Size of your heart > Size of your hips

As a society, we are prone to believe that the only way you can be beautiful is if you “look a certain way.”  But how in the world did that ever come to be?  The media, maybe?  The environment you live in, maybe?  Well actually it’s all of the above.  

No matter how short you are, thin you are, tall you are, bigger built you are; if you do not have a kind heart, your true beauty will not show.

I once knew a girl – she was thicker than other girls.  She was built short and quite stocky.  She was teased for looking and acting “different” then other girls.  That girl was me.  Society changed the way I viewed myself.  I felt compelled to lose a ton of weight just to fit in and feel like I was “enough” for others to accept me.  I changed who I was just the change the opinion of others.  But you know what?  Changing the way I look did not change the way people talked about me.  Either way, something was not good enough for them.  Ever. They would always find something to judge me about.  But honestly, I want to say “thank you” to all of those people.  Thank you for making fun of me, picking on me, and making me feel worthless.  Now, I know what you may be thinking.  “Why would you ever want to thank people for something like that?”  And here is my answer:  For everyone that brought me down, I found a way to get back up.  For everyone that tried to destroy me as a person, I reconciled and came back stronger than ever.  That’s because no matter what happened, my heart was never-changing and the love I feel for others is unconditional.

I find fulfillment through the way I treat people.  I thrive with enjoyment when I help someone else, whether it be with their homework or with something like crossing the street.  Seeing someone smile because of something I did is enough to enlighten me for a lifetime.  So, even in my own eyes, I am a beautiful human being.  Not because of my shirt size.  Not because of the jeans I can squeeze myself into.  But rather, because of the kindness I bestow on others.  Now that is what I call beautiful.

So, if you ever feel torn apart because of the judgments and hardships that society faces you with, remember that other people find beauty in the size of your heart and NOT in the size of your hips.

How to eat intuitively

We have all heard about intuition and the fact that we have an intuitive sense.  But when is that “sense” most important?  In this diet-focused world, it can be very easy to get caught up in myths and lies about what we “should” and “shouldn’t” eat.  But who’s to say that this is a good approach to viewing food?  To me, there are no good or bad foods.  Food is just food and that should be all that it is labeled as.  There can be though, foods that you like and dislike.  I mean, let’s face it, we all have our food and taste preferences.  But this is when we have to ask ourselves, “Is the reason I don’t like this food or the reason I do like this food because of what society tells me that is acceptable?”  That is a serious thing that needs to be differentiated.  I am positive that your body does not just want salads all day, every day.  But I am also positive that it doesn’t always want dessert 24/7 either.  In no way am I saying that dessert or salad is “bad.”  All I am saying is that there NEEDS to be a balance between the two (and other foods in general).  That’s why it is extremely beneficial to connect with your body.  It is wise and it will guide you, but you have to trust its ability.  Now, moving on to what this whole blog post is about.  Intuitive eating.  Firstly, let’s talk about what intuitive eating actually means.  Intuitive eating is an approach to eating where you get in touch with what your body is needing for nourishment and what it is overall craving.  It is eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied.  It is respecting your body and giving it what it truly wants and needs without judgment or “apologies” for eating a certain food or even at a certain time in the day.  Now, this can be very difficult to recognize when you have had a history of dieting and/or disordered eating.  That’s why you really have to get a sense of your inner wisdom and trust that your body really does know what it needs.  Every individual was born with an intuitive sense.  Let’s think about babies for a minute.  All they can listen to is their intuitive sense.  They would not avoid eating, they would cry because they need food.  Then when they felt satisfied, they would stop until they were hungry once again.  They are incredible human beings because they are so in-touch with what their body wants and needs.  Why can’t we get back to the days when “dieting” and “eating clean” was not thought about?  Let’s get back to the care-free days when we listened to our intuitive sense as well!

I have learned that there are different ways to help get to this place of intuitive eating.  I am not saying that this is an easy thing to do, I’m saying that this is an important thing to do!  One of the main things that goes along with eating intuitively is that you HAVE to stop restricting – whether it be the amount of calories or even the types of food you eat.  I am going to reiterate this… THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD OR BAD FOODS.  FOOD IS FOOD.  Food is energy.  Food is nourishment.  Your body can handle almost anything, it’s your mind that you have to convince.  That being said, if you are hungry, that means your body is telling you that you need to eat.  Keep your body accurately fueled with energy throughout the day and do not judge your hunger.  Honor your hunger.

Also, you need to let go of the diet mentality.  It means absolutely nothing!  Stop reading into fitness magazines and the media and start getting mad at the fact that they are lying to you.  All they are doing are making people feel worse about themselves and making people feel as if they are failures if they don’t follow a specific diet.  Diets are dumb and they usually don’t work.

You have the right to eat what you want without the discussion of calories eaten or exercise that “needs” to happen prior to the meal.  You have the right to eat at 1 a.m. in the morning if you are still awake and you need the fuel.  You have the right to eat dessert for breakfast and dinner for a snack.  You also have the right to tell someone, “no thank you, I am not hungry.”  You have rights. Whether or whether not you decide to use them is totally in your control.  Let the control you have be YOURS and not the annoying voice in your head telling you what you don’t want to hear.

Eating Disorders and the Holidays

When you are struggling with an eating disorder and a holiday is being celebrated, it can be very difficult to enjoy the day.  You need to know that you are NOT alone though.  I have a very hard time on holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the “feasting.”  But, you have to realize that it is one day.  One meal.  Not counting snacks (just 3 meals) a day, there are 1,095 meals in a year.  These holiday meals are just two out of 1,095 meals in a year.  Doesn’t seem as significant now does it?  During the actual holiday season though, it may still seem pretty significant.  In these times, it is best to think of what you value – do you value your ED or you family more?  ED or friends?  ED or fooooood?  There is absolutely no way to choose both.  I am positive that none of your answers to these questions were the eating disorder. You know how I know that?  BECAUSE THE EATING DISORDER IS NEVER WHAT SOMEONE WANTS.  On this Christmas, I challenge each and every one of you, whether you have an eating disorder or not, to truly enjoy yourself today.  To keep your loved ones and the things that are important to you, close to your heart.  Have fun and eat what you want!  Christmas comes once a year and I know that you do not want to spend it feeling miserable.  I don’t even want that for you!  This is a time for celebrating the birth of our savior.  He wants this day to be joyful for you as well.  Repeat this to yourself if and when you start to feel overwhelmed: “I am alive and I am okay.”  I believe in you and it is now time for you to believe in yourself.  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Eating Disorders Explained

Eating Disorders are often confused for being “a call for attention” or “just a phase.”  That is just like saying that being diagnosed with Cancer is just for “attention” and is just a “phase.”  That sound ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Oh yeah, because IT IS RIDICULOUS.  Eating Disorders are not glamorous nor do people choose to have one.  Rather, the Eating Disorder “chooses” to have them.  It is a mental illness and that is not chosen, it is just something that happens.  It takes over your mind and keeps you from letting go of it.  We are always concerned when people are suffering from a physical illness – let’s just use the example of arthritis.  We know that someone with arthritis did not “choose” to have arthritis, it just happened to them.  Same with Eating Disorders.  It just HAPPENED.  They are miserable.  Sickening.  Life-threatening.  They are the opposite thing someone wants and the really sad thing about it is, once you get into that kind of lifestyle, you feel stuck and it is extremely hard to get yourself out of the hole you fell into.  Eating Disorders are in a lot of ways, unrecognized to the world around us.  That’s why it is extremely important to display awareness and keep the information circulating around.

 

Do you know what an Eating Disorder is?

It’s avoidance from everything surrounding you.

It’s losing your relationships.  Your LIFE.

It’s waking up and feeling worthless if the number on the scale went up by even just a little bit.

It’s crying over the thought of having to eat.

It’s going out in the world and feeling embarrassed to show your body.

It’s never going out with friends or family members because there may be food involved.

It’s losing the sparkle in your eyes and the hair on your scalp; appearing lifeless.

It’s always feeling cold even when it’s 90 degrees outside.

It’s having weak bones and brittle nails.

It’s body-checking and never being okay with your appearance.

It’s over-exerting yourself in strenuous exercise to “burn off excess calories” and constantly being in pain because of it.

It’s losing your total control by something that “feeds” off controlling you.

It’s sadness, weakness, vulnerability.

It’s wishing that your life was over so you don’t have to endure the pain anymore.

That’s what an Eating Disorder is.

Asking for help

One of the hardest things for me to do is ask someone for help.  I always believe, “I should be able to do this on my own” and “I don’t want to be a burden to others.”  That is simply not the case.  Especially when it is between a life or death situation.  When I was struggling with my eating disorder, I knew way deep down that I could not fight the illness on my own.  I wanted help but my eating disorder was trying to refrain me from “going against its wishes.”  Therefore, I was stuck in the middle of wanting to get help and wanting to stick the safety and security my eating disorder offered me.  I contemplated whether or whether not I should seek out for help listing the “pros and cons” of each decision.  Choosing to get help definitely outweighed the thought of sticking side by side with my eating disorder.  That was when I knew that the first step to recovery was admitting that I indeed did have a problem and I could not recover on my own.  I talked to my doctor and told her that I was finally ready to receive help.  I was sent to a Therapist specializing in eating disorders and was then sent to an inpatient facility due to the fact that I was not stable enough to even be wandering in the world.  I accepted the fact that I was going to need to be in that kind of a setting and I knew that it was for my own good.  Letting people help me was very challenging for me because I wanted control.  I wanted things to go “my way.”  Or should I say, the eating disorders way.  Although, the process of getting healthy was nothing but difficult, it was less difficult then living my life being controlled by an eating disorder.  Asking for help was the best decision I ever made.  If you or someone you know is struggling with ANYTHING, do not hesitate asking for and getting help because if you wait, there’s a huge chance that it may be too late.  It could save a life, just like it saved mine.

My Story

Ever since I can remember, I have never accepted the way I look.  I have always shamed on my body and tried to change the way I look.  But, this was a serious matter in middle school when I started dieting.  I have an identical twin sister but the way we were known apart was that I was “the fatter twin.”  People made fun of my weight all the time and I was so ashamed.  Everyone compared us, even our family.  I was the daughter that no one wanted – a mistake from day one.  I never felt loved and I was never told that I was loved.  My sister was the favorite and I knew that I could not control any of that no matter how much I wanted to be able to.  I felt that the main barrier between being accepted by people was the size of my waist.  That was when I knew I needed to make a change.  I started exercising excessively and restricting what I ate and how much I ate.  It started out as just a friendly “diet” to make me feel better about myself.  But, it did the complete opposite.  I never once felt better about myself because nothing was ever good enough.  I was irritable, exhausted, freezing cold, brittle.  But most of all, I was dying.  I lost much more than just weight.  I lost relationships, friends, social events, you name it.  I lost it.  I lost Hannah.  I denied that I even had a problem though when people tried to confront me about things.  “I already ate.”  “I’m not hungry.”  These became regular phrases that I became accustomed to.  I wasn’t going to allow someone to get in the way of what I was doing or keeping me from my visits to the gym.  I lost almost 60 pounds dropping all the way down to 74 pounds when my mom decided that I needed to be sent to treatment.  When I was 15, I was first sent to the Eating Disorder Unit at the Children’s Hospital.  They would not accept me at first due to my instability so I was sent to the ICU at the regular hospital in the Children’s Hospital.  I was pushed in a wheelchair everywhere I went, put on heart rate monitors because my heart rate was only 30 bpm, and I was stuck in a hospital bed all day besides meals and snack times.  I felt as if I was a prisoner of my own being and I was beyond miserable.  They told me that I was on my death bed.  But you know what?  I survived.  After 2 weeks, they admitted me into the Eating Disorder Unit.  I had to gain 41 pounds in order to get healthy.  I was doing very well when I discharged but I relapsed when I was 17 and was admitted to the Eating Recovery Center.  The second time around in an inpatient facility really opened my eyes to the severity of my eating disorder and how much I truly do want to fully recover.  That being said, I am attending outpatient appointments 4x a week and I am on the way to a happy and healthy life.  Or should I say, the life I DESERVE.