My Road To Health: Part VII

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[For my entire Road To Health Series see these links: My Road To Health: Part 1, My Road To Health: Part II, My Road To Health: Part III, My Road To Health: Part IV, My Road To Health: Part V, My Road To Health: Part Vb, My Road To Health: Part VI]

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My road to health is never over, even though I can now tell you that I have been free from disordered eating for a while now.

Each day is a journey, not just with our Road to Health, but with all aspects of our lives.

What will happen today? Will I be good to myself? Will I treat others with respect? Will I hit a pothole along the way and slip up? Will I tell myself nice things and stay positive? Will I let negative thoughts or anxiety prevent me from succeeding? Will I be a good friend, family member, or partner?

A new day is quite exciting if you stop and think about it. Not everyone has this chance.

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The beauty of each day is that we have a chance to start fresh.

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For a long time, I didn’t believe this…at all. When I was deep into my disordered eating, no day was a fresh start for me.

It was simply one long, miserable journey that was going backwards and not forwards. With each day that I failed to take control of my own life, I crept back a few steps until I didn’t even know which way was the right direction.

Sometimes, when you fall into negative patterns for so long, you lose not only yourself, but your internal compass, that is supposed to guide you in the right direction. This internal compass, is also known as your heart or that little voice inside your head that tells you instinctively what you should do. Mine is always right.

Along the way, I stopped listening to my heart and my internal compass became a monotonous track of negative words and phrases.

You might be surprised to know that the #1 topic that I am emailed about pertains to disordered eating and the most frequent thing mentioned is binge eating. I have talked about binge eating several times in the past (parts: one, two, three) and I still believe that it is much more common than we believe and it is often an eating disorder that is swept under the rug and filled with great shame, much like bulimia.

For years, I couldn’t bring myself to even tell Eric that I struggled with binge eating at times. I could talk to him about the calorie restriction and over-exercising, but for some reason not binge eating. I was ashamed of myself and I was so scared that he was going to think less of me if I told him. Of course, that wasn’t the case. I was so scared for so many years to just talk about my struggles, but when I finally did I received support and understanding. Not once did I have someone turn their back on me.

Talking about it was the most freeing feeling in the world and it is always something I recommend to others in the same position. The secrecy, pain, and shame of an eating disorder creates this huge bubble of negativity in your life, but talking about it bursts the bubble and allows others to come inside to help. I saw a counsellor in university for a bit and I also started this blog and spoke openly about my struggles. Over time, I started to feel empowered and no longer like I was doomed by some negative fate.

Of course, this not only applies to those suffering from an eating disorder, but to most struggles in life.

The truth is, there is nothing to be ashamed of! We are human and we all have struggles in life. What we struggle with will vary by the individual, but we all struggle none the less.

The hardest part of my journey was admitting that I could claim happiness in my life.

For years, I believed that I was destined to be unhappy with myself and I thought that I would always struggle with food and weight until old age.

When you are struggling, the hardest part is always admitting to yourself that you deserve happiness. It is much easier to just believe that you don’t deserve happiness and remain stagnant in your life. Once you look yourself in the eye and admit that you deserve to be happy, you now must do something about it.

Doing something about it is the hard part, but it sure beats the alternative.

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Each and every one of us has a special and unique light inside of us just waiting to be embraced.

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My intention with this blog is to show you what makes me happy and then to encourage you to go find what makes YOU happy.  We all have a unique journey ahead of us and that is the beauty of life.

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[Sketchie recommends meditating sleeping in a box lid. That may also work. I think I shall try this tonight.]

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{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

Hope November 4, 2010

Beautiful post Angela.
Your blog helped me realise that there is more to life than binge eating, calorie restriction and guilt. That I could live a happy healthy life and eat food! Real food! :) And also that I deserve to be happy!
I feel so much better in myself these days, my mum even commented the other day that I ‘glowed’….that, is all thanks to you x

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Hope November 4, 2010

P.S Sketchie made my morning hehe I just wanna rub that little belly! But if he’s anything like my cat, he’d take my hand off if I tried!!

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Jackie Smith November 4, 2010

Thank you for sharing your heart with your readers.

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Therese November 4, 2010

I can’t say much more than that this post makes me happy! I love that you share this with everyone. You’re amazing!

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 4, 2010

Love. This is amazing.

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Leanne @ Simplicitlee November 4, 2010

I tottally agree that when you’re in a dark space in life, you think that everyone else deserves happiness except you. That was me for so long dealing with my anxiety, it still creeps up every now & then… and when it does, I try and remember the facts instead of busying my mind with the feelings (ex. if im anxious about a meeting with my boss, I stick to the facts: i’ve been working hard, and not the feelings: but what if he thinks im not working hard enough).

We all deserve happiness. I think everyone in their own way has the same issue. You have yours through disordered eating, I had mine through anxiety…. we’re all the same when it comes down to it, just looking to know we’re loved and supported.

:) great post Ang!

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Maria @ Oh Healthy Day November 4, 2010

Beautifully said Angela.

Frankly, I had never heard of binge eating until I started reading your blog and I was a Psych major for goodness sakes! Our classes only focused on anorexia and bulimia. I have learned so much from you because of your openness with the subject and I hope it can start the healing process for others. Thanks for sharing.

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Ida November 4, 2010

I love this post! I agree that every day is a fresh start- and I love that. I also can’t get enough of sketchie. His spots are so pretty.

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 4, 2010

I SO agree that binge eating is something that is swept under the rug and ignored so much. That’s why I never hesitate to openly share my history with it on my blog. I want others to see that there is no shame…and that they deserve to take the steps to overcome it too. And they CAN!

Great post, as always. :)

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Sassy Molassy November 4, 2010

Love love love this! Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us.

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Keri November 4, 2010

Thank you for the reminders :) Love the pics of Sketchie in the box!

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Holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 4, 2010

Thank you for these posts Angela! I do think binge eating is common but it can easily be called “pigging out” or overindulging. I think it is much more serious than that.

I have had some disordered eating habits in the past and I know it was tough for me to tell Jason, but I’m so glad I did. I probably never would have stopped if I never got the courage to tell him face to face.

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matt gordon November 4, 2010

i hope that you take this the right way, but it was painful for me to read this. it makes me think of other girls i have known that must have had a similar struggle and didnt get help. you ended it well. may both boys and girls be encouraged by your writing

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Emily November 4, 2010

Amazing post Angela. As always, you continue to inspire me with your words, your life, and all the happiness that you spread through your blog. I had a major break through in my journey the other night. In two separate conversations, my mom and my boyfriend both asked me “why can’t you see how far you’ve come and all of the incredible things you have accomplished; be happy with yourself.” It has really started to hit me that I have to choose happiness for myself and for my life. Thanks for sharing your story :)

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Becky November 4, 2010

“A new day is quite exciting if you stop and think about it. Not everyone has this chance.” Love that line and it is so true. Embracing each day is something I strive for but have to work constantly on. Thanks for the reminder :)

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Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' November 4, 2010

This post totally tugs at my heart strings. I had the exact same struggle– I had the HARDEST time talking about binge-eating with my husband! I had no problem talking about other diet or exercise habits… but binging is often a secret, humiliating struggle. When I finally did find the courage to talk about it with my husband, I broke down in tears! It was such an emotional release. And he didn’t turn his back on me either. ;) I truly think talking about it openly was a HUGE step towards my recovery! Just having it “out in the open” helps. And reading honest, thoughtful blogs like yours!

Oh, and Sketchie totally just made my day!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman November 4, 2010

I wrote about something similar to this today, too. Our weight shouldn’t hang on the scale. Judging our lives and gauging our happiness on the pant size or weight or whatever just steals from us the ability to be happy no matter what.

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Jenny November 4, 2010

beautifully written! I dealt heavily w/ disordered eating and what you typed is what i felt. thanks!

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Katy @ A Healthy Shot November 4, 2010

Thank you so much for posting this Angela! This is such a hard topic to talk about. I’ve noticed that I have a much easier time sharing my struggles with eating/guilt with strangers on my blog than actually sharing with my friends or family. I’m slowly making progress and talking about it does help. Reading your story throughout the past year has really opened up to me that I wasn’t the only person struggling with these feelings, and that life didn’t have to be that way.

Love the pictures of Sketchie! Oh to be a cat :)

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Caroline November 4, 2010

Thanks for this series, Angela. I got tears in my eyes reading this because the unhappiness sounds so much like me. I am working to change it but it is a very slow process. I’ve lost the time to run (taking classes and working full time) and have really been struggling with self-esteem these past few weeks and have been totally miserable. These posts help remind me that it doesn’t last forever!

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Cyn November 4, 2010

Angela, I just loooove you! : ) No really, since I’ve discovered your blog, I haven’t missed 1 post. I’m sorry if I haven’t replied to one yet… I guess I was waiting for the right day to let you know how inspiring you are to me. BUT I love every single blogs you write. I love the positiveness in all your blogs and the recipes… OMG! I try one, once a day. No jokes! But they all make my husband happy; thanks for THAT ; ) You’re an amazing person; where do you find the energy for all this anyway?? LOL I can relate to a lot of your posts; I live in Mississauga and our family loves hiking. We love Kelso and Nemo. Have you ever been? Our engagement pictures were actually taken while hiking in Campbell River… My brother in law lives in Milton… Anyways… PLEASE keep up the writing; that’s what keeps me going during the long day at work.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 4, 2010

Great post Ange. I love your honesty and openness, and you should be so proud of yourself for coming all this way. I’d like to take Sketchie up on that recommendation too… although I don’t think I have a box lid big enough! :)

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Jamie November 4, 2010

This was a really beautiful post. I’m relatively new to your blog so I followed your links to read about your previous posts on binge eating. Although I too have had bouts of binge eating all my life, what I really struggle with is over exercising. I’m naturally thin and tall and have never been overweight but I feel like I have triggers (like you mentioned in your first binge eating post) such as stress, anxiety, working too many hours at my job, that just push me over the edge and I feel as though the only way to control it is to exercise (a bit to the extreme). Do you think you could do a post on this? I think many young women deal with emotional issues related to exercise and I’d love to hear about how other people feel about this issue too.

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Kaitlyn (College Girl Runs) November 4, 2010

Thanks for this inspirational post. Your story has helped me through recovery and continues to help me each day. I love that you said that “the beauty of each day is that we have a chance to start fresh”. Beautiful quotation!

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Erin November 4, 2010

Angela, thanks for writing this hearfelt post, and for your series– they have been so helpful in my health journey. It is nice to read someone opening up about a deep, thorny topic that is so hard to discuss. Thanks!!

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Callie November 4, 2010

Beautiful post. So much that you said about negativity, rang true with the old me. And what you said about shame, still rings true to this day – as when I’m telling people why I eat raw – I often find myself just saying ‘I was admitted into a treatment center for disordered eating’, leaving out the Bulimia part. I’m open with my 8 year battle, but I’m not as open with the later.

When I read your blog however, I always want to go running back to mine and be more open about my exact struggles with bulimia – as I know, it will only help others that are suffering.

I commend your bravery :) Thanks as always, for sharing!

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Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 4, 2010

This is a lovely post! I know some of the things that make me happy, but I am also working constantly to figure out the rest.

I think that one of the keys to doing this is not to get frustrated by the process!

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 4, 2010

What a great post – binge eating is a hard one. It’s so “hush hush” whereas so many other eating disorders are easier to talk about. Thanks for being you!

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amanda November 4, 2010

I went back and re-read all of this series and I cannot tell you how much I needed to read all of that today! I’m not technically a vegan (or even a vegetarian for that matter) but I can tell you without a doubt that I’d much rather be eating the good stuff that I see on your blog than the crap I’ve been putting in my body lately! Thank you for inspiring me.

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Megan (Braise The Roof) November 4, 2010

Very thoughtful post, Angela. Although I am fortunate not to have suffered from an eating disorder (though I’ve certainly had moments of weakness, as I’m sure we all have) I think you’re words speak to more that just ED’s- you really put things into perspective!

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Cindy Robinson November 4, 2010

Thank you for sharing this. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve felt I don’t deserve anything good in life. But I’m working day by day to realize that’s not true. And seeing your blog about such an important but simple yet perplexing topic makes me smile. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for openning up :) P.S. Your kitty rocks, he’s so cute!

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J. November 4, 2010

Gosh, I feel I wish we could send an email each other’s way. I’m struggling right now with a lot, and need something guidance or advice or something. Falling. I admire how together you are. I feel so sucked in.

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Judy November 4, 2010

Angela – that you for writing from your heart. It is refreshing to see such honesty.
I agree that each day is a gift and feel that we should treat it as such. I have been really working on living in the NOW. I can get so caught up in the past or worry about the future and that is not how I want to live my life. I also have been trying to practise self-love, self-care, and self-respect. Developing a deeper realationship with ourselves is so important.

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Judy November 4, 2010

Ops – I meant to say ‘thank you’

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Katie @ Keepingupwithkatie November 4, 2010

Hi Angela! I really like this post. I wrote something similar yesterday and thought you might enjoy it. I truly believe that finding happiness comes from accepting yourself and not trying to strive for impossible standards. An internal compass, as you say, can be found through little things in life like going for a hike, hanging out with your kitties, or baking something for others (and yourself!).

http://keepingupwithkatie.com/2010/11/03/its-ok-to-be-happy/

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 4, 2010

What a beautiful post Angela – thankyou for sharing so honestly your experiences :)

Ps – on a COMPLETELY unrelated topic…I made your strawberry oat squares and all I can say is WOW! I’ll be posting about it tonight :)

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Candice @ ChiaSeedMe November 4, 2010

Great post, Angela. Made me tear up a little bit. I haven’t really dealt with an ED, but I’ve realized lately that I don’t think I do deserve happiness a lot of the time. I look at what my family has done and who they are, and I don’t think I have the ability to move beyond that. It’s like inside I believe I’m destined to fail at anything I try to do. I know that you are right about us having to choose happiness for ourselves…but sometimes it is just so hard. I’ll tell myself I believe I deserve to succeed, but my actions don’t show that I truly believe it.

Anyway, thanks for writing this post. I needed to hear it.

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Jennifer@ knackfornutrition November 4, 2010

This post was very needed in my life this week. I have come a long way in my struggle, but it is still very hard. This past week in particular has been difficult. I have felt completely out of control.

Reading about other people’s struggles is comforting. Sometimes it is nice to hear that you are not fighting along.

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Shanna, Like Banana November 4, 2010

I like Sketchie’s advice — I think I’ll take it ;)

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Kelly November 4, 2010

Perfectly put!! Thank you for your willingness to share your story with us, Angela!

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Beth @ bride in the little white dress November 4, 2010

Eloquently said Angela! Thank you for reminding us we all deserve happiness no matter what size we are (or want to be).

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