raising healthy daughters.

So how do I do it? How do I model healthy eating habits for two little girls on the precipice of becoming women? Carefully and thoughtfully. We try to keep red meat to once a week or less. I’ve always fed the girls a variety of foods that included lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Those are the staples but I have also taught my girls that everything is okay in moderation. There can be no absolutes because always and never just end in disappointment and fall short.

It’s my responsibility to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle that includes free will, informed food choices, living actively and drinking plenty of water. No one says that has to be boring. My girls love infused waters. I want being healthy to be a way of life for them, not a chore so we look for activities that they enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter so much what you are doing, just that you are moving. Food is fuel for the body and our bodies really are a temple. But we only get one, so we’ve got to take care of it.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re foodies in this house. We love a good meal full of different colors, textures and flavors. We love to try new foods, the more exotic the better. In fact, we implemented a rule when the girls were still toddlers that you try everything at least twice and if you hate it, well, then you try it again at a later date. This has made for children who are very food adventurous which helps to integrate a variety of healthy foods rather than them always wanting chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese but hey, like I said that’s okay too, in moderation.

One of our favorite things to do, and we’ve done this since the kids were small, is to cook together. Both girls love to help us cook. I found out a long time ago that even if there is something that they don’t really like, if they help cook it, they will eat it. Somehow, their hard work seems to magically make it infinitely more appetizing to them. Plus, it gives us the chance to experiment with new recipes and flavors. For instance, why not throw some fruit on the grill?

These are just a few simple tips for raising healthy daughters.

The biggest thing I do and it really is so simple, if you don’t want your family to eat certain things, don’t buy them. Why not do a pantry audit and add healthy staples to your shopping list. If unhealthy foods aren’t in the house, they’re harder to put into your body. If you don’t want pop and chicken nuggets to be a part of your kid’s regular diet, then don’t let it be an available option. This will eliminate you having to police what your children eat.

I don’t ever want to tell my children not to eat something because I think the natural assumption when you tell someone not to eat something is that they don’t need it. And, speaking from experience, especially coming from a parent, thinking they think you are anything less than perfect is soul crushing. Not that any of us think we are truly perfect but we all believe, at least our parents believe we are.

The key is trying to be mindful and purposeful in what we eat most of the time. Sure, sometimes we want a pizza night or some frozen custard but I really try to make that the exception more than the rule.

If you are like me, you are always looking for good resources to keep your family healthy. The American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good website is a great resource full of healthy living content. It offers an extensive suite of recipes, videos, and editorial/infographic health content. Healthy For Good focuses on the following 4 pillars.

 

  • EAT SMART (smart shopping, cooking, and label reading)
  • ADD COLOR (eating healthier by adding colorful fruits and vegetables to your meals)
  • MOVE MORE (becoming more active)
  • BE WELL (whole body health; including mindfulness, stress reduction, wellness)

Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Veggie Month? What could be a more perfect time to get some fresh inspiration from the American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good Eat Smart and Add Color pillars? I say eat the rainbow! Variety is the spice of life and it’s healthier too.

The AHA’s ultimate goal is to help people navigate barriers so they can create and maintain behavior change. They don’t just tell you what to do, they show you!

Why not join the Healthy For Good movement for amazing weekly tips, recipes and motivation (scroll down here www.heart.org/HealthyForGood and click “join the movement.” I did! What are you waiting for?

What are your best tips for raising healthy daughters or sons?

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anorexia, bulimarexia, eating disorders, national eating disorders week

Bulimarexia is an eating disorder distinguished by a combination of the symptoms prevalent in both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa; develops primarily in teenage and young adult females. It is hard to treat because of having symptoms of both diseases.

Patients with bulimarexia usually have poor self-esteem and a distorted body image. Women are more likely to develop this condition. The patient engages in an aggressive campaign designed to generate weight loss and falls into a cyclical pattern of disordered eating. This can include prolonged fasting accompanied with the use of medications like diuretics to try and lose weight, followed by a binging and purging cycle where the patient eats large amounts of food and vomits.

Health risks with bulimarexia are considerable. Patients can develop organ damage as a result of the extreme stress on the body along with issues like damage to the enamel on the teeth and reduction in bone mass leading to an increased susceptibility to fractures. Comorbidities like depression can be observed and patients may overexercise, putting additional strain on the body. Patients with bulimarexia can lose weight precipitously and will still report dissatisfaction with their appearance.

Bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, restriting, body image

The photo above is what it feels like to have an eating disorder diagnosis. You feel alone, sad, your life feels hazy and you become a slave to your disease. You are hungry and unsatisfied. Unsatisfied with your body and there is a hunger within that is never fulfilled. Your disease becomes all consuming.

I hear people throw around the term anorexic and bulimic with no weight. These are two very serious diseases. They are more than simply not eating or binging and purging. They are punishment for a crime we didn’t commit. We punish ourselves for eating; the very thing that is needed to sustain us. It’s self-loathing. Can you imagine how that feels? Can you imagine hating the skin you are in so much, wanting to be in control of your body so badly, that you are willing to go to any lengths and risk any consequence to have that feeling of just being normal?

I do. I had what is now referred to as Bulimarexia for 8 years. I started off like most teen girls, hypersensitive to the criticism of others because of the already established need to be perfect set forth by magazines and television. My dad made a comment in passing that I needed to “run more”. He is an avid runner. This went into my ears, entered my brain and got twisted into ” You are fat. You are not good enough. If you were thinner, you would be better. I could love you more. YOU.NEED.TO.RUN!”

I went on my first diet at 12. I think it was about 5 minutes after my dad made his comment.

This went on for about 6 years. Me fighting my body to keep my curves from becoming too pronounced. By the way, I was 5’7″ and a size 8-10 in high school. I think at my absolute heaviest in high school was about 130 pounds. I thought I was huge.

Then before I left for college, everyone I encountered reminded me of the freshman fifteen (I was too young and naive to realize that the fifteen was caused by alcohol intake, not food) and every girl we knew left thin and by Thanksgiving returned, at least fifteen pounds heavier. This scared me to death.

Aside from leaving my family for the first time ever, leaving my boyfriend, 20 poundmy friends, my hometown and going to a new city, living on my own and being completely out of my comfort zone; I felt out of control. There was no way that I was letting my weight get out of control. I had to control it. I had to control something. I restricted my calories to about 600 calories a day (max)  and proceeded to throw up everything I took in (including water) and exercise for at least 2 hours a day. I remember heading down to the dorm gym in the basement at 10 pm, alone, and not returning to my room until midnight. I did a lot of things alone in those days. This started the fall I turned 18.

This is Bulimarexia

This continued for 8 years.

I was caught by a friend of mine once the first year. My parents found out. All the baggy sweatshirts and loose jeans can’t20-poundweight loss on an already average sized body. I had to return home from school mid-semester.

Even after I was caught, I never quit the bulimarexia. By that point, it was my trusted friend. I relied upon it. It was my routine. It was my safety. I didn’t care about the ramifications. I was in too deep to stop.

I got sneakier. I learned to pretend to eat and move my food around on my plate, eat off of smaller plates. I learned how to vomit silently and hide the evidence. I learned what was easier to digest and what tasted better coming up, what got hung in your throat and what did not. I learned a lot of ways to do this that I won’t share here because it would be irresponsible for me to share the intricacies of bulimarexia with you here. I don’t know who could be reading this and I refuse to give detailed instruction on how to kill yourself.

Eventually, I allowed myself to eat more and vomit more. It became the norm for me to vomit 5 times a day; some days as many times as 10 but usually no less than 5.  I never really ever binge ate. Binging, to me, was weak. It lacked self-control. I remember being tired a lot, cold ( bad circulation and no meat on my bones), hungry (always hungry), puffy (my face would look puffy from constantly throwing up) and having scars on my hands from involuntarily biting down in the middle of a purge. Honestly, I’m surprised I have any enamel left on my teeth at all.

I remember people constantly trying to feed me and telling me that I looked sick. Most people had no idea that I had bulimarexia. I knew how to keep a secret. Every single time they said “you look like you are sick”, I felt validation..someone thought I was skinny. A concerned boyfriend once told me that I was getting too thin. I accused him of cheating. I preferred to give up the relationship with him than give up the bulimarexia. This was a serious relationship, not a casual boyfriend. It didn’t matter.

I stopped the behavior when I was 25. I will write about that in another post.

Bulimarexia makes you defensive. Starvation makes you mean. You’ll do anything to protect the disease. You take comfort in the control. I can tell you about this now because I am not that same girl. I am trying to not let my number on the scale rule my life. I’ve not starved or purged in almost 15 years. In fact, it will be 15 years this fall. I still have times when I consider it for a moment, but then I look at my daughters and I know I want to live. I want to be a good example for them and I can’t do that with disordered eating. I’m sharing this so you can understand that eating disorders are more than someone simply choosing to be skinny. They are not terms to be thrown around lightly because the weight and price of eating disorders is death. I was lucky, I survived my bulimarexia others do not.

Bulimarexia the Consequence of Impossible Standards

bulimarexia,anorexia,bulimia, eating disorders
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american horror story, starvation, throat punch thursday

Plagiarism, Throat Punch Thursda,american horror story, writing, blogging

Plagiarism can be deadly

Plagiarism strikes again. I can’t even believe that this has happened. When I got the pingback to my blog and I saw where my post ended up, my stomach dropped. One of  my worst nightmares realized.Not the fact that assholes were copying form websites ( thought that does chap my ass) but the fact of where they copied it to. I was horrified and quite literally, sick to my stomach. I had become one of the things I hate the most in the world, a proponent for the very thing that almost destroyed my life; the disease that cold have killed me.

I sit at my computer and I type away pouring out my heart and soul. I never really stop to think about how what I am writing can be twisted and construed. I don’t write in respect to reviews. I write raw and uncensored. I know the whole story and sometimes, I forget that some of my readers ( depending where I am writing) only have a glimpse into my life. They have no idea about who I am and my thoughts, beliefs. They get a snippet, a writer’s soundbite and they form, usually, not too flattering and often strong opinions about me. It does hurt, especially when they are condemning me and I can’t even respond but that is the price I pay for being a blogger. I open my story up to others, I have to take the criticism with the flattery but I will not stand silently for someone using plagiarism to twist my story into something that supports the slow suicide of many of today’s teens.

My blog paints a family portrait, giving only a brief synopsis of what is going on in my life. I share because, for me, writing is catharsis. This is how I process all the madness without needing an asylum. You know that moment when you are so engaged in the moment that you write completely with your heart, no thought or censor needed? Those are the best posts because connections are made with your readers but they are also the posts that plagiarist prey upon.. Readers are smart,  they can usually see through all the rainbows and sunshine in a heartbeat. They are not falling for the smoke up their asses. It might feel warm and fuzzy in the beginning but soon, it’s just saccharin and sticky and who wants that? So, I tell the truth like many of you do. Then something really fucked up happens and it makes me reconsider everything.

plagiarism,american horror story, starvation, throat punch thursday

Plagiarism in the wrong hands can do a lot of damage

I can’t talk vaguely about this because it makes no sense so I will be completely honest without linking to these idiots. Most of you are very aware that I have struggled with eating disorders in my past. I am now an advocate for healthy living and I share my story, embarrassing as it may be to me, to help others know they are not alone and that recovery may be ongoing but it is possible. The other day I wrote a post about body dysmorphic disorder and then I found it on a ProAna site. For those of you who are unaware, ProAna is Pro Anorexic. It is a site that says that it doesn’t encourage eating disorders but believe me, they do. They have the live and let die stance on anorexia. They are a resource for those who need a support forum to kill themselves with eating disorders. It’s a group who understands and embraces the anorexic and her disorder. They my not chant “Starve, starve, starve” but they certainly tell you how to do it, how to hide it and rationalize it. These sites disgust me and I think they should be outlawed.

So, when they took my post about my own story of living with body dysmorphic disorder and plagiarized it on their site, I can only believe they are using it as a tool to advocate for anorexia to cure unsatisfactory feelings about their bodies. A site like this would not be using it as a tool to deter women from eating disorders. They just don’t do that. The thought that any of my writing could contribute to another another girl going down this path completely makes me sick.

This weeks throat punch most definitely goes to the ProAna site that used my post about living with Body Dysmorphic disorder and twisted into a tool to convince others that eating disorders are justified.Don’t worry, I got legal involved unfortunately, these shiesty fuckers have comments closed and are very sneaky. It’s not exactly the sort of site that you want to put your name all over, if you know what I mean? Bastards! Be warned there are worse things that plagiarist can do than JUST steal your content, they can twist your words into a weapon to hurt others.

What is the time your words have been taken out of context or twisted into something else and used in a way that you never meant it to be? Have you been the victim of plagiarism?

Plagiarism can do harm you never even considered

 

photo credit: Rega Photography via photopin cc

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thigh gap, body image

This is where it starts: the coveted thigh gap. What the fuck is the thigh gap and how can I get one is what many teens are asking after seeing a recent segment on ABC that suggests that the thigh gap is the it status symbol this season for teen girls. I am here to tell you that the thigh gap is nothing new. Girls have been in pursuit of the thigh gap since the beginning of time. How do I know? Well, I was one of the chosen who had a thigh gap in my early 20’s. It was hard earned and I was proud of it.

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Judgemental Doctors, Throat Punch Thursday, Doctors

Throat Punch Thursday,Judgmental Doctor,doctors, obesity,weight management

Judgmental Doctor You Suck

Tonight’s Throat Punch is brought to you by a judgmental doctor. Don’t get me wrong some of my favorite people in the world are doctors; my brother in law, one of my best friends to name a few. I realize that they are, in fact, human; just like you and I. But I expect a standard of professionalism when they are practicing medicine. What they say at home, that’s between them and their HIPAA conscience. But when a doctor brings assumption and judgment into the exam room, we have a problem .

I’ve been having persistent coughing fits for the past 2 weeks and decided to go to the local RediMed, as I don’t have a GP here yet. The doctor walked in the exam room ( after I had waited 2 hours to see her) with a less than enthusiastic attitude, as if I had done something to deserve to be sick. It was apparent from the moment she walked into the room looking through her nose at me, that she was a judgmental doctor.  Worse still a cold bitch, as the room dropped 10 degrees when she walked in.

She began by asking me the standard questions. How long have you had the cough? Are you feeling any sinus pressure? Are you feeling any pressure in your ears? I say yes. She asked, “Pressure? or PAIN?” Her tone was as if I had misunderstood her question. I had not. She had a very thick accent. I’ve grown up immersed in thick accent as my fathers mother tongue is not English. I don’t usually have an issue understanding accents but hers was quite thick.

Judgmental Doctor, Throat Punch Thursday, Doctors, Body issues, weight, body dysmorphic disorder

Judgmental Doctor You are No Lady

“Do you have any allergies?” Yes, I have seasonal allergies.

“When you cough are you bringing anything up? Yes (I’m assuming she was referring to phlegm).

This is when it all fell apart.

At this point she is looking at me, as if I have totally done something wrong, “You really have to watch what you are eating late at night!”  I eat at 5:30 every night.

I have no f*cking idea what she is talking about.

“You must cut back on the greasy food! Take some Prilosec and stop eating these kinds of food!!!! ” She’s practically yelling. I feel as if I am on trial.

“Stop drinking all the sugar, sodas and coffee at night. You need to watch what you eat so you don’t destroy your esophagus with your unhealthy eating habits.”

I don’t!I don’t! I don’t!

What the f*ck is she talking about? Since when did a cough warrant a scolding on non-existent eating habits?

Judgmental Doctor Say What

Then it hits me like a ton of rocks hurled by sizists at the fat kid. Somehow, when I was explaining to her that when I lie down at night the coughing fits get worse, she heard “I’m a big fat asshole who has acid reflux because I can’t control my binge eating at night. I drink 2 liters of soda and pots of coffee with reckless abandon because I just don’t give a shit about my health!”

She was being very condescending and rude.

I know I am out of shape. I am heavier than I ever wanted to be.

I DO NOT HAVE ACID REFLUX.

I HAVE NEVER HAD HEARTBURN. I don’t even know what it feels like.

I came in for COUGHING FITS not a judgmental doctor with a side of asshole bedside manner. Who did she think she was?

I seldom drink caffeine, never at night. I’ve never been a binge eater. I’m a restrictor. To add insult to injury, I’m pretty sure that the reason I am as heavy as I am now is partly from all the damage I did to my body when I was in the throes of my 8 year battle with eating disorders. Doesn’t this bitch know I have body dysmorphic disorder?

Of course she doesn’t, she’s just the freaking drive thru of doctors and she doesn’t have my full medical records. That insensitive bitch just used her judgmental doctor powers on someone who has to talk herself into accepting herself on a daily basis. I’ve never felt so ugly in my life.

I was deflated. Enraged. Wanted to throat punch her and cry simultaneously. On top of everything else, it’s shark week and I’m not feeling especially happy with excessive water weight that I’m holding.

Thanks for the pep talk, Dr. Kevorkian.My throat Punch goes to the wicked stupid, judgmental doctor with the sizist attitude and atrocious bedside manor.

Hope you will link up your Throat Punch Thursday posts with me. I wanted to extend a personal invite to all of you to link up any posts in which you air a grievance, call out any asshatery,or just dole out a well deserved throat punch to one of societies shortcomings or political douche canoes. If not this week, I do it EVERY single Thursday and would love for any or all of you to join in! All you have to do is grab the Throat Punch Thursday button ( listed under the “about” tab at the top of the page), put it in your blog post and link up. If you’d like to stay in the Throat Punch know, I’d love it if you would email subscribe ( as GFC will stop working soon). Just say No to a Judgmental doctor.

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nutrisystem, weight loss, diet, health, healthy

Yep, I’m pretty excited in the morning! Never mind the hair, this is a woman on a mission.

Yesterday, something exciting happened in my life, I went back on the Nutrisystem program. I am about come clean and get really honest with you about my weight. GULP! As many of you know, I was the poster child for eating disorders for 8 years. You know what having eating disorders for that amount of time does to your body? It really messes up your metabolism. My body was essentially in starvation mode for those 8 years and when I finally began to eat like a normal person, my metabolism dug it’s heels in and said, “nu-Uh bitch, you’re not starving us again. We’re holding on to everything.” Which, I deserved. My poor body has been through hell. Well, then it snowballed out of control.

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