I never thought I’d be writing about having an eating disorder, butt I have learned so much through the recovery process, I want to share. An eating disorder can come along in times of life when we face struggles, and unintentionally turn to food or dieting for control. It’s a subconscious action that comes with serious consequences, both emotionally and physically, despite the intial control it provides. Through the recovery process, there are many things I’ve learned about my health from my eating disorder I want to share with you in case you’re in my shoes. If you currently have an eating disorder, I urge you to get help, which you can do through the website provided at the end of this article. Life is so much better on the recovery side!
1. Calories Are a Good Thing
I used to fear high calorie foods, but one thing I learned about my health in regards to my eating disorder, was that my body likes a lot of calories. Not only did my mood health improve, but also my skin, hair, nails, and metabolism. Calories are given to us as a simple way to measure how much energy is obtained from foods. Start looking at calories that way, and choose good sources of calories so they can give you the best energy possible.
2. Physical Appearance
Another thing I learned from my eating disorder was just how much our health can affect our physical appearance. At the worst, my skin was pale, dry and lifeless. My hair was thinning, and shedding. My nails constantly broke and my entire body just looked lifeless. As someone who never dealt with these issues, it was physical proof for me that my eating disorder was ruining my physical health.
3. It Wrecks Your Metabolism
Eating disorders wreck your metabolism, despite if you lose weight. They teach your body to run off starvation level, so they eat everything from muscles, to even bone if things get bad. Your body is smart, and it will find something to fuel it. Dieting too long can cause irreversible effects on your metabolism, making it harder to manage weight the rest of your life.
4. Low Thyroid
My thyroid function also took a major hit from my eating disorder. Though I was eating immensely clean foods, my thyroid was a wreck! The problems included low energy, lack of sex drive, poor skin, hair and nails, and poor digestion. Getting a good amount of healthy fats, protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals from clean foods is the best way to take care of your thyroid, not depriving it of too few calories like I was doing.
5. Digestion is Altered
I learned so many lessons about my digestive health from my eating disorder. Unfortunately, none of them are things I wish I had to learn at all. Before my eating disorder, I tended to tolerate many foods. Now, I tolerate very few due to the chronic damage I caused my body over 15 years. That’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s the truth. Chronic dieting, eating the wrong foods, taking dieting supplements, laxatives, and depriving your body of nutrition can greatly hurt your digestion. It can also make you intolerable to certain foods like dairy when you start to heal. Digestion isn’t something you can fix over time, and many women who’ve ever dieted in a harmful way, usually deal with some sort of digestion issue.
6. Health is More than Food
One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my eating disorder was that health is about so much more than food. It’s about your emotional health, spiritual health, and yes, physical health. During the worst times of my eating disorder I neglected both my emotional and spiritual health. This made me depressed, stressed, anxious, and irritable. I also felt lost and out of touch with life and myself. Be sure you know that health is about all circles of your life, not just what’s on your plate. It’s essential to take care of them all in order to be the best you possible.
7. It’s up to Me
Lastly, I learned most importantly that my health is completely up to me. That’s a huge responsibility, and privilege at the same time. I have the ability to give my body everything it needs, and nurture every part of it, but it’s up to me to do so. Depriving it, or relying on medicine, others, or the future to provide me with the perfect health are taking the easy way out. Give your body what it needs, put in the work, and the benefits and results will amaze you!
Eating disorders kill women every single year, and the statistics show that they are on the rise now more than ever. Be sure that if you have an eating disorder, you get help before it’s too late. You have the power to change your life, and learn about your health in more ways than you know. For more information on help for eating disorders, please visit The National Eating Disorders Association at: nationaleatingdisorders.org.
If you’ve ever had an eating disorder, what have you learned about your health?