Thank you to everyone who submitted questions, I loved answering all of them.
If listening & seeing is more your style than reading, check out the video below for my five minute explanation about my best recovery resources. Looking for more? Keep reading for the full length answers to your top questions.
1) How did you begin tackling fear foods?
It started with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and I have the #yesiatethewholepint & #pintparty hashtags on Instagram to thank for that. I remember someone close to me saying, “Don’t worry – you can afford it.” Obviously I know she meant weight wise. I was thin. I was underweight. I could afford to gain weight. But I remember those words even today and sometimes even repeat them. Except the meaning has changed. Now when I want a pint of ice cream I remind myself that I can afford to feel happy, I can afford to feel free, I am worthy of that. Same goes for doughnuts, pizza, etc. Sometime’s it is still uncomfortable, but most of the time it’s just delicious!
2) Did you lose your period, and if so, how did you get it back?
I never lost my period, even when I was severely underweight. And at times that made me feel like I wasn’t thin enough or rather, wasn’t sick enough. I was jealous of the girls who lost their period, if you can believe it. So to all you ladies out there waiting to recover – please know that having a period is not a sign of health (completely). You can have a period and still be very much in danger. I was.
3) How can you tell if you’re over-exercising (ED motivated) or just trying to push yourself (health motivated)
Ahh ain’t this one a pain in the booty? Compulsive exercising is one of the least talked about or recognized elements of an eating disorder, and yet I’ve yet to meet a survivor who hasn’t struggled with it. When it comes to weight restoration, I agree with the experts that exercise should be avoided all together (unless your doctor tells you different). But when you’re restored and ready to dabble in an activity you once enjoyed again, it can be hard to separate the disordered thoughts from the good ones. My rule of thumb is as follows: if I’m feeling the urge to tack more onto a workout, go another mile, do more reps, etc. I ask myself bluntly “Did calories come to mind when I decided to go for more?” If the answer is yes, I usually don’t move forward. Similarly, if I’m feeling un-motivated and trying to convince myself to workout I ask myself, “Am I okay with skipping this one?” And if the answer is “no” then I force myself to take a beat and rest. If the answer is “Yes, I don’t feel as if I need to workout but I’d like to” then I’ll give it a go, knowing all the while that I can stop if something doesn’t feel good. This requires being in tune with your emotions and honest with your responses. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel natural at first. Keep trying.
Check out the Recovering Girl’s Guide to Working Out HERE
4) How long did you wait before returning to exercise?
I’d like to tell you I stopped exercising completely until I became weight restored and more importantly, mentally equipped to do so. But I never stopped. I was never inpatient because I had a recovery coach of sorts at home. Someone who went through it. It was also someone who exercised every day. I’ll never know how my recovery or my relationship with exercise would have been different had I stopped exercising, but I do hope you’ll consult a doctor when deciding whether or not exercise is a smart thing for you during *your recovery.
5) How long did it take you to recover?
Honestly, I don’t know. Recovery is not a one stop shop up the hill until you hit the finish line. It’s curvy and twisty and has lots of potholes. There have been at least seven times (that I can remember) that I boasted – either internally or on social media – about finally being recovered. I feel recovered now. But maybe the truth is that we’re always recovering. Recovering parts of ourselves that our eating disorder stole. Finding new ones every day and making them our own.
Read more about my secret to a “Real” recovery HERE
6) When did your body start feeling normal again?
When I gave it the love it deserved regardless of its appearance. When I owned every different form it takes and decided to call each beautiful.
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