Last week on both Facebook and Instagram, I opened up the forum for people to ask me anything they wanted. I figured most of the questions would be about sobriety and recovery, but surprisingly only a few were. People also asked me about eating disorders, relationships, and egg yolk. Yes, egg yolk. Continue reading “You Asked, I Answered”
Back in my fitness instructor days, my Instagram account proudly endorsed the #eatclean movement to the point of annoyance. I, like many other fitness professionals, thought that this hashtag would inspire people to make nutritious food choices. While it may have inspired some, I’m finally realizing that using phrases like “eat clean” could be down right insensitive and borderline damaging.
In case you missed my last post, I recently participated in Scare Your Soul, a challenge that encourages you to live outside of your comfort zone for 3 days. On day 1 & 2, I tackled my body image issues. I wanted day 3 to remain on the same body positivity path, but I was stumped as to how to go about it. My roomie / editor, Alisson, suggested that my third and final challenge should be eating processed foods for a day, every meal. I cringed and said “Nope. No way. There’s no way I can do that”. Then I realized that’s exactly what I needed to do. She encouraged me to do this because she thinks I’ve become a pretentious food snob (this is how we talk to each other, we’re very close) who only eats artisanal, organic, hipster foods. She suggested that maybe eating like I used to will remind me where I came from, and get me back in touch with my roots.
Challenge accepted. Let’s eat dirty.
I’ve always enjoyed testing boundaries, especially when drinking: Drunk driving. Unprotected sex. Sleeping with my friends’ ex boyfriends and my ex boyfriends’ friends. Any drug that crossed my path, I tried it. Anyone who said they could drink me under the table often ended up underneath said table. Since I’ve given up that destructive lifestyle, I’ve found new ways to be adventurous. While I’ve recently done activities like naked yoga and orgasmic meditation, there are still many things that intimidate me and make me feel uncomfortable. Maybe I should say that there are a few things that, um, scare my soul.
Two weeks ago, I completed the Scare Your Soul challenge. Each day, I did one thing that got me out of my comfort zone…for three days. On day 1 & 2, I tackled my body image issues. Here’s how it went:
I never knew that my road towards bulimia would end in a treatment center for substance use. Addiction in any form is a dangerous beast that will consume every aspect of your mind, body, and soul. If you’re lucky, you’ll survive. The first time I threw up, I was 14. I had no idea how to cope with the emotional pain of trauma; I was simply trying to survive. Bulimia was my coping tool.
When I started purging, I was doing it once a day. I became obsessed with my weight, with calories, with my body. Purging drowned out all the emotional pain I was feeling. Within a year, my disease took over my whole world. I was throwing up 15 times a day and my body was starting to feel the effects. My throat burned, my stomach hurt all the time, and my heart would race uncontrollably. I was exhausted. My muscles ached when I had to climb stairs, yet I made myself run 3 miles everyday. I was completely consumed in my disease. Every waking hour was wrapped up in planning my next binge and purge. Where was I getting the money? Which drive thru was I going to hit? What was I going to order? Where was I going to throw up?
Obsession: the state of being obsessed with someone or something; an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind
Perfection: the condition, state, or quality of being free from all flaws or defects
Until recently, when I heard the word bulimia, I visualized a teenage girl or a young woman in her 20’s. I thought bulimia was overeating then throwing up the food. After chatting with Stevie, I realized how little I knew about this devastating disease and how similar it is to drug and alcohol addiction.
Stevie is not your stereotypical “girl” with an eating disorder: she’s a 54 year woman and she’s not alone. Eating disorders among middle-aged women are more common than we realize. When a woman goes through menopause, her body goes through dramatic changes similar to puberty. Perhaps if our society didn’t see menopause as taboo, we could hear what these women are actually going through. A 2012 study shows that 13% of American women over 50 show symptoms of an eating disorder, 60% of them state that they allow their size to negatively impact their lives, and 70% are actively trying to lose weight. Continue reading “The Parallels Between Bulimia and Addiction”