He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Happy Monday! Does anyone else write stories in their minds? The place most conducive to “Story-Writing” in my thought-life is the cafe I work at, Smile Tiger. […]
Here’s what they don’t tell you about eating disorders:
They’re usually pretty innocent at first.
An endeavour to “be healthier.”
When my restrictive illness first developed when I was fifteen, I never would have considered that I might still be terrified of white flour and sugar, baked, frosted goodness with unknown nutritional values when I was of age and stage to be getting married.
But in the depths of my sickness, the worst times of eating nothing but spinach and the occasional piece of broiled, skinless chicken breast, I would have told you there was no way I would ever touch a baked good again.
If you know me today, you know how far I’ve come since those days.
It’s the memories of shivering cold due to lack of nutrition, feeling faint and zombie-like that no longer cause me to crave numbness, but to feel so truly, desperately sad for that lost girl, and anyone else going through the same deception.
It’s the reminder of conversations in which I was barely engaged with the other party, and more engaged with the adding of meaningless numbers – caloric values – in my mind, constantly finding new justifications for not eating that has made me, finally, so pleased to have engaged, meaningful, undivided conversations.
And it’s the knowledge that my engagement to the love of my life is one, fleeting season that involves so many beautiful friends gathered around good food with endless reasons to be thankful that makes me more determined than ever to block out the diet culture, the “Aren’t you gonna diet for your wedding?” questions, and the little voices that sometimes want to convince me to thwart my recovery by eating the delicious, dairy-free cake my mom bought for my bridal shower with a coffee and a beautiful friend.
Doing so pertained to so much more purpose than simply for enjoying a piece of cake for a few minutes.
It’s also about the memory made. Because, truly…
My experience of recovery has been that time has been fundamental in healing the little wounds that have surfaced.
When I experienced transformational healing a few years ago, I thought I was in the clear in terms of mental eating disorder recovery. This has made it easy for me to feel guilty about ever struggling, and potentially more likely to ignore any mental triggers. But slowly, these things have crept in in small amounts… and I am so, inexpressibly happy, and indebted to my God, to say that I am very aware of them, and rarely give in to old behaviours. My God has given me an awareness and conviction of the Truth I want to live by, which does not involve tracking food eaten.
From a tangible standpoint, the longer I have lived this way, free from measuring, counting, and obsessing, the more NORMAL it has become. And, most interestingly and amazingly, the more physical hunger has actually made me WANT and NEED food than been a mental trigger for restriction. The more normalized my understanding of “just eating” has become. The more naturally and simply my hunger cues take over.
It has been a journey– and if there was one time of my life I was afraid triggers might take over, it was that of wedding planning. But, rather than giving into the messages of the world, this season of engagement has been more motivation than ever to completely redeem my relationship with food, passionate about none of the ugly, disordered stuff sneaking into my marriage or home. To heal my physical body fully is truly my desire.
So I had my Bridal Shower Cake, and I really did eat it, too. And it was absolutely stinkin’ delicious.
Thank-you, Lord Jesus, for your Word that I know to be True. Make me more like you, in all things. Amen.
It is only just hitting me that in a matter of weeks, the girls I have lived with for the past three years and I will never live together again.
In fact, each of us will be transitioning to living with– a man— for the rest of our lives.
Yes– my university living experience was probably not like most, particularly at my secular school in southwestern Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier. I met Maddie and Mary in my first year of university, as they were colleagues in my smaaaalll program, Christian Studies. We hit it off instantly as friends, and soon became as close as sisters.
We found a student apartment to live in together in second year with two other girls. Pictured above is our third-year crew, all of us having met in Christian Studies classes. ALL of the girls in this photo are engaged now, with the exception of Beth, who was married to her hubby in August 2018, a wedding we were so honoured to attend.
Now, these girls make up my bridal party… and I make up theirs. Mary marries her man in October, Johnny & I in January, and Maddie in June 2020. Our men proposed months apart, but many of the preparations for the weddings have taken place in our little student living situation. With either a bridesmaid dress or a wedding gift or a decor piece arriving to the front porch seemingly every week, it’s no wonder people have asked me what it’s like to “share the spotlight” with my best friends in the same house.
And here’s the answer: I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the only spotlight in these relationships is on Jesus Christ.
I feel blessed beyond words, in fact, that I have had the opportunity to live with these two women who know that their weddings are about the lifelong marriage and not the day itself. Who have hearts that want their relationships to reflect and glorify God rather than lift up themselves. And it is because of these very mindsets, the very presence of God, that we have approached each other, and being in each other’s wedding parties while also being brides, with nothing but love, grace, equality, compassion, and joy.
HE is why it’s been nothing but fun. HE is why I have been able to give being a bridesmaid, maid of honour, and bride– all at once, and while LIVING with the girls– the attention each role deserves. HE is the reason for it all, and to Him I give all the glory.
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.ECCLESIASTES 4:4
Stephanie Buttermore’s “All In” Journey: Why I am a Huge Fan of the Fitness YouTuber Eating 5000+ Calories per Day
I knew I was a fan of Stephanie Buttermore the first time I ever watched one of her videos. Not only was it clear that she was a kind person, but it was clear that she was an all in kind of person.
I have a massive appreciation for the art of video editing, and Stephanie takes this to another level. Each one of her videos is crafted in such an accessible, viewer-friendly manner, and her speaking voice has such a pleasing ring to it. She doesn’t have hundreds of videos as many fitness YouTubers of her career length do, but it’s because each and every video is crafted with such intense excellence. All-in excellence.
Stephanie demonstrates this all in attitude in each one of her workout routines too. She doesn’t go half-in on anything she does– or at least, anything she puts out within her business. Her mindset is reflected in everything from her beautiful merchandise to her truly informative videos, ones I always learn a lot from in a concise manner.
So, when Stephanie announced that she was going “All In,” which for her meant eating about 5000 calories every single day (not counting them or measuring food or anything, but eating this amount because it’s been what she’s been hungry for), I wasn’t surprised, but was incredibly excited.
Stephanie explains the reasons behind her “All In” Journey more succinctly than I could, but, essentially, the diets and methods of eating that had previously consumed her way of eating have put her body in an energy deficit that has caused severe mental, physical, and emotional hunger. It also caused her to lose her period.
While it is easy for a person in this situation to believe that most of the hunger they feel is mental or emotional, leading them to believe that they should not consume food to the point of full satiety due to fear of weight gain, research proves that the physical hunger is likely the reason for the mental and emotional hunger in patients who have lost their period, or restricted food for long periods of time. Even if the person didn’t have an eating disorder, or wasn’t eating a “crazily” low amount of calories, but still actively restricted certain food groups, labelled certain foods as “off-limits,” or forced themselves to stop eating before full satiety, an energy deficit is present. The physical repercussions are very dangerous.
Stephanie is very popular on YouTube for her “Cheat Day” videos, in which she eats “everything she wants” in a day, which usually ends up amounting to something around 10,000 calories. She always emphasizes that she never eats past the point of discomfort– but, for most people with average appetites, this amount of food would likely be past that point. This is just one sign pointing to Stephanie’s energy deficit.
Steph’s recent “All In” recap video has seen over one million views, and gained a lot of interest in the media.
Now, here is why I love what Stephanie is doing.
She has not let her former platform sway her from doing what she believes is right (even when it’s hard). Going from bikini-competitor leanness to gaining 30 plus pounds in a couple months in front of a large following could not have been easy, but Steph didn’t let that stop her from doing what she knew was right. In fact, showcasing this change, including ups and downs with body image and her mood, has been something she hasn’t shied away from. All that she has shared as been real and raw, and I have seen countless followers take insight from her story. She has helped people in the trenches of anorexia find motivation to recover. She has given people who have yo-yo dieted for years a vocabulary for understanding their hunger. She has put her health and wellness– mental and physical– above her aesthetic.
She has not positioned herself in any “niche”– she’s just a relatable human with incredible credentials. Boasting a B.A., M.S., and Ph.D., in medical sciences, biology, and more, Stephanie went from being a unique member of the fitness community as a passionate foodie, to simply going on the journey that was right for her in this time– and sharing it for the benefit of many. She isn’t in the “recovering from an eating disorder” niche, necessarily, which only makes her content more accessible, and might help someone in a similar position recognize that, just because they’re not dealing with an eating disorder doesn’t mean they don’t need to go “all in” simply because of restriction or dieting, two things society has convinced us are “normal.” Or maybe, like Steph, they’ve never fully recovered from an eating disorder, or given it the “all in” attitude it deserves.
She is eliminating the “cheat day” mindset, making a statement about the reality of our society’s skewed relationships with food. Many people in the fitness industry promote food restriction coupled with massive “cheat days.” Others promote fad diets, obsessive macro counting, labelling foods, etc. But, here is my question (and the common question of another of my favourite YouTubers): was obesity a thing before the billion-dollar weight loss industry was?
We all have naturally different appetites based on genetics, activity level, hormones, etc., and simply living according to these (not obsessively “intuitively eating” according to the trend of it, but just eating, a concept that is difficult to understand for many who have been rewired by the weight loss industry for years) is, wow, the best possible key to our health. It doesn’t make a weight loss guru any money, though.
I have worked in “healthy food” environments selling great products and with great menus with employees who, without even thinking about it, would write “Cheat Day Choices” on top of our baked good selections. Whether we realized it or not, much of our culture has been influenced into thinking that this is normal.
I underwent an incredible journey to healing in which I radically discovered just how amazing my body and mind are at knowing what they want and need. I also went through an “all in” journey in which I was eating at least 3000 calories a day just to feel somewhat satisfied.
If you relate to any of this content, or have any questions, feel free to reach out to me as a friend or helping hand.
Has “diet culture” influenced you in any way? Has this article debunked any of that for you? Let me know in the comments below.