I want to share my food journey. How I’m currently rocking my second Whole30, working on my eczema and stomach issues. But I can’t share about how I feel about food without sharing all my food details. How my unhealthy relationship began. Where it began. If I was going to learn to eat healthy I had to uncover my root problems and ideals about food.
I remember my mom going on the Adkins diet. She would stuff her face with whipped cream and pork rinds and fat free jello. I remember her coming home from running miles upon miles around our neighborhood and she would make a smoothie and count out the number of almonds she could eat. As a child, I had no basis for what healthy eating looked like.
In high school I would watch TV in my room and do crunches before bed time. But I also loved ice cream. I would eat a normal portion of dinner, then sneak downstairs before bed and get a huge platter of ice cream and crunched up cookies. I had a boyfriend who introduced me to hydroxy cut. It made me feel so jittery but it worked. I could eat whatever I wanted and still be the size I felt like I needed to be. Thank God my step-mom found my stash of pills and got me to quit taking those.
A few weeks after being at college, I realized that if I threw up when I got home from partying that I wouldn’t feel as bad in the morning. So I would go out and binge drink and then I would come home and throw it all up so I could make it to my 8am class. I would also grab a huge monster energy drink on the way to that 8am class. I started to not eat as much. I would skip breakfast and lunch, eat a bit for dinner then go out drinking. I became so unhealthy that I contracted a MRSA infection and almost had to have a PIC line inserted to heal my body. But that didn’t stop me. My sophomore year when I moved into an apartment, it became worse. It was no longer a ritual before drinking. It became my outlet to eat whatever I wanted and still keep the size I wanted. I had my own room with my own bathroom. I would go to Mcallisters with my roommates and get a huge baked potato and eat the whole thing and then we would go to Baskin Robbins where I would get a milkshake. We would end up back at the apartment to get ready to go out that night. I would purge before putting on make up.
At the end of sophomore year I began experiencing this horrible pain in my chest. I had given myself an ulcer from all the alcohol, energy drinks and purging. I knew I had to get out of that college town. I transferred to a school close to home so I could live at home with my parents. I was willing one of my parents to catch me. To see me. To see what I was doing to myself and my body. But no one saw.
I lost touch with all my college friends. I felt like a fraud. i couldn’t continue a friendship with these people because I was so ashamed. Not only ashamed, but I was lost. How could I continue to pretend like I cared for these people when I didn’t care for myself.
And then I became pregnant. I was with someone I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with. We joke that everything we wanted happened, just a little out of order.
I would like to wrap up my story there. That this sweet little life growing inside me ended my self harm. Unfortunately it goes on.. Pregnancy allowed me an excuse to eat everything in my sight, but I did temporarily stop purging. I thought I would harm the baby if I continued to purge so I just flipped my anorexic habits to overeating. I was eating for two after all. I was hoping I would have morning sickness to even out the food I was shoveling. But almost a cosmic joke, I didn’t throw up the whole pregnancy. I had some awful heartburn though. Which I cannot completely say wasn’t in part due to my previous ulcer. I gained 60 pounds and gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy. My self esteem was at an all time low. I had to lose all that weight. So I began my cycle again and added in extreme working out. I don’t remember exactly when it stopped. It just happened. I knew it would have to end or I would kill myself. That I wouldn’t be able to take care of this little baby. My body wouldn’t produce milk for this baby if I didn’t have enough nourishment for myself.
I’ve got to learn to love myself. And I can’t hold this story in. Holding it in brings feelings of shame and inadequacy. Brene brown has been such an influence on me. Her work on shame is sooo good. And so true. In her new book, she talks about true belonging. “True belonging doesn’t require that we change who we are; it requires that we be who we are.” I’m finally allowing myself to be who I am. I’m finding out what I like and what I don’t like. What brings me joy.
This experience has propelled me to find lovely. I have to find lovely. Because I’ve been so full of hate and harm that I have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other and walk in a different direction.