Hi! Okay, I know I’m not the only one around here who holds myself to an extremely high standard in all aspects of life: work, relationships, food, exercise, body image, writing, yoga, family life, friendships, photography, videos, hair length (I cry when my hair is cut two inches…) but especially two main things: food & body image.
About two years ago, I was the thinnest I’d ever been in my adult life. I ate nothing but raw fruits and vegetables, and I didn’t eat high quantities of them. I exercised every day to an excessive degree between yoga, running, walking everywhere I possibly could and convincing a new person each day to go on a hike, beach walk or bike ride with me. For several hours. I didn’t even sit down to write or do my schoolwork… I did everything I could standing up, and when I was on the phone with people I stretched, danced around and did weird things just to keep moving, and moving and moving.
I was addicted to feeling tiny, and also to feeling EMPTY. Like, very empty. If I was even more than 50% full or satisfied in my stomach, then I would freak out like I had done something wrong. It was partially about being small and partially about a fixation in my head about being totally in control. I felt so, so, soooo in control and I felt like my willpower was stronger than anyone else that I knew. I also had no stomach problems for the first time in my life, because I had nothing to digest… so how could I have digestion problems?
But I know what you may be thinking: you already know this about me. I’ve written about it a lot. I’ve made videos about it. Heck, I’ve written a book about it. I blogged the whole entire time. So now I’m here to talk about where I am with it now.
I still have hard days. Sooo many of them. I’ve hinted at it here and there lately, but even my closest friends and family don’t exactly know how bad it’s gotten (well, now I guess they do — hi everyone, lol). Some way and some how I learned very young to use food as a mechanism to control my emotions. If something was going wrong, I turned to food or the restriction of it. It was always one or the other, and usually intense restriction. And after being oh so restrictive for so many years, food became this weird thing that felt totally off limits but right in front of me at the same time. Needless to say, after shedding the vegan label… the world of food & everything it had to offer (nutrients, satiety, comfort, control/lack thereof, flavors I hadn’t experienced in years, protein I hadn’t put into my body in years, and so on…) was terrifying.
Not to mention I have a job where I am always putting myself out there for the world to see. Photos, videos, outfit posts, TV appearances, bikini photos (eek!) — I love ALL of that stuff. So much! If I didn’t love it I wouldn’t do it. I like to share my life with all of you. But then again sometimes I see myself on camera and I’m like holy shit my face looks round, or wow I don’t look like the vegan ultra-fit ultra-tiny raw foods powerhouse I once did. I look balanced… I look healthy, but as all humans do, I still scrutinize myself. Especially on a morning after perhaps I’ve eaten one dessert too many or “too large” of a meal (it’s so hard to unwind from that eating disorder mindset).
And then I get these ideas in my head where I feel that I HAVE to look a certain way by the time a certain event rolls around: for example, I am leaving for Costa Rica today and the eating disorder side of me tried to drill it into my head that I should restrict my food intake so I would be as thin & fit as possible on the trip. (I can’t believe I’m writing all of this, but I am!) So I restricted for weeks, halfway because I wanted to look a certain way in Costa Rica and halfway because goddamn do I love a good dose of overly obsessive self-control. It’s just in my blood, it’s in my nature. I know it’s not a healthy way to be, and I try to channel it into other aspects of my life (like the blog!) that result in a much more positive outcome than taking a toll on my body… But it is SO. HARD. TO. DO.
So naturally, at a certain point I bounced back from my crazy restriction. To be exact, it was a little over a week ago. My body felt so deprived, so starved and so sick of what I was doing to myself… that I went over the edge and decided to screw the restriction and eat whatever the hell I wanted. But too much of it. To the point where I made myself sick.
Then I had somewhat of a revelation… and this revelation happened while I was talking to my dear friend Tara, one of the only people I truly confide in about this and turn to when my eating/restricting skyrockets out of control, and I realized two very important things:
1. I am afraid to fully let go of my eating issues, because then I feel (irrationally) like the floodgates will open and I will finally have to deal with everything else in my life – some larger & arguably more important issues than food. In my eating disorder mindset, if I focus on food, restricting, control, etc. then I feel like I can push those responsibilities and issues away until they no longer “exist.” But that’s not the case, they are always there, and my response to food & restriction is a huge part of how I deal with them.
2. Eating disorders really are a mind over matter game, and when you get too stuck in your head you get sucked back in. So you can’t be too hard on yourself! And I have been extreeeemely hard on myself and so, so stuck in (and obsessed with) perfection. I hold myself to a very high standard, and sometimes I feel that if things aren’t perfect then why try in the first place? It’s not a place I want to be. I want to be balanced! And I am trying.
So, there we are. My little update on shedding the layers of perfection and trying to just BE! I think I need to get “Mind Over Matter” tattooed on my body, lol. Or “I am worthy” orrr maybe “JUST BE” or god anything of that notion.
And I am going to Costa Rica tonight, and I am going to do my veryyyy best to be KIND to myself and let go of all the food craziness. I hope to enjoy the food on the trip, not get crazy obsessive about exercise and not obsess over how I look in a bathing suit. I hope to just be. And that is the realest I have ever been on this blog, because usually I put a positive spin like “I WILL be _____” and to be honest, right now all I can do is hope & try and do everything in my power to focus on feeling good, treating myself well and being open and very, truly, radically honest.
And thank god I will be with one of my lifelong, dear best friends who is very aware of how rocky my food path has been over the past few months. He has heard me break down like you wouldn’t believe — a side of me that I only show to those I trust immeasurably… we all have those people. 🙂
PS I sort of touched on this in my latest YouTube video, if you want to check it out! & if you like it, would love to have you subscribe!!!
Has anyone else ever felt this way / currently feel this way?! If so, I am so here for you. I am always here.