recovery

Movie : To The Bone

Approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 30 have anorexia, and 1 to 3 percent of college-age women have bulimia. In addition to these clinically recognized conditions, there is a virtual epidemic of “subclinical” eating disorders among American women, many of whom do not meet the strict criteria for anorexia or bulimia – such as bingeing, purging, and fasting, or abusing laxatives, diet pills, and diuretics – to keep their weight under control.

There has been a great deal of speculation about just what other factors – besides a cultural emphasis on thinness and the difficulty women have losing pounds – prompt some women to develop eating disorders while others manage to avoid them. One factor is occupational: eating disorders are common in women whose livelihood depends on thinness or appearance – for example, dancers, models, actresses, gymnasts, figure skaters, long distance runners, and jockeys.

Eating disorders can last a lifetime for some people. The thoughts, patterns, and habits that were developed during the disorder are hard to get over and a lot of individuals who are “weight restored” can still struggle with the same mentality that was present during the ED.

I have been very open about how I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since 4 years. It started out with me restricting food because I wanted to lose weight and feel better, but soon I became obsessed with my results and began to starve myself. I lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and, soon enough, my health began to deteriorate. I lost my period for three years, my hair started falling out, I was tired all the time, I was isolating myself.

My obsession with food and exercise lasted for about 2 years. I started recovery with the help of my golf coach, family, friends, and doctors. What I needed was a massive amount of support from the people closest to me and I was lucky enough to have friends who really cared about me and helped me with the recovery process. I also went to a nutritionist, which I believe was the best thing I could have done, who helped me throughout the weight gain process.

verywellmind.com

Since the last year, however, I am at a very uncertain place with regards to how I feel about my body and myself. I know I’m not the only one though, I know so many girls, around my age, who struggle with the same thoughts and patterns and have even partaken in some type of disordered eating. I feel especially upset about how social media portrays women and how we are forced to believe, since a very young age, that there is only one body type that is beautiful. Girls are made to feel like they aren’t good enough or “worth it”, just because they aren’t a size 0.

It’s so upsetting to see how girls as young as 9 are dieting and starving themselves because they want to be “pretty”. This is the kind of mindset I had for a very long time and I strongly believe that social media played a very strong role in shaping the way I thought of myself in such a negative light. It is so wrong to believe that being “pretty” comes in only one size and shape. I know countless girls who are so confident and happy with themselves and how they look even if they aren’t a size 0. It takes a lot to be truly happy with they way you look in our society today, especially when we are constantly told that we can’t love ourselves if we don’t look a certain way.

We are so much more than what we look in the mirror. Instead of striving to be skinny for the wrong reasons, we should pay more attention to keeping our bodies and minds healthy by staying balanced and doing the best we can. This means focusing on not only eating healthy and nutritious food, but also meditating, reading a book, and exercising to FEEL GOOD, rather than tiring yourself every day to look a certain way.

Carlson, Karen J et al. The Harvard Guide To Women’s Health. Harvard University Press, 1996.

disappear and get shit done

Maybe it’s the sagittarius in me, maybe it’s because I love the concept of not seeing someone for a really long time only to see them a few months later, absolutely KILLING it. I mean, it’s happened to me so many times, I’ve seen people from my school disappear for a couple months and then I see them suddenly, and they’re a completely new person. They’ve got different hair, they’re not into the same music anymore, they’re doing good at school. It’s like the person’s got a complete makeover – they’re a better version now and they know it, cause they worked for it.

There’s just something about taking time for yourself and doing things that make you feel good. I always tell myself that change is good and that the process of change makes you grow into a better, more mature version of yourself. The time that you invest in taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself really shows and people all around you see it too. During the holidays I would get so much time to really do things I liked doing. Waking up without an alarm, going for morning runs, spending time with my best friends, and reading good books. I spent time doing happy things and I would always come back to school feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Just doing tiny things like drinking green tea, stretching in the morning, meditating, and spending time with the people you love makes a whole lot of difference. I stopped hanging out with the wrong crowd – with people who made me feel tired and really anxious all the time. I stopped giving my time and energy to people who weren’t putting in the same amount of effort that I was putting into the relationship.

When you start to value your own opinion and care less about what others perceive of you, life becomes easier. I started to put my needs over other people’s needs, make goals for myself and take small steps throughout the week to achieve them.

Social media also plays such a huge role in our lives nowadays. It is no surprise that social media has definitely changed the way we think, what we wear, what we eat, and where we choose to spend our time. Influencers on Instagram constantly tell us that we should be wearing clothes from a certain brand, that we should be travelling to different places, that we should be spending a lot of money on things that will “make” us happy, that there is something wrong with the way we look and that there is only one way to be beautiful.

So many teenagers struggle with mental health problems and disorders because we are forced to believe that there is only one way we can be happy. Taking time off social media can improve the way we view and think about ourselves. There is so much time to do things like reading good books, exploring new places, spending time with your family, and doing schoolwork. Everything becomes so simple and you realise that being that ideal version of yourself wasn’t really that hard all along. With time, the small changes that you make start to turn into habits and after a while you don’t have to think twice about following your daily routine.

a list that i made for you

my favourite coffee place in Santa Cruz – verve coffee

Doing little things that make you happy throughout the day actually start to make a big difference in your overall mood. I made this list today because I’ve been going through a few rough weeks, recently, and I haven’t really been taking care of myself, or doing anything to make myself feel better or happy. So here goes, a few things you could do today, or in the coming days to feel better and more positive about yourself and just life in general 🙂

  1. Read a book
  2. Meditate
  3. Go to a café and order your favourite coffee
  4. Watch a movie
  5. Go to the beach
  6. Go for a hike
  7. Workout
  8. Draw/sketch/paint
  9. Listen to good music
  10. Write
  11. Listen to a podcast
  12. Clean your room
  13. Donate your clothes
  14. Drink loads of water
  15. Eat healthy
  16. Make healthier choices
  17. Call your parents and ask them about their day
  18. Call your best friends
  19. Paint your nails
  20. Get a tattoo (sorry mom)
  21. Change your hairstyle
  22. Change your wardrobe
  23. Disappear and get shit done (one of my personal faves)
  24. Play a sport
  25. Take time off social media (instagram SUCKS)
  26. Take a nap
  27. Get rid of the extra stuff in your room
  28. Go for a walk
  29. Stretch
  30. Take 3 deep breaths
  31. Spend time outside
  32. Go for a picnic (I miss doing this so much! @namsy we gotta do this when I’m back home)
  33. Journal
  34. Drink green tea
  35. Wake up early
  36. Take care of your skin (follow a skincare routine)
  37. Make a Vision Board
  38. Go for a swim

the last few months have been hard. i started college, moved to a different country, lost some friends, made new ones, and went through a lot of breakdowns almost every week.

i’ve been struggling. see the thing is that even when you “recover” from an eating disorder, you never really do. the thoughts, the constant fixation on the way you look in that crop top, the continuous thinking about what others are eating and what they’re not, is always on the back of your mind. i’ve dealt with comments from my parents, my friends, relatives, strangers – change the way you look. at every single body weight, i’ve never been enough “too fat, too skinny, no curves, thunder thighs”.

i’m 17, a teenage girl. it’s obvious that i will care too much about what other people think. we judge others without even knowing that we do – it’s human nature. sometimes i feel like i will struggle with this for the rest of my life. use food to punish myself, use it to treat myself, use it to make me feel worse, use it to make me feel better. i just wish i was ‘normal’. i see girls everywhere and i can’t help but compare myself to them. i have days where i’m so happy with my body and i couldn’t care less about anyone else, because on those days only my opinion matters and i feel good about myself. but on the other days i’m under a grey cloud and i can’t think or focus or talk to anyone. i can never be “enough”.

on the bad days, i push people away. i ignore my friends, my family, never open my messages, and i find it hard to approach people. on those days everything is tinted grey, that’s when the thoughts start to go from bad to worse. you can talk to people about your worries and problems and that can make you feel better but in the end you’re the only one who can make the changes to make you feel better. you’re the only one who’s got the power to change the way you think.

Ana

Towards the end of my school year in 9th grade, I started to go to the gym with a trainer and within weeks the weight came off unknowingly. My clothes were fitting me better, I felt stronger, and I was starting to get attention from people all around me. I remember feeling so happy about my body for the first time in my life, I figured that if I worked harder, my results would be better.

After a few months although, I created certain ‘food rules’ for myself that I followed religiously for 3 weeks. My exams were going on during this time and when I went back to the golf club after they ended, the amount of attention I got was overwhelming. People were telling me how I great I looked and that I looked much better than before. I didn’t know back then that I was starting to fall into the traps of Anorexia Nervosa, but fast forward to 4 months and I weighed 40 pounds lesser than I did before. I continued to get a large amount of attention, but this time everyone around me was worried.

During my lowest points, I spent every single hour of every single day thinking about how many calories I’d eaten, planning how I would skip my next meal, and figuring out how I could be more active. I spent most of my time fighting with family members, arguments were a daily ritual, but I still didn’t do anything to get better. In my head, everything was fine and I chose to believe that they were just jealous of me.

I only started recovery towards the end of 10th grade, when my golf coach told me to go to a nutritionist and get help. A month after I went to her, I started to get better, I felt stronger, I was happier, I started to do things for myself and actually began to take better care of my health.

It’s not that I decided to make the change right after I decided to get help. Recovery was an extremely long process and it took me a very very long time to actually listen to what everyone was saying around me.

I remember how terrible my life was when I was anorexic, seriously. It’s like I cared about only one thing in my life and that was to get thinner and thinner and just be as skinny and bony as I could be. I drove myself and everyone around me crazy. I lost 2 years of my teenage life being obsessed about what everyone thought of me.

(pt. 2 coming soon)