My 2 month eating disorder recovery update, including weight gain, appetite, exercise, sleep and more.
It’s been a little over 2 months since I began my eating disorder (relapse) recovery.
You can read all the updates here.
Last week I posted a quote on Instagram that could not be more true for me right now. It said:
I’ve tried to write this blog update ten different times only to start over again and again because what I was writing didn’t feel quite right. It’s been tough to describe what I am feeling.
The past two months have been incredibly difficult AND incredibly freeing all at the same time. I feel like I’m awakening a whole new level of my Self and connection to my Spirit.
There has never been a time in history where we have had this perfect storm of obsession with being healthy and fit PLUS thousands (millions?) of photoshopped and well-posed images at our disposal 24/7. I didn’t realize the depth of the toll that has taken on me until now.
The changes I am experiencing in my body, combined with using my voice to speak about my recovery real time, are causing me to peel back layers and layer of my identity (a.k.a. who I THOUGHT I am… but not who I really am) and that has been terrifying and also exhilarating.
My original recovery story and what I look like had become SUCH a part of my identity.
As you might imagine, purposefully eating ultra-processed food, gaining weight, and not working out (because all of this is a necessary part of recovery and healing) is REALLY HARD for someone who has been living and breathing the opposite for years.
At the same time, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know this is not permanent. This is a chapter in the middle of my story, not the end.
If you know me, or have gotten to know me through this journey at all, you might know that I am someone that believes that every challenge we face in life is placed on our path for a very specific purpose: to show us who we are beneath all of the limiting beliefs that we pick up through life as we try to survive and fit in.
We forget that we are so much more (spiritually) than our physical body and "challenges" in life are what help us to remember. I believe that all of this is happening for me right now so that I can finally detach from two of the things that have blocked me most of my life from experiencing true freedom:
The first time I recovered in 2008, it was different. I didn’t label what I was going through as an eating disorder then. I knew that I yo-yo dieted for years, but I never thought of myself as someone who was anorexic. I thought that my behaviors weren't extreme enough to fall in that category.
So, naturally it wasn’t as intense as my recovery is right now because I didn’t completely let go. I didn’t stop working out and I was still eating mostly vegetables and whole foods. I recovered in a lot of ways, however I was limiting myself (and thus, leaving a window open for the eating disorder to come back) because I wasn’t FULLY trusting my body. I let go of trying to FIX my body (i.e. trying to get my period back and lose weight), but I didn’t let go of certain rules about what I need to do in order to be a healthy person.
In order for me to FULLY heal, I have to COMPLETELY let go and TRUST my body to show me the way...pretty much blindfolded. And the reason why this is so hard is because it’s the opposite of EVERYTHING we are taught by the media and popular health gurus.
They tell us: The body can’t be trusted. Our cravings can’t be trusted. If we don’t push ourselves then we will be lazy bums and lay on the couch all day.
None of this is actually true. Yes, we may eat a lot of foods we have deprived ourselves of and yes we may sleep more, but not forever! Just until the body rebalances and feels safe that you aren’t going to deprive and overwork it again.
I’ve learned a lot about eating disorder recovery just in the past few months that I have been researching online. I’ve also realized (and seem to keep re-realizing) that my body was a lot more physically taxed than I ever imagined. I thought I was being healthy by eating the way I was, exercising as often as I was, and cleansing (fasting) once a week.
Turns out, I was wrong. I was doing my best to be healthy according to what I knew then and now I can see that I too was misguided in many ways. What I taught in my courses was helpful to a lot of women, however for long-standing eating disorders in particular, there’s more to recovery than I thought.
If you want to learn more about eating disorder recovery, the best resource I can offer is this 5 part series from the ED Institute.
I also recommend the book, "BrainwashED" by Elisa Oras and to watch every video on her YouTube channel, Follow the Intuition.
As well as, every video from:
Kayla Rose Kotecki (Damn the Diets)
Tabitha Farrar (she has a great podcast too)
The main reason why this past month of recovery has been so hard for me is because of my fear of what people will think. Honestly, that feels so silly to say, but that is the truth. I am afraid of people seeing that I have gained weight and making judgements about me.
She’s let herself go.
She’s not a good coach.
She clearly has no control over herself.
She’s gone crazy.
I’m giving THEM the power to decide MY worth. WTF?!
I joked with my mom and sister that when I see someone that I haven’t seen in a while I feel like I need to say, “So, as you can see I have gained weight. Just so we’re on the same page. I know. You know. Okay, let’s carry on…”
Who thinks like that? Who REALLY cares that I have gained weight? Nobody! But in my head it’s this huge thing that means something about me and my worth. And this is why this recovery is so important for me to go through, as painful and humiliating as it is to share publicly.
Isn’t it interesting how on the surface, for a long time everything seemed okay? Even to me. But then once we begin to peel back the layers and poke at the tender spots, we can see that there’s still a lot more healing that needs to be done.
It’s time for me to completely LET GO.
The reason why so much of my courses have been about understanding the masculine and the feminine energy balance, and learning how to relax into Receiving, Trust, Allowing… the Feminine Goddess energy, is because that is exactly what I want (need) to learn most in life too.
I can teach it no problem. I understand it. But to 100% BE it… that is a journey that I am still on. So, my body is clearly my training ground right now. She is giving me the opportunity to return, on this spiral staircase, to things that I thought I understood so that I can now see deeper truths.
And boy, am I! I don’t have the words yet for everything I am learning/feeling (as I mentioned at the beginning), so for now let’s get to the updates and I will share more of my bigger aha’s at a later date as I understand how to put words to them.
You know when sometimes it feels like days, weeks, months can just fly by and you think, “Wow, where did the time go so fast?!” Well, this has NOT been the case for me in recovery! It feels like time is passing SO slowly…like I have been recovering for a year, but it’s been 8 weeks. This is my impatient ego talking. ;-)
Hair Loss: The hair loss and night sweats have pretty much gone away, thank God. I see short wispy hairs growing in. It will be interesting to see if my hair gets thicker over the next year.
Exercise: I have experimented with exercising a handful of times. I’ve done some light yoga at home, walking, went for a run down to the beach, and went to the gym once. I was careful each time not to overdo it and to listen to my body, however I was sore afterward and am honestly quite sore most days. I also get swollen quite easily. This is all part of recovery. All of this tells me that my body is in a state of repair. The swelling, the pain, it is all an indication that my body is trying to prevent me from moving too much.
If you follow the links I mentioned above, you will learn about all the repair work that is going on inside the body after restriction and why rest is so important especially during the beginning of recovery.
Rest is so important for me right now (which, again is SO HARD). But I am willing to do it, especially because of what I share next…
Heart Palpitations: I’ve been helping my boyfriend with his business and when I was in Michigan, there were a couple days that were so stressful I actually ended up having heart palpitations. They started one day after lunch and progressively got worse. At the end of the night I timed them and they were happening on average once a minute. I laid down and they almost went away completely. They came back one other night when we were out with friends too. Since I flew home I haven’t felt them at all. I think it was a panic attack, which sounds SO WEIRD to say and part of me feels like such a wimp. In the grand scheme of things, nothing that is happening is THAT stressful yet my body just can’t handle much stress right now.
Fatigue: I am still pretty tired. I get tired during the day and in the evening but then when it’s time to go to bed I feel wide awake. I finally fall asleep but then sleep in later than I would normally (thank goodness I have a flexible schedule). Most days I feel like I need a nap midday and try to give myself this gift whenever I can (if I need it).
Digestion: My digestion is getting better slowly. I’m going to be super honest, gas is the worst part. If I am around people where I can’t… you know… let the toots out, it is SO PAINFUL. It feels like I have a giant bubble inside of me and it messes up my whole system for the rest of the day. So, the more I can toot freely lol, the better I feel. It’s not always that way, but some days it is.
Appetite/Food: I’ve been eating according to hunger without counting calories anymore. I only wanted to roughly track at first to make sure I was hitting 2500 calories minimum per day and once I felt that I was eating that much consistently, I stopped counting and have been following my hunger cues. It’s almost like my body has it’s own counter because I am hungry for at least that much food each day.
It’s very strange for me to eat the way I am right now because veggies are 'here and there', versus the main part of every meal. I tried making a green smoothie the other day and it tasted so gross. Right now, vegetables are just NOT that appetizing to me unless they are sautéed with oil and tossed with something like pasta or on a pizza!
I know this will eventually shift, but for now I am trying to go with it as much as possibly without guilt.
Current favorite foods: Bark Thins dark chocolate covered pretzel bark, sandwiches, Kettle chips, Kodiak Cakes pancakes, chocolate shakes with shredded wheat cereal mixed in, Lenny and Larry's cookies, and Purely Elizabeth's chocolate, sea salt and PB granola.
Ice cream is too sweet (which makes NO sense, considering the list I just shared), so I haven’t been eating it much the past couple weeks.
That said, I don’t really have super strong cravings or extreme hunger (which is common in recovery… some people eat 6,000-10,000 calories a day for weeks or even months). I eat what sounds good. I have zero rules. I never feel overly full. I kinda eat like I did when I was a kid.
Again, I’m not perfect at this. Sometimes I do still feel guilt, but I am getting better at allowing my body to guide me. I know that my body is still adjusting to consistently having more food come in than it has in a really long time. I know that when it finally feels safe, things will balance out. Right now, my body is still very much in repair mode and I am learning to be okay with that.
Weight Gain: I have gained weight. I don’t know how much, but it feels like a lot. That said, I know that is partially body dysmorphia (me thinking I am bigger than I am). I decided that I am going to stay off the scale because it would be too triggering right now. I went to the mall a few weeks ago to buy some bigger, more loose clothing. I saw myself in the mirror and had a little breakdown in the dressing room. The ironic thing is that I saw a few pictures of myself before recovery and I looked so thin. At the time, I didn’t feel thin, I felt like I still had areas on my body that I wanted to tone up and when I was around other girls, I would feel big. Again, body dysmorphia.
I feel ashamed to share this, but I want to because I want women to know that they aren’t the only ones that feel this way and a lot of coaches and influencers have similar thoughts too. I really didn’t consciously know I was being this hard on myself. I would never feel this way about another woman and how she looks, and yet I feel this way about myself.
All last year I was coaching my girls to love themselves and release the shame-game related to their body, and here I was, having some of the same thoughts without recognizing them. I don’t know how I didn’t see it. That said, I really believe a LOT of coaches and influencers are in the same boat as me and they just don’t realize it yet.
I have a feeling that over the next 5-7 years we will see more and more female influencers coming out as having disorders related to food and their body. And many of them may even find that they have health problems because of it.
Anyway, I have gained weight. And, it’s tough. And, I KNOW that when I reach the place where I can truly love myself and my body unconditionally, no matter what size or shape it is, that is when everything will click into place. I am using ALL of my body-love, self-love tools right now!
I have a hypothesis about health, based on all the research I have been doing. It’s going take some time to prove (probably a couple years) but I believe that when you prioritize self-care, sleep, and laughter… when you take care of yourself mentally and get proper rest… you don’t have to be that hardcore when it comes to food and exercise to maintain an optimal (for you) physique.
For so long my identity has been wrapped up in how I looked, even though I didn’t think it was. And, now I am learning the true meaning of unconditional love… far deeper than I have explored before.
My boyfriend has been so supportive and loving through this whole process. I will admit, I was afraid of what he would think when he saw me heavier, with more cellulite and a rounder face but he was so good about everything. I know that I want to feel good about me because of how I feel about me, however it does feel good and safe to know he still loves me and supports me going through this.
I feel a bit like a “crazy girl” sometimes, with first world problems worrying about this kind of stuff and going through “recovery” however, again, I know I am not alone. In fact, I was talking with a fellow coach friend of mine recently and she told me that she’s going through similar body-image stuff as well. We live in a DIET CULTURE. I really think SO many of us are WAY too hard on ourselves.
Heavy Bleeding: There is one last piece to the puzzle that is going on for me right now, which is the heavy bleeding I mentioned previously.
I found out that I have a fibroid in my uterus that is causing the heavy bleeding during my periods and even mid-cycle at times. It’s been really difficult and painful, especially the first few days of my periods. TMI WARNING: A few times I was bleeding through a tampon and pad every 30 minutes with huge blood clots. I had a procedure done last week where they went in through my va-jay with a camera so the doctor could see the fibroid. He said it’s a “big, beautiful fibroid” and while it won’t be painless, it should be an easy procedure to remove it. I’m most likely going to have the surgery to remove it in May.
As the woo-woo spiritual girl that I am, I think there is more to this fibroid than what doctors say. Meaning, it's here to teach me something.
Technically we don’t even know why some women develop fibroids, they just happen often after the age of 35. I think this fibroid has to do with my second chakra, creativity, and anger that I had been hanging onto. I have released a lot of that and am feeling pretty good emotionally. So, I feel ready to release this fibroid and begin trying for a baby 6-8 weeks after that.
My main focus right now is Trust (of my body) and Love (for myself). How beautiful is it that I have this opportunity to deepen these two things for myself now, before I begin to prepare for motherhood. It feels very special when I look at it from that perspective.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and following my journey!
Questions? Send them over and I can include them in the next update.
Closing Chapter: For Now
Recovery: Coming Out of the Fog
Eating Disorder Recovery: 2 Months
Eating Disorder Recovery: 1 Month
Eating Disorder Relapse and Diet Recovery
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