Being a mom with an eating disorder

It’s been 16 years since I was diagnosed with Anorexia. I have my ups and downs, obviously, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s an everyday battle, a constant war I have to fight in my head to stay alive. Before it was hard; now, it’s even harder — I have a baby.

The most difficult part of having a mental illness is how hard it is for other people to realize you’re not choosing to be like that. “You have to eat to be strong for your baby.” Yes, I know; It’s part of my battle. People say that, thinking it will help, but it only makes it worse. It makes the guilt almost unbearable. I look at him so fragile in my arms, depending on me to survive, and here I am not being able to eat. “If I died, he wouldn’t even remember me,” I tell myself every day — but it also doesn’t help.

During pregnancy I was able to eat normally; even I was proud of myself. Of course there were days when I didn’t want to have a full meal, but at least I ate. “It’s for the baby,” I told myself; and it really was. But now he’s not inside of me anymore and, unfortunately, I’m not breastfeeding — my motivation is gone. There are days when I can’t even open my mouth; it’s shut, it’s sealed.

Having an eating disorder is punishing. “Eat and fight your head. You have to be stronger than that!” If only people knew that’s the same as telling someone with cancer to fight it and let it go. (And before anyone says anything about my statement, I’m a cancer survivor. So yes, I know how cancer is like.) Trying to explain gets tiring, so you start to hide yourself from the world. Only I know how many times I’ve said things like “I already ate, thank you” or “Mmmm that looks delicious! I’ll try it next time!” Before it was bad, but now I look at my baby and feel even worse. Guilt starts building up the moment I feel good for not eating anything — now I always feel guilty, regardless if I eat or not.

Every day I wake up thinking “I won’t care about it anymore,” and every day I fail. I see people eating and I simply can’t understand the pleasure they feel. “How come they’re not ashamed?” I ask myself and envy their satisfaction (in a good, wistful way). I miss my childhood years, when I didn’t know the pain, shame and guilt I feel every time I eat. I just hope I’ll be able to fight it over and over again; I hope I’ll keep myself alive for my son and my family. I know it will never go away; the day I look at myself in the mirror and not see a fat person will never come. I’ll never look at food without getting anxious and trying to figure out how many calories I’ll be eating. It’s a curse.

I’d like to thank my husband Jeremy for always being there for me, and my family and friends for trying to help. I know it’s hard, and I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. I don’t know how to stop.

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Painful heart

This is for you who thinks you’re not worth it — but you are. Here’s to all of your blank nights, blank days and blank souls. Cheers! Let’s drink to all your sadness. All your lonely days, and your lonely nights. Let’s drink to all your misery; let’s drink to all our misery — all at once, all at the same time. Every time you think you’re alone, you’re not. I’m here with you, we’re here with you. Embrace the sadness, embrace the dark. There’s no light, there’s no happy ending. It’s just you and me; it’s just you and the rest of the world. Everybody is sad, there’s always something missing. Happiness is just around the corner, but you keep reminding me of what sadness feels like.

Skydiving

I feel my heart bursting; it’s beautiful, intense and painful at the same time. Past, present and future — together, apart, all mixed up. Where have I seen these promises and dreams before? I know where my fears hide; I know every disguise, every dark corner of my broken mind. I’m scared, I’m thrilled and I’m everything in between; it’s all or nothing — a deep, silent ocean and the wind caressing the trees, or a beautiful and loud thunderstorm ripping the skies apart. Amidst all the chaos, I found a way back to myself: a path I’ve never thought I’d be able to choose, but I did. And it’s so beautiful, so perfectly right and good for me that it makes me shiver, it makes me wanna lose control. It makes me wanna jump and take a leap of faith — but what if I fall straight to the ground again? See, it’s too late, because I’m already falling. I’m in the air, my arms are wide open and so is my heart. I’m skydiving. I’m skydiving with you.

The good food army

“Don’t do this!”

“Don’t do that!”

“You’ll get fat if you eat this!”

If that’s how your brain talks to you, then it’s time to tell it to shut up; unless you enjoy being a captive of your own mind. Of course it’s not easy, I’d be a hypocrite if I said it was. But how much are we willing to sacrifice in order to achieve what seems to be unachievable and why are we trying to lose so much weight? When I say “we” I’m also referring to myself. Not so long ago I saw food as my enemy and I did everything I could to avoid it. Unfortunately, I know I’m not the only one. So how do we do to change the way we think? Most importantly, how can we start seeing something we once believed to be horrible as something good? It’s all about choices. It’s true that a lot of foods are our enemies, but not all of them.

That’s where the magic happens: when you start seeing the difference between the good food army and the enemy foods. Sounds childish, but it’s true. Think of your body as something you need to protect; something that is really strong but also an easy target to enemy attack. If you keep it empty, starved, then there will be no one there to fight for you. You will fade slowly into nothing. But if you choose to fill your body with good foods, you will change everything. You will boost your metabolism, feel healthier and have the energy to workout and live a better life. Your skin, hair and nails will get stronger and silkier; you will feel prettier, too.

Many people have Eating Disorders because they don’t know how to choose their foods and get too anxious when they start gaining weight. Then, the endless cycle begins: eat – throw up – eat again – throw up – eat less – still throw up – get disgusted by food – stop eating. Why? Because they start the cycle by choosing enemy foods. Sugar, simple carbs, bad fat. Ice cream, white bread, yellow cheese. Fast food, fried food, pizza, cake and frosting, white chocolate, candy. They might look great, smell awesome, but they’re all your enemies.

Nature is the most beautiful and incredible thing we’ll ever know. It’s so perfect, so amazing, that it gives us all the good food army. It grows from the ground, from the trees; it grows with light, with life. You don’t need a microwave to prepare your good food, I don’t even have one. You allies have the most beautiful colours: they’re red as a nice beet, yellow as a crunchy yellow pepper, orange as a tasty peach. They come as leaves, grains, vegetables and fruits. They come as nuts, too. The more you find out about them and the benefits they’ll bring to your life, the more you’ll want to have them around you. As soon as you learn that having a mashed banana with cinnamon will help your sugar cravings go away (and even help with PMS), you will see how wonderful it is to live without chocolate bars. Actually, nature is so good to us, that she allowed Cacao into the good food army. Having a square or two of dark chocolate is not only good, but it’s also important to our health. It also prevents wrinkles. (But, remember, it has to be 75% up.)

Try to visit more Farmer’s Markets, they always have the best good food army. But it’s also ok if you can’t; all you have to do is go to a Supermarket and know exactly who’s your enemy and who’s your ally. Friends don’t come in packages; avoid boxes — unless you’re buying Quinoa, Gluten Free Oats, etc. If it’s a frozen food, then it’s your enemy for sure. Look closely to everything you touch. It’s not even hard to see with your bare eyes how good or bad the food is. Give it a try! Choose an apple over a cookie. Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C; it’s also one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Besides, its natural flavour is sweet enough to handle an occasional sweet tooth. Cookies are full of flour, gluten, bad fats, artificial sugar and null calories. Always think before choosing the food you’ll allow into your body.

That’s it! Let’s change the way we think, let’s welcome the good food army and get rid of the enemy foods. Once we do that, we won’t feel the need to throw up anymore; we will feel proud of ourselves. We will want to eat nicely and never starve our bodies again. I wrote a nice article about foods to avoid, you can check it out here.

I hope this will help! 🙂

Letting go of things that makes you sad

Life is full of wonders and teachings. However, many people suffer from depression — emptiness and despair have taken hold of their lives. Depression is not a matter of will, nor are other mental illnesses. Therefore, people whose lives appear to be perfectly happy can also suffer from it. Depression is a lack of emotions and expecting only the worse — from everything, including ourselves. How can we change this? Psychotherapy and medication helps, but we are the only ones who can truly find a way out. How? Letting go of things that makes us sad. When I say “things”, I mean feelings, people, behaviours and thoughts — especially thoughts. Avoid feeling guilty and hopeless. That’s what I’m doing and I believe it will help me a lot. If you have dreams and never had the chance to accomplish them, don’t let it go. Chase them, do whatever it takes to make it come true. If you’re doing something that makes you feel guilty and/or uncomfortable, stop doing it. No one is obliged to do anything. A few things are mandatory but only you can choose the way you wanna live your life. You don’t have to be perfect; there’s no such thing as “perfection”. If you’re not a sociable person, then don’t be. If you enjoy eating, don’t let any diet starve you. If you don’t enjoy unhealthy foods, then don’t eat it. You don’t have to like sunny days just because everyone else does. Every person has a chance to be unique, yet everybody chooses to be the same. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you how you should live your life. Surround yourself with people who brings you peace of mind and spirit. Breathe. Life shouldn’t be a struggle. It should be… free.

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Excitement and fear

Have you ever noticed how fear stops us from doing things we wanna do? How often excitement gets lost in the middle of meaningless mind traps? When we finally achieve something and are able to see things through, all we once feared turns into something simple. There are a lot of creative people in the world, but most of them are completely paralyzed by fear. I was one of them. Actually, I still fear a lot of things. Lately, I’ve been trying to let excitement rule my life. I’ve seen some changes, which is great. But I know I have a long way ahead of me. Like myself, there are a lot of talented people who should let go of their fears and start creating and innovating. Write about whatever you want. Feel free. If you’d like to sing, take singing classes. Don’t work with something dull just because you need money. Chase your dreams. Do whatever makes you feel alive. Here’s a quote I really love that applies perfectly to what I’m writing. 

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs