After writing my post Dear Body, Thank you, and following up by continuing to love on myself, I dropped a size without effort. No dieting or extra exercise — I simply lost the need to eat emotionally. I’m a big fan now of loving myself sexy! Of course, I have to keep up the practice of loving myself to keep the emotional eating at bay, and therein lies the … new habit I will work to form!
Back in college though, when I first dealt with my eating disorder, it wasn’t that simple. Eating disorders are an endless mind game of self-hatred — definitely a Deep Pit. If you have an eating disorder, you can’t focus on thinking positively. You can barely function — all of your energy goes into survival. No one can really understand the torture of an eating disorder unless they’ve been there.
There have been numerous great books written on this issue in the past 2o years, but Making Peace With Food is the one that helped me — along with individual and group therapy, and a focus on building my self-esteem.
The stats on eating disorders are sobering. Something like 24 million Americans have an eating disorder. 50% of those with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression. Only 10% seek treatment, and of those only a third get specialized treatment. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with death occurring from heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition, or suicide.
This is a real problem, which is why I am addressing it. Millions are hiding the problem due to fear and shame. Well, I’m stepping up to normalize this issue so you can come out of hiding. I’m a beautiful, successful, strong, courageous woman — who was bulimic for four years in high school and college, until it nearly killed me. I sought help and I got better. I have relapses, and I seek help again. My twenties were about surviving the hell in my head. My thirties were about learning to love myself. Now I’m just so grateful I have a body to live in so I can get on with living and loving life!
There you go. If I can admit this publically, you can admit it privately. Go get help. There are many avenues for help and it is very possible to recover and take your life back. The keys are to admit your problem, seek professional help, and build a support network. Recovering is about learning why it’s okay to love yourself — which sounds terrifying, but turns out to be worth conquering the fear.
I know you are suffering. That’s why I am taking this stand for you. So please, take the first step and tell someone, so you can get the support you need to climb out of this Deep Pit.
Stats from ANAD.