eating disorder

"Dear Eating Disorder": Breaking the Eating Disorder Cycle, Healing and Recovery (Part 4 of 4)

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by julia vickers, almft

Dear Eating Disorder,

I know we’ve thought about having a secret relationship indefinitely, but I’ve learned more about you recently and I know you have tried to protect and care for me, but I am learning new ways to take care of myself and there isn’t a whole lot of space for you anymore.

Breaking the Eating Disorder Cycle:

Healing and Recovery

I remember when it came time to make a New Years resolution, something had to change. There were a two things on my list that year: You must eat normal meals everyday. Share your secret. I knew these two resolutions would help me on a practical level with breaking the restricting cycle.

I had read enough information by this point to recognize that I was destroying my metabolism which would only lead to continual yo-yo weight gain and loss. If I destroyed my metabolism, my whole body and mind would continue to suffer which would allow my disordered eating to take center stage. This would hinder any emotional healing that I badly desired to happen but was horrified to face.

Second, I had to tell someone. My sister had moved home and I told her what was going on. Hearing it aloud was powerful. The allusion of all it falsely offered began to crumble. My ED’s thoughts were still a constant struggle but I had someone to be a listening ear. It was life-changing to not be judged. Feeling someone else not judge me helped me begin practicing what it felt like to accept myself struggles and all. To accept that trying is good enough and that sometimes trying again and again is all you have. I wanted to love myself and I wasn’t going to give up. While some parts of myself were easy to love, others not so much, but I knew I couldn’t be preferential with this love. All of me needed my love. All of me needed to be known and accepted.

Remember how I mentioned that I was learning new ways of taking care of myself? Well, I have made a few changes and they are here to stay.

6 Habits I slowly changed:

1.) I ate meals with people I loved.

2.) I Opened up when I felt insecure and want to binge or restrict. This took the edge off. Transparency was key.

3.) I wrote down what my ED “told” me and made new mantras such as: “Make choices because you love yourself”

4.) I drank more water. Staying hydrated helped me distinguish when I was hungry vs. eating for other reasons.

5.) I educated myself through researching the effects of eating disorders on the mind and body and committed to a “no short-cuts” lifestyle. (Absolutely no restricting)

6.) I rest more. I let go of feeling guilty about napping instead of exercising and decided to trust the signals my body was giving me.

If you need the support of a licensed therapist for disordered eating, or a difficult relationship with food - call julia today at 630-480-0060 x 704 or fill out the “Get In Touch” form on our contact page.

Help is only one step away!

"Dear Eating Disorder": Do Eating Disorders Cover Up Deeper Issues? (Part 3 of 4)


Dear Eating Disorder,

I remember when you came back into my life, loudly promising me that I would lose the weight this time and how you dared me to hope that achieving my ideal was only a few months of restricting away. I didn’t know that when I gave you an inch, you would take a mile. I know you are trying to reassure me that things will get better once I look a certain way, but I am becoming more and more convinced that you are not trustworthy at all.

Do Eating Disorders Cover Up Deeper Issues?

After graduation, I went to India to spend the summer working for a non-profit. The summer heat was at its height that time of year at 115 F. It was a special time serving and learning about the culture and also a time of weight loss. Through excessive sweating, muscle loss, diet change, and fasting for “religious reasons”, I lost quite a bit of weight. We didn’t have a full size mirror so I couldn’t scrutinize myself and no one could tell if I had a thigh gap in a Kurti and harem pants.

I was unaware of my weight loss until I got home and all my high school clothes fit. People commenting on how good I looked. I had been trying for years to “achieve” this goal and it had come effortlessly while I was abroad and got me the attention I wanted. After a few months, I started building muscle and gaining weight. I was frustrated and turned up the heat on my disordered eating to lose the weight.

This time, it began to look different and more aggressive compared to when I was in college. A vicious cycle of restricting, exercising and an eventual binge: one step forward, ten steps back. Each time I would binge, I would tell myself, “It’s okay, just don’t eat for a few days” as if this was an actual, reasonable solution. I felt out of control while I ate and totally ashamed after. I felt alone and embarrassed. Who could I share this with? Mondays became my beacon of hope for months, I would begin determined that “this week I will be disciplined enough to lose the weight!

Each week would end the same. *Enter Hallmark movie, cookie scene*. I feel far from that now but feel sad remembering the chasm I had build between my mind and body. In the midst of the struggle, it felt impossible to share because I did not see a way out and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone who might help me with my inevitable failure.

Stay tuned for what I changes I made that came from my desire to practice truly caring for my body and mind in order to confront my negative attitudes towards myself.

If you need the support of a licensed therapist for disordered eating, or a difficult relationship with food - call julia today at 630-480-0060 x 704 or fill out the “Get In Touch” form on our contact page.

Help is only one step away!