Location: California, USA
Ethnicity: Mexican American, Caucasian
I go to an independent study currently where I am a high school senior, and am getting ready to start my first year of community college alongside my boyfriend this fall. I love all things artistic and creative, am very excited to start weekly yoga soon, and adore baking!
How has Beating Eating Disorders helped you?
Beating eating disorders has helped me by always offering support, guidance, and motivation whenever I need that extra push or motivation in my recovery. Coming across articles and photos of inspiring words when I quickly scroll through my Facebook feed are gentle reminders that reaffirm my daily dedication to always work my hardest to make recovery focused decisions.
Where are you in your recovery journey?
Right now in my recovery journey, I am more dedicated to healing than I ever have been before. I started recovery in late 2013, but since then have only recently realized that I never truly put in all of my effort to let go of my disorder and genuinely dedicate myself to the hard work full recovery requires. I was stuck in a cycle of partial recovery…and continuously traded one negative behavior for another, and calling that “recovery” because at least I stopped one behavior, right? Wrong! A little over a year ago I realized this vicious cycle I was in, and that that is exactly why I never felt like I was making any true progress. One year ago I decided to finally put in the work, whole heartedly, no more excuses to try to justify behaviors, and no compromising between my disorder and recovery in order to maintain even a little disordered safety. Since then, I discovered for the first time in my entire recovery just how hard it is. But since then, I have healed more than ever before, and have finally began to feel what life beyond an eating disorder feels like. I have felt freedom with food, I have fallen in love and have a supportive, loving, healthy romantic relationship (which, we all know, an active eating disorder will always steal away from us..) and I have felt my self confidence slowly start to heal and rebuild a strong foundation. I am learning to see my nourished body as a nourished mind, and finding beauty in that. I still have such a long way to go, many more challenges to face, and work to do in therapy, but I am unbelievably proud of the work I have done this year, and thankful for all of the people who supported me and never gave up on me throughout it all. I can now confidently say for the first time in my 5 years with an eating disorder that I am never going back. I am fighting with all that I have got, and not even a little bit of me has the desire to relapse anymore. Life is too beautiful, too fulfilling, and too amazing to give up for the empty life of an eating disorder that ultimately will cause me to lose my life.
What are your future recovery orientated goals?
My future recovery orientated goals are to continue my work in therapy and with my dietician. I am working on creating more comfort around eating out, eating spontaneously without rigidity, and on creating a healthy relationship with my body and healthy, natural weight gain. My most important recovery goal is to learn to trust my body, its hunger cues, and that it knows exactly what it is doing and how to keep me healthy, happy, and thriving. I am learning to accept the fact that my body is wiser than I am in knowing what my healthiest weight is, especially when I still currently have that ED voice chiming in on that debate. I am learning to connect beauty with true, genuine health, and with being able to honor my body’s desires and needs, and not with being the thinnest I can be. Another big goal of mine is to soon be able to take on intuitive eating!
What is the most helpful thing someone has said to you? What has been the most harmful?
The most helpful thing someone has said to me came from my boyfriend. He has actually said many helpful things, so it is difficult to just choose one! He has said to me time and time again, no matter how difficult it has gotten, that he will never give up on me. Eating disorders are exhausting to not only the sufferer, but the loved ones who battle them and experience them alongside the sufferer. He is my number one supporter, and stands by me every single day throughout my recovery- the great days as well as the extremely difficult ones. But no matter how much I feel that I am too difficult, or that he did not “sign up” for being such a huge support to someone with such a difficult and intensive, every-day illness, he has assured me time and time again that he is with me through it all. He is patient with me and holds my hand, and tells me that no matter what, he will not give up on me- he is here for it all. Time and time again that has given me the support, the courage, and the bravery I need to pick myself up no matter how much I want to crumble. Knowing he is beside me helps me to know that I am not in this battle alone. And that, has been the most helpful.
The most harmful thing someone has ever said to me has to be that if I wanted to be happy with my body, that I could just eat healthy and exercise. These words were so hurtful because they came from a staff member at an eating disorder residential treatment center, where I was supposed to feel safe from triggers and be able to trust that the people there would not say all of the things that led me to develop an eating disorder in the first place. That I would find my happiness by healing with my body and with food, not by changing it or controlling it. It felt incredibly unsafe to have a staff member tell me the same things my disorder tells me when I thought I was in a place where people would help me advocate for my recovery and fight those thoughts, but I did my best to not let it hinder my journey. I informed another staff member, and even if those words always haunted me, I know what my recovery needs, and I know it is not to just “workout and eat healthy.”
Is there anything else you would like to add that you want people to know? Any advice to give to fellow sufferers?
I would love to share an excerpt from an article recently posted by NEDA from a monthly advice column with Dr.Melody Moore. This short article inspired something in my mind to finally click with accepting healthy weight gain in recovery when I honor my body’s hunger cues and trusting that my body knows what is best for me naturally, not my eating disorder! It has helped me find beauty in giving it what it needs and asks for, contrary to my eating disorder’s beliefs.
I think these words can be helpful for all people, those in eating disorder recovery, as all as all others:
“Your “normal” weight range is your body being able to function effectively to carry around your soul. Your personality. Your essence. Your purpose. The inner you. If you are able to eat from the wisdom in your belly, you will find that your body is in sync with your hunger signals. And that it is not working against you. Your body is not the enemy. It is the temple. The vessel. Your body is the shell, not the soul. How your body ends up looking when you nourish it according to its needs is its own unique and individualized expression of beautiful.”