Monday, March 14, 2011

Q&A Time and an Anniversary

Thank you SO MUCH for the questions you left me—they are so insightful and hopefully I can answer them in a way that makes sense and maybe helps you with your own struggles. But first, a little anniversary I need to mention…
Today marks the second anniversary of me being in recovery from anorexia. On March 14, 2009 my parents confronted me about my eating disorder and everything that was going on along with it. I knew it was coming, since my mom took me to the doctor a few days before and that was the day I found out how little I weighed. But it was still such a shock, to realize that my parents knew what was going on. Honestly, it was both one of the worst days and one of the best days of my life. I cried for most of the day, as my parents forced me to eat normal amounts of food that I wasn’t used to and made my stomach hurt. Looking back, I can’t believe I threw a tantrum that night when my dad made me eat an apple! I went to bed with an ache in my stomach and hatred in my heart. I was so entrenched in the eating disorder that I couldn’t see that they were helping me.
Over the next few weeks, they continued to monitor what I was eating very very closely. At school, they had no choice but to trust me. But usually, I did eat what was given to me. Not without a fight, but as the months passed, I argued less and less.
Two years ago was sort of a turning point for me. I wasn’t quite on the brink of death, but maybe a month or so of my old habits and I would have been. Looking back, I’m scared, both for myself and my parents. They didn’t always do what was best for me, but they love me so much and had to try whatever they thought would work. I was lucky enough that they didn’t push weight gain all at once—a lot of times, gaining weight quickly can make someone spiral back into their ED. In fact, in these 2 years, I’ve gained 15 lbs and am currently maintaining so my weight gain wasn’t so fast, which I think is a really good thing.

A few months into my recovery
Even though it’s two years later, I would not say I’m ‘recovered’. Honestly, I’m not even close. I still measure some of my food, obsess over calories and weight and I have a lot of negative thoughts about my body. But I don’t hate myself as much as I used to. I’m working to accept my new body, which is much healthier now. I’m technically still underweight, but it’s a healthy weight for me. I eat 5 balanced meals a day, and I’m not as scared of fats anymore. I can experiment with recipes and my food isn’t limited to the blandest, ‘healthiest’ options available. I am still very committed to eating healthy, organic or all-natural and mostly meat-free, but I eat dessert every night, whether it’s frozen yogurt or a bowl of cereal. I feel like I have come a long way. I no longer see a therapist or a dietician and I’m doing pretty well without them. I’ve made it through a semester and a half of college and it’s over 2 hours away from home. I’m no longer the fragile, sad girl I was two years ago. I’m stronger, happier, more independent and ready to take on the world! I don’t know when I’ll truly consider myself ‘recovered’ but I know it will happen someday.

Graduation night!!!!!!!
Okay, now on to the Q&A! I’m so excited because I’ve never done this before and I loved all the questions I got.
Q-What role has God played in your recovery?
A- A very big one, actually. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 8 and I’ve gone to church and Sunday School as long as I can remember, but the spark in my faith really wasn’t there until I started recovering. I realized that God must want to use me for something because He kept me alive even though my body went through hell. That has really kept me going, even on my hardest days. I really started to be more devoted to my faith and my God when I started college and was on my own. My parents weren’t there to protect me, but God was. I joined a church near campus and I really like how inviting and friendly the people there are. I really enjoy watching my faith grow.
Q-Do you ever compare what you eat to what your sister eats and if so how do you get past that?
A- This has been kind of hard for me, too. My sister eats like a typical teen—she loves Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, ice cream, ramen noodles, Oreos and all that, and I’m definitely not like that at all. My idea of ‘junk food’ is baked chips and Clif bars! But I do compare the amounts I eat to what she eats, such as at dinner when we’re both eating the same thing. Oftentimes, she eats so much less of it than I do and I feel like such a pig for finishing my dinner. In those situations, I try to tell myself that we’re different people, we have different needs and different hunger cues. I’ve seen her eat a lot, so I know she doesn’t have an eating disorder, but sometimes I do feel like she should always eat at least as much as me. I guess it’s because I worry about her and I don’t want her to go through the same thing I went through.
Q-What’s your favorite place to shop for clothes?
A-I’d have to say my favorite place is Hollister—I just love their beachy, bright style and they always have something there that I love. In fact, I’m trying to get a job there (hopefully I wouldn’t end up spending my entire paycheck there!) But I also like American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gilly Hicks and Target—they have really cute things that are super-cheap!
Q-What do you wish you could take back from your ED the most?
A- Definitely my love for life and that part of my teenage years. I regret that I wasted so much time being obsessed with counting calories and trying to lose weight. I missed out on some opportunities, like prom and dating guys, because I was so entrenched in my eating disorder. Now I have so many more responsibilities and I miss being a ‘kid’. I wish I could go back and do it all over, but I can’t and I’m determined not to let ED take anything away from me again!
Q-If you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be?
A- I think I would relive my high school graduation day. It passed by in such a blur that I barely remember it (and it was only last May) and it was such an exciting time. I remember being a freshman or sophomore and thinking I’d never graduate, but now I’m almost a quarter of the way done with college! Time flies by so fast…
This was so much fun to do and I’m so thankful for those of you who left questions for me! If you didn’t get the chance to, leave them in the comments and I will definitely answer them in one of my next posts. Thanks for reading J


  1. Happy is do funny to remember how painful being "outed" is at first and then look back and realize how much better it made things and to thank everyone who had a part in it.
    I highly encourage you to walk on your grad day from college. Many don't but it is the BEST feeling.

  2. Wow, 2 years. That's a big accomplishment. I'm nearing the one year mark myself. Congrats (I guess)! It seems weird saying that to such a thing, but it does make sense to.

  3. You've come so far in your recovery and it is amazing! I'm so happy for you. Thank you for answering the questions I submitted. I love the Q&A idea!

  4. Congratulations on your second year of being in recovery! That is an amazing accomplishment. It sounds like you have come a long way in these two years- you should be very proud of yourself! I'm really impressed that you're able to keep yourself on track without the help of a therapist or dietitian- that is something I definitely hope to accomplish someday in the not so distant future. Keep working hard and doing what you're doing and you will become fully recovered in time. <3

    Thank you for answering my question about the role that God plays in your recovery! I am trying to incorporate my faith into my recovery so your answer was helpful to me.

    I hope that your week is off to a great start!

  5. Whoo! Two years. Go you Ash, you rock!
    Thank you so much for sharing! It was so fun reading those answers about you.
    Oh, and I love that white dress with the flowers; it is so adorable!

  6. I loved your post today and reading your personal story with ED. You are an inspiring person, Ash!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story and answering the questions. I loved your answers.
    Congrats on making it this far in recovery! You have such a positive attitude and strength, that I know you will continue to succeed.


  8. I love this post! You've come so far, Ash. To see how you've overcome these obstacles inspires me, so thank you. You are so strong, so keep on fighting!

    I can relate to finidng God in the midst of the eating disorder, and also the sisterly conpetition! My sister and I are super close, but she eats whatever she wants and we are the same size. I just have to tell myself that we are different people and I shouldn't compare us. And I'm definitely getting there!

    Keep fighting! Take care!

  9. Hey Ash,
    Your story is such a great one. I'm lucky to have met you through blogger and to have found such inspiration through you! You are doing so well. You're right that you may not be completely 'recovered' now, but you'll get there!
    I feel the same way about losing precious moments due to ED. It sucks.
    And the comparison thing-I do that FAR too much. :/
    Anyway, keep fighting girly! You've come so far and will go so much farther :)


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