It is a common misconception that people with eating disorders hate food. The reality is quite the contrary. In most eating disorder sufferers, food is obsessed over, constantly thought about, and researched.In the depths of my disorder, I constantly baked and cooked high-fat, delicious dishes that I wouldn’t let my own tongue even nearly close to, but that I served with glee to those around me.
Edema and Joint Pain and Night Sweats, Oh My!: The Signs of True Physical Recovery No One Talks About
Cold all the time? I used to be known for it. Also for genuinely never sweating, never turning red when I worked out, and having dryer than dry skin, especially in the winter. Well, guess what? I typically sweat easily now (the underboob sweat I […]
How are you?!
This post is a long time coming. But it is being written for the one who finds his or herself in the same position that I am about to outline here.
It’s a position I feel a heavy call to write about, share about, and, hopefully, encourage others while doing so.
And it is this:
I have not told the whole truth, many times, directly related to my eating disorders.
Let me reiterate: I have, many times after eating more than anorexia would have wanted me to, said that “I am doing Minnie Maud!! I am!” When really, I needed to say that in order to justify the immense guilt, shame, and disgust I felt for eating against “Ana’s” rules. Then, I would often go days without eating anything but chicken breast and spinach again.
I would eat “too much” again. Back to spinach. Back to “too much.” I thought this was Minnie Maud…. but deep down knew it wasn’t.
I told doctors, “I’m eating so much!”, because I would… sometimes. But then I wouldn’t eat for days. Not ONLY because of the eating disorder voice, but also because I would be very stuffed – because I hadn’t continued to eat normally, eat meals and snacks, eat to regain health and body fat and my period.
This severe cycle took place over two years ago now. It has been a long time since the habits and cyclical eating and obsession has been like this, praise God.
And while I now eat a more “balanced amount every day,” not hyper-thinking about that balance, but just “doing it,” I have never gone through a real and true period of Minnie Maud recovery. I have said I’ve done it… but I haven’t.
I believe my body is still in an energy deficit, am convinced that it’s still malnourished, and have been convicted for some time that ACTUALLY doing Minnie Maud would probably fix this.
I just didn’t think the time to start, kick into gear, and have my brain and hunger cues enlivened would be one month from my wedding, but here we are.
25 pounds above my lowest weight, and feeling that physically, mentally, and emotionally, I am having a more difficult time with this than I care to admit.
But here’s the thing: I know it’s a mental battle. I know it’s a battle against legalism and rules and rituals.
It’s dumb, because even though this number is 60 pounds less than my pre-anorexia weight, all my brain wants to think about– or, should I say, all the devil wants me to think about — is that it’s 25 pounds higher than the lowest.
I should be the lowest on my wedding day of all days, society, the disorder, and the devil scream. At least I know where this thought comes from now, have confidence that this isn’t really me speaking, but the devil.
It’s funny, because, just prior to discovering this weight gain, I had looked in the mirror and thought, Dang, I look good. Healthy. More vibrant.
But the number. Something inside of me haaated the freaking number.
There was a time that I numbingly jolted in disbelief at the thought of how LOW this number was… but, even still, it wasn’t low enough.
Nothing is for an anorexia.
So I’m using this space to choose vulnerability and to say that I am not fully okay mentally with these changes.
It’s a struggle and a battlefield in my mind, but I’m choosing to trust Jesus.
I am fearful and know that my fears seem fickle and small, but my word, how much more great do the blessings feel.
How incredible that I can be so fully honest with my incredible fiance, who pushes me onward and says that he knows the weight gain is good.
Who helps me to refocus on my goal this season: of gaining my period, health, and a normal relationship with food.
I wish I could say it was all easy. I wish I could align with so many of the blog posts and health guru articles and eating disorder bloggers who say that recovery, that being on the other side, is great.
Honestly, I have days where I don’t want it. Days in which the devil reminds me of the comfort that came with starvation and what felt like control.
But it is knowing this, knowing that these days occur and these moments in which hope feels bleak creep in that convince me of my dire need to be on guard, to be rooted in Truth, and to practice what I preach and believe.
An evil voice sees this photo and sees…. You look more like your old self than ever. Your fat, out-of-control self.
Another voice entirely sees this photo and sees… You look more like YOU than ever. Literally ever. You’re healthy, you’re putting “underweight” behind you, and you’re not overweight either. You should be thrilled! What’s more… you’re truly not defined but what you weigh or what you look like.
And JESUS says… My child, stop fixating on YOU, and fixate on me.
Oh Jesus, I know that is the way. I know that YOU are the way. Help me, complete me, and fix me. I love You entirely, and YOU are my identity. More of YOU, and less of me, Jesus.
Frustrated is my word of choice. I am overwhelmingly frustrated. I’ve read every blog post about hypothalamic amenorrhea. I’ve spent months eating as much as my insides could take without exploding and remaining sedentary. Then I’ve tried adding in light exercise, eating high high fat […]
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 […]
Looking back, it was one of those mornings in which I debated my outfit.
Dress up or dress down? Was the work I had to do today conducive to feeling put together and stylish, or did comfort trump all?
Yes, for some reason, I think about these things.
I settled on a yellow floral dress– not like I can wear it for much longer– and long cardigan before heading out the door and to the office in downtown Kitchener.
Working at Him & Her the past month or so has been one of the greatest joys in this season. The encouragement of my colleagues and superiors, the diverse array of projects I get to work on and witness, and the opportunity to grow as a writer while providing meaningful service have been unmatched.
For the first few hours of work this morning, it seemed someone was always moving. Standing from their desk for a meeting or a call or to grab a coffee, so that there was no one time in which the three of us who sit in a row were seated together simultaneously.
Until that moment that we were… and we collectively realized this:
Name ideas included Three Turmeric Mice, The Yellow Squad, and Team Yellow. I simply suggested that we had each planned in our hearts to bring sunshine to the gloomy Monday at Him & Her.
And this conclusion, as cheesy as you may call it, served as an incredible reminder for me. A reminder that supplemented my pastor’s message yesterday at church, which was about power and authority being God’s, and therefore being GOOD.
In Christ, I have the power to view any and every situation as one that He can be glorified in.
Even on a rainy Monday, I will not complain.
I’m not usually one to struggle with complaining. In fact, seeing the positives in bleak-looking situations is a gift I believe God has empowered me for. But I have been very convicted just the past couple of days in the attitude I have had since moving back in with my parents.
We’ve heard it before: moving back home after living on your own for a season is tough. You’re used to complete independence and, if you’re like me, grocery shopping and was a favourite part of the week that you no longer have to partake in.
So, as much as it’s a difficult transition, it’s also one to be very ungrateful in.
I think a lot about how crazy it is that we are usually our worst selves with our family. This is a good thing in some ways, I suppose, in that it shows our level of comfort and knowledge that we are unconditionally loved when we’re with our families. My parents have often said that they want me to know I can tell them ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, and the answer will never be judgemental, and will always be loving.
But… I think this can easily turn into a similar dangerous mindset we might have about our Heavenly Father.
He’s already victorious over sin, and He’s all-forgiving. I know that if I sin in this way, and repent later, He’ll forgive me… so, I’ll just (*insert secret-sin here*) one more time.
Today’s bright yellow colours and sunshiney laughter with my co-workers served as a reminder that the grace I am saved by is one that empowers me to see even the toughest situations with nothing but excited expectation, joy, and hope.
It’s not that living at home has been a drag– just an adjustment. Which gives me no right to take advantage, or be grumbling, or have ungratefulness in my heart or actions.
So, an open letter to my wonderful mom and dad: I am sorry if you have felt any of this. You love me so well, and with open arms. I hope you know how sincerely grateful I am that you care to have me near you.
What situation could you use The Yellow Squad to remind you to be a bit more grateful in?
If you know me in real life, you know that I absolutely adore nut butters. And if you’ve been in my kitchen in real life, you know that on a whole new level. I almost always have more than one type of nut or seed […]
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