...is that I have struggled with an eating disorder.
A little over four years ago, when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer I felt like my world was crashing down around me. I was in a relationship with someone who wasn't very supportive, who ignored me and made me feel like I wasn't good enough.
Desperate to control something in my life, I turned to bulimia with all its "perfection" of numbers on a scale, calorie intake, measurements...the list of things which I could control were endless. Like most eating disorders, mine started with a diet. A need for order and perfection in a world which I seemed to be losing control of.
Most eating disorders actually have very little to do with food or weight. It's just a way of dealing and coping with things, like alcohol addiction, gambling, drug abuse...except with bulimia the drug of choice is food.
I want to reach out to those that are suffering and promise you that eating disorder recovery IS possible because I am a living breathing example of that. I was very lucky to have only suffered for about one year of my life, but many are not like that. Some people suffer with eating disorders for years and years, whether out in the open or in secret. Bulimia is a disorder than can so easily go unnoticed at times because you can trick people into thinking that you're perfectly healthy when actually, you're not. For months my family had no idea that I had a problem...until I finally came out and told my best friend and parents...recovery came fairly quickly after I had admitted I had a problem.
Now, having almost four years of full recovery under my belt, I can safely say that you CAN be free from your eating disorder. If you are reading this and struggling with an eating disorder or indeed any other addiction, please know that there IS a way out. You will not be controlled by your eating disorder forever and you can live a normal life without it.
I don't even think about food in that way anymore, I have no emotional attachment to it. I do enjoy food, but I eat to live...I don't live to eat! I don't count calories, I don't obsess over my weight, I don't struggle with negative body image like I used to...it's almost as if I just realised that there is no such thing as perfection in life...nothing is perfect and you can't control everything. Once you come to terms with this, your grasp on perfection will loosen and hopefully you too will recover from your disorder with food.
So, whether you suffer from bulimia, anorexia, EDNOS, binge-eating or negative body image, or whether you just think you'd like to lose a few pounds, PLEASE don't go down the route of diets because so often an eating disorder starts with just that. Especially for us perfectionists out there (you know you who you are! I am you too! Haha :) You do not need to starve yourself or stick your head down a toilet to be happy...trust me, I know! If you want to lose weight, don't restrict yourself...don't obsess over your food, practice "everything in moderation" and you can really eat anything you want so long as you don't eat too much of it. I promise! I used to think to myself "oh, I will never be able to eat that or I'll get fat" or "I shouldn't eat dessert, I will feel guilty afterwards". That is NOT true...a little bit of everything is perfectly healthy.
I hope you all enjoy this holiday season the way it is meant to be enjoyed, without unhappiness, despair, fear or worry and remember that you can do whatever you put your mind to.
Lots of love and cupcakes,
(Watch my video on eating disorder recovery here.)