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Please help me
[tw eating disorder/recovery]
My name is Emma. I have an eating disorder.
I am trying to recover and struggling to eat again. I am asking all of you for help and solidarity.
How can you help?
SEND ME RECIPES.
I want to be excited for food! I want to want to eat. I want to have recipes that make me feel hungry.
Please send me your favorite easy-to-make recipes here at my recovery food blog! Simple foods that will make me feel good eating them :) I will publish all of the recipes, as well as what I make when I can make them. I want this to be a shared experience, so allies can submit recipes as well as people who have EDs. Feel free to make the foods on this blog and let me know how they come out!
Please follow me at recoverycuisine and send me your recipes. I am so grateful. And if you could reblog this and get the word out, I would really appreciate it.
Thank you. <3
ED Treatment Fundraiser
I need to start treatment for my disordered eating soon, but have no way to pay for it. I started a fundraising page to help me afford treatment.
There is an amazing private ED clinic in my city; unfortunately they don’t accept my insurance. I haven’t even been able to get an assessment for my HMO’s ED treatment, and cannot wait weeks more.
The clinic has been wonderful enough to offer me discounted treatment, but it is still too much.
One month of the program will be $3000. I’ll be able to start treatment once I have that money.
Thank you all so much, just for reading this. Please donate if you can. <3
A word about disordered eating, food denial and judging others
Given the scuffle of earlier this week about Weight Watchers on here, I want to take a minute to say something.
While I’ve never been someone who has identified as having an eating disorder, I definitely have experienced disordered eating for most of my life. I remember sneaking around to eat food when I was eight or nine years old, hiding what I was doing from my parents. I would literally eat — really, binge — on “forbidden” food until I made myself sick. I once ate so much salad dressing — just salad dressing — that I found myself puking my guts out. I was maybe 10 years old.
When I was 11 or 12, my mom put me on my first diet, though it was billed as a “health class.” Once a week, we’d go to a class at the doctor’s office where they’d weigh all of the kids — and announce our weights out loud, so that wasn’t mortifying or anything — and then talk to us about healthy eating. Which meant eating a lot of “fat free” food and lots of carbs and limiting red meat. Because that’s what was healthy in the early 90s. I was the smallest kid in the group, but I was also the kid who never lost any weight — no matter how many Snackwells cookies and jicama sticks I ate.
At the same time, my mom signed me up for basketball to lose weight. I hated basketball. I was way bigger than the other kids and I wasn’t particularly coordinated and it was constantly humiliating that I couldn’t fit into the kids’ sizes of jerseys or the tiny shorts that the other girls wore.
I wasn’t a fat kid, I don’t think. I was 5’2” and a size six in sixth grade, and already in the throws of puberty. I look back now and realize that I was actually a healthy size and weight then, but because I was bigger than the other kids, I was “fat” and I needed to be “fixed.”
After two years, I stopped playing basketball. And kept sneaking food. I’d eat everything that my friends or family would eat, and then eat more when no one was around. I knew it was “wrong” but I couldn’t help it — I was hungry. Was I really hungry? Probably not. But I viewed food in such a skewed way — I could only eat “good” food and in “good” quantities around people, and then when I was alone I could eat “bad” food. That’s what food was — good or bad. And I liked the bad stuff.
This continued through college. I would make biscuits in the kitchen and eat one, and then put the rest in a bowl on the table. And then I would slowly eat them one by one, and pretend that one of my roommates must have done it. I kept food in my room, even when I had a common kitchen, so people wouldn’t see me eat. And I just kept getting bigger. I would work out on occasion — a semester of pilates or a few dedicated weeks on the elliptical at the gym — but I couldn’t work away all the “bad” food.
After college, I tried a series of diets. I did South Beach and was really successful. And then I stopped doing South Beach and the weight came back. I did it again and again. I tried Paleo, and it worked until it didn’t. I flirted with Atkins. Food was good or bad. I wasn’t eating the “bad” stuff and I still wanted it. Craved it. And I couldn’t keep the weight off.
About a year ago, I started reading more about disordered eating. And I realized that’s exactly what I was experiencing. I wasn’t seeing food for what it is. And that’s not just fuel. Food is social, food is fun, food is healthy, and food is fuel — it’s all of those things. But it’s not good or bad. Even knowing that, it took me a while to figure out what I could do to start breaking my own habits.
Counting calories and, more recently, Weight Watchers, has helped me step back from putting food in good or bad categories, and focus more on balancing my diet and listening to my body, my mind and my emotions. I’ve created healthy habits and become cognizant of what I’m eating — no more sneaking food or going off the rails — while still making room for celebrations and date nights and nights when I drink all the drinks.
Because deprivation doesn’t work for me. In fact, eating what I thought my brain was telling me to eat? That’s what was killing me. I would be “good” for days on end, and then everything would go to pot. It wasn’t about will power or “taking ownership” or whatever, because I couldn’t see food for what it was.
For me, I need something that creates and encourages healthy structures where no food is forbidden, where I can eat whatever I want, where nothing is bad. Where I can eat whatever I want to eat, but in moderation and in recognition of what I’m eating, and when, and why. Weight Watchers is a tool I use to track what I eat, and when, and why — and I hold myself accountable to a schedule of weigh ins and tracking. Does it work for everyone? Maybe not. But it’s helped me break a cycle of disordered thought and eating that I didn’t ever think I could break.
Does that mean I think I’m always going to be doing Weight Watchers? No. But it does mean that I realize that most of the women in my family struggle with weight, and it’s something I’m going to have to be cognizant of, especially with my history.
And I want to be clear that I’m not saying that you should all do what I do. But what I am saying is that there’s a reason for what I — and a lot of other people — have to do to gain control, and it’s good to think about your words before you throw something out on the internet, especially in a community like ours. You don’t know everyone’s history, and sometimes it’s a lot more painful than you think.
“[TW: Disordered eating] I am not alone in this. I am one of a multitude. I have met women of my age who eat what they want and couldn’t care less if they gained two pounds over Christmas, but I am firmly convinced that they are the exception, not the rule. The rule is that if you are a woman in America you want nothing quite so much as you want to be a little smaller. The rule is you are always trying to lose. It’s no coincidence that this is primarily a women’s issue (although I don’t want to discount the growing number of men who fall victim to disordered eating as well). Even in today’s society women’s bodies are not entirely our own, and we are not always able to avoid others’ attempts to pass judgment on or make demands of or possess them. We are obligated to be attractive in a way men are not. We have been made responsible for the cultivation of other people’s desire. We are constantly under the scrutiny of a hegemonic male gaze that demands beauty and accepts no substitutes, and we are left to placate that watchful ideal by tithing gym trips and skipped dinners. And so whole nations of women spend their hours not reading books or loving bands or making the goddamn revolution but instead agonizing over the inches of a waist, strengthening the bounds that tether us to a sinking anchor.”—
Katherine Orazem, “The Unlovable Body: A Reflection on Disordered Eating”
Disordered Eating On A Spectrum: Warning Signs To Look For
Do you have a problem with food?
Disordered eating has to do with an unhealthy relationship with food: it preoccupies the mind and influences behavior. It’s important to know there’s a spectrum: unhealthy relationships with food can be mild (someone who’s always dieting, or feels as though they should or feels guilt/shame for eating certain foods) to extreme (someone with anorexic or bulimic tendencies).
Disordered eating is complicated.
People who diet constantly may qualify. People who are overly restrictive (keeping to exactly 1200 calories, or having to know the calorie content of every food) may qualify. This is about more than simply watching your diet: those who suffer from disordered eating can’t think of anything else. This may mean they miss out on social occasions, stress about weight gain, spend too much time finding ways to lower their calories, over exercise, or have body image issues related to weight gain. On the other end of the spectrum, disordered eating can be related to those who try to gain weight unhealthily as well (like this lady).
EDNOS is a term used to describe eating disorders within the spectrum that don’t necessarily fall into binge eating, anorexia or bulimia. They can include orthorexia (obsession with healthy eating) to drunkorexia (restricting calories to get drunker and/or feel more intoxicated). You do not have to starve yourself completely or purge to qualify as having an eating disorder or a tendency towards disordered eating.
Orthorexia and Me
A few weeks ago I saw True Life: I Have Orthorexia and it really, really hit me. I’ve noticed a lot of women on Tumblr have a very, very similar story to mine, so I think that’s why it’s important I share mine. See, when I first started Tumblr it was to post real girl thinspo and find more of it. I immersed myself into this community from an ED point of view initially. It took me wandering onto a recovery blog with a girl with a VERY similar story as mine before I made the steps to recovery. So…here it is. Orthorexia and Me.
I’ve always been self conscious about my body. My thighs have always been too big. Always. In high school I lamented over this and would go to the gym and crank out a few hours on the elliptical every so often. Nothing really serious. Just every so often.
Then came undergrad.
I graduated from high school a year early because I hated it. Like a lot of women with ED’s I was a type A straight A student that found myself constantly bored with being treated like I was five years old. I hated that teachers would hold my hand, talk down to me, etc. High school was horrible because I was never challenged. I was also the first graduating class so there were a lot of growing pains I went through with the school. It took one of my teachers telling me to graduate early because I was “too smart for this low level school.” I did that and went to undergrad 2 hours away from every person I ever knew at age 17.
My freshman year was boring. I had a job that started in October, knew absolutely no one and talked myself out of rushing a sorority. The girls down my hall were catty and judgmental and all I had was my roommate. She was slightly overweight, so we decided we’d go to the gym. It started as a boredom thing. I’d go to class, do some work, then go to the gym. We’d hop on the elliptical for about an hour and a half. No big deal.
Then came LiveJournal.
I don’t blame any one social media network site for my progression. Really, that’s stupid. I had the behavior there - I was eating less, working out more, weighing myself every day. I just had no idea what I was doing so it was more me floundering around and kinda losing weight. I decided to make an LJ to chronicle the annoying girls down my hall. I also was a HUGE fan of ANTM so I searched that as an interest, you know, to follow some LJs about ANTM.
Bam. Tons of pro-ana LJs popped up.
Curious, I clicked on them.
That’s how it started.
I suddenly knew to count calories. I learned to exercise all my food off. It was the affirmation I needed to go from “disordered eating” to “eating disorder.” I started two-a-days, the gym was all about calories burned and I’d take the machines numbers to heart.
At the end of my freshman year of undergrad I weighed in at 117 lbs but was NEEDING 110. I added some weight lifting on days I didn’t feel like going on the elliptical, but it was mostly fuckaround its. I thought I could get rid of my inner thigh fat by using that adductor machine for 10 minutes on low weights.
I was the hamster in the wheel - spinning away and going nowhere.
I came home for the summer and didn’t have a *real* job (I cooked all the meals for my parents out of those diet cook books and cleaned the house and made sure they went to the gym) and fluctuated from 117-122. When the summer ended I rushed a sorority and remember looking at the scale that read 122 and thinking I was too fat to wear any of my cute rush stuff. Instead I wore jeans the entire time - even though it was 110 degrees in the middle of summer in Arizona.
I was like this for a long, long time. I knew the calorie count in every food item I put in my mouth. I fasted, I wrote my goal weight on the side of my cereal boxes and on every food item in my house. I would coordinate my visits to the sorority house for dinner/lunch based on the menu. For mandatory Monday night dinners they had chicken, so I went vegetarian so it wouldn’t be weird when I didn’t eat.
I had an entire album of “real girl thinspo” on my computer
I favorited countless Xangas of just thinspo and would look at it multiple times a day
I was consumed. It got in the way of my relationship with my long time boyfriend, it made me a recluse despite my naturally outgoing nature, and it turned me into a shell of what I once was. Yeah, I was skinny, but I had few friends and battled constantly with depression.
I joined Tumblr the summer of 2010, after I graduated college, with a thinspo/journal under the name “perfect110.” I had thousands of posts and people I followed who were real life thinspo.
April of 2011 I saw my first recovery blog. It was a girl who once posted thinspo all the time and her daily intake (usually around 500, same as mine). She’d just finished the Master Cleanse (which I was starting) and lamented how it was ruining her life. Her friends were so happy and she wasn’t. She’d read this book, Intuitive Eating, and admitted that she had orthorexia and was sick and needed to change her life.
A few weeks later I felt the same way. I was sick of the restrictive lifestyle I lived, which only made me gradually gain weight until I was at 140 lbs - the highest I’d ever been. Orthorexia allowed me to “build” enough muscle to where I never looked “fat”, but I was still about the numbers. To me, everything on my body was fat.
I still had “safe foods.” I still had this need to exercise off that burger or last nights alcohol. I still felt guilty for eating food that I enjoyed. I’d swallow down low calorie versions of my favorite foods and convince myself I liked the taste.
I was a hollow version of myself.
It took a girl on Tumblr, and my own sick realization, to help myself. I deleted my LJ, Xanga, unfollowed all the unhealthy Tumblrs. I deleted my thinspo file, threw out all my old measurements and progress pics and calorie journals. Everything. Done.
Then came the long progress of shifting. I found other recovery blogs, reorganized my life to focus on other things than my weight, spent more time going out with friends and my boyfriend. I did everything I could to keep myself busy and focus less and less on my weight. I moved to Mississippi in June of 2011 and found weight lifting in December of 2011. It started small - I’d always liked weights, but never knew anything about it.
In January of 2012 I found Oly lifting and it changed. my. life.
I see similar stories with girls in the Fitblr community. They made a change - mental, spiritual, physical - and found what they love. They found yoga cleared their mind from the obsessive thoughts of their ED, or that long runs were the cure to all their ills. Others were like me - a great session with the iron was enough to soothe everything. The gym became a place of love, not a place to work off a meal.
I have bad days, just like everyone does. Sometimes I feel guilty for eating certain foods, but I’ve found that these days are fewer and far in between. I changed my priorities and my outlook on life and found the peace that I’d at long last hoped for.
Now? My goals are about strength. My goals are about helping others who are in the same situation I was. My goals are about education and outreach. My goals are to never marginalize another person, because I know what that’s like. And I often share my story and my life in hopes that another girl, just like me, sees this and knows that it’s 100% possible to turn your life around. It’s never too late.