They are a very REAL thing and anyone who says they aren't, does not really know what they are talking about.
There are all sorts of eating disorders- some of which cause some to be malnourished.
Bulimia: This is a type of eating disorder where someone overeats or binges and then purges by forcing themselves to vomit.
Anorexia: This is a type of eating disorder where someone stops eating all together, or eats very very little.
There are also other eating disorders where people overeat, but this post is mostly about those who suffer from bulimia or anorexia. This is something I struggled with on and off for years, starting in high school. I worked at a pizza place and would binge eat pizza and bread sticks and then purge afterwards for fear of gaining weight. I never got scary thin, as my parents were very on top of my weight and would notice if I was losing too much, but the big problem was my body image issues.
I was not able to see myself as thin or beautiful. I saw myself as fat and ugly. I remembered my grandmother being very overweight due to thyroid issues, emotional issues, and more. I had and still at times have an uncontrollable fear of becoming obese. The fear was almost crippling at times. I remember crying as I fell asleep sometimes because I had gained a pound or I couldn't lose the couple pounds I had gained. I regretted every cupcake, every milk shake, everything that had fat in it. (This was before I knew that fat is actually good for you). Most of my friends were fairy thin and didn't have hips like I did. Looking back, I know that I was not at all overweight, I was beautiful and I wish I could have seen this back then. I pretty obsessed with fitness and health, but didn't have all the resources I found later in life. I thrived on fitness, shape, and seventeen magazine. I was one of the MANY youngsters who was influenced by the media. I was in fear of looking fat and thought a man would never find me attractive if I wasn't super thin. Looking back, all I can do is shake my head.
As the years went on and high school was over, I was able to admit that I had an issue, I admitted it to my boyfriend (who later became my husband). He listened and didn't judge me but assured me that I was beautiful regardless or weight. I knew all of this, but still found it difficult to look at myself and see beauty.
My weight fluctuated over the next couple years until I became comfortable in my own skin. I did struggle with my weight at one point. I had gained about thirty pounds, looking back, I didn't look horrible, but I was so unhappy. I was having a lot of health issues at the time and was on medications that encouraged my body to gain weight. It was a dark time in my life and I'm glad I made it out of that. Over the last seven years, I struggled with the eating disorder for maybe a few weeks at a time. I remember when my friend confronted me about it one day and I was so shocked I didn't know what to say. It was then that I realized I really needed to learn more about health and nutrition and get myself on the right path to health, after all I was born with a heart condition and didn't want it getting any worse.
I graduated from nutrition school and had learned so much about health! I learned was eating clean meant (no processed foods), learned about proper portion control, and so on. I eventually even realized that my body felt better on a mostly vegetarian diet with meat occasionally. I also began to build muscle and learned more about weight lifting and exercise-- I even became a personal trainer. I then began attending Naturopathic Medical School- where my mind was blown even further. I learned about nourishing my body and doing what was best for it. I felt so good and actually became the most healthy I had ever been. I also began to train people and make meal plans and such. I thought that I had fully overcome my eating disorder, although, there were still times that I would look at myself and not see myself for what I was.
Flash forward to a couple months ago when my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first child. The joy was unspeakable. So many prayers have been prayed for this time, so many tears cried for this time, and it is finally here! It didn't take long for me to notice changes in my body. To be honest, I had never thought about the process of weight gain during pregnancy. I guess I just thought I would wake up one day and there would be a bump- I knew it wasn't rational- but that is besides the point.
I recently started noticing bigger changes when my uterus moved out of my pelvis and began to see a bit of a bump. It was difficult for me to see beauty in this, and it still is at times. I talked to my husband about it, but he knew so much about my past with my disorder that I wasn't feeling any better. I began to pray and do my best to see things differently, and then I realized I need to speak with my doctor about the feelings I was having. I was still eating and hadn't stopped or returned to my old ways. I had been very sick the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy though- I had began to wonder why I ever made myself throw up in the first place.
The emotions I have gone through are hard to explain. I would look at myself in the mirror and try to justify the weight gain. I had trouble looking at my old photos and even doubted if I should still train people to do my programs such as 31 days of abs or 31 days of total body circuit- especially because I didn't look like that same person anymore. When you are pregnant your emotions are magnified by a lot- you can go from being irritated to crying in seconds. I began to feel ugly and didn't want to leave the house.
I finally had my appointment with my doctor- who by the way is amazing. She is on board with me doing natural parenting and natural birthing in whatever way is best for me! I told her about my past with eating disorders and how I look at myself and see this transition and it is difficult for me. I felt extremely vulnerable. To my surprise, she didn't look at me with judgmental eyes, instead she said what I was dealing with was incredibly normal for someone with my past. She told me to remember all my schooling with nutrition and everything I have learned about growing a healthy baby and keeping my body healthy. She told me to find beauty in every situation. She said this is hard because it isn't something I can control. I can't control where and how my belly is carried during pregnancy. I walked away feeling 100X better. So now I am setting out on a journey to find beauty in my pregnancy. Each and everyday. I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband, who is willing to help me in whatever way I need.
Today, I saw beauty for the first time. I didn't take a picture trying to convince myself that I look beautiful. The first time someone told me that my bump was "really growing" it was difficult. BUT- today I saw something different. I saw a mother. I saw the blessing that my husband and I prayed for. All in one photograph. One photograph did so much for me. I encourage those of you who have body image issues to have photography done and see yourself in a different light.
I posted this photo on my personal social media page today with the hopes of helping others who are recovering from eating disorders. I wrote this post to help those see that eating disorders are not for attention. They could be a cry for attention, yes, but from what I have experienced there are many reasons behind eating disorders. Emotions run deep.
I am available to help those of you recover from eating disorders! I am beyond qualified to help you take your life back, begin nourishing your body, and can listen and understand your feelings and what you are going through! If youo would like to schedule an appointment with me please email me here.
Who am I?
My name is Jessica Kellaway! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about!