On a cold September morning in 2009, I sat in the bottom of the shower sobbing so hard I was almost sick. I wasn’t upset because someone had died, or was ill, or had been hurt in any way, I was crying because I had binged the night before and my morning weigh-in had shown the ugly results of my behaviour.
I remember that day as being the lowest point of my life — which might seem an odd when you consider the other things I’ve had to deal with — but it was only time I have felt like I couldn’t go on.
And I was right. I had to change the way I was living because I couldn’t keep dieting, exercising, bingeing and abusing laxatives any longer.
Six years later, those years of punishing myself seem like scenes from an experimental horror film. I am convinced that depriving my brain of the proper nutrients altered my brain chemistry, that my obsessive compulsion to be thin was a mental malfunction.
I guess that’s why eating disorders are classified as mental illnesses.
I vowed on that day in 2009 never to diet again and threw away my scales. Although the journey to recovery was harder than I anticipated and took longer than I thought, I can say with confidence that being diet sober is no longer a struggle.
I admit to the odd pang of desire to restrict once in a while, but I know now that it’s usually a sign of some other emotional upheaval in my life. 99.9% of the time I’m completely in love with the body I have.
Today I celebrate freedom from counting calories, from self-loathing and from perfectionism. These days, I am happier, healthier and sexier than ever before.
7 TIPS FOR EATING DISORDER RECOVERY
Throw away the scales – they will do your head in. You are so much more than a number.
Expect to put on weight – but it will probably only be temporary – embrace your weight increase by seeing it as your healing weight.
Explore plus size fashion – instead of looking at fitness models, check out the sexy, confident, sassy attitude of plus size women.
Don’t hide – adorn your body with statement jewelry, a beautiful handbag and wear bright colours. You’re allowed to be visible whatever size you are.
Don’t listen to fat talk – if your girlfriends are talking about their latest diet, ask them not to mention it around you.
Delete all your food and exercise boards on Pinterest. Do it now. Go on, I’m waiting.
Pamper yourself – get regular massages, manicures, or a new haircut.
I am grateful to have vanquished the eating disorder monster that used to live inside my head.