Friday, June 26, 2009

Dirty, Dark Secret....an eating disorder

This has been an interesting journey in my life. There is a reason for my sensitivity to unhealthy living, over indulgence, and the terrible way that the human body is portrayed on magazines all over the world. This obsession of looking perfect is just as bad as gluttony and laziness. There has to be a balance and I thought this might be the time to open up to why I have this view point. Let me be perfectly clear- I am not encouraging people to get 6 pack abs and have "perfect" bodies. Again I am talking about health! Being underweight can be just as dangerous as being overweight! I am trying to live in moderation with healthy habits, some may consider this their normal everyday life- but for others this is a daily battle.

For some reason during my 8th grade and into high school and college I began to feel like I wasn't good enough. I felt like I was fat and really had no reason to live if I couldn't get into a size 0-4! I started with not eating breakfast, then not eating lunch, and only eating dinner when we had family meals- so no one would catch on. Though when I didn't need lunch money for over a month my mom did talk to me briefly.

Since before puberty I had never gone through the experience of wishing for a chest or hips because, well they appeared before I knew what they were. I always felt "big" even though I have looked through photos and see that I was not ( I would be thrilled with my high school body right now!)

Food has always been an outlet for emotion. When I was depressed I ate, when I was happy I ate, when I was watching TV I ate, when I got in a fight with my parents I ate, when my family celebrated- we ate. There was always a fridge full of REGULAR soda growing up. It was like having our own vending machine without having to pay for it (of course my parents were the ones filling it.)

Healthy food choices were not made in our house growing up. Candy, chips, cola, chocolate were always around- and I could eat a 1/2 if not a whole thing of oreos without thinking about it. The television was and still is a challenge for me. My family did not do physical activity together; we ate at our dining room table with the living room TV in full view. After dinner we watched more TV. McDonald's was a regular stop, especially in the summer.

I was not taught to eat veggies and fruit as part of my daily diet; nor was I educated on how to cook healthy meals- but I do know how to make a mean bean dip. I calculated the calories once--you don't want to know- way too much.

Health class- what a joke! Yeah, I know the pyramid of health like the back of my hand- but was never taught how to live it in the real world....

The P.E. program at my school was actually very good. And I was active in school activities with tennis in the fall and choir/choreography all year long.

For some reason I became addicted to food, but I also became addicted to not eating! College brought even more temptation not to eat, but to stay active with martial arts. I didn't want to be fat so I didn't eat or I ate very little, or I binged! But I was killing my body with the lack of nutrition.

I would have times of binging and times of not eating. I had a friend who was actually diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and even suffered a mild heart attack due to her eating disorder. She ended up having to go to an inpatient facility out of state. She is now in recovery!

My boyfriend/fiance'/and now husband helped me through a lot of my messed up thought process. I never sought out medical treatment, and I am glad I didn't. After being married for just under a year, my husband and I went through a life changing experience. We went through an HMR program in Wichita, KS over seen by Dr.Early. If one had been diagnosed with an eating disorder, that person could not go through the program. My hubby lost 50lbs and I lost 38lbs!

Matt and I went through the program together and were successful. We kept most of our weight off and maintained our healthy weights for over 5 years. Moving to Manhattan rocked our world and we added on a few (more than a few) pounds. But with our education from our intense REAL LIFE health class we have the skills to get back down to our goals. I now understand portion control, SELF-CONTROL, healthy choices, exercise, and MODERATION. Weight Watchers has kept me accountable to healthy eating and portion control.

This dirty, dark secret held me back growing up. I still struggle with some of my thought processes when it comes to food and weight- but I have found success and life through Jesus. There were days after binging that I wanted to vomit, but there were bible verses in my head that reminded me that my body was a temple and vomiting was not going to keep my temple healthy. As a nurse I also knew what the risks of bulimia and anorexia nervosa were. I knew that I had a messed up thought process when it came to food and my flesh, but I also knew that with God's help it would not over power me and He would direct my path and bring me to health. (Yes, these verses may be taken out of context, but they kept me alive!)

I am still an emotional eater, but I am aware. I pray regularly to keep my mind and spirit on God so as to not let the thoughts of food take hold of me. I pray for self-control and try to eat regularly so that I do not bing. By the grace of God I have never forced my self to vomit after eating. There is something in my spirit that knows if I do that, I will go down a path that is not good. I have gotten as close as lifting the toilet seat and staring at it. Thankfully I prayed for strength and did not follow through with it.

I hope this gives some a different view point to food, exercise, and lifestyle. If you don't have an issue with food, GREAT! But if you do, I pray that you realize it and seek help from others or medical help. A lifestyle change starts with one step at a time. If takes time, perseverance, letting go of the past, and dealing with the present, so as to enjoy the future. Trusting in God and leaning on Him for strength is the only way I get through it!

While in College I did a paper on eating disorders and found that some (sorry I don't have the paper with me to quote it) believe anorexia nervosa is hereditary. I spoke with my mom about this. My mom had not really given me the option to take dance classes, even though in high school she was a Chiefette - the high-kicker squad for the Kansas City Chiefs before they had cheerleaders. They were a lot like what the Rockettes are. My mom has had her days of crash diets and taking pills that lack in their promises. She told me that she didn't want me to have to deal with the stresses of what dance does- well guess what I still got the thought process and my share of unhealthy diets! I am now aware of this issue in my life, I will also be watching when we have children. My hope is to live a healthy, simplistic, peaceful life for my children to see and hopefully follow. I am so blessed to have a husband who is on the same page- without his listening ear, encouraging words, and understanding of the emotional/addictive component I have to food I would not be who I am today! Thank you God, for putting this man in my life!



3 comments:

Shannon said...

Thank you for sharing this! I am proud of you for being honest on a topic that I know is not easy to talk about. I too have struggled with my body imagine and weight my entire life. It is only through God's help and because of my faith that I consciously work to keep the body that He gave me healthy.

Dory said...

Oh Bek, Bek, Bek.... what an awesome unveiling of a dirty dark secret - soooo glad it no longer holds you captive.

I see so many examples of what eating disorders do to the dentition - makes it all too real the havoc it is causing the rest of the body.

Thanks for sharing. Ya done good kid. ;o)

Jen said...

I am so proud of you and your healthy lifestyle. You are beautiful inside AND out!