It has been almost 4 months since I started this blog and 4 months from when I finally admitted to myself that I was struggling with my relationship with food. These last few months I have seen so much change in my life. I have been wrestling with my mind, winning some battles and losing some too, trying to break free from this unhealthy obsession I have been carrying onto for so long. Although I can tell this is going to be a long, hard, and frustrating path of recovery, I can honestly say I am getting through it one step at a time.
I just wanted to share with you about what life has been like for me for the last few months, what I have been struggling with, my worries, and how I feel through this whole process. I know it sounds silly, but I am really just writing this post for myself. Not only to help me remember this stage in my life, but to also write out my emotions and my thoughts out of my head. I’m not sure if this post will be of any help to anyone or if it will even be the slightest bit interesting to any of you, but in all truth I just need to type out my thoughts before they consume me.
But first, I just wanted to say I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my blog and thank all of you for all your emails, comments, texts, direct messages, etc. You have no idea how much it makes my day when someone says as little as, “I loved this post,” or “thank you for sharing.” I love hearing from you guys and all the words of encouragement and support has really been helpful through this whole process. There are many days where I feel super down on myself and I will check my emails and I’ll have a message that totally changes my day and turns my mood upside down. These last few months have been really hard emotionally honestly because I feel like I am constantly in a battle with myself and I constantly think to myself, “If only I could just be normal and shut off my brain and be like all the other college students who are eating out and ordering food at midnight.” But I know that that is just not me, no matter how many people try to push me to be “just like everyone else,” I know I will never meet up to that expectation. That is just not how God made me. He didn’t want me to be this extreme either, but He doesn’t want me to be like everyone else. I also know that everyone else has their own battles they have to fight, and though an eating disorder might not be it, it could be a number of other things the devil is trying to control us with. I know these struggles are what makes us human and are what is supposed to happen to remind us how we can’t live this life alone, but instead we need to turn to God for help and for support. And I think this is the whole reason I have to go through this, to remind me that we can’t do everything on our own. Lets be real. Life can be SO hard sometimes. I mean there’s those moments where I just want to pause time because everything is perfect for a second and I think to myself wow this is great, everything is great. But there are even more times where I just feel like giving up. I just feel like screaming and yelling at God in anger for giving me this life and putting me in a world so screwed up sometimes. But we need to remember, God is always there for us even when the physical people aren’t. God will bring us peace in a life of complete chaos and disaster if WE call for him for help. But first, we need to admit to ourselves and to God that we are weak and that we can’t make it on our own. We need to set our pride down and ask God for his help, because if “you will seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you search for Him…”
One thing that always brings me back to a peaceful mindset is when I think of the future. I know, usually people become more worried and fearful when they try to predict the future but I’m thinking of something beyond that. I know one day, after I have done my time here on this earth I will live a life of no more fears. No more worries. No more thoughts of when I am going to work out, what the perfect meal plan is for the day, or what my body will look like after I have one scoop of ice-cream. One day, I will live in a judge-free zone, no one will be judging the other on their appearances: how pretty their skin looks, how long their hair is, or how flat their stomach is, but instead all of our focus will be on the one thing that truly matters. And that is God. Isn’t that really the reason we our on this life anyway? Is to praise God and enjoy him on this earth and spread his Great name to everyone we know? That’s a pretty hard thing to do when you are constantly bashing his creation and the life he gave you, ESPECIALLY since us humans are made in His image.
Think about it… could you imagine going up to God and saying, “Wow God, you don’t look so good. Maybe you should hit the gym a few times a week and lose some weight or try getting a hair cut, or better yet, dying your hair. Also, you should probably cover that face of yours with pounds of makeup.” You are probably thinking… I would never do that, God is perfect. But thats basically what we are saying when we look at what he created in His image and think, “Wow, she’s so big, she’s so ugly, look at that big nose of hers, or look how long her forehead is and how lengthy her body is.” Overtime as we think badly of others and of ourselves, we are hurting not only the other person’s (or even our own) feelings, but we are also breaking God’s heart.
Okay, I totally went off track, but it obviously needed to be said because I feel like God is the only person that has always been there for me during this entire time, and he has helped me in so many ways these last few months and I know if it weren’t for him I could not be getting through this. I’m not sure if you are religious reading this, if you even believe in God or anything for that matter, or if you even read through this far enough to reach this sentence but I just want to say I am not here to convert you into believing what I believe in. I am merely here to share with you my thoughts and my life, but you can choose your own life and how you would like to go about this process if you are struggling too. But all I want to say is that if you do want to give God a chance, just make sure you will be patient and He will make himself known to you. I used to be that girl sitting in the back of youth group, church, or gatherings listening to pastors/teachers/family share their personal stories of when they found this big moment in their life where God spoke to them and they had these huge life changes and big moments of seeing clearer and I would be like “Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure dude. I’ve called on God many times and He’s always been a no show. I’ve never heard God’s voice speak to me. I’m not even sure if these stories are real.” But one thing I know now is that God will make himself known to you on HIS time not our time. He doesn’t work on our schedule, He makes the schedule. He knows what is best for me and you and if it doesn’t line up to what we are asking for, we have to trust that God knows what he is doing and give ourselves up into His hands entirely.
But what I really wanted to share with you are other things about this last few months.
I know in the beginning of this blog post, most of you were probably thinking, “why don’t you go see a counselor and talk out all your thoughts and feelings there so you don’t have to bore us with your life.” Well, jokes on you! Because what many people don’t know about me (well almost everyone in fact) is that I actually went to a counselor this summer who specialized in patients with eating disorders. I didn’t want to go at all and I fought with my parents against the idea for many months until I couldn’t resist any longer. During the summer I had to meet with my counselor once each week and I have to say I DREADED that hour every week. I mean I absolutely hated the experience. I know counselors can be good for lots of people and can be very helpful, but sometimes it can also be of no use. I don’t want to sound rude or prideful, but I just HATE talking to other people about my problems. I mean I absolutely DESPISE it. I know it sounds pretty crazy when I say that on here, because that is essentially all I am doing. But for some reason having that little bit of uncertainty and mystery of not knowing who is going to read this is the only thing that helps me post these blogs on my site. Also, it is just easier for me to write out my thoughts rather than speak them outloud. Usually my mind doesn’t travel words to my mouth in the order that they should be arranged when it comes to speaking my thoughts on how I feel. I can just NEVER figure out how to explain myself, it takes me like a million years to think about what I am going to say next or how I am going to answer a question I am asked and then my mind goes off into a random thought about the fact that I am taking too long to answer this question and then I wonder what she’s thinking and then I lose track of the question and then it all just goes down hill from there. I just suck at face-to-face conversations about myself and how I am feeling/what I am struggling with/how I can help myself. Not to mention that I just can not stand when someone is only listening to me because it is their job and they are getting paid to listen to my problems and they answer everything with the cliche, “And how does that make you feel?, That probably didn’t make you feel very good., and Did you try communicating this with _____.” I don’t want to talk to a stranger about my problems when all they do is ask me questions that I can already answer in my own head, I had already made all the connections she did about how this whole obsession started and her ideas for trying to overcome my problem. It’s not like counselors are the only people who know how to make a weekly goal for yourself. Really, the bottomline is if I really want to change or not and it all comes down to me taking action… I have to admit. I was really angry when my parents forced me to go to counseling. I felt like they didn’t believe me when I said I was going to fix it myself. Thats who I am anyway, I am a doer. I do things myself. I am self-motivated and I don’t like other people butting in trying to tell me what to do. I feel like I always know best, because it is my body and my mind, I know what I’m going through better than anyone else does. And that might be just pride. But the truth of the matter is, I have been taking action on my own (well with God by my side of course) and I have been making slow progress with no help of a counselors silly inputs. The only reason I even went was for my parents, to get them off my back and to make them happy.
During each session, the counselor would also weigh me first thing when I walked into the door. I hated having to see my weight written down every week I walked in. It made me feel like I was failing and making no progress if I didn’t see the scale go up any numbers even if I felt like my mindset was getting to a more positive state. I thought a counselor was supposed to watch my mental growth not keep a record of my weight? However, when I did walk in one week and I had gained 3lbs in a week I started to freak out. Let me tell you, when you are at 98 lbs for a long, long time and all of a sudden your in the 100s in a week, you start to feel disgusting. I can’t begin to tell you how much I started to worry again. Even though I knew 98 lbs was definitely not a good place to be and I wanted to gain weight, seeing the numbers go up made me feel so much bigger than I knew I was. All of a sudden everything just looked to be 10x bigger on my body and I battled with restriction thoughts more that week than ever before. I had to constantly talk myself through eating food and constantly say that it was a good thing I was gaining weight again, and that this is what I had been waiting for for so long.
The Story Behind My Weight Gain
The pressure of being weighed each week really made my anxiety and worrying worse. Once we had a family session and the counselor brought up a rehab place for girls with eating disorders of all kinds with my parents. She talked about me going away for 8 weeks and not going to college but staying home just because she was concerned that my weight stayed at 98 for over a month worth of sessions. I felt so scared during this time and so I would eat jars of peanut butter, handfuls of nuts, and bars of dark chocolate to help me gain weight because I was scared to be sent away. I felt like no one was supporting me or encouraging me, but instead everyone was focused on the scale. No one cared about how I was feeling. I felt so discouraged and worried. The next week is when I gained 3 lbs, which was most likely from all the stress eating. I wasn’t shocked I had gained weight because I physically felt heavier. I gave up running and exercise all together and was eating so much food that week there was no way I didn’t gain anything. But seeing I was 101 and not 98 after over 6 months of being that light was scary and a little devastating. I had gained so much so fast, and I didn’t know how much I would gain afterwards or how much more I wanted to gain. I had planned on 105 or 110 but now those numbers looked so big to me, even though I was 115 lbs one point in my life. Part of me knew it was a good thing to have gained weight, but I couldn’t help but want to go back also. I felt like all the weight had gone to all the wrong places and I just felt heavy inside. I had to stay away from mirrors and keep telling myself I was still super light and skinny. I had to keep asking my family if they noticed my weight gain for reassurance that I was still the tiny me. I had to control myself from overexercising or restricting myself to make up for the weight gain. I was constantly battling with myself between wanting to lose weight and needing to gain weight.
My Daily Thoughts
I still struggle a lot in my head. I feel like I try to act like my life is perfect and everything is fine and that I don’t have this obnoxious obsessive behavior running through my brain 24/7. But lets be honest, I constantly have to reassure myself and think of positive things about myself or think back to what someone said to remind myself how little this relationshipp with food should matter in this grand scheme of life. I constantly have to remind myself that the people who truly love me will always love me no matter what and God will never stop loving/caring for me and he is truly all that should matter. I feel so selfish sometimes for spending the majority of my time worrying about when I’m going to eat, what I’m going to eat next, or if what someone is going to have will be healthy enough for me instead of spending my time praising God and thanking Him for all He has blessed me with.
I wish I had so much confidence in myself and would stop worrying. I am such a worrier and I am always fearing about what I’m putting into my body and how its going to affect me or make me feel. And I just wish I would stop thinking and just live my life like I want to. I want to live a simple life where I still eat and live a healthy lifestyle because I think God wants us take care of our bodies but not to the point of that it is all we think about and worry about and it begins to affect our relationships with others. Because we become self-centered and selfish when all we think about is ourselves and what we think will be best for us.
But as of today, I have gained two more pounds. I still struggle with this process but I have begun to prioritize my relationships with other and have been putting my relationships above food. I have also been more open to trying new foods I have been good about pushing away my negativity instead of drowning in it and depressing myself. I feel like I have become much happier these last few months and a little less possessive over health and nutrition although I still do enjoy it.
One other thing I hate. When people think that this is so easy to overcome. I don’t think people understand how hard it is for me when they offer me a french fry, a bag of chips, or a cookie. When these situations come up I feel like I am seen as abnormal and everyone is judging me for not going through with the offer. It’s not that I am restricting myself from these foods, but I actually genuinely do not want these foods. Like, I have no desire for that cookie or milkshake honestly. This isn’t always the case, but most of the time I’d rather just settle for a dark chocolate bar or some dates and peanut butter on the real. But I feel like most people see me deny these “normal” foods such as pizza and candy and feel bad for me because they think I’m punishing myself or they think “wow that must suck for her because she won’t allow herself to eat this yummy goodness”, but to be honest I could care less about some sour patch kids or a twizzler. I don’t crave the taste and I know it will do NOTHING for me, not even satisfy me so why would I consume something that is of no benefit to me? If anything I’ll crave frozen yogurt every once in awhile and most definitely some chocolate, so I will splurge every now and then but I never want anyone to feel bad for me. The only thing I feel bad about is not being able to enjoy social gathering and other events because I am worrying about the meals that are prepared or about the company who will judge me on what I choose to eat and think “there goes maddie again with the veggies and eating clean, can’t she lighten up a lil.” Well I am trying to lighten up a little but if you could only understand is that most of the time I ENJOY eating this way, not all the time, but 95% of the time I choose to eat my veggies and crazy looking foods because it makes me feel good inside and it tastes good to me and I know its nourishing my body.
“People are trapped by their fear of others, those who truth the Lord are secure”
Proverbs 29: 25