Many people hold the misperception that eating disorders are solely about food. In reality, food (binging/refusal of food/purging) are all symptoms of the REAL issue. Refusing food or binging is the way people with eating disorders learn to cope with something that would otherwise be unbearable.
For me, I was super unhappy my freshman year of college. To distract myself from my depression, loneliness, and severe homesickness, I (unconsciously) told myself that if I was skinny I would be happy. I focused all my attention on losing weight. Keeping my focus on dieting and exercise distracted me from the real problems going on in my life. My eating disorder was self destructive, but I needed a coping mechanism and it was all I had.
The number on the scale kept going down and down, but I still wasn’t happy. Of course I realize now that being skinny doesn’t constitute happiness. I’m happier now at my healthy weight than I ever was when I was extremely underweight. This happiness came to be because I finally stopped to search for what in my life was really making me unhappy. It wasn’t my weight.
After determining the causes of my unhappiness, I made changes in my life. I transferred colleges. I no longer force myself to study 24/7. I give myself breaks whenever I want them. I’ve learned to tell people “no”. I’ve slowed down the pace of my day and have learned to appreciate the beauty in things around me. Essentially, I’ve learned to love myself.
This isn’t to say that my life is complete bliss because that’s unreal for anyone. I still get stressed over schoolwork. I still worry about my future. Sometimes I still get lonely. I’ve learned to cope with these things though in a much healthier way. I call Darren or my sisters if I’m stressed. I talk to my parents about growing up, and they assure me things will work out okay. And when I get lonely, I escape into a novel.
So now that I love myself and I’ve learned to take care of myself, I only feed myself things my body loves! Lately I’ve been loving these protein packed breakfast shakes. I recently made a peanut butter shake.
Peanut Butter Shake
1/2 C. cottage cheese
10 ice cubes
1 Tbs. peanut butter
sweetener of choice (a couple teaspoons sugar or a couple packets splenda/truvia)
1/2 C. milk (I used almond milk, but dairy will work too)
Blend everything in blender until ice is fully crushed and everything is incorporated.