Eating disorders have long been stigmatized. The lack of sufficient information surrounding eating disorders perpetuates socially incorrect assumptions. Prior to being diagnosed, I had a very poor understanding of eating disorders. I once thought of eating disorders as a lifestyle choice one decides for themselves. However, once I acknowledged and recognized my own habits of restrictive eating and extreme exercise, I soon came to realize just how debilitating and life threatening this illness was. This website was created as an outlet of expression for myself, in hopes of raising awareness and reaching out to others. I want to thank Providence Eating Disorders Treatment Program, Providence St. Vincent, Eating Disorder Center of Portland, A Better Way Counseling, Monte Nido’s Rainrock Residential Treatment Program, and to my incredible therapist Kayla Leopold in providing the medical, nutritional and psychological support I so desperately needed. Much love goes towards those who have stayed by my side and supported me through the years. I dedicate this page to my family who have played a tremendous role in my recovery. I am alive today because of their care, and I am forever grateful.
The following images include excerpts from Marc David's "Nourishing Wisdom," and anonymous public testimonies from those in the eating disorder community. Each of the sentiments expressed resonate to me to some capacity and I only wish to share what I have learned as I have made this my mantra to myself. Included below is a link to the affirmations featured.
~ Eater's Agreement ~ "I hereby agree to fully participate in life on earth. As such, I agree to inhabit the appropriate vehicle for such participation - a body. As a requisite for the sustaining of that body, and the life that dwells therein, I agree to be an eater"
"As an eater, I agree to hunger. I recognize that as the biological need to eat is fulfilled with greater awareness and efficiency, the benefits of my well being will increase. I further acknowledge that ignorance of the eating process will cause undesirable consequences"
"I choose to no longer compromise my values in order to sustain my eating disorder. I recognize that my relationship to food is a learning process and I will inevitably make mistakes. As such, I give myself permission to be vulnerable as an eater"
"I recognize that at its deepest level eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat, I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth"
"The decision to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence. I hereby agree to accept the changes taking place in my body as a sign of health"
"Furthermore, I agree to not deprive myself from nourishment when with another human. I agree not to fit his or her own liking. I have the right not to relate to people who treat me poorly. I agree to quit trying to avoid intimacy with others. As I let food into my body, I can let people into my life, while developing a healthy relationship with myself"
"I choose to recognize my emotions and believe that my feelings are valid and that I have the right to express them. In turn, I agree to be true to my feelings, emotions, thoughts, and opinions"
"I choose to no longer deny and bury my emotions because of how it will affect other people (I am just as entitled to my feelings as anyone else). I agree to reach out to others and not let the fear of rejection stand in the way. I have to risk rejection to know who fully love and accepts me"
The year was 2014. I just completed my first year of college. Upon my return, I was urged by loved ones to visit the nearest eating disorder clinic to undergo an evaluation. At the time, I was confused as to why my family was so concerned. I certainly didn't feel nor look like I had an eating disorder, so why bother? All of it seemed so unnecessary. If anything, I was convinced I needed to lose more weight. I needed to add more miles to my runs, more hours to my already strenuous exercise regime, and cut more foods out of my diet. Despite my efforts to cancel the appointment, I agreed to go in the end. It wasn't long before I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa.
The aversive messages and habits I developed through my adolescence allowed me to ignore the hurt that I felt in my heart for years. As a result, I mistreated my body and abused my mind throughout much of my life. I criticized myself for having wants and needs, as it triggered a sense of shame. I felt undeserving of treating myself compassionately as I believed I was inherently flawed. I spent years trapped in my own self-disgust; it was unbearable. My anxiety debilitated me from living a full life, and caused to plummet, both mentally and physically.
It wasn't until my third hospitalization did something deep inside me accept that I had to let go. I finally surrendered myself into something bigger than fear. My heart was slowly giving out and I didn't want to die knowing I gave up on myself only to sustain my eating disorder. I knew there was more to this life and I wanted to reclaim my sense of self. I wanted to give up trying to control every aspect of my life. That basic longing, as a result, finally won out. I eventually came to see past my fears and judgments and learned how to trust myself. It took an experience that broke me apart both physically and emotionally to finally accept myself. While I didn't choose to have Anorexia, I do have the power and the ability to continually choose recovery. I have to remind myself no matter how uncomfortable and wrong recovery might feel, my life is worth preserving. I have to keep choosing to recover in order to live, no matter how tempting it may be to relapse. I choose to prioritize my mental health and stability, and my hope is for others to do the same.
"If you do not make good use of this free and precious life, what good does it do to possess a human body?"
If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, please visit the link listed below for an online self-assessment:
I am not doctor nor an expert when it comes to eating disorders; as such, please use caution while navigating this site as I'm not a professional (this website is to be used as a tool). Always visit your primary care provider or nearest eating disorder clinic for further information.
I'm more than happy to share with you my story and life experiences. Please feel free to contact me. I will offer any honest advice and lend my support to the best of my ability.