when i was a kid i thought growing up would mean never having to eat vegetables. like many of us, i spent my elementary school years–the early 90s–in a love affair with junk food. we didn’t keep it in the house, so any visit to a friend’s was an exciting opportunity for a pre-diabetic feast; the average suburban pantry felt like willy wonka’s factory.
but by the time i was 11, i had eschewed pizza & gushers for what we now call “clean” eating. i had gone through puberty early & carried weight that most of my female classmates didn’t yet carry, in places we hadn’t yet been taught that we would all eventually carry it. pair that with the fact that we were living in the throes of “fat free” culture, and before i had even technically hit adolescence my eating behaviors were orthorexic.
while my diet looked pretty healthy on its face, in reality my behaviors lacked flexibility, and my motivation was fear, discipline, & black-and-white thinking, not wellness & nurturing. i was at the beginning of what would turn into a 20-year battle with anorexia and bulimia.
it took me getting very sick to get better. for 16 years i delved deeper into this dysfunctional framework, and for another 4 i struggled with false starts trying to build and assimilate to a new, better one. when i came out the other side with a completely different view of health, food and my body, the amount of work that remained to be done was substantial; this played a big role in my becoming a holistic nutritionist rather than a dietician.
if you have struggled or are struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, i see you. if you’re scared that things will never get better, or even more scared of what it would look like if they did, i see you. if you are healing your body, or your soul, but have trouble recognizing or feeling proud of your resilience, i see you. and if you bear the emotional weight of loving someone with an eating disorder, i see you, too.