Monday, November 22, 2010

Open Your Heart

I'm glad to say my boyfriend is finally back from his business trip to Boston. He was gone for two months, leaving me here alone. In other words, the ultimate test of my commitment to recovery. It's huge for me, eating on my own. He (next to my faith in God) has been the most crucial part of my recovery. For the last five years he has taken the time to understand my eating disorder and to help me beat it. Even long before I was ready to get better, he was in my corner, fighting for me to get better. When he's around not eating or restricting is never an option. He simply won't stand for it. But, as I've said before, I can't depend on him to make me eat. I have to do it for myself. I can't be better when he's around and then fall to pieces when I'm on my own. Though I stumbled more than once while he was gone, I'm proud that I didn't spiral into a dark, dark place. There were days when I didn't eat nearly enough, but those days were rare. Most of the time I managed to eat properly and healthily. In other words, I love my boyfriend, I'm happy he's home again, and I want to be healthy for him, but I'm glad to know without a doubt that I have what it takes to be healthy for myself.

We went to the gym tonight after he got home from work. I don't like working out with other people and he doesn't either, so we do our own thing and meet up again when we're ready to leave. I was on the elliptical when I noticed a girl two rows in front of me on a treadmill. Her ponytail is what caught my attention, actually. It kept bobbing up and down as she ran. I wasn't staring at her on purpose, but I found my eyes going back to her over and over again. I felt some kind of connection to her that I couldn't explain. Something told me she had an eating disorder. I don't know why. She was doing nothing to suggest it. She was only running, steady, methodical, determined. Maybe I saw a bit of myself in her actions, the way she ran, the way she looked from side to side. She was thin but not overly thin. She looked normal. Was she? Did I look normal? Was I?

I wondered how many people around me had or have had eating disorders. It's hard to tell by looking at some one. Even people who are very thin are rarely thin because of an eating disorder. On the other hand, people who are a normal weight or even overweight could be suffering from an eating disorder without anyone knowing. Like me. At one point in my life it was obvious that I was sick. But now, no one would ever know. I'm just like any other girl there, the one to the left of me, the one to the right.

We came home and made spaghetti. I ate a lot. My brain kept telling me that I needed to burn some calories off regardless of my workout earlier, but I didn't listen. I wanted to have soy ice cream but my brain reminded me I already ate enough today. And then the ticker tape started up, the calories, ticking. 100, 200, 300, 400. I could see all the day's calories rolling out in front of me. It's tempting to add them all up and know exactly how many calories I've had. In the past, that was my only option; I had to know the number. It was the most important part of the day. It measured my progress and determined my plan for the next day. I could close my eyes at night thinking of nothing except that number 700, or 300. 900, or 0. Regardless, that number was the most important thing, next to the number on the scale, of course. Now I couldn't care less.

I'm not afraid of a stupid number.

I am thankful for how far I've come.

I hope that girl at the gym has never had an eating disorder, and I hope she never does. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

But, for those of us who have to go through this, I just want to offer a reminder:

There is a way out.

There is life on the other side.

There are more important things than calories and fat grams and the size on the tag inside your jeans.

And you're beautiful, no matter what size, shape, weight, age, race, height, gender, nationality, religion, sexual preference.

We're only ugly when we open our hearts to hate.

So open them to love.

I'm opening mine to soy ice cream.



  1. I love this post. I'm so glad you've come so far! And glad that you're able to eat on your own. And that you have someone to support you. I'm more aware of people with eating disorders too but again, ya never know. They could have it or maybe the don't. We just can't assume that they do.

    Anyway, I'm so happy to hear you're doing better again and ignoring the ED voice(: I'm not a fan of soy ice cream, I really like coconut milk ice cream.
    Have a great night(:

  2. Thank you for following my blog! =D

    I too often find myself wondering how many people around me have ED's. And it hurts a lot to realize that many of the people I come in contact with every day don't have a healthy relationship with food or themselves. But like Danielle said that I can't just assume they have eating disorders, after all I cannot stand when someone assumes something about me!

    This is a beautiful post! I love the part at the end about opening my heart to love, not hate!

  3. Oh! It is a perfect timing that you have written that post.

    I had a taste of what you went through last weekend. I know, it is so pale compare to what you have gone through. It was so difficult. I realized that in a way, I have come to depend on Stu to "eat" well. It was not a good thing. I had to eat for me. Not for him. Not for anybody else. For me.

    So it is refreshing to see that I am not the only one that have come to this conclusion.

    And as for ED part, yes, I do that all of the time. I look at an overweight person and wonder if she/he has overeating, bulimia or even anorexia. Appearance can be very decieving.

    Yay for soy ice cream! They are quite yummy!

  4. proud of you. and a lovely post. :) glad your bf is back but MORE glad you were able to be successful on your own while he was away. that shows such strength and commitment. and as for not tallying the calories, it's something i'm actively working on breaking the habit of and understand the temptation.

    there is something, i think, inside of people with EDs that can sense when another is suffering too. an ED-dar. i hope also that that girl doesn't have an ED....i wish no one had to go through this!

  5. What a great, concrete testimony of how far you've come in recovery!

    I also have that strange, ED radar...where I can instantly sense someone with eating disorder issues. Sometimes I wish I can turn it off, but perhaps it's God's way of making us pray for that particular person.

    Keep on rocking! :)

  6. Sounds like you will be going into your BF absence really strong...and dn't forget we are here for you (your invisible friends...hahaha)

    It is so difficult when I see someone who I just have "that feeling about" its heartbreaking.

    One day I saw a woman, normal size, in a grocery store and ..the food in her cart..and her rushing and just grabbing stuff...I just knew she was on a binge. Cause I have ben there!

    It sucks. This disorder sucks. Thanks for the reminder about hope and a way out and to LOVE. Because love for ourselved is vital.


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