If you are unaware, this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. As my contribution, I wanted to link to some of my past posts, as well as some other blog posts, that I think bring important awareness to eating disorders for those who are […]
Because I get more questions about this topic than anything else on the blog, I figure it’s something people are either interested in, experiencing, or want light shed on. I also think it’s important to talk about, remembering that I am not a doctor, physician, nor do I have any nutrition credentials. I can merely speak from my own experience.
To read what I wrote earlier about physical AN recovery, head here.
Now, since that post, written about 8 months ago, I am up another five pounds, 18 lbs above my lowest scale weight. I do not weigh myself besides for doctor’s appointments, but I do think it’s interesting to note, especially in light of the fact that I see it as progress. I used to be petrified of gaining weight. But I feel healthier, stronger, and more confident than ever knowing that this weight remission has been achieved.
I also have grown an entire inch in the last year or so, confirmed by my doctor. This figures into some studies that have shown that anorexia, especially among teenagers between 12-16, which is a fundamental age range for growth and development, can stunt growth for a long period of time. Studies have also shown that proper restoration of nutrition can allow for the time span of growth of bones and height to lengthen, or be “made up for” later in life. For me, that was this past year, at 20-21 years old, I guess.
Because, when my height was taken accurately at my doctor’s a few weeks ago, I came in at 180 cm, or 5’10.86″, when a few years ago I was just UNDER 5’10”.
My body has clearly used the extra food and extra rest I have focused on allowing it to repair itself. It was after a month of little to no exercise, and lots of holiday food, that I got my period on New Year’s Eve.
I haven’t seen one since then, but I am hopeful that my physical body is *finally* coming into its own. And I really do have only Jesus to thank.
In my last post about physical recovery, I decided that I would only provide advice when I had had 3 consecutive periods. This has not happened. I have, however, only been seeing good progress (slow weight gain and one period, yay!), and am somewhere in the middle of that kind of victory. On my way, believing for it.
And so, I thought I would share some insights from the middle of this journey.
The importance of food for health cannot be mistaken.
I was only severely under-eating to the classification of anorexia for about 8 months of my life. Many people are in that boat for YEARS. While the damage is not irreversible, it can be long-lasting. I still deal with lost hair, bone loss, appetite struggles, digestion problems, hormonal imbalances, and amenorrhea. Adequate nutrition is crucial to our daily activities, for our brains, not to mention our social functioning.
It is okay for me to believe in, promote, and be passionate about healthy eating.
It took a long time for me to say this without feeling “guilty,” but I am genuinely passionate about healthy, clean eating. I believe in a mostly whole-foods based way of eating. I cringe at some of the fillers and additives in our “food” sources today. AND, I know that “hyper-clean-eating” is just as toxic, if not, in many cases, MORE toxic, than those unhealthy foods. I’ve found “balance”– called Jesus. I genuinely prefer the taste and preparation and fuel whole, “healthy” food provides, but I have no fear of treats. Food just “is” now, and, for me, it’s an exciting part of life that brings me MOST joy when it’s shared with others, communed over, and fellowshipped over.
Slow physical progress is still progress.
There is surely no “one size fits all” in eating disorder recovery, but mine has been quite slow. Or, at least, it has felt quite slow. I have been actively trying to gain weight for over two years, and it has taken that much time to put on 18 lbs– but, heck, my body’s been doing what it needs to. It’s been sorting it out and learning to trust me after what I’m sure was a very confusing few years.
Weight does redistribute.
Multiple times throughout recovery, I have felt frustrated that weight gain wasn’t going to the places I wanted it to. In reality… it was sitting in my stomach. I was constantly bloated, and I do still struggle with this, as we all do. But the weight has slowly dispersed its way to other parts of my body– only as I’ve kept up my regular eating habits. For an excellent article on weight redistribution in recovery, head here.
Food knowledge genuinely CAN fade into the background.
There is one aspect of ED that I consistently thought would never “go away,” and that was simply the vast knowledge I have about nutrition.
Spending so much time consuming the over 60-billion-dollar weight loss industry, I also consumed so much food/exercise stats in a very self-focused way (can we talk about how self-centred anorexia itself is? That is not to say a person suffering from the disorder intends to be– but, rationally, the disorder very much promotes self-focus).
I still do know so much about food and nutrition, and would be lying if I said I don’t still sometimes see food as numbers. By the grace of God, I know I’m not meant to base eating on numbers, but I still know them, if that makes sense.
But, TRULY, with time, such unimportant facts have become less and less apparent in my brain.
The most prominent example in my brain: I have the most vivid memory of being 14, at the height of my bulimia, and I had cognitively chosen to restrict my food intake that day.
I remember actually saying to my mom, “I have sixty calories left, but I can’t decide if I should have a tablespoon of honey in my tea, or a few grapes.” She didn’t say much, and I knew she was worried.
Now I happily add as much unmeasured honey to my drinks as I desire, and would pluck grapes off any snack tray, thank-you very much.
Any specific questions about eating disorder recovery/mentality/physicality I am always happy to answer, remembering everyone’s experience is different!
As always, thank-you for tuning in. xx
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
I guess you could say I’ve been dealing with a January slump. 🙁
I always struggle in January, with the cold weather and snowy conditions. And yet, my wedding day is in the heart of January 2020.
In the cozy Cambridge Mill, though.
Followed by a honeymoon somewhere on a beach with the love of my life. So, I’m pretty sure it’s actually going to make January pretty awesome.
Wedding posts have been quite popular on Cassie Compiled, so I thought I’d share the early stages of my planning mood board for the big day– less than a year away!
Head here to peep our vision!
There have been moments here and there where the reality of marriage hits me in an emotional way. The most recent of these was trying on dresses this past Sunday, with some of my dearest girlfriends, my two sisters, and my mom making it the most fun day imaginable.
I have truly been enjoying every aspect of the planning process, but I am really, mostly, just very excited to be spending my life with the most amazing man in the world.
Mark 9:29 “Jesus said to him, “This kind [of spirit] can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.” In today’s instalment of the I Believe Bible Study research, we’re talking about fasting and prayer as not only a suggestion from Jesus, but a […]
My hands are no longer in beautiful shape 24/7, my ring is starting to feel as if it’s been on my finger forever, and “wedding talk” is becoming a necessary segment of every catch-up and conversation. And while all of this is so exciting, and […]
If you’ve been tracking along, you know that I am releasing research and information about the Bible Study I will be launching both online and in person in Waterloo this March. For all the information about the study, head here.
Today, I am talking about one of the reasons I decided to focus the study around fasted prayer, which is my own personal experience.
To be straightforward, fasting something that was a conviction in my life, and spending more time in prayer, changed my life.
“Kintsugi, meaning that which is bonded by gold, is an ancient art form of pottery within the richer provinces of China. The potter does a remarkable thing where they take the broken pieces of any bowl, using gold to mold the whole bowl together, creating something new. When I learned of this my mind instantly looked to the Lord and how he uses us, as the broken pieces we are, molding us by his sanctification. And though we have nothing worthy to give back to the Him for the life he has given for us, we are now able to bear his image and share who he is to those around us.
I’m not sure where your heart sits with this, but for me, I feel a joy and confidence in our Lord. He is making us anew each and every day, and all we may do is love Him in return. That is it. There is no bargaining or wager we must win, but a given reward. We do not earn, work, or gamble our way into the kingdom of God, for He had already done so. We cannot trade Christ’s pure love with work, and we must dare not to try. Know you have been given grace. And know you are loved. Reflect on his gift.”
This was written by a friend of mine at church, and I think it is so true of who our God is.
To support these statements with Scripture: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
This to say, WE cannot save ourselves. Nothing of our human flesh is worthy of God, and nothing we could give our beautiful Saviour makes any one of us more worthy or holy. HE is the only Holy one, and wants to dwell in us.
We CAN, however, choose of our flesh to gift Him what we ARE able to control, and He blesses those choices. I’ve experienced this.
As much as I have often recognized struggles within myself of things that I succumb to that I shouldn’t partake in, I know that I am not condemned for these things, but rather can look to the Truth of His joy and freedom from these things.
“These things”– for example, watching recipe and workout videos on YouTube for hours of my free time.
I have recognized that I can enjoy these videos for a period of time without conviction from God that this is not how I should be spending it. But there is a point where this becomes too much, and not honouring to Him/simply a waste of time. And while I know there is no CONDEMNATION for these things (Romans 8:1-2), that I am not to feel guilty for them, I simply know the Truth of my God and that He is my Creator, Past, Present, and Future, and it’s when I spend time with Him that I do not WANT to spend hours watching YouTube videos.
This is why I have chosen to “fast” these videos, and pray in times I would usually watch YouTube. And, man, has God changed my life.
-Prayer during these times has literally opened me up to retreating from my room at home for prayer time with my roommates.
-I believe that the Holy Spirit brought me to the Scripture verse He wanted me to talk about at the women’s event I spoke at at Redeemer University this past Thursday night. And God did AMAZING things through that Word, setting people free from addictions.
-I have noticed less anxiety and more peace in my life since spending more time in prayer and less time on YouTube.
These amazing benefits and more are my passionate desire for the world: for others to experience the way that sacrifices that feel big, but that are tiny in comparison to the sacrifice of Jesus’ LIFE on the cross, are so life-changing when we allow Him to take up the space. Time with Him has made me more others-focused, in that I have been more apt to think pray for my friends and acquaintances and people that have asked me for prayer, and to check up on them.
I truly believe in this practice. Not that it is something that makes us better Christians, because truly, in God’s eyes, that isn’t possible, or the point. But it’s simply a practice of loving our perfect Creator.
It’s something I’ve been piecing together for many months now about the state of my own mental and spiritual health (SO not a fixed state), and about the way I’ve been living. And it was something so outside of me that I will attempt to […]