NEDA Week Link-Up

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 unfamiliar with them.


Beauty Beyond Bones wrote a great article about NEDA’s “Come As YouAre” campaign.

Honestly, I really liked the campaign when I first saw it, because it depicts the truth: eating disorders are mental illnesses as much as they are physical ones. But this author makes some very important points that I completely agree with and think are incredibly relevant.

Another author writes about why she’s frustrated with NEDA Week, yet another article that my heart echoes, but also that challenged the calling I have personally felt to share my recovery.

That said, here is the link to my own updated post about my physical eating disorder recovery.

Almost four years ago, when I was blogging mostly about eating disorder recovery.

And, for anyone who may in the thick of recovery, here is one of the most tangibly helpful posts, by Julia Grigorian.

And finally, for anyone looking for what to say or not to say to a loved one struggling, here is a wonderful post for Elite Daily,

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The Biggest Lie of Our Generation: The Worthy Image

I saw something today, on social media, ironically, that resonated with me deeply:

The biggest lie of our generation is that, if it’s not post-worthy, it’s not important.

I definitely agree that this is one of the most fundamental lies of our generation.

I think it’s okay to desire excellence in what we do. As someone who posts Instagram photos for the cafe I work for, I care about the quality of the photos and their edits. But nowadays, paying big bucks for presets for photos on personal Instagram accounts is the norm. There are “rules” around how often to post, and how to structure captions. And I am saddened by how many women have told me that they use apps to shrink the body parts they want to appear smaller and enhance the ones they would like bigger, and I know this isn’t just limited to women.

If it’s not “beautiful” in the eyes of man, in the eyes of human-decided norms, it’s not “good enough.” But this could not be further from the truth.

The post went on to say that most of the things that God cares about are not even seen by man, or recognized by anyone but Him. If we do things for the purpose of being SEEN by others, in general, we are not living for His glory.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” LUKE 12:7

How unfathomable is it that God knows every inch of our hearts, minds, and souls… even our physical bodies… and says He could not possibly love us more than He already does, let alone less? Only Jesus… only Jesus.

Rather than putting any of my energy or attention into people seeing me, noticing me, or lifting my own name or persona, I pray that this would be a year in which God would show me how to simply bring glory to HIS Name, the only perfect lover. The only worthy image.

PHYSICAL EATING DISORDER RECOVERY PART 2: Slow Progress is Still Progress

Hi Friends!

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

ISAIAH 43:2:

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.

Canada’s 2019 Food Guide: A New Lens

Since the ringing in of a new year, perhaps you have come across this image:



And you’re probably familiar with this now dated one too:

Many people are loving the new “food guide,” so perhaps my opinion will be unpopular one. But I have been itching to write about it, if only to provide a new lens about this whole “guide” thing any way.

First of all, I prefer the second image to the first… but not by much.

I prefer the second image, the old food guide, because of words such as “recommended” and “variety.” The general impression from this food guide is a lot more open. The servings it lists seem to be suggestive, not imperative.

The new food guide, however, includes much more imperative wording, which, for some people, can be triggering, or dangerous. Allow me to elaborate.

Having been diagnosed with four different eating disorders from the time I was 12-16, I have a firsthand understanding of the way this mental illness manipulates information about food to destruct. If my old “orthorexia brain” saw that first food guide and decided the guide was going to be its bible, as is what literally happened to me with other guides,  it would have read the following:

Choose whole grain foods? This clearly means that every grain that passes your lips has to be WHOLE grain. No additives or preservatives. Only grains that contain the germ. Only organic.

Make water your drink of choice? You can most certainly only drink water, then. No other beverages under any circumstances!

Eat protein foods. Ooh, this clearly only refers to complete proteins, like 100% lean chicken breast with no skin and egg whites.

Have plenty of fruits of vegetables? Perfect, so I’ll eat ONLY organic fruits and vegetables, with maybe one whole grain and one lean protein a day and tons of water. It’s a good thing I’m allergic to dairy, because apparently that’s no longer allowed for Canadians!

If the mental illness I struggled with would have deemed that guide the be all/end all, it would have been quite strictly just so.

Now, I completely understand that the majority of people see food guides like this and completely take them with a grain of salt. Utilize them as information to guide their understanding of some proper nutrition, and forget about it.

But I felt this needed to be written, because I know that, knowing the nature of eating disorders, someone out there at this very moment is actively engaged in a legalistic eating disorder that somehow involves this new food guide.

This is one of the reasons I have a passion for effective and clear communication. If this guide’s intended purpose is to provide general information for nutritional considerations, it should clearly say so, rather than trying to achieve a trendy, plain-language aesthetic. I’m just sayin’.

And I’m not hating at all on attempts to provide nutritional information, but rather providing a new lens on the way this is put out there (Is this suggesting that people should never eat chips, candy, their friend’s homemade cookies, drink hot chocolate, etc.? If it is not, it should say so).

I am passionate about LIFE outside of FOOD RULES. I know what it’s like for life TO BE food rules.

What was your reaction to the new food guide? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Wedding Series: My Mood Board

Hi friends!

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.

5 Things I’ve Learned Since Being Engaged at 21

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 I am most certainly enjoying every aspect of planning, and being surrounded more than ever by loved ones, a few things have surprised me.

Johnny proposed at Parliament in Toronto over a month ago, on his birthday, December 15, 2018.

In wedding season, it’s common to be asked about the wedding, but not about the relationship. I don’t expect or necessarily think it would be right for people to be asking all the questions about mine and Johnny’s relationship, our decisions, and our love for each other. There is nothing wrong with excitement and questions about the planning of the big day, but much more than this day, I am excited to BE MARRIED to Johnny. The wedding day is going to be so special, but because our marriage will be special. It is that future together that we feel called to that is being celebrated. I am not fearful of myself getting caught up in the talk of that single day, as I’ve been enjoying it and allowing myself to enjoy it, but I want to express to others that the purpose of the day is what we really care about.

I had prepared myself for the, “you’re so young” comments… but I haven’t gotten a single one. 

In fact, everyone I’ve talked to has said things like, “it’s always been so obvious you and Johnny were meant to be together,” and “you’re both so mature” and “good for you guys!” We pray people see only Jesus Christ in our love for each other, and His story in and through us.

In terms of where our money is going toward the wedding day, I care most about my guests and loved ones having a good time and being cared for.

I want to make sure we have a fun and versatile DJ, delicious food, and accommodating facilities. I want every guest to feel mine and Johnny’s love and care for them in both the way Jesus is glorified in our relationship, and in the way we choose to host them.

The best thing to hear from loved ones in the planning process is “Tell me how I can help you. We’ll follow your lead and vision. You make all the decisions.”

The amount of decisions that need to be made are pretty overwhelming, but I have SO appreciated the reminders from people that are so willing to help with what I need help with, but constantly reminding us that every wedding decision is ours, and not trying to control what we want.

The “wedding day” WILL fly by, and that is not only okay, it’s exciting!

It means that will be married, and Johnny and I see marriage as we believe God intended it according to His Word, which involves different things from a dating relationship, and we are excited to enter into those things, truly doing life together. I am so excited for the special day of all my favourite and closest people coming together to celebrate Jesus, but it will be one day, a future afterward I can’t wait to host those people and continue to pour into them, sometimes alongside my husband!
Johnny and I have never been big “planny” people when it comes to our relationship. We both receive love and gifts when they are spontaneous and genuine and fun, and not talked about, calculated, or planned. So we haven’t “set aside designated times” for planning or anything like that. We’re just going with the flow, focusing on our relationship above planning the wedding, and learning how to love each other even still in this distance, knowing that it’s over forever soon!


January 11, 2020, I am very excited for you to get here… but I’m going to love each day leading up to you, pressing into Christ above all.

Couple Q&A: From Long Distance to Comparison

Last week, as I had been getting some questions about my relationship with my fiancee, Johnny, I put out a question on Instagram to inspire a Q&A blog post about our relationship that I hope is helpful to someone out there. Maybe you’re in the thick of a long distance relationship you believe to be right, and need some encouragement. Or maybe you’ve been feeling that your relationship is not one you see as resulting in marriage, and you don’t want to be in it anymore.

Johnny and I are in no way experts on these things, but we do have 21 months of long distance, an almost break-up, and lots of prayer under our belts. We both also have theological educations, and hearts for Jesus-centered relationships, which we believe to be the most thriving and purposeful.

That said, let’s dive into the questions!

How did you wait for the right person?

Cassie: Personally, “waiting” for a relationship has never been a struggle. If anything, I’ve always been quite independent and confident, never feeling like I needed a man to complete me, or to be in a relationship. If there was ever a person in my life that I was interested in or that I hoped would pursue me, that was different, but I’ve always known that relationships are only good in any way if you’re in love with the person you’re in a relationship with. “Any old relationship” is not only cheap, it’s unfair, selfish, and pointless.

That said, if you are someone who struggles with feeling like you might be happier in a relationship, remember that being single is far better than being with the WRONG person. My answer to this question is that, before I met Johnny, my person, I wasn’t “waiting” at all, or seeking a relationship. And, when Johnny met me, he had just been reflecting on the fact that he might be happiest if he were single all his life. God truly had other plans, and made those clear.

If you feel like you’re in a waiting period, seek God, the only eternal and perfect lover, as your ultimate satisfaction. Even as I’m preparing to marry Johnny, he will always be my SECOND love, with Jesus being the only one who can truly and perfectly fulfill me. Consider praying, without your own interest, for your future husband/wife, that he/she also would be rooted in Jesus as his/her first love.

Have you ever received negative comments about your relationship? How do you deal with it?

Johnny: I don’t think I’ve ever received negative comments about Cass and I, but there have been comments out of concern and care for us.

If someone is voicing concerns to you, it is important to listen to and consider any and all concerns and pray about them. Consider who the person is that is speaking these things, too. Have they proven trustworthy prior to your relationship? Who are they, and are they gossipy/spiteful, or people you hold with high regard and respect?

Cassie: Ultimately give these concerns to God in prayer, and ask Him to reveal any truth to them if it is unclear to you of the motive behind the comments. Relationships can be blinding, and it is important to hear outside opinions and respect them. But if you are truly and wholly aware of the fact that your relationship is sound and healthy, and someone is simply being rude about it, talk to people you do trust about those comments, and stand firm in the assurance you have in the health of your relationship.

How did you survive long distance?

Johnny: We supported each other’s differing passions, hobbies, and callings. We focused so much on communication with each other, trust in each other and establishing trust, and finding cool and unique, Christ-like ways to love each other and show each other love.

Cassie: One of these crucial things for us has been letter-writing. Taking time out of our days to sit and write, and putting the effort in to mailing these letters, has been one of the most tangible ways we’ve shown each other love.

Ultimately, without being able to trust each other’s faithfulness to Jesus, and His work in each of us, long distance would have been much harder. But we both very vehemently believed from the beginning that, if we were part of God’s plan for each other, distance should not stand in the way… and because of God, and simply, our selfless love for EACH OTHER, we’ve almost kicked it in the butt.

How do you avoid jealousy of other relationships?

Cassie: If “social media” jealousy is the issue, remember that SOCIAL MEDIA IS A FACADE. The same way that photos, bodies, and captions are touched up and altered and simply not real life (the real life is the person behind the screen monotonously scrolling, posting, adjusting), many people use social media as a means of affirming themselves, and feeling better about aspects of their lives that they aren’t actually very happy with. Remember these things, and resolve to be happy for others, and work to genuinely hope the best for them.

Johnny: However, if you see or hear about something in another relationship, such as focus on prayer, couple devotions, humour, date nights, etc. that is a positive thing lacking in your relationship, talk to your partner about these things being important to you. If that sort of communication is not done in a healthy way between you and your significant other, this may be a red flag.