Happiness is the Key

Side Note: Sorry everyone, this post was scheduled to come out yesterday but I guess it didn’t!! Thanks alot WordPress ;)

Happy Monday Tuesday! It’s a four day week for me, so technically it’s already Tuesday Wednesday ;) This weekend I had such a great time in St Pete, but I drove back to Orlando early Sunday morning. After being on the go constantly for two days straight, I just wanted to be back home where I could spend my day relaxing lazily by the pool :)

Today’s post is a little on the heavier side. I’ve been wanting to write about something for awhile now, but I just didn’t have the courage. It’s a scary thing writing posts that completely open yourselves up for ridicule and attack, but it’s something that I’ve needed to write.

So many of you have opened up about your struggles with eating. If you hadn’t noticed it’s something I’ve tried to avoid addressing. For years I didn’t consider myself to have an eating disorder. In fact, I didn’t understand how you could even HAVE an eating disorder. I loved food too much to ever give it up and I didn’t understand how someone could just not eat what they wanted. 

Growing up, I never worried about calories. I never watched what I ate. I ate what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it and that was that. I thought that was normal. I was a skinny kid, so I don’t think I ever learned proper eating habits. I indulged whenever I wanted, and being active in sports year round caused me to stay so thin. Growing older I began to gain a little weight, but I considered that to be normal.

I didn’t realize that I had developed an eating disorder of my own.

I wasn’t a purger, I wasn’t anorexic, I didn’t work out like crazy. I don’t even know if there’s a specific term for the disordered eating habits I had, but I did know that I overate. Constantly. I would finish a meal and my mind was convinced that I was still hungry. 

It wasn’t one of those mind games that comes with a solution of waiting 20 minutes and drinking a glass of water so that your brain catches up with your stomach. I actually couldn’t stop eating. I felt guilty leaving leftovers. If I didn’t finish my plate I would panic. Even if I was stuffed to the brink, I still wanted to finish my food. There was something inside me saying, you have to finish this.

I avoided the problem for years, and it was easy to. Although I was gaining weight and watched the number on the scale go up and up, I really didn’t feel like I looked like I was the weight I saw below me. When I began to get concerned, I told my close friends how I much I weighed and how I needed to lose weight, but they assured me the scale must have been off. “Look at you! You don’t need to lose weight, maybe we’ll just do more abs at the gym!” I justified my weight by looking at my friends who were larger than I was, but weighed less. I didn’t understand how it made sense that they were bigger than I was but weighed significantly less, so I justified my weight by thinking that weight was just a number, if I look good then that’s all that matters.

I noticed that because of my eating habits, I had gained a lot of weight. I didn’t know how to stop. I tried the fad diets, I tried going to the gym everyday, but with my constant overeating, no changes were happening.

I reached one of the lowest points of my life. I felt ugly, overweight, and unhappy. I felt like I had no self control. I was ashamed and embarrassed of who I had become. I became so unhappy that I wished I had an eating disorder that would prevent me from eating food. I wished I had the kind of control those girls had. They could stop themselves from eating anything, and they looked fantastic. What was wrong with me? I thought of myself as weak and tried harder to make myself throw up after meals. I tried to take shortcuts instead of doing the one thing I needed to do, which was find my healthy balance.

I think about that point in my life and shudder, because I remember how low of a point I was at. I wished every day I had the strength to have an eating disorder. I was jealous of the girls who had the self control to not eat. I envied girls who could eat and then make themselves throw up. I wished I had the endurance to spend hours and hours at the gym. And worst of all, I hated myself.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I thought I was just a weak girl with no self control. One day I had an epiphany when I was eating dinner with my parents. I had about 8-10 bites left, but I was stuffed. I didn’t feel well. I didn’t want to eat any more. I physically forced myself to eat those last bites. I couldn’t NOT eat them. I started to panic, feel guilty, and my brain was telling me to finish eating the dinner. I cried because I didn’t know why I felt the way I did. Like I had to eat. It was almost a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I could not stop myself, and I knew I had a problem. This wasn’t just a slight weight gain, this wasn’t just an occasion of binge eating. This was over-indulging based on my emotions. Something had to change.

For about 6-8 months I’ve been making my recovery. I watched what I ate, and tried to adapt a more healthy lifestyle. About two months ago, I went to Europe for three weeks. I was nervous that I would overeat and completely lose sight of what was important, but I was also determined to not let my eating worries hinder my experience. I wasn’t going to hold back, I was going to have as much gelato, pasta, and pizza as I wanted in Europe!

As the trip went on, I noticed that my clothes had slowly become looser. Suddenly that dress that I knew I could never wear, but I just had to bring it in case, fit me. As the days wore on, my clothes fit better and better.

I didn’t starve myself in Europe. I didn’t stop eating. In fact, I didn’t even worry about food while I was there. I ate until I felt full and I stopped myself. I’m not quite sure what exactly it was, but I think that I was having too much fun to let myself be compulsive over finishing my food. Whatever I did, it worked. I came back from Europe 20 pounds lighter and with a new outlook on life and health. I had never felt better about myself, my body, or my life. I came back a changed person. I felt something I had never in my life felt before. I felt skinny. I had always been told I was a pretty girl, but I had never felt fit or in shape or skinny. When I came back, I loved the way I looked. I literally stared at myself after getting out of the shower one day because I was shocked what those three weeks did to my body.

I was happy.

I used to eat to fill a void. I was bored/sad/unhappy and it caused me to indulge in foods to find comfort. I still struggle with sticking to my healthy balance, but I’m finally happy :) and that my friends is the best cure for anything :)

Have you ever dealt with disordered eating habits? How did you overcome them?

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14 responses to “Happiness is the Key

  1. I still struggle with this sometimes! I was raised to finish dinner. And leaving food on the plate — seems irrepsonsible!! I’ve gotten MUCH better about portion control (it helps that I cook the majority of our meals, opposed to eating out), but every now and then I feel the guilt. And then I feel insanely full and “fat.” It’s not healthy!

    I am really trying hard not to pass this on to my own kids. If they aren’t hungry – I don’t make them eat. We focus on healthy foods and feeling full. I really hope my kids don’t have the same relationship with food that I did when I was younger.

    Good for you for coming to terms with it and getting on the right track!!!

    • I agree completely. I was always told growing up to finish my plate, and it’s not a habit I want to pass on. I think there’s a difference between being full and having to eat everything OFF of your plate. So glad that someone else understands why I felt the way I did!

  2. THANK YOU for sharing.

    I know I have an unhealthy relationship with food but I haven’t quite figured out the way to balance what I want with what I should have and what the best way to keep the moderation is. It’s a struggle that I’ve been dealing with for close to 10 years now (scary to think of it like that). I was always a skinny girl in high school and never did a darn thing active and it all changed once I graduated high school. I’ve now put on approximately 50 pounds and it makes me sick just thinking about how far in the wrong direction I had to come before I even realized it. And now, it’s just so HARD.

    My brand of overeating is to continue eating because “I know I’m full now but I’m going to be hungry later”. So I continue so I get extra full. It makes no sense.

  3. A trip can do wonders for someone…it’s amazing that you had the opportunity to discover this happiness in Europe of all places!

    On top of that it’s always hard to open up about these type of issues, but it will help others going through the same events :D

  4. Thank you so so much for sharing this! If you have ever been to my blog, that you would know that I am quite tormented by disordered eating thoughts and habits. But I am recovering from such issues and finding my happiness once again :)

    • I’ve never been to your blog but I’m so glad you commented so I can head over there now. The thing I love about the blogging community is that it’s such a strong supportive group of people who are there for you through the tough times :)

  5. Pingback: WIAW: Smoothies and Sweet Potato Fries « the foodie diaries·

  6. thanks so much for sharing your story. i never had an eating disorder per se, but i was on the brink of one at one point. overexercising, under eating, break downs at the scale. looking back on it seems so much worse than when i was actually going through it. i guess it was a disorder in a sense, but maybe not technically one in the DSM.

    its funny how something as simple as food can turn into something so complex. of course, the issues in our heads are where the complexities lie, but still, food is the focus even if it’s not the root of the issue.

    im so glad you have found balance. it’s so liberating, isnt it? i feel lke i live a much fuller life having gone through that, because i can appreciate each day (and meal!) at a time so much more

  7. The SAME THING happened to me for a long time in college. Sometimes I feel that part of me sneaking up on me…the thoughts that I NEED TO FINISH EVERYTHING. Its hard to control.

    I grew up a skinny kid as well. Never worried about what I ate. Never counted a calorie. It wasn’t until I got to college and quit sports that I started getting these food feelings.

    I feel like we have the same story….

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Pingback: Falling Off The Wagon « The Foodie Diaries·

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