Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's getting real here y'all... {My story}

I decided it was time for me to share something that I have struggled with for Eleven years, and have just recently began to start to get it under control!

When I was a middle school up through my mid teen years I was always a little pudgy.  Looking back now, I realize that at this young age I had already developed such an unhealthy relationship with food.  I was queen of sneaking food when no one was around and pigging out!  My favorite go to binge was spaghetti with butter and cheese.  I don't know where or how I developed that horrible habit, but it is one that has plagued me through out the years.  It wasn't like my parents ever deprived me of food, it was just that I loved the thrill of eating something that I wasn't supposed to, when I wasn't supposed to be eating anything!  I learned at too young of an age to use food as comfort instead of sustenance.  I also learned about the guilt that would come along with pigging out.

If you didn't already know, kids are MEAN.  I also learned at too young of an age that skinny = beautiful & fat = ugly.  My classmates were quick to point that out.  Even some of the people that I considered to me my close  friends would be quick to point out that I wasn't attractive because I was chunky.  Of course, I know now that being considered beautiful is more than just a clothing size or a number on the scale, but I'd be lying if I said that I still didn't struggle with than mentality!

When I was 16, I started dating a guy that was MUCH skinnier than I was, and for the first time in my life I started to loose weight and slim down.  Unfortunately, I became obsessed with loosing weight and getting skinny.  It was engrained into my head that to ever be considered beautiful I HAD to be skinny.  When I got down to 126 lbs, my sister called me out on the fact that I looked sick.  I brushed her off and continued on my merry little way of barely eating anything at all, and if I did feel like I ate too much, ate something that was "naughty", or used food to deal with my emotions, I would make myself throw up.  I eventually came to learn which foods were easier to "purge" that others, so when I became fixated on having one of my binges I would know which foods to eat.  I had this process down to a science.  

Sometime in the 4 months before I turned 18, I lost my obsession with being so skinny, and regained about 30 lbs.  I would go on yo-yo diets, and worked out semi-consistently, and once in a while would revert back to bulimia when I would use food to deal with stressful and emotional situations.  

I entered my freshman year of college in 2005 weighing around 140 lbs.  And you know what they say about the freshman year?   Except for me, it was the Freshman 25, all in the first semester.  College was a really stressful time for me.  A lot of pretty crappy things happened, and I would always revert to food during stressful and emotional times.  But it was all in secret.  I was ashamed of it.

Skip ahead to the summer of 2007.  I was living in Virginia at the time and moved in with a girl who was a vegetarian.  I also adapted the vegetarian lifestyle for the next 9 months and went from 165 lbs down to around 140.  It was probably the healthiest way I had ever lost weight  before.  I would still revert back to my eating disorder every once in a while in stressful situations, using food for comfort and then feel guilty about it and force myself to throw up.  The odd thing was, being in control of throwing up was a comfort in and of itself.  I would almost look forward to it.

When I moved to Mississippi in the Spring of 2008, I remember weighing in at around 140 lbs.  Well, Mississippi cooking is a whole lot different than any other cooking I had ever been around, and I instantaneously gained 10-15 pounds.

In the past 5 1 1/2 years I still struggled with maintaining weight.  I would always fluctuate between 140-155 lbs, never being satisfied at whatever weight I was at.  I would go on all sorts of yo-yo diets and scams, and even tried out some weight loss pills along the way.  All the while still dealing with a really unhealthy relationship with food. 

Food was my comfort, it was my friend when I was lonely.  It made me feel better when I was stressed.  I would go through these times when I was so fixated on binging on food that I couldn't focus on anything else until I gorged myself with all sorts of food, and then (you guessed it) threw it all back up again.  I couldn't even begin to estimate the hundreds of dollars that I wasted through the years, or the damage that I have done to my body.  

Last winter, through a bunch of research, and some lab work done through a private lab, I came to find out that I have a thyroid issue, that I found can be mostly managed by diet and exercise.  I did a 6 day cleanse, and then did a 3 week juice fast.  I had never felt better!  Most of my issues had cleared up, and I had TONS of energy for the first time in my life!.  But then I "cheated".  I tasted of the forbidden foods, and it was ALL over.  From April-September of this year I struggled non stop to get back on the wagon and begin to eat how I knew that my body needed me to eat.  But the power that food had over me was stronger than my desire to be healthy.  

Finally, this September I had enough.  I weighed the most I have EVER weighed in my life, I tipped the scales at .... ok, I'm not ready to admit that number yet, and I felt like crap all of the time.  One morning laying in bed, I just burst into tears  realizing just how much weight I had gained, and decided that something had to change.  I went back and I redid my cleanse, and it was way harder than the first time around.  I didn't really want to blog about it, because I was so scared that people would judge me for failing repeatedly before and think that I was just going to fail again.  But I did it.  As of today, I have completed a 36 day juice fast.  It has been a great experience, and I feel amazing!  I can't say I have been 100% perfect at it, I would have a literal bite of food here and there, and I did have 1 cheat night, that I paid dearly for, but all in all, I would say that I was successful!  Now I can cross that one off my 30 by 30 list!

I don't know when exactly it happened, but somewhere along they way my perspective of food has changed.  There is one day that will stick with me for a very long time.  The MR & I were not having a very good day, and were exceptionally grumpy with each other.  Those days are NOT fun when you work together!  On top of that, things were stressful at work; it was just a culmination of everything at once!.  This was the kind of day where I would have normally stopped by a fast food joint, or a gas station and stocked up on a whole bunch of junk food to eat while I was running errands, but the thought didn't even cross my mind, until I was at the gym later that evening and realized that the temptation to use food as an emotional crutch never happened.   

Tomorrow, I reintroduce food back into my diet.  I'm slightly scared that once I start to eat food again all of my bad habits and desires are going to come rushing back in on me like a tidal wave.  Anorexia and Bulimia is something that I will probably always struggle with from time to time.  As apprehensive as I am, I'm also excited to begin a new way of eating, and continue forming a new relationship with food, focusing on it as nutrition for my body instead of a crutch for my emotions.

You might be wondering why I am sharing all of this with you.  I am not proud of where I have come from.  I am not proud of the damage that I have done to my body.  But I also refuse to hide it away and pretend like it never happened.  It happened, and it was wrong.  Instead of turning to Jesus, I turned to food.  But now, only through the Grace of God, I have overcome that part of my life.  As much as I which I could go back and make better decisions from the get go, I can't.  Every part of my life has made me to be the person that I am today.  I don't know why God chose this certain area in my life to be a temptation & a trial, but through His sovereignty He did, and while I failed him over & over again, He continues to forgive and love me in spite of my weakness.  It is only through HIS strength that I will be able to daily overcome my battle.

To the reader out there that struggles with anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorder.  Please, get help, seek counseling, find your hope and strength in the Promises of Jesus!  I don't know what the under lying issue are that you are dealing with that are causing you to revert to eating disorders, but there is hope!  You do not have to battle this alone!  As someone who has struggled with this for 10+ years, I know that this is something that you too can over come.  I am sure that I will continue to be tempted, and there may even be days that I will fail, but I know that it IS possible to beat this!  

I'm really putting myself out there, and being real & raw today. I  DO understand that with blogging, and with putting yourself out there like I did today, that you are allowing your self to be judged and criticized by others.  This is one of the reasons why I haven't blogged about this before.  SO....  if you have something negative or judgmental to say, then I ask you to leave your thoughts to yourself! Thanks!    
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  1. Thank you for sharing your story, Hillary! I know that must have taken a lot of courage! From a surface level, it seems that food would be such a simple part of life, but it's really not. So many people struggle to have a healthy relationship with food!

  2. HIllary, thanks for being real. I know it wasn't easy for you to write, but I'm sure that God will bless it and help others through this. I'll be praying for you as you reintroduce foods back into your diet!


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