I love stories.
As a child, my favorite book was Charlotte’s Web. Why? Because the first time I read the tale as a first grader, the story captured my heart, so much so, that by the end of the novel, with tears in my eyes, I vowed that I would no longer eat bacon, sausage, or any other pig-related product.
Was it the farm setting that garnered my attention? The climactic end when Charlotte died in Wilbur’s pen?
It was the characters. The sweet-hearted and loving spider. The talented yet innocent pig. The characters were fluid and malleable and changed throughout the tale. I later learned that this type of character is labeled a “dynamic” character, as the friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur was one that evolved from a simplistic bond to one of maternal love and care.
I loved that story.
And much like E.B. White’s tale about farm animals, our lives are stories. We are characters. We are the ones whose actions and opinions and ideas and visions change through time and make us unique and who we are.
And like all characters in a story, we come across a problem. A predicament. And hopefully by the end, there is a resolution of sorts.
I am no exception.
As a senior in high school twenty-plus years ago, I was diagnosed with anorexia. I was in and out of in and outpatient facilities during my young adulthood, finding weight restoration, losing it, finding it again and so on and so on. During the course of it all, my moments of recovery enabled me to get married, have two children, and find joy teaching high school English.
But was I truly recovered?
Outwardly, I appeared to be fine. I didn’t look like the walking dead. I ate ice cream after dinner. I was a National level masters weightlifter. I seemed strong, my eating disorder past long gone and behind me.
But inwardly, I was fearful.
Fearful of not being able to go to the gym and lift xxx amount of weight because if I didn’t, then I didn’t deserve to eat xxx amount of carbs.
Fearful of not eating the right ratio of fats to protein, otherwise I’d lose strength or (even worse) become a fat blob.
Fearful of eating too much before lifting, too much after lifting, too much if I didn’t lift.
Basically, I was living a life of fear. Not joy. Not strength. Not love.
And I felt like a hypocrite.
As a personal trainer and health advocate, I told people to eat intuitively, to not worry about eating one candy bar, to embrace their bodies and give it rest and restoration. Sadly, I could not do that myself. I cringed at the thought of one (or more) total days off of training and exercise. I cringed when my son would try to give me a piece of chocolate. And I cringed with fear because I was so tired of living the lie…yet I didn’t know how to come clean, to let the truth out, to take the first step to food and exercise freedom.
And then it happened. My daughter questioned me one night as we were eating English muffin bagel pizzas, “Why are you eating pizza? You normally eat salad.”
My heart sank.
I did not want to be that mother. The mother that wouldn’t eat the same food as her family. The mother that was so preoccupied with the flatness of her stomach that she wouldn’t even partake in pizza night with the crew. The mother who was not there for her children physically, mentally or emotionally.
I needed to change.
So the very next day, that was what I did. I told my husband that I needed to gain weight (and let me tell you, my weight was hella low…like, so low it scared me). I needed to eat a weight gain meal plan that I used in anorexia recovery years and years ago. I needed to not worry about the calories and body changes and eating disorder voice.
Sounds easy. But it was one of the hardest revelations I ever had to make. Because the truth was out. And now I was going to be held accountable to changing my eating. Changing my exercise. Changing my mindset. And not just for a month or two or three.
I WAS HAVING TO CHANGE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
Guys, true recovery, 100% recovery, is something I’ve never really known. 99% recovery? Yup. 99.9% recovery? Sure. But 100%?
This is a journey for sure. And because this journey is going to be so mentally, physically, and emotionally consuming, I am not going to continue doing nutritional therapy as doing so would seem incredibly hypocritical. I am still going to lead my ZentaiStrong and Sunday Yoga classes because, well, I just love the people in the classes, but otherwise, moving forward, this site will be devoted to eating disorder recovery. It will be about my journey. My anxieties. My fears. My wins. My loses. I will also post YouTube videos that will show how I am challenging some of my anorexic and compulsive exercise beliefs (you wouldn’t believe the food rules I still cling on to!), and hopefully, my writing here, my posts on IG and FB, and my videos on my YouTube channel will be cathartic way to speak life to my spirit and inspire those who are going through this similar journey to full health.