A Refusal

by tessa8m on April 16, 2012

in Serious Stuff

Happy Marathon Monday!

This is kind of a necessary opener if you ask me, I mean it is the Boston Marathon after all :) Of course, best of luck to those running today, especially with the heat issue!

Does anyone else have the day off today? Because I DO, no classes and this means I am still home! I shall be returning to school later this evening, but for now I am soaking up my time here… possibly even venturing to the beach later…. I know tough life today.

Overall this weekend was quite pleasant- nothing out of the ordinary but that is just fine with me! Well I did in fact see The Hunger Games with MA on Friday and yep, it was pretty awesome. The book was much better (as expected) but I thought the characters were spot on and the different scenes and settings were fun to see come alive. One of my major complaints, and I am not sure if anyone else feels this way, was the rather excessive use of close camera views throughout the movie…. not a fan! Other than that though, good stuff…. oh and I am not officially re-reading the series :)

Alright let’s get right to the nitty-gritty here… I have some important (to me) stuff to talk about today.

*I think this is something I have been in a state of denial about for quite some time now. Although you will be reading this post tomorrow, it is actually right now, on a Sunday night at 9:00 pm, that I am sitting down to write… and I am quite stumped on what exactly I want to discuss.

It’s not that I don’t have any ideas. Noooo no that has yet to be the case with this whole blogging business, especially with what the main focus of what Amazing Asset is- my personal experience with recovering from disordered eating and the various components, hurdles, challenges, victories, losses, etc, that go along with this business.

In fact, the day that I run out of new post ideas having to do with my experience with an eating disorders and recovery, is the day that I will declare I have healed. That this illness is no longer a part of me, but a distant (rather horrible) memory from my past that I have learned and grown from.

Unfortunately today is not that day, hence the reasoning and thought process behind this post. A few events within the past few days have allowed me to understand more about myself and this whole illness situation. Nothing bad, sad or anything like that, but occurrences that really got my brain churning.

Last Friday at my internship, it was a rather special day because the author of Telling ED NO! Cheryl Kerrigan, came to speak to the group and I was fortunate enough to listen to her words as well. (**I know I haven’t talked about my internship much- I will soon- but for the record it is going wonderfully!!**)

Cheryl was a fantastic guest, great public-speaking skills, and her words really struck a chord with me.

She talked to us about her personal experience with Anorexia and the different tools, skills, and methods she used along the way in order to break from from the disorder. According to Cheryl, she truly officially recovered in 2006, just about 6 years ago. She revealed her age to be 42 and made it quite clear that after 37 years of living with Anorexia, it’s as if she has been re-born in the last 5 years of her life… describing the genuine fact that the eating disorder finally no longer manipulates and controls her every move in life.

Although Cheryl had been hospitalized and treated a number of times in her 20s for Anorexia, she did recover enough in her 30s to become a fully functioning person with a job, a relationship, friends, family… she engaged with others, went out, vacationed, dined at restaurants…. all “normal” stuff to an outside perspective.

However, Cheryl explained to us that the disorder was ALWAYS with her during these times in her life. Sure she looked physically fine, put up a front that everything was dandy, was able to make a living, and be with anther person in a serious relationship, but inside she was screaming.

As I sat there last Friday afternoon listening to Cheryl’s story, my mouth slowly started to fall open in shock…. oh my word, that is me. I am a functioning young woman who…

  • is excited to graduate from college in less than a month with a BS degree in Public Health
  • knows what I am doing post-graduation- beginning nursing school in the fall
  • has a few different jobs for the summer
  • hangs out with friends
  • goes out- to restaurants, bars, clubs, and so on
  • eats healthfully but does throw in the occasional treat
  • am at a healthy weight and appear normal, much better and pretty much fine at this point
  • overall appears happy to the outside observer

Okay enough already, you get what I am saying here. I have all of these things going for me and it’s fantastic and I have worked really hard for the accomplishments!

But here it is: I am a fully functioning person BUT I am still completely run by the disorder. Someone might read that and think “duh” but this is new to me.  It’s really been the last few weeks that have allowed me to gain an understanding of all of this and then Cheryl coming to speak on Friday was the final piece I needed to hear.

If you were to look at me, I seem 100% better from when the disorder really took hold several years ago. While I am MUCH healthier than my lowest point, I am certainly not at 100%. I will say this again, if a stranger were to look at me, I seem care-free and fine.. and that’s what kills me because I am still suffering so much. This eating disorder continues to manipulate me in countless ways- every decision I make, every thought, every plan that is made… always has to be analyzed, calculated, made safe, forbidden, accepted… according to the eating disorder.

I mean for God’s sake, the momentous decision I made to take time off of hard core exercising drove me to restrict as soon as possible in order to compensate. Well that COMPLETELY defeated the purpose of the “rest” I was giving myself. Oh and we all know how long this break lasted- about two weeks because I couldn’t take it anymore. The stress and fear of gaining weight was too difficult for me to handle, so I began exercising again… so much for giving my body a break.

Let’s see what else! I…

  • constantly think about my weight- whether it’s higher or lower, in between, upside down, whatever- constantly
  • think about the next meal/food I will eat no matter what time of the day, how satiated I am, or if I have just eaten
  • exercise still= permission to consume certain foods. Otherwise not going to happen
  • body weight means everything

I will give myself some credit though, I really have made enormous strides in my recovery and have challenged myself at every point along the way in order to get better. From my lowest point, I managed to gain nearly 20 pounds on my own, I am much less obsessive than I used to be, exercise a whole lot less, eat more than I ever thought I would, PHYSICALLY and so much healthier, and MENTALLY as well… but the latter of these is falling behind.

My disordered self is complacently resting on a plateau. I think it’s something I have been aware of for a while now- that I am stuck, really unsure of how to move forward, appear normal and recovered, but am actually yelling on the inside. Every thought, action, decision is made based on the questions of, “will this make me gain weight” and then how that weight gain will make me miserable in all aspects of my life.

I equate my happiness with my body shape and if that goes to shit, well then I am screwed. Not normal.

Also, this realization has been nagging me- somehow this entire illness is NOT about the weight. Something(s) is going on in my past or in my current life that is enabling me to cling to the disorder and not let it go. So what else is this disorder about? Right now I do not know the answer to this but I do plan on pursuing the question, as this is needed.

*In conclusion: I am a WHOLE LOT BETTER than I have been in years, BUT, the eating disorder remains a significant aspect of my daily life, of my existence.

This is not okay. I am saying this hear and now, I simply refuse to have this illness be a part of me anymore. I refuse to be a fully functioning person in society who appears to have a normal life- one filled with memories, hopes and dreams, BUT always has this festering illness lurking beneath the surface… This incessant voice constantly whispering to me, inhibiting any sort of carefree life.

Again, I refuse to allow this to happen. I will NOT have a life that is dampened down in anyway by this ‘thing’ that just will not go the heck away. I am terrified of the idea of the years slipping by…. getting older and looking back and realizing how much of my life has been ruled and regulated by an eating disorder that I had no choice in obtaining.

Please no, this is just not okay. I do not deserve an existence plagued by such an illness, in fact NO ONE does. I have worked incredibly hard to become the person I am today and I will be damned if anymore of my life is wasted on the sickness. The eating disorder is a part of me, heck it’s a MAJOR aspect of myself that has latched on and is holding on tight. However, it is not ME… I am not an eating disorder.

Today I don’t exactly know what else it’s going to take to shake the ED off for good, but I swear to you, I will figure it out, I will do whatever it takes. This is the year, the year that I become myself again, a normal, functioning woman who is free of the constricting and terrifying hold of an eating disorder.

*Steps down* Phew, that felt good to get out, to acknowledge the plateau and sense of denial.

-For anyone with ED experience or just wants to chime in here, do you think it’s possible to really and truly recover from this illness? Or do you believe it will always be there to some extent no matter what? I personally don’t know the correct answer to this, if there even is one.

-Have you ever felt emotionally or physically on a “plateau?” How were you able to overcome this and get over the next hurdle?

-Are you able to see or feel when you are going through the motion verses genuinely enjoying your life? How?

 -Have you ever heard an author speak (or read a piece of literature from them) and have it really effect you?

-Do you have the day off? How was your weekend?

Again, good luck to the Boston runners today and I hope everyone has a most lovely rest of your Monday :)


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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Khushboo Thadani April 16, 2012 at 5:53 am

During my weight loss, hitting a plateau was probably the most frustrating hindrances! I knew what was happening, wanted things to change but was at a lost at how to get the weight loss moving again! What’s frustrating is going through the motions yet not achieving the results you want. Much the same as an ED, I guess it just comes to trial & error and finding what works! And I truly do believe that it’s possible for you to fully recover eventually- nothing in life is permanent, Tess! It might not be easy but I am almost certain you can overcome it once and for all!

Enjoy your day off- unfortunately I had to be at work bright & early!
Khushboo Thadani recently posted..Cut the CREPE…and make healthier pancakes instead


2 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thanks for this different perspective girl! I hope you had a nice Monday :)


3 Kaitlyn April 16, 2012 at 6:39 am

Wow, Tessa – so interesting. This completely goes with a point you’ve made many times, that eating disorders, while characterized by mainly physical things, are SO MUCH MORE mental than physical. Our minds are pretty powerful.
Enjoy your day off :) Happy Marathon Monday!!!
Kaitlyn recently posted..Me + Running


4 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Gosh it really is… there is an incredible more amount to all of this… I wish I knew what all of these mental issues were!


5 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count April 16, 2012 at 7:10 am

Tessa, as I’ve said before, I can see this from my perspective. First I think you’re doing an incredible job of working through your issues. You know what you have to do and even if you may not have come as far as you’d like yet…you’re getting there. I feel that I have spent my whole life controlled by my weight issues. Even now, Under goal and feeling good. There’s always something lurking around the corner that can get you. I feel I live a normal life now, but I know my tendencies are there and if I don’t exert my control, they can take over. Know that you are the one who is in charge and in control. You can do this.
Fran@ Broken Cookies Don’t Count recently posted..N is for Nephew


6 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Thank you Fran and as always, I appreciate your different view point on this. It really means a lot to hear and the inspiration as well


7 Alexandra April 16, 2012 at 7:14 am

Wow what a cool speaker, she sounds like such an influential and awesome person! I would’ve loved to hear her story. You’re so so right about ED’s being more mental than anything, it’s sad to think our minds can be so vicious under certain circumstances. Here’s to staying strong and telling her to STFU this week ;)
And you get today off?!?! LUCKY!!! Enjoy your free day and marathon Monday mamasita! :)
Alexandra recently posted..pullups and a new addiction


8 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Hahaha STFU, I forget how awesome that acronym is… I hope you have a most glorious week!


9 Vien @ We Dare Food April 16, 2012 at 7:18 am

Seriously, are you sure you’re not reading my diary? ;)
I know that lots of people who ‘recovered’ from an ED say that it’ll always be with them. It’s just the matter of who’s controlling who. I definitely like to think that one day, I’ll just wake up and everything’s fine but I know that that needs lots of hard work, strength and willpower. We’ve both improved so much! So I know that we have it in us to fight against this disordered thinking. It’s just the matter of the effort and time :)
I definitely feel like my ed’s at a plateau stage as well. My ‘outer’ and social self have improved vastly! but my mind is still stuck with the same thinking I had a few years back. The thoughts, etc. were far worse then but I’m still not happy with the way I think and relate my mood with food and weight. Let’s kick some ED ass and not have this stand in our way because sometimes, I think that my brain can work so much better without this :)
Vien @ We Dare Food recently posted..Stalactites, CBD


10 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

We really have both improved soo so much and we must remember to be proud of that :) I agree to kicking ED ass, I am planning on it


11 Tayla Anne April 16, 2012 at 7:29 am

First off, I just want to say thank you for writing this. It really opened my eyes to the same thing that I am feeling as well. I feel quite “normal” like you said, and I know that several very close people/friends in my life, have absolutely NO clue that I struggle with anorexia, but I KNOW deep inside that I am far from recovered because of everything you have described here. Weight still defines me. Body image, fat, calories, exercise are all still a huge obsession and although I have made strides, as you have (which is AWESOME!), I am still in a death grip with Ed. Grrr so frustrating. I feel your pain as you talk about truly wanting to be DONE with everything. Done with this illness. You are so right, YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS. You deserve a wonderful, free, happy life where Ed is not, in any way part of it. I think it is so great that you are saying those things and truly realizing all this stuff. It’s a huge inspiration to me! I think that you are also right in saying that their is some underlying issue to be solved as to WHY you can’t really take the final steps and recover for good. I know this is true for me as well. I have SEVERAL underlying issues so don’t feel bad. I even know what they are and yet I still can’t seem to heal completely. It’s a process. We will all get there. All that matters is that we are willing to do WHATEVER it takes and clearly, you are completely committed! Stay strong.
I hope you have an awesome day! Enjoy yourself :)
Tayla Anne recently posted...whey protein powders and beyond.


12 Sable@SquatLikeALady April 16, 2012 at 8:12 am

Great post Tessa!!! You are amazing for being able to see these things in yourself. =)

Do you think that tying the blog and the writing process into the ED might eventually make it difficult for you to let go of the ED?


13 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

This is something I definitely have considered… and while perhaps eventually it could hinder the process, blogging has been majorly helpful for me thus far. I do check in with myself quite often though about whether or not it’s helping :)


14 Sarah - Feeeding Brain and Body April 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

That’s great you have a day off :) I’m already in exam period, so I don’t have classes, but it’s not quite “off” because I have lots of studying to do :) This sounds like such a great book that touches on a lot of important issue, thanks for sharing. It’s great to hear your internship is going well :)
Sarah – Feeeding Brain and Body recently posted..High Protein “Hamburger” Bun


15 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Good luck with all of the studying Sarah!


16 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

I’m so glad that you got to listen to such an eye opening talk! Sometimes all it takes is one experience like that to completely change us. Don’t be so hard on yourself for still being controlled by your ED though – you’ve made AMAZING strides in the past year, so don’t discount that. :) Recovering from an ED is a SLOW process! But I love the positivity and motivation to truly recover in this post. My desire to LIVE and be free was really what kicked my butt into recovering too. I know you can do this hun! <3
Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin recently posted..Fishy eats


17 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Thank you Chelsea… I do need that reminder sometimes!


18 Amy @ Turtle-speed Runner April 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

Ugh I could have written this WORD FOR WORD… well, if I had your eloquence ;) But what you’re saying is how I’ve been thinking too and where I feel I’m at… and been stuck at for quite a while.
Man I hope that it IS possible to completely recover…!!! We can only keep trying and hoping.
Amy @ Turtle-speed Runner recently posted..Struggling


19 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I really feel like it is possible… it must be gosh darnnit!


20 Gen April 16, 2012 at 8:45 am

I honestly don’t know if it is every possible to completely recover….I believe that it depends on personality. However, I do think that it is possible to function normally and without constant second guessing and stress about food, but I haven’t quite reached that point yet.
The things that cause anorexia, or any other eating disorder, are personality traits like anxiety or perfectionism, and I don’t think that you can completely change who you are. What I do believe is that you change how you react to those traits, which is a large part of the recovery.
Gen recently posted..Easiest Biscuits Ever!


21 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Good point with the personality… I am sure this plays a role in all of this. Reacting to the traits is what differentiates recovery verses not.. but I of course wish they could go away all together!


22 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots April 16, 2012 at 8:45 am

you are such an great writer, I do think you can live a life without illness and I know you will be able to because you don’t want this to define you and you are determined. You have come so far and are acknowledging things about yourself that some people with ED will just ignore and simply state that they are fine and unfortunately they will never be fine. I know I say this all the time but you should be proud of yourself and remind yourself how far you have come and that you are doing all the right things to improve your health!


23 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Aww well thank you Kaitlin… the reminder is helpful and needed sometimes :)


24 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries April 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

hmm i myself have thought a lot about this… whether or not someone can truly recover from an ED. i do think it depends on the person and their personality. however, i think most of the time, many people with a history of an ED may be able to physically recover and even eat normally, exercise normally, etc., but i think they might be more vulnerable to ED tendencies because that is a way they used to live. also, as you know, an ED is a VERY mental thing so i think that part of it may hang on while the physical attributes of an ED may pass. in my personal experience, i do consider myself “recovered”, but i absolutely still have mental battles that frustrate me from my ED past. tough question… definitely something to think about! :)
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25 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Hmm good point here and the vulnerability business! I am not sure of the answer either… I do hope of course it can go away all together, perhaps it’s possible


26 Faith @ For the Health of It April 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

I know this makes it sound so simple, like you can just choose to switch off an ED voice (not the case), but I promise you, keep working at what you’re doing, and one day you will take a look at your life and realize that all of the pain and struggles you’ve been though have slipped away and are no longer a part of your life. That right there is the best feeling in the entire world. It does take lots of work and lots of effort, but it’s in your future for sure – and I really hope that day comes soon for you, because you deserve the mental health and all the happiness that comes with it. Hang in there Tessa!


27 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Gosh I cannot wait for that day Faith! You have given me inspiration and I really appreciate this


28 Amy Lauren April 16, 2012 at 9:24 am

I’m glad you got to hear the speaker, even if you’re an intern and not actually a patient there, it sounds like it was very beneficial for you and I’m sure it would be inspiring for anyone to listen to, whether they struggle with an ED or not because everyone deals with something.

Part of me wonders if a full recovery is ever possible. At the risk of sounding pessimistic, I’m not sure it is. ED is a chronic illness (most conditions are), and I do think that someone who’s experienced it can one day live a life that’s not controlled by it. However, nothing’s going to erase those previous years of your life when you dealt with disordered eating. To me, it’s almost like having cancer- you can be in remission and after years, have your cancer declared gone. However, you still went through those treatments, you still mentally dealt with cancer, etc- it affects your body. It changed your life. People who recover from EDs, some of them will deal with those repercussions forever too. So yeah- while I do think recovery is possible, there’s just no way to “erase” the damage like there is if you had the flu, or bronchitis, or some allergy you outgrew, etc.

And you made such a great point… someone can appear so happy and others may have no clue what they’re going through inside. Which is why we should be nice to everyone :).
Amy Lauren recently posted..Trapped


29 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Don’t worry about sounding pessimistic or anything like that… I believe what you are saying could be a reality and while that does suck, it might be that way. BUT I am not entirely sure it is. Maybe it is possible to get rid of this THING once and for all. I of course don’t have a definite answer, but I do plan on trying my best to at let work towards purging it from my life. The cancer comparison is true as well… gives me something to think about Amy!


30 Kat April 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

I personally dont think you are ever truely recovered from an ED. I think food will always make you think twice at times, especially certain foods. Trigger foods if you will. I also think that the sensitivity is still there. For example if someone mentions your weight or how you look, it will instantly trigger those thoughts. My father in law commented how I had huge arms the other day. What he meant was muscular, but what I heard was fat. Those are the things I think we will always battle. How we react to those things though, is how we can tell we are truely recovered. If I had heard those words and just brushed them off, ate my entire lunch AND skipped my workout with hesitation, that to me would be recovery. The fact that I freaked out about it, only ate the veggies in the lunch, and did a hour with of exercise shows Im not ready to move on from it yet
Kat recently posted..Mini PB&J Cups


31 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Well I am sorry your father in law said that… I know he was trying to be nice, but I also would have interpreted it that way. You are right Kat, how you react is the main difference. Keep working on this too girl, we both have work to do, but it is possible to improve


32 Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense April 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

I absolutely agree that ED’s are NOT about the weight… as you said:
“Something(s) is going on in my past or in my current life that is enabling me to cling to the disorder and not let it go.”
For me it was perfectionism… always needing to be correct, right, perfect in other peoples eyes. Afraid of disappointment, failure, criticism.
BUT the good news is YES it is possible to overcome an ED!
It took me a few AHA moments in my life and surrendering my life and my body to God. For everyone it’s a different journey!! But there is light at the end of the tunnel and in the end you can become a shining light to help other people through the darkness!
Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense recently posted..Rest In Peace Raelyn. You will be missed.


33 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Thank you for your thoughts here Lisa! It gives motivation, that it is possible, it really can be something to completely shake


34 Alex April 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

This is such a great post. Also, I am super jealous you got to hear the recovery speaker speak.It is always such an eye opening experience to listen to what they have to say because they so get it. The letting go is the hardest part. I agree with that statement that you can be fully functioning but still run by the disorder. I think those voices take a while to disappear but I remember that something that helped me was making a list of all the rules or thoughts. I made it a goal to each day cross one off the list by doing the opposite of what it was.


35 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

It really was such a blessing I was able to hear her speak… she gave me so much to think about! Your method is great too- small steps that make a big picture toward health


36 Devon S April 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

I relate to this so much girl and applaud you for being so honest. It was kind of a wake up call for me to read this too…I’ve been feeling like I’ve made huge strides in my recovery because (as long as I’m running) I don’t feel the urge to restrict anymore. BUT, with that said, I feel like I MUST do some kind of intense cardio at least 6 times a week, I’m always thinking about food, counting calories, what’s safe and what’s not, when I’ll get to eat, etc. and the scale still determines my mood for the day. My mind is still consumed by these disordered thoughts…and sure, I’m healthier now. I don’t starve myself, I’m no longer severely underweight, I’m out of treatment, and I let myself eat “bad foods” every now and then…but that doesn’t mean I’m FREED. I DO think we can recover, but not 100%…I feel like I will always be a bit more health conscious and exercise obsessed than the average person. I’m pretty sure I’ll always feel guilty and have a nagging feeling telling me I “messed up” when I eat “too much” or eat “bad foods”…but I think I’ll be at a point where I can say “shut the heck up” to my ED and move on with my life rather than dwell on the thoughts and feelings my ED forces on me. Hang in there!!
Devon S recently posted..YAYAYAY!!!!!!!


37 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Hi Devon,
Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts with all of this! It does sound like you are still quite obsessive, something of course I am understanding and relating to! I think it’s possible to eat and just move on, it really must be! We are not meant for this, it was not our choice to get it, but we can do our best to fully heal


38 Tara April 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

I definitely think it’s possible to recover from an ED. I didn’t believe it before, but I consider myself nearly there and I will NOT let myself back down. I think it’s important to believe it to – so even if you can’t fully recover, you can get as close as you can. I apply that to everything personally. Even though I know I will most likely never be in the olympics, I hold that as my dream because I have to work harder to get as close as I possibly can. One thing that I really can’t stand is when people just say “go eat a cheeseburger”, or they say that and Eating Disorder isn’t a real illness. I’m like “why don’t you try going through it?” because it really isn’t that simple at all.
Tara recently posted..Rugged Glory and Splattered Paint


39 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

No it is not that simple at all and when people make remarks like that… well it’s just pure ignorance to me. Tara, I am just sooo glad for you right now and how much better you feel with this whole thing! It certainly gives me inspiration


40 Haley @ Health Freak College Girl April 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

i love every single one of your posts. i may have said that before but it’s so true!

anywho, when i started to recover and eat normal again, i hated how people acted like everything was okay. even now, a year and a half into my recovery and people (my family especially) act like i am fine. but in all honesty, it’s not fine at all. i still have a daily struggle but they don’t know that because i seem to be fine.
Haley @ Health Freak College Girl recently posted..adventurous april take 2


41 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I am sorry you have a struggle still.. although obviously I get it. Do you think it could be helpful to be more honest with those around you?


42 Dorsa @ Running Thoughts April 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

Keep your head up and know that everyday you are getting better.
Dorsa @ Running Thoughts recently posted..It’s been Five Years


43 Katherine April 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Something you mentioned really hit home with me: WHY did I develop an eating disorder? I have no idea where it comes from, and I have yet to understand it. I do have a family history of mental illness, but, as far as I know, no mental history of eating disorders. It really, really bothers me.
I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of my disorder, but I don’t think it will always be in control of my life. It’s like a virus: I can’t cure it, but I can definitely treat it.


44 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I know, I have no idea why I this THING became a part of my life either… I feel like I have no reason for it. Managing it could perhaps be the only solution, but I just want it to freakin go away. Please! Ugh


45 kaila @ healthyhelper April 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Powerful words tessa! You most certainly are not the eating disorder and you DO deserve a life filled with happiness, hope, carefree fun, and not one plagued by this disease. You will get there one day. I know it! Just the fact that you are able to realize and acknowledge that you want a different type of life is a step in the right direction. Keep that fire and determination alive within you girl!


46 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thank you Kaila… I appreciate your lovely encouragement :)


47 Anna @ The Guiltless Life April 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I love these powerful posts of yours where you really show your ED who’s boss! You go girl! And yes I know a couple of people running the Boston Marathon – so excited for them though there’s no way I could ever imagine myself running a marathon – running is not my thing haha.
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48 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I hope the people you know did well today!!


49 Nikki April 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

You are so strong, and I know you’re so close to finally reaching over that hump and pushing forward! she sounds like an awesome speaker!!! Keep you eyes on the prize, my dear! You’ve come so far!

And I am extremely jealous that you have today off!!!
Nikki recently posted..Monday Morning Motivation


50 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Thank you Nikki! I know.. the day off was rather fantastic, I won’t lie!


51 Allie April 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm


This was a really great and interesting post! I actually was listening to a sermon yesterday about how people often treat symptoms of things instead of the real problem. So many times, doctors seem to treat anorexia by making a patient just gain weight or be a healthy BMI when they need to treat the root of the disease, which is the mental aspect. I love all the points you made! I know you can recover 100% and you have been making leaps and bounds! Keep up the good work <3
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52 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Aww thanks a lot Allie! The sermon was spot on, it’s essential to treat the underlying issues, no matter what they are


53 Alexis April 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Love this! I am too tired of thinking about it and constantly worrying about silly things. I have too gotten better but not 100%. I think you’re on the right path to getting better and we are all here to support you!

I honestly don’t know if one can truly recover. Although there may be a point in your life where you just do not care anymore and other focuses start to come in to play. I feel like maybe when I have a full time job, kids, husband etc. My focuses will be elsewhere instead of working out and food. But I am sure I will have my days where I think about it more than others
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54 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I agree… when other things start coming along, that is when the changes will be made and the focus will be less intense. I just wish something else could happen before that to change all of this, I am soooo sick of it!


55 Rach April 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm

YES! This post is great, Tessa! I understand where the author/speaker is coming from with all of this because I was there for couple of years. I appeared normal and yet I still struggled with Ana daily. But, hear me when I say… there is healing! It took years, it took supportive friends, it took lots of talking about it, but most of all it was a loving God Who walked with me each step of the way. :)
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56 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Rach, this is sooo inspirational and helpful for me to read! Thank you for telling me this and showing me it’s possible


57 Claire @ Let's Go On A Living Spree April 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thank you for writing such personal and motivating words!!!

I hope you enjoyed your day off :-)
Claire @ Let’s Go On A Living Spree recently posted..(Marathon) Monday Motivation & The Seven Stages of the Marathon


58 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I did Claire, thank you!


59 Kate @ Chasing It April 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm

oh my gosh…..this was me last year. Well, it sounds like you’re a lot better off than the me of last year actually lol…but yeah, I looked totally normal, I had two meals a day with friends, I went out and drank beer on the weekends, I was going to be off to grad school, I was “so strong” for getting through a bad breakup, I was awesome. But actually? I was kind of dying on the inside. Every thought revolved around food, I HAD to work out twice a day, and if I didn’t? no beer for me! Thinking back on how high my stress levels were actually makes me cringe. It was awful. And I knew I needed help, but I was too ashamed to admit it, and someone had to basically come to me and say “you need help, I’m going to come to the counselor’s office with you.” Eating disorders are 20% physical and 80% mental and I think most people – no matter how close to you they are – don’t realize that.

Can you fully recover from an eating disorder? I think so. I don’t think anyone is going to truly love and be happy with their body every single day. You’re going to have days where your’e like “ugh man I feel so bloated today”. You’re going to have days where you feel gross if you don’t work out. But I think the difference between having an eating disorder and just having a “fat day” is the ability to say, “you know what, it’s okay. This is not the be-all-end-all of my existence, there are so many other good things about today, and the world doesn’t stop because my pants feel tight.” The ability to shake it off and get on with your life/focus on other things.

I think what really helps most is having those other things. My mom always tells me that I will find the recovered mindset easier to hold on to when I have something else in my life that allows me to serve others. I’m hoping the Colorado job will do that for me, and I’m certain that your future career as a nurse will do that for you! AND….the thought of being in my 30s and STILL dealing with ED? That honestly scares the shit out of me and that’s motivatiion enough to make that last push to recovery – I bet it is for you too!!


60 Erin April 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

thought of being in my 30s and STILL dealing with ED? That honestly scares the shit out of me and that’s motivatiion enough to make that last push to recovery

… I 100% agree with that. Its not always enough to pull me out of “in-the-moment” choices, but it’s certainly enough to perpetuate recovery momentum!


61 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

You know Kate, I remember reading your blog last year, around the time that you were still struggling a whole lot and wow, you truly have improved so so much! I didn’t really realize it until now, but goodness girl, how inspiring you are to me! I truly mean that. I hear what you are saying about fully recovering… and the different ways this can be seen. I do think that how you react is the main difference and how important it is to you.
Oh and YES to being fearful of the future and still dealing with this! that definitely gives me a major kick in the ass


62 Carrie @ Lift Eat Repeat April 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I train my mom at the gym, and every time she says she can’t do something or lift that much I tell her it’s all in your head. This is so true with lots of things- Once you get over the mental aspect of the disorder you will be smooth sailin’! I have complete faith in you, I know you can overcome your insecurities and be happy with who God created: A beautiful, strong, amazing woman!
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63 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Well thank you Carrie, I appreciate this comparison as it helps to put things in a certain perspective!


64 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie April 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

The whole ‘full recovery’ thing is confusing to me. I feel like a lot of people, in the blog world and real life, say they are fully recovered, but still admit to having bad body image days or whatever. Maybe that just comes with having an ED history, but I personally believe no one who has ever suffered from an ED can completely escape those thoughts forever. I think being ‘recovered’ just means the ED doesn’t control your life, or at least doesn’t control most of it.

I think the plateau stage is so hard! For most of the past two years, I have been at sort of a plateau because I was at the weight my doctor wanted me to be at although it was still underweight, I was eating healthily but in normal amounts and was thriving in high school and in college so most people probably had no clue that I was struggling. I think we really just have to be honest with the people around us and admit to still battling those inner voices–it’s better to do it upfront than go through some slips and have an even harder time getting back on track!
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65 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I hear what you are saying here Ashley and yeah, it really is confusing. What exactly does “recovered” mean? I think that it depends on who is answering that question… for me recovery means that I will no longer have these bullshit thoughts and actions to be a part of my life. I don’t know if that is possible and that does bother me to be honest, but I guess i just have to keep striving to reach that goal of being completely free.
I also agree about being honest with others around you! I know some close people in my life to believe me to be all better, but gosh, I am just not


66 Erin April 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm

It’s been a little since I’ve commented… but for starters I only made the NSSC connection after you mentioned suzanne… she was friends with a friend. Then all of a sudden you looked remotely familiar and it all clicked haha. Number two – congratulations on nursing school!! When I read that I had to laugh a little, because I’m doing the same thing in the fall! I graduated a year ago, but by the beginning of my senior year knew I wanted to be a nurse.

As an aide… I did NOT have the day off. Lame. I think it is possible to 100% recover and truly reframe your thoughts, but from my current perspective I can’t imagine it. ED’s are definitely a “filler,” so it makes sense that so many people hit that plateau mentally. We’re afraid to let go of the “safety,” because life without ED obsessions might be empty/sad/disappointing/etc. But with an all-consumuing ED you don’t feel or notice those things as much. I think. But I’m still figuring it all out, too.

I hit a physical plateau this past summer (following semi-recovery from my worst) because of what you said, about equating body shape/size with happiness and worth. I was x pounds and any more weight would turn me into a failure. Then it all fell off again, and now that I’m willing to put it back on, I am so stuck in my ED ways mentally. Tough stuff… however thinking about the life I want to “begin” this fall helps. Congratulations again…. you’ll be a great nurse!


67 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Ahh well congrats to you on nursing school too! Where are you going in the fall?
YES so true, EDs are a filler, they are filling some kind of void in our lives and disconnecting ourselves from that seems impossible. But it just cannot be, I do not accept that. i am sorry you hit a platueu too but I am so glad you are getting back at this thing


68 Julia @ girl with a stethoscope April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm

This author’s experience is just so eye opening and it really shows how serious an ED is and how difficult it is to overcome one..it took her SO many years to overcome (And she will still always struggle). So many people think “well why don’t you just eat?” when they know someone with an ED but it’s just SO much more than that. Cheryl’s story goes to show that it’s a very, very, very long and draining recovery process.
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69 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Yeahhh when people say that or imply to “just eat” well I do get mad, but then I realize they simply do not understand this illness. The author actually claims that she is 100% free of the disorder now which does give me hope!


70 Laura @ LauraLivesLife April 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I’d like to just say “ditto” to everything you just wrote. 100% ditto. I feel ready to live life to it’s fullest, including dating, but I know that food and weight still consumes my thoughts – it’s why marathon tapering has been so hard (along with the running addiction thing). I want to be 100% there and I will be – I have to be if I want to achieve everything I want (i.e. husband, family, career and kids!)

Thank you, as always, for your honesty – I definitely want to get that book!
Laura @ LauraLivesLife recently posted..It’s called Monday…


71 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Oh yes I agree Laura.. I want all of those things too, but can’t do it right now with this THING still attached to me!


72 StoriesAndSweetPotatoes April 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

ED will leave you. You are winning. No one can talk like this without being the leader of this race. It’s just that winning the ED battle feels like shit.
Get. It. Girl.
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73 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Ha love this lady, thanks for the push!


74 CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com April 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Tessa, I completely understand where you are coming from. Sometimes you feel the worst inside when you seem all put together on the outside. you are a fabulous and brave person and i think it is incredibly awesome that you are so honest with me and the rest of your readers. it shows you are ready to take steps forward to be ED free even though it is so hard. if you ever need anything please dont hesitate to shoot me an email because you are NOT alone. I feel like i am right there with you.
keep smiling girl. you are such an inspiration.
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75 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Well goodness CJ thank you as always for your rather lovely and helpful comments! I really appreciate you offering me support and will totes take you up on that


76 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health April 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I feel like I could write so many things about this, but they all come down to the fact that you are awesome Tessa! And seriously, good for you for refusing to be the disorder and to have it be all consuming! I’m so proud of you girl!! And I can’t wait to hear how all of this goes for you :)
Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Marathon Monday


77 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Well thank you Lindsay :D


78 Lisa April 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm

OMG. Seriously, I feel like I am in the exact place as you. It is driving me up the wall, because I have no idea how to rid myself of this part of the disorder! I feel like this is the hardest part! And have no clue how to get past it. If you figure it out, let me know ;) You are doing so great! And know you can get through this!
Lisa recently posted..Comparison Trap


79 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I will certainly let you know as soon as I figure it out! OH and I will figure it out, count on that :)


80 Natalie @ will jog for food April 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I totally hear you about the Hunger Games! We were in a theater with an extra large screen and those close up, unsteady shots were making me nauseous. UGH
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81 Christine April 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Before reading “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me” I never truly believe that I could one day become 100% recovered. This book opened my eyes and I now realize that it is possible with hard work and patience. I definitely recommend the book and I especially loved that at the end of each chapter there are questions for journaling.


82 tessa8m April 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Thank you for the book recommendation Christine… I will be looking into that one!


83 Sara @my less serious life April 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

i am many years older than you, dear tessa. i used to suffer from similar issues quite severely. and, as you know, they still haunt me. perhaps this isn’t what you want to hear – but i think i will be forever have these thoughts. they are smaller, yes. i’m healthy and happy. i don’t consider myself ‘disordered’ anymore. these thoughts, they don’t ‘rule’ me any longer. but, they are there. i hope i am wrong.
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84 Chelsea @ Chelsea Runs April 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I think that it’s totally possible to completely recover, you just have to have the WANT and the DRIVE. I think you have it, Tessa. You are SUCH a strong person, and just imagine how awesome it would feel to live life with no fears.. Focus on that and other aspects of the life you want without the ED, and I think you’ll be able to conquer it. YOU CAN DO IT! I believe in you wholeheartedly. <3
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85 Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco April 16, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I really want to give you a big hug right now, Tessa. ;)

You are such a stong and beautiful person, and I really do wish you the best. There are so many people (myself included) who are really here for you when you need us. We love you!
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86 Shirley April 17, 2012 at 7:08 am

Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness
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87 Allie April 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

Did not know yesterday was the Boston marathon. So many dedicated people! I think I’ll wait for there to be a 2-mile-long Boston marathon :) And I want to hear about this internship! Sounds so interesting–and great that you can talk to/hear stories from other individuals. Not so great that it led to some personal frustrations, but with that comes greater awareness! I do catch myself going through the motions sometimes–and it helps to pause, step back, and smile about the good things for a moment.
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88 tessa8m April 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

The personal frustrations are okay… I am now so much more aware and just even more fired up to fight this THING :)


89 Kat @ a dash of fairydust April 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

I completely agree with the point an ED is actually a MENTAL illness and not at all defined by your physical state of health (although it is clearly connected to it,of course).
I don’t think I will ever be able to forget everything my ED has “taught” me. All those calories,sugar,fat states are burned into my brain; scars from a fight I am still fighting,and those don’t simply vanish when it’s over.
Although,I hope I will be able to live a fairly “normal” life in the end,meaning not worrying about what I eat,not freaking out after eating a slice of cake.
I am only scared I won’t get there anytime.
Kat @ a dash of fairydust recently posted..Decision time.


90 Brittany April 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

This is awesome that you got to listen to this speaker. Having people like that come to talk about something you can relate to is really interesting to be apart of!
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91 Melissa April 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

First of all, good girl! I’m so proud of you for yelling at the ED! Sometimes that’s so necessary! And I’m glad you’re refusing it, but I know that you also know it’s not going to be that easy. You’re going to have to yell–no scream–at it every single day. You’re already doing that in a lot of ways, but I’m so glad to hear that you’re committed to telling it NO!!!! In fact, AW HELL NO! :D I’d like to think that this is something you can fully recover from, but it’s such a personal, individual thing, that it’s hard to say. And so many things factor into it, too. But I’d say that if you really want it, you can do anything, including kicking your ED! I believe in you! Go for it!!! XOXO
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92 Hannah April 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Once again, great post Tessa! You always write such thought provoking posts. I just wanted to put in my two cents, whatever it may be worth. I’ve met a lot of girls/woman struggling with an eating disorder, and while all of the doctors/therapists/nutritionists i’ve talked to will say that true 100% recovery isn’t possible, that you just learn to manage your disorder, I think this is untrue. It does seems as though it is very individually based, because of course we all recovery differently. I have noticed that there is somewhat of a pattern with the recovery process. Those I’ve met that have just given up/stopped cold turkey because they finally grew so tired of it all they just excommunicated it from their life, seem to have the best chance of full on 100% recovery. They grab it by the horns and never look back. On the other hand, people like myself, grasp recovery, then slip back, then grasp recovery, and once again relapse. It’s a tidious and daunting process that is just one big exhausting cycle. You see motivated enough girl, but you just need to once and for all throw this thing in the trash and never ever look back.


93 tessa8m April 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Aww Hannah thank you for this point of view and your thoughts here! You are right, it is pretty individually based and I feel like it does come down to a choice. I know I am similar to you, in that i slip between recovery and backsliding.. but I just have to take the plunge and DO IT. we both do girl


94 Rachel April 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

it’s so awesome that you own this and share it. i think getting out of denial is the first step towards change, and i believe in you with all my heart and soul. ED is a horrible beast, and it takes much longer to get back together than it does to fall apart. but i have faith in the process and faith in you. i’ve heard wonderful things about this book too, it’s definitely on my to read list! no one deserves an eating disorder, and it’s AWESOME that you recognize that and refuse it. you can do it tessa!
Rachel recently posted..a horrifying trend


95 Rachel April 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

ps i’m currently reading a book called “the woman in the mirror” which deals with body image issues, where it comes from, and has a work book and various little exercises to help challenge that. it’s kinda actually helpful in making my appearance have less of an impact on how i perceive myself and separating body esteem from self esteem. you might enjoy it!
Rachel recently posted..a horrifying trend


96 tessa8m April 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Thank you for the book suggestion Rachel, I will definitely look into it! I have read a few books from the past that have helped me out in different ways and this ones sounds great
Thank you for your support Rachel!

97 Margarita April 18, 2012 at 12:36 am

Thank you for sharing what you learned from the speaker lady. Her story definitely gives me hope for everyone out there suffering from eating disorders. That declaration of this year being the year to let go of this disorder is a strong statement that can only made by a strong person willing to help herself get better. Keep at it! You are strong, you are beautiful, and more than what you think you can be. Always believe in that!
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98 Coach Dion April 18, 2012 at 2:05 am

Thank you nicely writen…
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99 Sophie @ Love Live & Learn April 18, 2012 at 6:37 am

Oh Tessa you definitely deserve so much more than this illness! And I know I say it everytime but I just know that you will recover from this one day and live a happy and healthy life :-) I’m really pleased that you got to listen to her speak, it sounds like it really touched you personally and that’s a brilliant experience to have.

I think this post has really struck a chord with me today as I see myself in a lot of what you describe and that scares me slightly. I have never referred to myself as having an eating disorder, I always just think of it as having eating ‘issues’ and push it one side, after all, it always feels like I have other stuff to worry about. But I think I’ve been wrong to do this, I should have addressed the issues right at the start instead of spending the last 5 years struggling against my poor self esteem.

I have every faith in you, you will get better! Stay strong lovely, I’m thinking of you <3
Sophie @ Love Live & Learn recently posted..Inspire Me.


100 tessa8m April 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm

As always, I love your support Sophie.. it’s just so nice that you keep reading and caring about my words :) Thank you! And I am sorry you are of course still struggling… just remember you can try and tackle this down at any time. Don’t worry about the past, it’s behind you now and you can only learn and grow from it


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