What Women Recovering From Eating Disorders Want You to Know

sad womanAccording to the National Eating Disorders Association, over 20 million women will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life. Whether it is anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, it can be enormously challenging to recover from an eating disorder.

We spoke with some brave women who are in recovery or working toward recovery about their experiences (names withheld for privacy) and what they want other moms to know about eating disorders. It is about so much more than weight. Consider this article a must-read, especially if you know someone who has or does struggle with disordered eating.

 

Image via iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

  • Change Is Hard

    1

    iStock.com/ Luis Pedrosa

    "I've been in recovery from bulimia for just over three years -- meaning I haven't purged in that long. Physically, I know I am healthier and I know I am a better mom, but it is still sometimes hard to see how my body has changed. I feel like I'm still sorting out how to think about how to make peace with myself when my weight goes up a little."

  • The Worst Addiction

    2

    iStock.com/ KatarzynaBialasiewicz

    "A lot of people seem to use the idea of being an alcoholic to understand being a bulimic. I actually think recovering from being an alcoholic is easier -- you can quit drinking cold turkey and never have to drink again. I have to eat, every day, for the rest of my life. I have to keep using the thing I'm addicted to, no matter what."

  • She Is My Inspiration

    3

    iStock.com/ teksomolika

    "I struggled with anorexia for years and years until I got pregnant with my daughter. It was my 'come to Jesus' moment. I knew that I needed to get myself right so I could be a good mom and not pass on all my weird eating stuff to her. I spent most of my pregnancy in a treatment center and it was the best and hardest thing I've done."

  • Struggling Again

    4

    "I'm struggling a lot with binge eating right now and there is a lot of shame about that, especially since I'm mom and a wife and I have a good life. I was good for a long time but have been slipping lately. It is hard to ask for help when it feels like there is no good reason for why I'm acting like this. I should probably call my therapist, but I'm ashamed."

    More from The Stir: 12 Eye-Opening Scientific Facts About Binge Eating

  • Stop This!

    5

    iStock.com/ Geber86

    "One of the hardest things for me after I went to in-patient treatment for my eating disorder was being able to spend time with and eat with my girlfriends. I love them and they were so supportive when I was in treatment but I don't think they realize how much they talk about food and weight stuff. Ladies -- PLEASE stop talking about food in moral terms. You aren't 'bad' for eating fries. And your words can be making it harder for people like me to feel comfortable eating."

  • Strong Not Skinny

    6

    iStock.com/ lzf

    "I had to totally change how I think about my body to finally find peace. I counted calories for over a decade and never went over 800 a day. I weighed myself every day. Now I run every day and count miles instead of calories. Strong is the goal. I don't have a scale any more. I just have lots and lots of running shoes."

  • Off-Limits

    7

    iStock.com/ tzahiV

    "I am in therapy and getting through a bulimia relapse. Although I am working on not thinking about food as the enemy, I feel pretty sure I'm giving up ice cream forever. It is just too strong a trigger. Now I am wrestling with what, if anything, to tell my kiddos about why we don't keep that in the house."

  • Lasting Effects

    8

    iStock.com/ Milan Marjanovic

    "I think people don't realize that the effects of an eating disorder can last for so long. My metabolism is totally wrecked, my hair is still super thin, and I seriously messed up my teeth. I'll be dealing with all these effects for years. It is hard knowing I did this to myself."

  • It Starts So Young

    9

    iStock.com/ Bradley Hebdon

    "I went on my first diet at age 7 and made myself vomit for the first time before I was 10. Now I have a daughter who is 5, and it totally freaks me out to think that I was just two years older than her when I started down the path toward an eating disorder that would take me over 20 years to kick. I'm so determined that she never feels like her worth is connected to her weight."

    More from The Stir: Why I'm Telling My Daughter About My Eating Disorder

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