From Genesis Chapter 1: Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
From Matthew Chapter 6: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Happy Monday Guys!
Today, after a three hour lecture on Jane Eyre, I went to Starbucks to study Luther’s Catechism. I spent much longer than I thought I would, and still only got through his short preface. I really want to read this in detail.
The preface made me change what I wanted to blog about today, and I am therefore retreating to my opinion on faith, food, and how they intermix.
In the first chapter of Genesis, God ‘s Word expels the idea that He has given us plenty of fruit and seed and food from the ground to eat. There are also over 70 passages mentioning the making of bread from wheat.
Matthew has astonishing insight into modern American culture, which can often seem quite self-obsessed/fulfilling. In researching it can be found that while that notion exists, and while social media can be a world of selfies, human beings are generally not self-obsessed, and the vast majority of us would say our number one goal in life is to help others.
I have always thought that the above passage from Matthew Chapter 6 was written for those with eating disorders. Ed has devoted much, much, much too much of my precious time thinking about what I will and won’t eat. And yes, I want to scream, Is not life more than food?
At the same time, I think a passion for food and nutrition is, obviously, absolutely valid and quite fantastic. I myself have an extreme love of cooking, baking, and presenting food, and that is not going away, nor do I think God is unhappy with this passion. I also believe that, with regard to the passage from Genesis, we were built to eat primarily whole, unprocessed foods, and this is what my body feels good on. God gave us food to fuel us in order to carry out His Works. It’s as simple as that. We need lots of it, and are meant to enjoy it.
I wish it were that simple to my eating disorder. However, as I have stated time and time again, eating disorders are not about food, but are neurological, primarily genetic mental illnesses that are more like addictions in which manipulation of food is a sort of coping mechanism.
Let your passions flourish in a way that you are worshipping the Lord. Also, read Luther’s Catechism.
I currently am stuck on an incredible important mantra that I believe should be the basis of every aspect of our lives. That is seeing everyone, every human as a person created by God in God’s image. Therefore, we can’t judge anything anyone says, or does, or any mistake that make. We are entitled to anger, sure. We are entitled to emotions and to be hurt and in fact, all of that is expected. Because humans do make mistakes. But I think that living each and every day with the outlook that we all have struggles and passions and opinions and not one is greater or lesser than another changes the way we live.
No one is more or less important than me. No one is more or less important than you. We were all created equally and we all struggle and screw up and see tomorrow as a second chance. We will all stumble our way through life until we truly and fully surrender ourselves to the knowledge that God’s plan is the only plan. Ignoring his voice gets us nowhere.
Haylie is one of those amazing people that listens and genuinely cares, so much. You know those people? They’re pretty darn special. She is one of the strongest and wisest people I will ever know and I am forever grateful for her. Chloe is the funniest person I will ever know. She is also so wise, and confident, and caring. We always have an awesome time, and just their company is motivating.
Dinner. I bussed to my night class, Christianity and Global Citizenship, which was so great. I love that prof and the took a lot away from tonight’s lecture, about what it means to be a Christian in such a diverse world. Krystal’s friend Katrina drove me home and we laughed all the drive. I got home at 10:30 and knew I needed more food but could not bring myself to eat anything but oatmeal. I had a bowl with blueberries and cacao powder and took a terrible night photo that I won’t post! Haha ;). After I are that, I began writing this post, and realized how silly I was being– or should I say, Ed was being. I KNOW in my heart that I need more food. I just grabbed some carrots and a few tablespoons of almond butter to end the night. Something that isn’t oatmeal! Today Haylie encouraged me to set a goal for myself, and so I have. Next What I Ate Wednesday, I’m going to try very hard to have a more decent day’s worth of food, and with more diversity. I know I can do that.
We can all do hard things. We can all do hard things.
Wedding. I’m still reminiscing about this past weekend at my beautiful cousins marriage to her high school sweetheart. Kristyn had two moms and two dads, and has always talked about having felt the strong separations of those families. Her speech was about how important all four families are to her, and how this wedding was the first time she didn’t feel as if everyone was separate. Needless to say I was emotional. I am lucky to be really close with all my cousins on both my mom and dad’s side.
Happy Monday Guys!
Even though my schedule lets me sleep in 3 or 4 days a week, I’m so exhausted! It’s noon but to me that’s like sunrise right now.
Today I want to introduce the components that I think are key to a successful blog. I’ve narrowed that to five key points.
1. BLOG IN CLOTHES. No, seriously. Don’t write a post in your pjs. I am so passionate about this space and what it might do for others, and I look at it like a job. Therefore, I’m not going to scrap together a post right when I roll out of bed in the morning. I always dress for the day and feel professional and clean while I’m writing.
2. SCHEDULE BLOG TIME. When your readers know when you’re going to post and have a small idea what it might entail, they’ll be much more likely to return to your site. Make blogging time like a little date with yourself, and enjoy your time doing it! Blog in a space that makes you feel comfortable and excited.
3. BLOG ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU PASSIONATE. If you’re passionate about it, readers will receive you with so much more excitement and eagerness. I personally think you should be writing for yourself first, and if you’re passionate about blogging and sharing, the words will come out in a way such that they will inspire your readers.
4. SET GOALS. WordPress has a fantastic stats feature that allows us to check out how our blogs are improving in terms of readership. This is free too, so utilize it! If you have blips or downfalls, take a look at differences between one post to the next. Set goals per week or month, or whatever works for you, in terms of watching those bar lines grow.
5. ACKNOWLEDGE BRAIN FARTS. I think I stole this point from Brey over at Ordinary Adventures, but it really resonated with me. If you’re just not feeling a post, recognize that for what it is and take a break. Don’t write a post for the sake of it. It will be rushed and not reflect your goals.
I hope this is somewhat helpful to anyone new to blogging! Happy Writing.
Alright guys. So I have decided to write out my eating disorder story in full. Well, mostly full. It’s a summary, and it leaves out a lot of the gruesome parts, but I have wanted to publish it for some time and I feel finally courageous and strong enough to do so. I hope someone out there will be able to relate, and seek RECOVERY. Any questions, do not hesitate to comment.
When I was a young kid, probably up until I was ten, I was an extremely picky eater. Cake and ice cream couldn’t touch each other. Only ketchup on hamburgers, no hot dogs. Salad was disgusting. Chinese food meant three chicken balls with that thick red sauce. At Thanksgiving, all I wanted was a dinner roll and mashed potatoes.
When I was eleven I developed an allergy to dairy. That meant no more ice cream, chocolate, cheese, cake, breads, etc. This was around the time that the idea first popped into my head; I was fat.
Except, I wasn’t.
At age eleven, I was quite a normal weight for my age. But as I grew into middle school, became more perfectionistic, and started competing as an actress with a teacher who constantly put me down, I thought weight loss would solve all my problems.
I became obsessed with the idea of controlling my weight at the age of thirteen. I started standing on the scale five times each day, measuring parts of my body constantly. I thought that I could be perfect in every area of my life besides my looks. I wore clothes that I hated and focused on my grades and listening to my acting teacher. I could perfect my brain, I thought. All the while, the back of my head called, Yeah. But you’re fat.
I began researching every diet and workout on the market, and started trying them. I became the world’s best calorie counter. I spent hours calculating the calories in what other people ate. I spent hours calculating the calories in foods I had never even laid eyes on, like cooked duck.
I was perfect at calorie counting.
The more obsessed I became with calorie counting, the less I felt I had to focus on the mean words of my acting teacher and some peers. The less I felt I had to focus on my dairy allergy, which at the time felt like the diet of a “fat girl.” Thoughts of food swirled in my mind all the time.
And what we think, we become.
I was in eighth grade the first time I binged. I couldn’t sleep, and so I tiptoed to the kitchen at probably two in the morning. I remember this binge too well. I couldn’t understand what I was doing. I pulled a loaf of white bread out of the freezer. I opened it and I ate a piece in almost one bite, and then another. I toasted two more, and whilst I waited, I grabbed a jar of mayo.
I hated, and still hate, mayo.
I ate a spoonful of it plain, and then mixed it with mustard. I ate a bowl of cereal, some granola bars, and a large handful of dark chocolates. Peanut butter, more toast, pasta, marshmallows, crackers…
I ate until it hurt. I ate until I was breathing heavily.
The guilt after that first binge when I crawled into bed that night was unbearable, the worst personal pain I have ever experienced in my lifetime. I spent a long time frantically scribbling down numbers, trying to figure out how many calories I’d just consumed.
I had failed. I couldn’t figure it out, because I hadn’t measured anything.
Tomorrow, I told myself, I will measure everything I eat.
I couldn’t bear the thought of school the next day, but something hit me. No one needed to know that I had spent the last night eating.
I wasn’t, in fact, perfect, but I could come across that way.
I went to school and smiled and pretended nothing was wrong, pretended that I wasn’t still trying to figure out how many calories went into that binge.
I don’t remember many of my other night eating episodes quite so vividly as that first one, but they continued about three or four times weekly for the next year and a half or so. It wasn’t until toward the end of ninth grade that I told my mom about my night eating. I broke down when I told her. “I’m just fat,” I sobbed, “This is what fat people do.”
My mom and I bought some books on Night Eating Syndrome. I was so embarrassed by the title of the condition. It was an eating disorder, my doctor said, the result of feeling out of control and seeking perfectionism, just like any other eating disorder. To me, it seemed like the Fat Person’s Disorder.
That summer, between Grade Nine and Ten, and I started seeing a therapist, who I attribute very much to saving my life. The beginning of the summer was difficult. I went up to my best friend’s cottage and binged both nights that I was there. I remember eating two family sized bags of Lays with a mixture of seafood sauce, mayo, and chicken. It was disgusting.
Ladies and gentleman. Eating three chocolate chip cookies as a snack after school is not a binge. A second helping of dessert is not a binge. A binge is not enjoyable. A binge is an out of control mess that occurs in a small period of time in which the food is neither tasted nor enjoyed. It is a numbing experience, a coping mechanism that is the result of a terrible neurological disorder.
My therapist continued to try to get through to me. I worked so hard in those sessions, and by the start of second semester of grade ten, I’d lost ten pounds at a steady pace and as a healthy result of my binge episodes becoming fewer and fewer. I went the entire month of January with no binging and few food thoughts, and was discharged from therapy.
Mid-February, I heard another eating disorder voice. A voice that sought new numbness. A voice that missed the coping mechanisms. A voice that fought to take me and won. This voice made me binge again and this time this voice was much meaner. He made me purge. He made me stick toothbrushes down my throat, or try to eat ten olives (least favourite food of all time), or whatever else possible until I could be sure that every part of the binge was out of my system. I binge-purged four times over the next two months.
In April, I heard yet another voice. Unlike the voices of the previous two eating disorders, this one was kind to me. It encouraged me. It made me feel strong. It told me that binging was a sign of weakness. Why make people think you’re perfect when you could actually be perfect?
I didn’t eat or drink for three days. And anorexia’s voice had been inside me for some time, she was just looking for a way straight in. As I lost strength and nourishment, she grew stronger. Soon, the very idea of chewing food was terrifying. I couldn’t imagine eating more than a few tiny bites of food each day. I avoided social outings at all costs and spent most of my time sleeping, too dizzy and faint to even walk around. My hair started falling out in chunks, and I lost seventy pounds in four months.
I also lost four months of my life, and every ounce of Cassie.
My loved ones who were with me at that time could tell you about my zombie personality. I was not a person. I could not engage in conversation. I could not laugh for real. I couldn’t smile, not really. I drank black coffee and couldn’t swim because I was too cold and ate spinach.
I had been seeing a doctor about the disorders for years but was not officially diagnosed with anorexia nervosa until May 31st, 2013. Exactly one month later, on July 31st, before my sister’s and I headed to a Justin Bieber concert, my doctor told me I was dying.
“Especially with the history of eating disorders, your body is freaking out. It is so confused,” he said. At first, he refused for me to go to the concert. I begged and pleaded, and he finally agreed. First, I had to go to the hospital for an IV, and I had to remain in a wheel chair for the concert.
“Do you want to get better, Cassie?” He asked.
I nodded, sobbing. I didn’t know how. For years I didn’t know how to stop eating, and now I didn’t know how to eat.
“Then eat today. Eat something new. Take a bigger bite. Do something. You’ll start at the clinic next week. Cassie, you can do this.”
Before the concert, my sisters ate Subway. I ate 6 green beans from a small container and drank a zero calorie Gatorade. My sisters finished their subs before I finished the beans, crying.
The concert was incredible. I watched as the fans around me jumped up and down in their seats, and Krystal held my arm down so I’d stay seated. I told myself that I wanted to live. I felt my pulse, felt it working very hard with such little nourishment to keep me alive.
The next day, I sat with my mom in the family room and cried, so intensely that it shook me. In that moment, the idea of eating was so terrifying I decided I’d rather die. My mom, unknowing of what to do, called the clinic and asked if there was anything they could do for me immediately. She spoke with the woman who would soon be my nurse while I cried and cried. A while later, my mom hung up the phone, held me in her arms, and told me that she was going to start feeding me, that day. That soon, that was what I’d be doing at the clinic, but that the nurse had explained to her how to start right away.
I screamed. I cried. I refused. I hid in my bedroom for hours and at dinnertime, my mom called me down to the kitchen with the rest of my family. In front of my usual chair was a plate of breaded chicken strips, a potato, and steamed veggies. It was a “normal” sized plate, but I remember looking at it with an amount of anger that repulsed me. I screamed, “No one eats like this! No one eats this much!” I panicked and crunched into a ball on the floor.
My older sister came to me and said, “Cassie, you see the rest of us and your friends eat dinner all the time and think it’s normal.”
I couldn’t explain why it was normal for my sisters to have that plate of dinner—more, even—but not me.
I finally gathered the courage to sit and brave the plate in front of me. I finished about half of it in over an hour, and couldn’t go on, sure I would vomit. The pain in my stomach was unbearable, and I spent the rest of the night with a hot water bottle over it.
The next few days were very similar. In the span of a week, I went from eating maybe 400 calories per day to 1200 before I went for my first appointment at the clinic.
After a long while, my mom and I got my calories up to around 1800-2200 per day. This was not nearly enough to repair the damage anorexia had done. I spent the next year at war with my family, doctors, therapists, food, and self. I did everything in my power to avoid food, and grew angrier and angrier with the specialists who appeared to be fighting me.
A year later, with no weight gained and still averaging about 2000 calories per day, my mom and I removed me from the program at the clinic without discharge. I needed to try something else.
I suggested calling my old therapist, the woman who had helped me with BED, and we did. I began seeing her regularly again, and, rather than talking about my weight and how my eating habits were going and how horrible I had treated myself, we talked about the other things going on in my life, my past, and my need for control.
As time went on, I became truly motivated to recover. I spent hours researching recovery methods and finally decided to give Minnie Maud a try (youreatopia.com). I FINALLY began eating the proper amount of food, and well above it, eating whatever I pleased and as often as possible. I smiled and laughed for real again. I rediscovered myself. And I was doing it all without prompt.
I gained weight naturally and then stopped gaining.
Since that period, I have lapsed multiple times, losing and gaining the same ~15 pounds, fearing and then embracing food, hating and then loving recovery and life.
I have such a ways to go, but I am growing every day. And every day I fight to help others who live with mental illnesses that threaten to take over our happiness.