Overcoming an Eating Disorder

While it’s hard to open up and talk about moments in my life I am not proud of, the effect this post had on social media—over 3 million reached and almost 900 comments at last count!—and the lives it seemed to touch, was incredibly worth it. I can’t help but post it here on my blog as well, in hopes of it reaching and helping even more in need, especially since one of our dear friends and contestants on Extreme Weight Loss season 5—Pearls—also suffered for years from an eating disorder.

Moment of truth: In the depths of my own severe eating disorder, I never thought in a millions years that I would be happy with my body. “Weight, scales, body image, exercise, food, dieting, restricting, binging, purging, fear” were just a handful of awful words that would literally plague my mind daily for nearly a decade as I battled with the strongest opponent ever: MYSELF. I fought my own demons each and every day. Each day attempting to release myself from the hell I was living. Each day striving for a healthier life. Day after day, month after month, and year after year, I failed. Each failed attempt was proof to me that I’d always suffer, and that I would never live a “normal” life. There were times I felt my body wouldn’t be able to handle the stress I was putting it through, and I worried I wouldn’t make it to the next day.

The picture on the left is me at 17 in the place I mentioned above. This wasn’t even the worst of it…fast forward 6 years—I was married with a baby on the way and still didn’t have my crap together. Luckily, that was about when things changed and healing began. Becoming a mother and learning to be selfless was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and it truly helped set me on a better path.

Two kids, one divorce, a new husband, and two more kids later, I am healthier than ever before. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. While it truly has been a slow journey, the fact that I am eating upwards of 2600 calories a day to build muscle will never be anything short of a miracle to me, because the thought of increasing size was always something that absolutely terrified me. At 33 years old and 20 lbs. heavier than I’ve been the majority of my adult life, I feel sexier, stronger, more beautiful and confident than ever before. Yeah, I might have a little more cellulite and wear a couple of sizes larger, but I can lift heavy weights and carry someone on my back without feeling like I’m gonna’ break. 😉 I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I saw this pic Chris snapped of me the other during my workout and couldn’t help but cry a few happy tears for how far I’ve come. I thank GOD every single day that I’m not suffering now like I did for so many years.

For ANYONE out there struggling with feeling like you will never get out of the vicious eating disorder cycle, use me as PROOF that it is possible! GET HELP! Seeking help may seem like a sign of weakness, but it is truly a sign of strength. Weak people do not reach out for help. Only strong and courageous people do!

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, here are some amazing organizations that can help:

Shades of Hope
National Eating Disorders Association

And please check out this blog post for some additional information about eating disorders and some tools that have helped me work through my own eating disorder.

Xoxo,

Heidi

Related reading:

Fighting Through My Struggle with Body Dysmorphia and an Eating Disorder
Eating Disorders: The Ugly Truth of the Skinny Fixation