I’m resting today. My ankle hurts. I have a new private catering client, and I love this. I love helping and sharing my food and living philosophy; that of self-love and kindness. That of healing an unhappy gut, of facing feelings, of raw, real emotions, all of them.
This morning, I pitter-patter in and out of the ego-rubbish dialogue with my inner wisdom.
“Rest is earned, food is earned…” I ate a great breakfast. I hobbled to do laundry, I’m sitting at Reunion Island and blogging. I can’t walk lots, and I’m looking gratefully at it. Maybe this is the space I need to fill my website, to organize myself as a developing practitioner in holistic healing. I want to be the change. I had some wine last night, to calm my nerves, and passed out at 8pm. I woke up at midnight hungry, so ate a snack. Good stuff.
This morning, I’m sitting and craving an outlet, so I write. I have an extra cup of coffee, and I breathe. I am sharing what helped me beat Bulimia. I am looking at the shit I’ve overcome, instead of where I still have to further my journey. I am looking at my “full” vs my “lack”. Maybe the universe will listen to this positivity, and like attracts like. Oh how I see mountains.
Here’s some stuff (wanted to submit to Tiny Buddha, but submissions full….anyone know any platforms that would be good for sharing this story?)
Tools that helped me beat Bulimia:
Bulimia is a bitch. It’s a cycle of restriction, then “giving in” to a purge. I put that in quotations because it represents the voice of failure, of ‘lack’, of weakness.
Here’s how it manifested in my life.
I had all the prereq’s for it: perfectionist, two best friends who were dubbed “gifted” against who I was always comparing myself, an athletic body type throughout elementary school, controlling parents, and a terribly low self esteem paired with timidness.
So come High school, when my body started changing, and my sense of self remained vague, unhealthy friend-dynamics, a really bad first experience of sex, and strange attraction to assholes for male partners, I was ravenous for control. I was unhappy, confused, and seeking to be seen, heard, respected. I was involved in sports, and remember having the feeling of being idle when I had free time. In this time, I was unable to cope, I felt uneasy and turned to food to control. I remember using food in a fear-form. I remember the summers when Competitive swimming would take a break, and I felt so isolated and alone, and would fill my time eating “Oatmeal to go” bars and watching TV with my brother, while I imagined all my friends at overnight summer camp having so much fun. I had maaaaaad FOMO. So, when school came back around, and my weight was slow to catch up, my parents latched on to control. I was monitored for my weight and how much exercise I could do. That year was hell. Grade 10. I was struggling hard, and by the summer, I ended up being admitted into North York General’s eating disorder day program.
North York’s day hospital for Eating Disorder recovery was a 9am-5pm gig, meals monitored strictly, as was bathroom use. Group, individual, and family therapy consisted most of the day, along with shit like…knitting and other “non-movement” types of things. No sitting up straight at the table because that “burned too many calories”…I was struggling hard. I remember one day, crying so much that the nurses were actually hard pressed to get me to stop (having it been a good few hours) being concerned for my energy expenditure. Days of coping revolved around spiting the program, hating the food, fear, and extreme distain for control. Long story short, I ended up running away one day, to fight it on my own. [That sentence entails more than expressed, but for the sake of a shorter post, I’ll leave it there (and also to spare myself the pain of rehashing…).]
I spent that summer at my cottage with my grandma, and it was the best, most empowering summer of my life. I remember the focus not being on weight, although I did gain weight to a healthy weight, on my own. I guess I let my body be, I let it find where it needed to be. I was so happy that summer. There was freedom, a boy, a job, swimming, I also ran! I fell in love with running, then.
This was all before bulimia. I went back to high school in grade 11, and come grade 12, I had issues arise for self-esteem and stress over university. I was so adamant about not being controlled, that it grew to be insecurity-based. I returned in Grade 11 with a chip on my shoulder, no longer willing to be subordinate, no longer willing to be unseen, unheard; I felt like the pain I’d endured has “earned me” the right to deserve respect.
I went to university, and fell into the mainstream image-oriented stereotypical Western ideal. I went to University of Western Ontario, where long legs and blonde hair were revered. I nit-picked at myself hard. I worked out. I was known as the athlete in my residence.
Then, I fell into restriction. I would restrict, and I remember my first binge on my roommate’s Pringles. There was also the alluring residence caf, brimming with sugar-laden temptations, a candy-bar, and all available with the swipe of your pre-pair residence eatery card.
My first purge was in my dorm room, in a garbage bag, using the back of a toothbrush (Google said that’s how it was done)…While my roommate was at cheerleading practice. I followed it with a session at the gym, late at night.
This was the beginning of hell. It lasted from first year uni, to fourth year. Fourth year university, I went cold turkey. The last episode I ever had was Thanksgiving 2013, the day of my Grandma’s funeral. I stopped. I don’t know how exactly, but it was the same way I stopped using fake sugar (I was known to make a meal out of a tub of sugar-and -fat-free yogurt with 8 packets of TwinSugar and sugar free jam…with coffee whitener).
I lived in a house in year 2-3 uni of 7 girls. This was tough. I am now saying how much I felt like an outsider, I felt so wrong and bad all the time. I isolated myself. I lived in fear. I am sorry for the way my coping mechanisms took hold; for all the peanut butter I sneaked from my roommates, the cinnamon toast crunch, the dishonesty with them, with myself. The pain was horrendous.
- Slow-carb diet
One side-note: Tim Ferriss’s “Four-Hour Body” book, and the idea of one day a week having a “cheat-day” is NOT conducive to healing from an Eating Disorder…but you know what, his philosophy of real food was a big one for me in facilitating change.
So here are some ways that I healed:
- I left that house, I broke my foot running away from a peeping tom in my house at Western, and waved the white flag. I surrendered to taking 2 months off of school (to be finished online in BC that summer in my wicked stint out West—see you soon, mntn friends).
- I learned to commit to my meals. I stopped the idea of “only a snack”. This idea of “willpower” or lack there of, pitter-pattered out of my life. I trusted that I had to commit to meals. I had to fuel. A friend of mine, a fellow ED warrior actually implemented this idea to me. I remember her transformation to a fit and sculpted body, and I approached her one day at the gym to ask her how she did it. I was so sad in my body, and so unhappy in my binge-purge cycle. Her answer: “I finally started to eat!” THIS IS TRUE, FRIENDS!
My grazing idolization failed time and time again. I would think that I could “have a small snack” and it’d suffice me throughout the day. No. I implemented a meal plan of fuelling; imperatively around workouts (I was training as a triathlete here), as well as a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- I began saying affirmations and understanding from Wayne’s teachings (His book “Your Erroneous Zones” was huge for me in a catalyst for healing) that self-love came first, then the body would acclimatize to the happy set-point. I lived in such pain, my body was heavier, and I was so mean in my self-talk. I started being kinder to myself, and honestly, this is when I balanced out my weight.
- I grew into a healthier identity for myself after spending a summer at camp with mature adults, camp Towhee, a camp for kids with learning disabilities. Coming from superficial UWO-this was a breath of fresh air, with wholesome adults who were nurturing support for my soul. I distanced myself from people who made me feel like shit about myself, and learned that I no longer would tolerate my own self-talk in meanness, nor the talk from others with that hue of non-compassion.
Note: where I lacked was in healing the mind-aspect, the reason behind my coping through food. Once I regulated my needs for physical nourishment, I no longer had binge tendencies. But, I grew over-controlling with routine. I have yet to nourish my soul.
But, these are the ways I beat Bulimia, and I am very proud of this. Bulimia was a dark and painful experience. I am recovered from Bulimia (damn, that feels good to say)!