Things are about to get real, you guys.
I’m opening up a bit more about my own struggle with binging/restrictive eating and how I overcame it. This is something that I have mentioned briefly in posts on Instagram - and once when I first divulged that I actually battled with an eating disorder in this blog post. But lately I’ve been feeling a tugging at my heart that I need to talk about it more. That I need to share more details about WHY I allowed it to control my life for so long and HOW I beat it.
And yes, I beat it. To a bloody pulp. You can’t tell right now, but I’m flexing my baby muscles as I type this.
I guess the best place to start is at the beginning, right?
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’ve always have an issue with body image. Growing up, I didn’t like that everyone else “developed” before me (since I never had a cycle on my own), and then when hormones did start ramping up, I didn’t like my new curves. This disorded view of myself lasted throughout my high school years and into nursing school.
During nursing school, I found those “freshman fifteen” everyone talks about. I ate such an unhealthy diet, binging on highly processed foods and sugary drinks to get me through the long days and 12-hour shifts at night. I felt bloated and tired all the time, but just thought it was my schedule. My weight crept up to my all time high (not going to give a specific number, because that really doesn’t matter) and my body image issue only worsened.
Once I graduated from college, I made the big move from my parent’s home in Starke, Florida to Columbus, Georgia (where Brandon lived, along with his family). I went from living with my parents to living by myself and completely controlling my meals.
Cue the sugar-free, low-fat diet.
I started to buy those types of foods because I thought: 1) they would help me lose the extra weight I’d gained in college), and 2) be a “healthier” alternative to what I had been eating. Boy, was I ever wrong.
During this transition, I also picked up running on my days off from the hospital. I started by doing 1/4 mile run and walk the other 2 miles and eventually (over a few weeks), I could run the full 2.25 miles. It was a mental high and I felt that by burning so many extra calories, I would burn fat more quickly. I dropped 15-20 pounds in about 3 months time, but I looked FRAIL.
Everyone at the hospital would comment on my appearance, but I kept eating my celery sticks, 45-calorie bread sandwiches, and 100-calorie snack packs. I honestly didn't care because I was chasing that super skinny look. My total caloric intake on the average day was around 900-1,000 calories. Ugh. No bueno, y’all.
Physically, I felt tired all the time. My digestion was also off, likely because of my diet of processed foods and lack of fiber/veggies. I didn’t drink a lot of water - just sips when I could at work and then Diet Coke on my off days. Because of this, I had to rely on laxatives every day. Again, not good.
This restrictive lifestyle lasted for the next few years - throughout B and my engagement and first few years of our marriage. When I started infertility treatments, that’s when the binge cycles returned. I’ll talk more about that in my next post…