Fuel Your Day

148 comments

Sometimes I forget how far I have come since struggling with an eating disorder.

From the age of 11 until 25 I fought the battle. A battle I thought I would never be free from.

Many times, I gave up and I accepted my fate. I told myself that I would, for the rest of my life, have this struggle with food, my body, and myself. I would always count calories. I would always cringe when I looked at my body in a mirror. I would always obsess. I would always binge.

And I would always be hungry.

Other people could eat enough food, but I was somehow different from them and less deserving.

Many times, I actually tricked myself into thinking that I actually wanted this way of life. Because the alternative, was foreign. And really scary.

And fattening.

But I was wrong.

I couldn’t wake up and eat breakfast like other people did (did they really?, I would wonder). I wasn’t like them.

But I was wrong.

For years and years, my breakfast consisted of nothing.

I couldn’t eat until after my workout was complete. I wasn’t like other people who could wake up and eat breakfast. I had to earn it first.

After my workout my breakfast consisted of this:

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I could rattle off the nutritional information of an apple to you as if I was reciting the letters of the alphabet. I could for most foods actually. It was rare when I didn’t know the nutritional profile of a food. All of my thoughts were preoccupied by this.

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Now, I’m not knocking the delicious apple here. It really is a great snack. For my active lifestyle, it simply wasn’t close to being enough fuel for my body.

I was hungry all morning long. I yawned a lot. No amount of sleep can cure an empty stomach.

When I decided that being miserable was getting old and I wanted to recover, breakfast was still the most difficult meal for me to eat. I managed to increase my food intake later on in the day, but for some reason it was so hard for me to have a healthy and filling breakfast.

Little by little, I managed to get past my breakfast fear. Green Monsters were a huge part of getting over this fear.

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For once in my life, I had fun with breakfast. I was experimenting and making all kinds of crazy concoctions. I felt great. I had tons of energy and I was excited for breakfast again. My breakfasts have gone from being a small snack to a filling and healthy meal.

For breakfast this morning, I enjoyed Chocolate Pumpkin Vegan Overnight Oats!

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Want to know another awesome benefit of adding pumpkin to your Vegan Overnight Oats?

It adds a ton of volume!

When I add pumpkin, I increase the volume by at least 30-40%. Pumpkin is also high in Vitamin A, C, Iron, and has 3.5 grams of fibre per 1/2 cup.

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In this mix = 1/3 cups oats, 1.25 cups Almond Milk, 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1.5 tbsp chia seeds, 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 serving Amazing Grass Chocolate Amazing Meal Power.

Toppings included = Cranberries, unsweetened coconut, and 1/2 tbsp coconut butter mixed with 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup.

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Healthy fuel for a busy day ahead! :)

Have you ever dramatically changed the way you eat such as by increasing/decreasing your intake, switching to a new eating lifestyle, or breaking out of a rut?

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{ 146 comments… read them below or add one }

JenATX August 24, 2010

i love hearing that you have learned to love breakfast! thanks for letting the bloggers out there that embracing a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to happen over night :)

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Jessica @ How Sweet August 24, 2010

I’ve been so blessed that I’ve never had an ED so I never really dramatically altered the way I ate. But once I hit about 16-17 yrs old and realized the purpose of “volume” foods is when things really began to change for me!

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Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow August 24, 2010

About two years ago I was a very different person. My thoughts were, like yours, obsessed with numbers, nutrient profiles, should I or should I not, can I or can’t I. Everyday I fought against the desire to eat. My mind was filled with that world and there was barely any room left to enjoy life, my friends, my now husband or my family.

And then it all changed…I was tired and done! I was ready to change but I had no idea how. Very slowly, oh so very slowly I began. One morning I got up and made a bowl of cereal. I didn’t measure it, I didn’t think about what was in it. I didn’t care if there was sugar. I just wanted a bowl of cereal and it was the best moment I had had in such a long long time!

Now I eat to live well and I eat to nourish my body. I’m still learning, I’m still improving. But now I can soak up so many more moments in my day! :)

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Nicole @ Making Good Choices August 24, 2010

I never had an ED, but I did deprive myself of foods that I considered to be too high in calories or fat, like nut butters. Now I enjoy them in my oats, granola bars, on apples. It took awhile to get out of that mindset but I’m glad i did.

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Leianna August 24, 2010

For the past 8 years I was just like that, thinking I would never be full or happy around food. This summer I hit the bottom and my mother and MIL had an intervention and since then I have eaten 3 healthy meals a day and felt great. “Normal” eating was so foreign to me and scared me as well! I no I’m only one month into this new pattern but hope to continue on for a long time and never go back to that sadness and rules of food!

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Natasha August 24, 2010

Leianna,

Recovery from an ED is the battle of a lifetime, but it is one that is conquered one day at a time.
Congratulations on your one month of recovery-life is so much sweeter ED free. You can do it!

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Nicole - yuppie yogini August 24, 2010

I can relate to this! A year ago I ate no breakfast and had a Luna bar and fruit for lunch. Then id work out 90 minutes a day. My diet has really changed and now I avoid packaged food, eat mostly organic, and have cut back on the excessive workouts. Ive gained a lot of weight in the process and am trying to find a balance, but I’m moving on the right direction!

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banandrea August 24, 2010

I love this post- thank you :)
Personally, my intake looks dramatically different than it did a year ago, as does my attitude toward food. Like you, I had to “earn” all of my food at the height of my eating disorder- and when I “earned” it what I had was “low fat” this or “low calorie” that- artificial sweeteners and veggies/fruits making up the bulk of my meals. Not that there’s anything wrong with fruits and veggies (obviously, they are deeeeeelicious!) but I can now employ balance and moderation in a post-eating disordered daily intake! I now truly believe that food is delicious, necessary and enjoyable- and that I can really have any food I want in moderation regardless of my activity level. The freedom is astonishing, as I’m sure you know, and it’s nice to know that what I’m doing is right for my body!

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Lizzie August 24, 2010

This doesn’t really answer your question, but I would be absolutely lost without breakfast. I seriously can’t be myself, be attentive, be present, if I haven’t had that first meal of the day. I never understood why someone would skip it! And why Americans want to eat donuts for it!! :)

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Jane August 24, 2010

I guess losing 146lbs of weight must mean I radically altered my eating. I made some big changes which included:
*viewing my relationship with food like an addicts addiction so cut out foods that I couldn’t eat in a reasonable way- so cut out cheese
*switched dinner plates to smaller size
*wrote down everything I ate and reflected on whether I had felt hungry or not !
*Not thinking I was on a diet – but rather this is the way I choose to eat
*got a grip on portion sizes
* ate breakfast
*watched carbs
*discovered porridge/oats !
and discovered not only is this the way I choose to eat but I love my food choices and even ditched the diet coke and all ‘diet’ foods I was stunned to discover that the diet industry uses aspartamine as a sweetner which is an appetite stimulant !!!

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 24, 2010

Wow, Jane! That’s amazing that you were able to lose so much weight and change your relationship with food. Way to go!

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schmei August 24, 2010

“Not thinking I was on a diet – but rather this is the way I choose to eat”

Amen. Because a “diet” is usually for a set amount of time, and then when you’re finished with the diet one goes back to all the bad habits… That’s the mindset I’m working on. I just want healthy habits that I can stick with. It’s definitely a shift in thinking!

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Jane August 24, 2010

I work as a psychotherapist and ‘knew’ the theory I am still a work in progress ! but can accept that I may have the odd slip up but it’s not the end of the world and I know my tastebuds have changed and my favourite gadget is my juicer where I create my version of green monsters ! :)

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Mimi August 24, 2010

I relate to much of what you are (and are always) saying. I especially connected with when you said, “I felt like I had to deserve it…”

The calorie for calorie concept used to rule me. Now, I know that life happens.

Thanks for the continual inspiration.

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Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries August 24, 2010

Seeing how far you have come made me smile this morning. I used to suffer from disordered eating and now feel so much better about my relationship with food. For me, nothing is off limits and it feels SO GOOD.

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Tina August 24, 2010

I really relate to this post. It was scary to think there was an alternative to life, but there came a point where I figured fear had to be better than hating myself. Now a passion for helping others overcome those struggles consumes me. Which is why I’m starting my 30 Days of Self-Love in September. (http://www.faithfitnessfun.com/30-days-of-self-love/) I’m so thankful I made those changes. It took a lot of time but is so worth it now. Much more fun to try new foods and have energy!

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Annie@stronghealthyfit August 24, 2010

So happy for you that you are healthy now :-) That looks like an amazing breakfast! It’s getting to be that time of year when I am just starting to crave autumnal foods, like pumpkin.
I went through a solid year of an ED, and eating only 2 meals a day: yogurt and fruit for breakfast, and a big salad (no dressing) for dinner. Glad that’s over.

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Melissa August 24, 2010

Hi Angela – I think its wonderful what you’ve done for yourself. I have a quick and easy question – does this keep you full ALL MORNING? I find that even when I eat a large breakfast, I get hungry 3 hours later. So if I eat at 7am, I’m still hungry at 10am. I know calories shouldnt matter, but I’m still somewhat in the calorie mindset. So I get so scared to have 500+ calories before lunch. I’m active and eat normal otherwise. I love waking up to breakfast, but it still scares me.

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Christine @Grub, Sweat and Cheers August 24, 2010

I am the same way. I eat breakfast at 8:00 and 99% of the time am hungry 3 hours later. So I eat again, often having my ‘first’ lunch, or substantial snack at 10:30/11:00. People sometimes look at me funny at work because I’m having a bowl of soup at 10:30 but whatever, I’m hungry, I’m not watching a clock to know when to eat.

I usually eat when I am hungry again, around 2 or so. Just listen to your body. If you are hungry, you are hungry and should nourish yourself. Don’t count calories, eat until you are satisfied and then stop.

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Candyfls August 25, 2010

Hi Ladies,

It’s reassuring to read that I’m not the only one who gets the ‘hunger pang’ mid-morning, despite however much I eat for breakfast! I love my breakfast meals (usually oats, fruit, cereal), but regardless of how much or how balanced, I’m always starving again by 10:30 or 11:00 am. It’s been frustrating because I wouldn’t expect to feel that way since I didn’t even deprive myself and yet have this insatiable hunger! It’s been a process of figuring out what works for me and my body and I realized that my metabolism causes me to get hungry every 3-4 hours (it’s like a clock, really). So like Christine, I have a small lunch #1 at 11:00 or so, and then another small meal at 2 pm. This seems to work! But still learning about intuitive eating and listening to my body, day-by-day… it’s a work in progress :)

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Alleigh August 24, 2010

Your story hits all too close to home. I have struggled with my ED for the past 10 yrs. At my worst, I can remember cutting my apple up into 8 pieces and eating it throughout the day. As I began eating more in college, my ED became less noticeable, but it was as painful as ever, just different. About 6 months ago, I came across green monster movement and then OSG. I started reading more and more and slowly realized that there was a whole community of people writing about healthy living. I was shocked by how much I could identify with their stories, and all of a sudden I felt like I was allowed to change. I don’t know what had been holding me back for so long, but I can’t express how helpful it has been to read your story. Thank you for being so open.

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Daniel August 24, 2010

I’ve fallen into anorexia, changed my eating habits to vegetarian, and overcame a lot of it while I was in Greece. To this day I still have slight trouble eating breakfast before I exercise. Though I workout for 20-30 minutes in the morning, I feel like eating breakfast before working out would make me feel like I had to exercise to burn off what I just ate. So I guess the struggle works in both ways.

Seeing someone else overcome their struggles is great motivation to always try to take another step in a healthier direction, I’m glad you posted about this. I’ve brought my exercising amount down a bit, and I’ve been incorporating higher fat, healthy foods (nut butters, nuts, oils, etc.) into my diet because I know that I need the fuel to live.

And I can probably (actually almost guaranteed) ramble off the calories in almost any given food from when I used to tally and count every calorie I ate. I’m glad that I was able to stop counting for good during my second attempt at it. Sure, it pops up in my head from time to time, but I just push it aside as best as I can – some things just never leave, but you make the best of it anyways. ^_^

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Ricki August 24, 2010

Great to hear your story. And I’m still working on it, right now. . . daily. ;)

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Laura D August 24, 2010

thank you so much for the post today. it was exactly what i needed after a night of slipping back into old habits. I too have struggled with BED for the past 3 years. it has isolated me from friends, affected my motivation, and changed so much of who i am as a person. In fact today i was so ashamed and nauseous, i called in sick to work. i continue to strive towards being healthy. what helps the most is eating 3 full meals, which means upping my view of what a meal looks like, so that i dont snack later. last week i went 7 days feeling wonderfully then i binged for two days straight out of habit. but i will not let myself fall into that pattern today so even though im home i am trying to do productive things.

what has also started to help me is listening to daily affirmations on my ipod from “My Thought Coach”. One is called Healthy and Moderate eater and it has helped immensley to release guilt and look on the bright side.

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Kath August 24, 2010

I have changed my diet dramatically in the past year due to ED recover. I have been in treatment over a year and have restored a lot of weight. It is freeing to be able to enjoy foods I never allowed myself to eat. However, I wish I could eat intuitively! That never seems possible for me! I wish I could eat when I want and what I want, but I don’t trust my body. I’m at a very frustrating point right now.

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Freya (Brit Chick Runs) August 24, 2010

I love this post.
I struggledwith severe anorexia for 2years, and it’s only the past 6months where I feel I’m really ‘letting go’, although I’ve been in recovery for 2years. I’m not where you are yet, but I’m quickly getting there!

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Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 24, 2010

When I was in the 6th grade all I would have for breakfast was an Instant Breakfast shake. It wasn’t that I was trying to lose weight, I just really liked them! It was essentially chocolate milk with a bunch of vitamins. However I passed out one day in class. I went to the school nurse and she told me that I needed a better breakfast. I hopped onto the oatmeal train after that (with dinosaur eggs of course ;) )

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Rhea (Greek Feaster) August 24, 2010

You go girl! Thank you for being brave enough to share your struggles with us. <3 I know that it makes me feel less lonely in what I've overcome. I feel like I still work every day! Sometimes I wish I had a switch in my brain that I could just turn off to stop thinking about food, meals, nutrition, etc. Of course it is useful at times, but sometimes it is just TIRING.
I can't wait to make pumpkin oatmeal this fall. I love pumpkin anything!

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Krystina August 24, 2010

I feel like I could have written a lot of this myself. When I first started losing weight, I ended up going down an unhealthy path. I would restrict myself to under 600 calories a day and also knew the nutritional stats to almost any food. There were days when I would eat so little and work out so much that my net cals were in the negative. Now, I don’t calorie count and I know that my body gets the fuel and nutrients it needs.

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Jenna @ bigdreamsskinnyjeans.com August 24, 2010

I can totally relate to this post. For years I would eat foods (anything from Eggplant to a specific type of pretzel) and research the internet like crazy until I found the nutritional info. I finally decided this was NO way to live – but it definitely took me a while to realize it was a bit crazy to be able to walk down the grocery store isle and rattle off all the calorie and serving size portions I had memorized. It is an addicting way to live and i’m glad I have more trust in myself now.

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Kelly August 24, 2010

I used to have a very unhealthy relationship w/food. Depriving myself foods I love and then binging on unhealthy junk food was normal for me. Now, I love the food I eat. I eat huge breakfasts and have never felt healthier or happier!

P.S. I absolutely love your blog, you are so inspirational!! :)

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Halley @ Blunder Construction August 24, 2010

You make a great point! Time to take a step back and look at how far I’ve come! I have struggled with food in many similar ways. For me, the challenge was learning how to fill myself up and this is something I am continuing to work out every day. In the past, I chose empty calories and poor nutrition and my body suffered the consequences. I’ve also been on the flip side, starving myself and restricting my diet because I obsessed with calorie-counting for all the wrong reasons. Now, I realize it’s not supposed to be a struggle in either direction. With smart nutrition and interesting ingredients, we really can have it all!

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Junia August 24, 2010

I still struggle with my ED and have a hard time loving myself, always wishing for something different! I’ve had to drastically change my eating due to some health problems I’ve developed, and I constantly have to remind myself to strive to be healthy, not skinny. It’s encouraging to know that other people have overcome it…!

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Jaya August 24, 2010

This is such a great/inspiring post and set of comments. Thank you for your honesty and narrative. I can’t remember the food-details, but what stands out for me is the self-loathing. Nothing was ever about being me, it was always about DOING things right. That meant (for me too) that breakfast was something that was earned through exercise, not through virtue of human need/entitlement. People say that when you’ve had an eating disorder, you can never really, truly be healed, but I disagree. I think that recovering from any kind of disordered/destructive relationship requires extensive re-modeling of your self-concept. Yes, the residue of that experience lingers in your memory and mind, but once you have accepted unequivocally that your central truth is your self-worth, you’re on your way.
Reading your blog is something that I associate with a time of great change and happiness in my own life, and discovering that other people are passionate about making these changes and loving who they are has been such a pleasure and source of comfort. Thanks again.

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Clemmy August 24, 2010

oh angela, i had no idea you had an ED, it doesnt come up much on your posts, so even tho i am currently recovering, i still loved your blog for its healthy and inspiring words… now it makes me feel better as i can relate to some of your past and i can see that there IS a way past this illness and there WILL be a future for me too!
my struggle is lunchtime, i can fuel myself with a good breakfast and dinner, but for some reason lunch seems like an indulgence to me as i am rarely that hungry during the middle of the day, i know that i must push myself past this, but hearing of your experience with breakfasts has helped me alot, thankyou :-)
x

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing August 24, 2010

Eating a hearty breakfast has made such a huge difference in my life. I always used to wake up, work out, eat one cup of cereal with skim milk and would end up STARVING throughout the day. I didn’t eat enough for lunch to make up for it and at night would always end up feeling dizzy with hunger. I thought I was being good and using will power but now I see how silly that was! Now I eat a good breakfast each morning and it really helps control my appetite all day. It make such a difference not to feel weak and hungry all day long!

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Stacey@http://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ August 24, 2010

I can totally relate to you and the struggles that you have gone through. I think it’s great that you share those struggles and show where you are at now.

P.S. I know I asked before but I’m looking to get a new camera and I love yours. What camera is it, and what program do you use to edit and post your pics.

Thanks:)

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 24, 2010

I can absolutely relate to this!! For a few years, I was neurotic about nutrition information labels, calories, and exactly how many I could have in each meal. I remember freaking out once because I ate two chocolate chips when I was baking. Crazy, right? I’ve learned that I don’t need 1200 calories a day, I need twice that amount, and while at first it was daunting to eat so much more, I’ve learned that I won’t gain inordinate amounts of weight and I FEEL so much better! Your story is truly inspiring :)

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Leah @ Simply Fabulous August 24, 2010

As someone who has known you for almost 10 years….i just want to say i’m proud of how far you have come!

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Nic August 24, 2010

Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. It’s so great to hear that you are in a good place right now. My current struggle is overeating, especially with sweets. If I decide not to eat them at all, I’m usually ok and can move on with my life. But once I eat a cookie or brownie, etc, I can’t seem to stop and want to eat five more! It’s all about balance and I know that I will find mine one day :)

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Astrid August 24, 2010

I can completely relate to this, especially the always being hungry part. Even now, I have days when I don’t allow myself to eat until I am full. I see being stuffed as a sign that I have eaten too much. But lately, some of my meals have been so delicious, that I will eat until I am full. And I have been able to sit back and enjoy it. It was not a binge. It was simply eating until I was sompletely and utterly satisfied. I know this is a great thing to do. And since I do get hungry again, it is completely necessary!
I am genuinely happy that you have reached such a great mind and body space. You are a GORGEOUS girl and you deserve to see that and enjoy it.

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Izzy August 24, 2010

Your experiences with food and eating disorders so closely the thoughts I’ve struggled with and still do struggle with sometimes. This is why I love your blog – your present relationship with food, what it appears like on the blog anyway, is what I want to achieve in recovery. To have a healthy, balanced relationship full of yummy (and SUCH pretty) food creations and discoveries.

Thanks for this post :)

izzyy
xox

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Rachael @ Houston Health Blogs August 24, 2010

Thank you so much for sharing that part of your story with us… its nice to see how far you have come. You are an inspiration to so many, thank you!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 24, 2010

I never had an eating disorder, but I remember in high school avoiding “bad” foods like they were poison. Eating one french fry to me was horrible. Now I’ll have a french fry and not feel guilty. I understand moderation now.

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Marina August 24, 2010

Thank you for this post.
I’m trying to increase my intake, but I’m not sure if I’m suppose to. I never think I eat too little, no matter what other people are saying. I’m trying to realize I need to gain some weight, and in order to do that, I should eat more and not worry about moving a lot or exercising…

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Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf August 24, 2010

Two weeks ago I decided to stop counting calories and focus less on making the number on the scale go down, and focus more on fixing my behaviors. While I do still step on the scale, I don’t worry about the number. It’s just a number and it helps me stay in tune with my body.

As a result of this, I’ve been eating more at breakfast and lunch, and I definitely feel more nourished. I’ve been eating more in the afternoon for snacks as well, and I’m not sure what that’s about.

I wondered if this would cause me to gain weight, considering I do have a night or two every week where I’m in the presence of indulgences, but I’ve noticed a shift. I eat more at breakfast and for an afternoon snack, but I’m not usually hungry for a morning snack anymore, and I’m not usually hungry for a large dinner at the end of the day. I’ve been eating more, and even indulging on the items I deemed WORTHY (fresh-out-of-the-oven-”Better-Than-Sex”-brownies!), and I haven’t gained anything but freedom and a great sense of self control. I don’t feel so driven to overeat anymore, and it feels wonderful!

It’s only been two weeks, and I still want to lose a little more, simply so I can fit into my jeans, but I’ve made peace with the number I see on the scale. My body is healthy and active and nothing to be ashamed of. It deserves to be nourished.

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