“Summer lovin’ and fights, how it is for us and it’s all because we’re talking body”-Tove Lo
In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I thought I’d use today as an opportunity to touch on something I haven’t talked about in a while. It’s been over a year since I opened up to my friends and family about battling an eating disorder since I was 18. The decision to share this wasn’t an easy one, but with the help from Melissa, a photographer I met who also struggled with an eating disorder, it was one that changed my life for the better. Having Melissa to share my feelings and experiences with was easy. Even though we didn’t physically meet until the day of the photo shoot, I felt like I had known her my whole life. She put me at ease, and made me feel comfortable talking about my habits. My secret was finally out, and I was hoping that it would make the road to healthy habits an easy one.
Maybe I underestimated the way the project with Melissa would change my life. Maybe I underestimated how many emotions I would feel after letting this secret out. Whatever it was, the year following the shoot was (and still is) a hell of a roller coaster ride. While it certainly helped me with being more open about the disease, it also made me feel more open for criticism. I felt like everyone was examining me to see how much I was eating or exercising. I felt like I was under an even stronger microscope, and couldn’t seem to get out. Yet again, the disease was trapping me, controlling me, and running my life. Shortly after summer was over, I realized I had enough. I couldn’t keep letting this happen. I need a plan.
I said it once, and I’ll say it again: you never get over an eating disorder. It is a part of you, with you, every day. It’s a voice in the back of your head, talking to you, at all times. Some days it’s a whisper that you can barely hear. Other days, it’s a scream so loud that you can’t focus on anything else. Every day is a battle between those two voices. I know the key to keeping those screams down to a tiny whisper: a day-to-day plan. When I pack my days with healthy meals and realistic workouts, I feel light, free, and strong. The days when I fail to plan are the longest, loudest days. Too many of those days and I lose control over the person that I am. I feel weak and heavy, in more ways than one. I know those days have to happen, because they are the test. They are what make the good days feel so much better. They are what make the happiest days stay with me longer. Luckily, life has been giving me less of those kinds of loud days lately.