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! 🙂

That’s for you, you and you

One, two, three different versions of me. They were all beautiful and they are all gone, done. The dead among the living, the dreams turned into shadows.

You.

I miss being myself around you. I miss the jokes, the laughs. I miss the free version of me. I miss not having to control myself, and I miss listening to your words like music. One. You broke my heart.

You.

I miss the butterflies in my stomach, I miss how you made me feel alive. In the Valley of Broken Minds you were my favourite creature, the only one who could show me light. “I wish you were here.” Two. There’s only darkness again.

You.

I miss the hope, the possibilities. A new beginning that was dead from the start. Truth is, I never even wanted to want; I just wanted to be wanted. Three. I am alone and that’s just fine.

One, two, three versions of me walking around.

One, two, three versions of me dying a little as the days go by.

Everybody wants to eat better

Not so long ago, Gymbirds posted an article I wrote for them about small changes to optimize your weight loss. Surprisingly, a lot of people liked not only my article but also my post on Facebook; which made me think about how many people actually want to lose weight and eat better, but are too overwhelmed by over information. The problem is, there are too many rules and people get lost. Then, what happens? Not everyone has the will to keep on track; most people let go of eating healthy because it’s either too complicated or too hard to know what to eat and when to eat it.

I’ve always had this need to help people eat better; and I don’t even have to think too hard to know why. You’ll need three things: 1) Learn to say “no” to foods that will bring you no good; 2) Learn how to pick the right foods; 3) Seek motivation to eat better — I know it’s easier said than done, like most things in life; but if you find the will to start being healthy, your body and your brain won’t even want to eat unhealthy foods anymore. (That part doesn’t apply to PMS — you will want it, but won’t eat it.) 

I’ve always read books and articles about eating healthy, super diets, all kinds of diets, etc. But no author has ever made a huge difference in my life like Jolene Hart did with her book “Eat Pretty.” I highly recommend all of you to buy it; and she’s not even aware of my existence, therefore, there is no one getting payed to say that. I recommend it because it has taught me things in a simple way; a way someone who is not a nutritionist will easily understand. And that’s what I want for all of you; I want you to challenge yourselves to eat better!

One of my favourite parts of Jolene Hart‘s “Eat Pretty” book is when she gives us a list of “Beauty Betrayers” foods, which are the ones we have to start avoiding in order to eat better. Here’s the list of foods you should start leaving behind from now on, according to Jolene Hart.

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine (Green tea is still ok, though.)
  • Canned foods with BPA
  • Dairy (Foods made from cow’s milk.)
  • Fried foods
  • Gluten
  • Grilled and overcooked foods
  • Meats (Fish not included!)
  • Pesticide-sprayed produce (Buy only Organic foods!)
  • Processed foods
  • Soda
  • Sugar (Artificial sweeteners included!)

I’m not saying it will be easy; but I’m also telling you it’s not as hard as you think. The list of foods you can eat is waaaaaaay longer than this one, trust me. That’s why I recommend her book to everyone I know. You can buy it online: http://www.jolenehart.com/eatpretty 🙂 — Yes, I’m a super fan of hers!

Alongside eating better, you have to care about your digestion. Here’s two simple rules for you: 1) Chew at least 30 times; 2) Don’t eat fruits at least for two hours after your meal. I hope this can help you at least get started!

A letter to the dead

What would you say if you could write one last letter to the dead — a dead person you loved very much? Would you waste your last chance with sorrow or would you use this opportunity to say how much you love them and how much you appreciate everything they’ve done? Would you ask for forgiveness? Or would you let them know you’ve truly forgiven them? Now let me ask you a few more questions. What if the dead person was you? Would you be so kind and thankful towards yourself? Most importantly, would you forgive yourself for all the bad things you’ve done? Life and death walk side by side, we never really know when our last chance to redemption will be — so why not start today? People make mistakes all the time, we are only human. What makes the difference is changing what we will do in the future. If you’ve done something wrong, ask for forgiveness. If you’ve had an argument with someone you love (significant other, family, friends, etc), tell them you’re sorry. It might sound a little morbid, but pretend you are all going to die tomorrow. Don’t go to bed with regret — this is the worst thing in the world. Don’t wait to fix things up later — fix it now! Change everything you can in order to be happy. If you know you’re doing something that will hurt someone else, stop it. Find the will to surpass your ego — there’s nothing wrong in asking for forgiveness and admitting you were wrong. Don’t be the one responsible for someone else’s sadness. Never hurt the people you love. You never know when their last day alive will be — or yours.