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Eating disorders

skinny, vanity, weight loss,

Have you ever looked at a scale and worried if you were skinny enough? Some days people disappoint me in ways that leave me flabbergasted. Insulting someone to their face while extolling the virtues of how great they themselves are. Wouldn’t time be better spent helping others rather than telling others how they could be better if they were more.like.you?

News alert: People know their shortcomings. You never have to tell them. Keep it to yourself. Telling an ugly person they’re ugly doesn’t help them not be ugly, it only makes them feel bad about not being attractive which they were already completely aware of…same goes for being rich, popular, thin and successful. Be who you are, enjoy your win and stop rubbing the loser’s nose in it. It’s petty, shady and just about the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.

This is not a story about superficial looks. It’s the example I’m using because I used to be vain and shallow. The subject matter is known well to me.

I used to care, more than I should have if I was skinny enough.

Wasting time worrying about getting the perfect body,  was my sole purpose in my teens and 20’s to the exclusion of all else. I had a certain idea in mind of what happiness would look like and it all started with being 5’8” and a size zero. My happiness hinged on how skinny I looked; the size of my pants. I knew that if I could “achieve this” hard to reach goal, I could do anything and I would definitely be happy.  It was mathematically impossible not to be.

skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Skinny+tall= beautiful = happiness.

I knew I was smart. I was popular enough. All I needed was the “perfect” body and I would have it all. So, I went after it with all I had, like I did everything in those days. When I get an idea in my head, I get obsessed and so began my obsession. Restriction. Exercise. Expulsion. More restriction. Even more exercise. I was never growing passed my 5’7.5” (God’s way of keeping me humble) but I was going to get that perfect body if it killed me and it almost did.

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

For 13 years on and off, for 8 years hardcore, I chased the unattainable because it was a moving target. Happiness is not a pant size. I know this because each time I reached my “ideal” weight, I realized I needed to be smaller. Just 5 more pounds, over and over again. I was never happy and always unsatisfied. To be honest, I was miserable because the goals never lived up to the expectations.

skinny, vanity, weight loss,

Then there is now. I’m a grown woman. I’ve finally realized that the most important thing is to be healthy, feel good in your own skin and not give a damn about what other’s think (much easier said than done ).

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had some health issues, unexpected bumps in the road and I realized how stupid I was to be killing myself to be a certain weight. I am now at a point where, all I want is to be fully functioning, walking upright and to be healthy. That’s when it hit me that wanting to be “skinny”, obsessing over every workout and every piece of food I put into my mouth and trying to impress others with the way I look….that’s stupid. That is a luxury for vain people with nothing substantial to concern themselves with. I am happy for those people. I wish them continued health.

READ ALSO: Finally, I don’t Hate my Body

People starving in third world countries don’t obsess over thigh gaps. They are happy to have food in their bellies. People concerned with diabetes and high blood pressure worry about their diet for health reasons, to achieve maximum health not so that their asses look great in a pair of Lululemon. I think to each their own.

None of us know what others are going through. I’ve not lived your life and you’ve not lived mine. We come from different backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses and cultures and what is right for you might not be what is right for me.

I’d never tell you how to live your life, what to wear or not to wear or how to behave because I don’t know your perspective. Only you have lived your life, survived your circumstances or struggles. Your heartbreak, loss and what on the outside looks like negativity, not good enough or “wrong” could be so much better than the day before and could be the very best you have to offer at this time.

In the grand scheme of my life, worrying about being skinny or over weight is stupid unless it affects your health.

I try to consider this as I’ve spent time on both sides. The thing is I want to live my best life. Do my best and be my best me and that has nothing to do with you. Just as how you choose to live your best life has nothing to do with me. Still, I wish us all happiness and success, whatever that might look like to each and every one of us.

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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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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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the hidden dangers of juicing, Juicing, Breville, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Mental health, bipolar, eating disorders

Do you know the hidden dangers of juicing? A couple weeks ago, I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and obviously, related a little too much. I immediately wanted to start juicing as a way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our everyday diet. The fact that I have read that juicing helps with everything from losing weight to curing cancer made it even that more lucrative.

But I never considered that there could be hidden dangers of juicing.

Juicing is healthy, or so I thought. I’ve known for some time that our diets have began to see a deficit in fresh fruit and vegetables and I want to change that. So, I told my husband that I wanted a juicer for Mother’s Day…but I wanted it now. Why put off til tomorrow what you can do today? Carpe Diem and all that shit.

I must have had that crazy look in my eyes because he agreed and within a few days, my brand spanking new Breville juicer arrived. I was very eager to get started so I downloaded the Joe Juice Diet book ( by the guy who did the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead documentary) and got started. This is exactly why I am not allowed to watch infomercials. See The Enya incident of 1997, the Zumba incident of 2007,  the Meaningful Beauty incident of 2006 and the Insanity & T25 incidents of  2012 and 2013. I am the optimistic insomniac who is easily sold anything in her delirious state. Anyways, I digress.

I got my Breville juicer and decided on a 3-day juice.  I served all my juice over ice because I need juice to be cold but you can drink it room temperature if you prefer.

Here is what my juicing experience looked like:

Day 1-3

Breakfast:

Hot water with lemon ( instead of coffee & to jumpstart your metabolism)

the hidden dangers of juicing, Juicing, Breville, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Mental health, bipolar, eating disorders

 

Bye-Bye Blue Juice ( ½ cup blueberries, 1 cucumber, 1 lime, 1 pear. Makes 1 serving.)

the hidden dangers of juicing, Juicing, Breville, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Mental health, bipolar, eating disorders

Snack:

Water/ Coconut Water

Lunch:

the hidden dangers of juicing, Juicing, Breville, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Mental health, bipolar, eating disorders

Joe’s Mean Green Juice (16 Kale leaves, 2 cucumbers, 8 celery stalks, 4 apples, 1 lemon and a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger.  Makes 2 servings.)

Afternoon snack:

Juicing, Breville, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Mental health, bipolar, eating disorders

Green Citrus ( 4 apples, 4 oranges and 12 handfuls of leafy greens. I use Kale. Makes 2 servings.)

Dinner:

Joe’s Mean Green

Dessert:

the hidden dangers of juicing, Juicing, Breville, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Mental health, bipolar, eating disorders

Peach Delight (1 sweet potato, 2 ripe peaches, 1 apple, 1 1/3 cup of blueberries and a dash of cinnamon.)

Now, while I liked all of the juices with the exception of the Mean Green which I just haven’t gotten the recipe to taste yet. I think it needs less cucumber. Cucumber is so overpowering and I love it but it’s just been a tad too much for me.  Full Disclosure: by the end of day two, I was so famished that I would have eaten my own arm off. I ended up eating an actual salad with grilled chicken.  Juicing is hard. I did lose 3 pounds in 3 days and I had a lot of energy.

Bedtime:

Herbal Tea

My experience showed e the hidden dangers of juicing.

I loved the drinks but two things happened to me that I wasn’t anticipating and they scared me a little bit.

1) I had a lot of energy. Like too much. I was talking a lot ( more than usual and if you know me you know that is  A LOT!) and apparently, I was very loud and fidgety. Now, this may not be alarming to any of you but for me a person who flirts with mania, well, it felt a little too close to home for me. So, if you are prone to bouts of mania or hypomania, maybe juicing is not for you unless you are trying to induce an episode in which case, call your doctor right now!

2) As a person 16 years in recovery from eating disorders, juicing felt a lot like a gateway drug to restricting. I felt a switch flip and I have been obsessing over everything I put into my mouth ever since which, yes, I did need to be more aware of but didn’t necessarily want to be hyperaware and experience the guilt that I associate with carbs so this has me a little worried.  I find it alarming that simply by following a regimented diet for 3 days; I can feel those old tendencies pulling at me so strongly. The good news is that I am completely aware of it and have added whole foods back into my diet but the refined sugars and flours are just not worth it to me at this point.  I’m not sure I would recommend juicing for anyone who has had issues with restricting in the past, it could be a trigger.

My plan is to continue juicing for breakfast and for my afternoon and evening snack and to eat healthy meals for lunch and dinner. So my takeaway is that I do love juicing. I love the energy and knowing that I am adding a lot of great fruits and veggies back into our diet and that is good for all us but I could never live on just juice of an extended amount of time.

Also, I don’t drink a lot of alcohol or coffee on a regular basis so I never experienced the usual withdrawals so I can’t tell you how bad those might be. I can say that my morning Bye-Bye Blues juice blend gave me a lot more energy than a cup of coffee ever has.

Tips:

Don’t overdue the kale because it can be bad for you

Remove peels from citrus

A little lemon/lime go a LONG way

Cucumber is powerful

Remove the pits from peaches

Remove seeds from your apples ( cyanide). I forgot.

Use organic ingredients if you are juicing the skin

Too much fruits equal too much sugar.

Do you juice? Please share your favorite juicing or smoothie recipes?

Have you discovered any hidden dangers to juicing?

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Caroline Berg Eriksen, weight loss, mommy wars, sisterhood

So it happened. You know that moment when something just clicks? Well, yesterday something just clicked. I decided to just do it. I am doing it. This morning was the first day.

I’ve been seeing this photo floating around FB of Caroline Berg Eriksen, the Norwegian soccer wife and fitness blogger, in her undies and bra looking like a svelte supermodel four days after giving birth. People are annoyed by her and asking why she would do something like this. People are pissed off. How dare she look that good 4 days after giving birth! It has to be a fake.

Well, not me. I say, Go GIRL! Hell, I don’t know how she did it. I am assuming that she was in pretty damn good shape before giving birth, being a fitness blogger and all and maybe she just has those good genes. We don’t know her story or her struggles. We just saw a picture and got pissed because life isn’t fair. I won’t lie, I’m a little jealous. She’s got my “after” body. You know the body I “hope” to have after getting in losing weight and getting into shape.

caroline berg eriksen, weight loss, mommy warsMy sister-in-law had 4 kids and after every birth, she looked svelte. Of course, she was an athlete and I was not. Both times, I left the hospital at my pre-pregnancy weight, wearing my regular pants, with a muffin top and the best thing that ever happened to me bundled in my arms. As far as I am concerned, I was the luckiest girl in the world. I wish we didn’t all define ourselves by the size of our asses and that we didn’t always compare the size of our asses to everyone else’s asses, but we do.

All summer, I was very diligent about working out. I was walking/jogging 5 days a week and watching and logging every single morsel of food that went into my mouth. It was becoming a habit; a healthy way of living. For someone who has obsessed over her weight for most of her life and then tried to cheat her way to skinny, a shift in my way of thinking and habits was almost a miracle.  I was embracing it. I felt proud of myself. Hell, I even felt a little sexy which is something I never feel. My clothes were fitting better and life just seemed brighter. If you’ve ever battled with body image, you know that this was not vanity; this was security.

I felt good about myself and that was something foreign to me but it felt good. Then I went to BlogHer and I fell off the wagon. I was eating whatever I wanted, drinking alcohol to be social and snacking on tiny cheeseburgers at all hours of the night. I just wanted to be normal; enjoy my time with my friends and not worry about food. Fucking food is the bane of my existence but I didn’t just fall off the wagon, I went charging off the wagon head first.

I had every intention of getting back on the wagon when I got back home but I never did. I tried but here I am 5 months later confessing that I gained all the weight back. I am disappointed with myself but instead of doing something about it, I just fed my shame with more carbs and it made matters worse. Since Halloween, all bets have been off. My eating habits have been like a runaway train chocked full of poor choices and absolutely NO.EXERCISE! Every day is a perpetual walk of shame. If you’ve ever been heavy or unsatisfied with the skin you live in, you know what I am talking about.

This is a mighty slippery slope for the girl in recovery from Eating Disorders. I’ve caught myself lately thinking; maybe I should just throw that up. Mostly, I don’t but in all honesty, a couple times I have; silently and quietly and then I find myself thinking, I can do this. But I don’t want to and I don’t let myself but right there in my brain, I know the cheater’s solution. I know how to gain control of this runaway train (or maybe just trade it in for a better looking model). I have little girls and my selfish days are long over, I can’t be that horrible example for them. I need to be better than that, in spite of myself. I need to be strong. I need to be healthy.

I’ve had some very inspirational women present in my life lately; my sister with hard work, exercise and a change in eating habits has changed her life. My friend Erin is bravely facing her challenges in life and getting stronger every day. It’s not easy but she is worth fighting for, finally she knows that. My friend Jenni is one of the strongest women I know and she never gives up. She dusts her self off, does what needs to be done and kicks another day’s ass. My friend Niki always keeps going, even when she is too tired and weary to take another step. She stays positive and never loses sight of what’s important. My friends Amy & Jennifer, they are busting their asses and you can see the changes in their bodies, minds and in their spirits. They are happy and determined. All of these women are changing their lives by making the decision to face the hard choices and to take control when the whole damn thing is out of control. They inspire me. I am happy for them. I support them for being their best even at life’s worst an for persevering even when life’s challenges seem insurmountable. I want to do the same.

I don’t need to knock anyone else down in order for me to stand tall. Who cares if Caroline Berg Eriksen looks unnaturally perfect after giving birth, we don’t know how she’s come to where she is in life and we don’t know her struggles and challenges. Truly, I’ve got plenty to worry about in my own house, like my own weight and making sure I am being a good example to my girls, I don’t have the time or energy to be hating on a new mom who looks fantastic. I’m happy for her because I wouldn’t wish unhappiness with your body on anyone.

I am doing it. Today, I made the decision to stop listening to the self defeating voices in my head and know in my heart that I can do this…the right way. Thank you for the inspiration ladies.

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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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Throat Punch Thursday ~”Fat Letters” Sent Home to Parents of Children with High BMI

Throat Punch Thursday,fat letters, BMI, Massachusetts, obesity, childhood obesity, weight

What Would you do if the school sent home a fat letter to inform you that your child’s BMI was elevated.

Elementary schools in North Andover, Massachusetts are now sending home Fat Letters” to the parents of children who have BMI’s under the 5th percentile or above the 85th percentile. The problem is that BMI doesn’t take into account muscle mass. Aside from being embarrassing, it can be hurtful and lead to teasing because let’s face it, kids talk. There is nothing right about schools calculating BMIs.

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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.

Logically, I knew that the khaki’s 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 its 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.

I’d left behind my entire life; my family, my friends, my boyfriend. I did all of this to run away from my life. I thought that if I got far enough away from it all, everything would work itself out but it didn’t. I felt 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.

I had started restricting a couple years prior but I had been caught. I was embarrassed 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.

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 would 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?

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

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. 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. 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. I had to embrace the chaos. None of that was going to happen if I was dead.

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 its like to have an eating disorder.

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body image, eating disorders, my daughter thinks I'm ugly

Talk about your body image being crushed. My daughter thinks I’m ugly. She told me that I’m prettier on the “inside” than I am on the outside. She even qualified it by saying, “Mommy, I’ve lived on the inside, so I should know.” She told me this last week.

I won’t lie; I wasn’t looking particularly pretty on that day. If I remember correctly, I was wearing yoga pants, a tank top and my hair was pulled back in a disheveled ponytail. You know, the same thing I wore yesterday and the day before and probably today. Isn’t that the standard new Mommy uniform? It is in my house. Or maybe I’m just too tired to care lately. It’s been a hectic summer with lots of changes and little sleep.

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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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