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500 Calories per Day Was(n't) Enough.

But I thought it was...

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Disclaimer: This topic can be sensitive and/or triggering to some individuals, as it touches on the topic of a Clinical Eating Disorder. If you are currently going through a Clinical Eating Disorder, or in need of help, please contact the toll-free National Eating Disorder Hotline: 1-800-931-2237


"We are officially diagnosing you with an eating disorder" are the words that came out of my doctor's mouth in August of 2021. Sitting in the doctor's office, I remember simply (but not really so simply) being both in shock and wondering what was next. To be completely honest, this was not a diagnosis I was expecting nor had ever even considered myself to be struggling with.


“Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an undeniable breakthrough.”

Victoria's Secret, VOGUE, Sports Illustrated; we've all heard of these magazines. Seen the "summer bodies" glorified on Instagram? Same. Did you ever feel that there was a certain physical "aesthetic" that you should maintain in a place of employment? Well, that's where it began for me, and I hope that your answer to that last question was "no".


If your answer to the last above question was "yes", I am beyond sorry to hear that. It truly breaks my heart, and it breaks my heart today to think that I went through something so dangerous to my physical health and in reality, I had no idea what I was really doing to myself long-term.


Let's Chat - What is an Eating Disorder?


According to the NEDC, "Eating disorders are serious, complex and potentially life-threatening mental illnesses. They are characterized by disturbances in behaviors, thoughts and attitudes to food, eating, and body weight or shape. Eating disorders have detrimental impacts upon a person’s life and can result in serious medical, psychiatric and psycho-social consequences."




I Didn't See the Signs.


It would be impossible for me to tell you exactly when I began displaying symptoms of an eating disorder; it's something that wasn't noticed by me, but by others. There's a scenario in particular that I remember, and looking back, I often wonder if it would've clicked for me as it hadn't at the time.


My cousin and I were on FaceTime together, and I was trying on outfit after outfit and getting her opinion on each because every outfit had something odd going on with it... everything was too big. Nothing fit me, and I didn't think twice about it. I assumed I was simply losing weight as I was going to the gym at least 4-5 times/week and eating "healthy". I was frustrated, but not frustrated enough to notice a problem.


At the time, the place I was working at was very fast-paced, and I was in charge of what seemed like everything. I would scarf down my pre-made Healthy Choice meals, and even though I had a (unpaid) 30 minute break, I'd still be an ear for any of my staff members that needed help, which was more than often. Within the span of a little over 1 month, I had lost over 30 pounds, and still, that wasn't enough for me to realize what was truly going on underneath. I was stressed beyond belief, scarfing down my meals, and stressed so much to the point where my meals would not remain down most times.


To add: I've never been remotely close to being overweight or "needing" to lose weight, but that's not always how an eating disorder works. It can be completely mental, and without notice. Eating Disorders do not discriminate in any form.


After Being Fully Diagnosed:


Upon being fully diagnosed, I knew I would need help and that this wouldn't be an overnight process. I was willing to do anything to fix what was happening, but the thing is, you can't just flip a switch that says "Okay, go back to consuming at least 1,200 calories per day"- no, it's much more than that. My journey to healing included having a group of safe people, people that knew what was going on, and were there for me if I was struggling or in need of help. 500 calories a day, to me, seemed like a lot because I had mentally gotten used to skipping most meals, and to the point of avoidance, sometimes even on purpose.


Going back to fitting a certain physical "aesthetic", I made sure that this was maintained, in fact, it became so important to me that my healing was put on the back burner and I kept going, I continued to barely eat, avoid my food, and make sure that I was "enough"... but to be enough, I needed to be here - I needed to be alive, and that meant I needed to fuel my body.


My Journey to Healing:


My journey to healing wasn't an easy one, and it is still one that I struggle with sometimes.

Here's a few things I did that helped me:

  • I left the place of employment that made me feel (among other things) too stressed to keep my food down, or fitting an aesthetic. Toxicity could no longer be tolerated.

  • I surrounded myself with the people who made me feel safe, who encouraged me throughout this process, and who stood by my when things got tough and messy.

  • I worked with a phenomenal therapist and PA that assisted in my journey to recovery and kept me on a mentally healthy path.

  • I always had a "safe" person at any event that could potentially be overwhelming to me and the disorder I was going through.

  • I stayed true to myself and made peace with the fact that this was a journey, and there were no shortcuts available.

Today, I am proud to say that I am in recovery and have made a pact with myself personally to remember that being "enough" for myself is more than enough, and how precious life truly is. There will always be days that are more of a struggle than others, but throughout this journey, I've gained both the knowledge and courage to stay strong and stay on path.


An eating disorder is not something I ever thought I would go through, nor share with the world. But today... today, I am sharing it with you. I am sharing it to the people who may be in the dark on what an eating disorder is. I am sharing it with the people who may be struggling in silence. I am sharing it in the hopes that no one ever feels alone.









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A note from the author:

I'm so glad you're here! Thank you for taking the time to check out this post. I cannot wait to continue to share even more with you!

 

As always, continue to keep your personal cup just as full as your coffee cup with unlimited refills.

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