eating disorders

Overcoming an Eating Disorder

Food controlled about five years of my life. For those who don’t know, I suffered from a life-shattering eating disorder.

It all started in high school. I wanted to change my body to fit society’s fucked up standards of beauty. So, I started dieting. Obsessively. I was constantly following something and I tried just about everything. Juice cleanses. Low carb. Low fat. Paleo. Vegan. The military diet. Weight Watchers. Keto. Calorie restricting. There was even a week when I only ate baby food (😣).

I’d follow these diets for a week or two at a time, and when I “messed up” or deprivation sank in—I ate anything I could get my hands on. If there wasn’t enough food at home, I’d go to the grocery store to buy more.

Let me clarify: Binging is NOT Thanksgiving. It is NOT overeating. It’s eating a meal, and then scavenging through your cabinets to see what else you can eat; cookies, ice cream, bread, peanut butter, rice cakes—all in one sitting. You might start munching on food you don’t like. And after an episode of binging, you can’t move. You’ve stuffed yourself to the point of overwhelming discomfort.

For the longest time, I didn’t even realize it was an eating disorder. I assumed I couldn’t “get my shit together.” That I just needed to learn to control myself. But that wasn’t actually the case.

You see, an eating disorder is much deeper than having willpower around food. It’s a mask that disguises your insecurities, your pain, and your suffering. For some, it’s a coping mechanism to numb. For others, like myself, it‘s caused by body dysmorphia.

An eating disorder is not fixed by “fixing” your body or following a diet you can finally adhere to.

Recovery involves the unpacking of why and how it developed. It’s addressing the underlying issue and dismantling through all the narratives that are robbing you from feeling normal around food and in your body.

Healing isn’t linear, either. This journey is full of disarray; ups and downs. But healing is possible. I’m walking example and if you’re struggling, you will be one day, too. I believe in you. There is freedom. I promise.

Keep going. Keep trying. Keep believing.

Devi

The Scale is Preventing You From Seeing Progress

Here’s what I don’t want: You to spend your time, standing on the scale—anxious—waiting for it to give you validation or approval that you’ve progressed. Letting it take full power and control and define what you’re doing.

This device—an evil one, truly—can drain your inner peace and sink you into the depths of crippling self-deprecation. Any good feeling, or any ounce of pride can be sucked right out of you. And the more you feed into this cycle, the more it will make you feel something like itself—unimportant.

The scale is unimportant. Unimportant to your journey. Unimportant to your life. Unimportant to your progress.

There are a myriad of ways to track your progressions, and the scale isn’t the best method. It’s too deceiving to trust. Your weight will fluctuate daily due to your hormones, stress, water retention, sleeping patterns, muscle growth, and the various other factors that can affect change. It’s also very common for you to lose body fat, without dropping a single pound.

In addition to that, the scale tends to mislead you into playing a very dark game—the number game.

I’ve played this game once before. And it wasn’t fun. I became so blinded by the numbers, I let those numbers subtract from my worth and define the entirety of my existence and successes. It triggered unhealthy behaviors—the negative self talk, the excessive exercise, and the restrictive dieting.

I don’t want that for you.

I don’t want you to get beaten up from this game. But what I do want, is for you to conceptualize something really important: a number is just a number.

And the more you realize that, understand that—the more freedom you will have and the more progress you will see. You will become highly aware of all the ways you’re changing and growing because you’re not letting a silly numerical fraction be the deciding factor anymore.

Instead, you’re honing your intuition, focusing on how you feel, and celebrating every non-scale victory your making. The important shit.

So, stop putting all your attention on this malicious tool. Adapt new tools—better tools—to track your progress. Got it, baby girl?

xx

Devi

How I Overcome an Eating Disorder & Body Dysmorphia - Podcast With Fitfluential

In this interview with FitFluential, I discussed how I overcame an eating disorder and body dysmorphia. Tune in to hear my story and the tools I used to work through it by listening to the link below.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How my parents raised me and how I got into fitness.

  • The moment that made me realize I needed to change.

  • How I felt every day when I still had an eating disorder.

  • Why being too strict about your fitness is mentally damaging.

  • My binge-triggers and how I recovered from it.

  • Why I stopped doing cardio.

  • My thoughts on body type trends and acceptance.

Key Takeaways:

  • When you find what makes you happy, it’s a million times easier to stick to it.

  • Stressing over your health and fitness is still stress.

  • We’re relying too much on other people’s external validations.

4 Mistakes To Avoid When You're Trying To Overcome An Eating Disorder

Trying to beat an eating disorder is painfully difficult and extremely exhausting.

I know this because I fought the battle myself.

I spent years actively trying to fight an eating disorder, and without even realizing it I was sabotaging my ability to conquer it. I came up with what seemed like valid solutions, but the reality was it only exacerbating it.

These four things seem to be a common theme that many people involve in their recovery, and ones that I personally think make everything all the more challenging.

I want to preference this by saying I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I have no intent on curing or healing your eating disorder — nor am I qualified to do so. I am speaking on behalf of my own personal story and sharing my insights that helped me that might help you.


ANOTHER DIET IS NOT THE ANSWER.

When you’re trying to overcome an eating disorder, the last thing you need to do is follow another diet. Dieting itself is the number one contributing factor to the development of disordered eating in the first place.

Trying to heal your relationship with food by creating yet another filter of what you can and can’t eat is like trying to put out fire with gasoline. Another diet is not going to “fix” your eating disorder — it’s going to enable it.

In my experience, I latched on to this notion that I just needed to find different rules and guidelines I can adhere to it in hope to gain control. But an eating disorder is much deeper than just being able to have willpower around food. It’s a mask that disguises your insecurities, your pain and your suffering.

Recovery involves the unpacking of why and how it developed to begin with. It’s addressing the underlying issue and dismantling through all the narratives that are robbing you from feeling normal around food and in your body.

And while I don’t know what that exactly looks like for you, some questions that might be helpful to begin this process are:

Do I use food as a way to cope with my emotions? If so, what is a more productive and positive coping mechanism that I can implement in as an outlet for my emotions?

Do I follow diets because I’ve attached my worth to the way my body looks?

What triggers the behavior or episodes to happen?

JUDGING YOURSELF.

The worst thing you can do when you’re actively trying to work on overcoming an eating disorder is judge yourself when you feel triggered and give in. Punishing yourself for your actions doesn’t actually solve or fix anything — it just makes you feel worse.

Which leads into another important thing to remember: you are going to slip up. You can not attach yourself to perfection. This entire journey is full of disarray; it is imperfect and it is messy.

Being “perfect” about your recovery doesn’t minimize your problems, it magnifies them. And although perfection at the surface seems like the solution to succeeding and beating this battle, it’s that exact notion that holds you back from moving forward.

Instead of being hard on yourself about something that is already hard, give yourself more ease. Lead with compassion and understanding. Remind yourself that it’s okay and this is apart of the journey. Celebrate your wins and how far you’ve gotten. If you went from binging every single day to only once a week — that is a huge step. Acknowledge it.

And rather than setting the expectation to be perfect, give yourself permission to fuck up and then learn from your fuck ups.

What caused this to happen? What can you do next time to help prevent this from happening again?

STEPPING ON THE SCALE AFTER A BINGE…OR AT ALL.

The scale is just another puzzle piece to the problem. It’s part of the reason you are here in the first place and it’s that very thing that triggers you to pursue unhealthy behaviors.

Do not let a numerical fraction hold power of you. You are not an arbitrary number, baby girl. You are so much more than that.

Break up with the scale. It’s a toxic relationship and it’s not serving you. And while I know breakups are never easy, I promise that the minute you cut the scale out of your life you will start to feel less obsessed and more empowered.

And if you’re having a difficult time cutting the strings, at least take space from it for 30 days. You can do it.

THINKING YOU HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE OR THAT YOU ARE ALONE.

I assume that you’re eating disorder developed in private and you more than likely kept it that way (or at least tried to). You continue to hide it because you feel ashamed and embarrassed. Or, because you came up with some justification as to why you shouldn’t reveal it because deep down you want to hold on to it — because you’re not ready to let go of it.

I get it and I understand it because I did that very thing. And I know how scary it is to share this part of your life, but don’t stay quite — speak up and ask for help. Get the treatment and help you need to cure it.

Start with someone you trust, someone who makes you feel safe and is willing to support you through this battle.

And darling, know that you are not alone—you are never alone.


You are strong and I am here for you.

I love you,

Devi

Fit, Fat and All That - Guest Interview

From her enlightening messages about body image to her captivating personality and sassy attitude, I am thrilled to put the spotlight on my girl, Julia.

Julia, also known as FitFatAndAllThat on Instagram, is a body positive influencer who openly talks about the struggles she's faced with body image and disordered eating. I felt immediately connected with her the minute I found her, not just because I can relate to her story, but because of her transparency and willingness to show up vulnerably. 

I am excited for you to dive into this interview I had with Julia so you can get a snip of her story and the process she's used to heal her relationship with food and her body. So without further ado... 


What do you think triggered you to have disordered eating and body image dismorphia? 

I believe the media had a huge role in my eating disorder and I was also bullied about my weight in high school which led to a lot of insecurities. I never really saw my body type in my magazines or talked about as being “beautiful” in movies or shows. The diet industry shoves a certain body type in our faces and that was never my body, so I felt that I needed to change the way I looked to be accepted by society. 

How did you start to heal your relationship with food and your body?

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I spent years hating my body and never treating it with respect. I knew that I didn’t want to live my life uncomfortable in my skin and decided that I needed professional help. I decided to seek out a therapist and nutritionist that specialized in eating disorder recovery and spent a couple years really breaking down my body-image issues. 

What is one common mistake you think people make when they are trying to overcome their eating disorder? 

I think a lot of people mask their eating disorder or eating issues with a “diet” lifestyle. I held onto my eating disorder for years without realizing it because I was still very restrictive with my eating. I counted calories and took part in fad diets. I thought that because I was eating and not throwing up that I wasn’t in my ED, but I was. I realized to really overcome my eating disorder, I would need to let everything I thought about food and how I ate go. And then start fresh. I had to teach myself all over again how to intuitively eat and listen to my body. 

What advice would you give someone who is trying to feel confident in their body? 

The biggest thing I had to stop doing is comparing myself to other women. I used to envy naturally thin women and I would get angry that I wasn’t blessed with that. I unfollowed accounts that didn’t make me feel good about myself and started to saturate my life with body-positive talk. I kept telling myself that every single human is different. For us to expect that we will look like someone else is ridiculous. We all have flaws and imperfections. And I knew that no matter my size, if I didn’t work on changing my thoughts I would never love myself, even if I was thin.

It's important to know that you’re going to have bad body days, it’s normal. But to be able to get out of them and rationalize your thoughts is the important thing. And know that it’s one bad day, and tomorrow is a new one! 

What is one thing you do regularly to practice self care? 

I love baths and candles. Anytime I feel very stressed and out of whack, I try to take a relaxing bath with yummy candles and some good, calm music. I know that my thoughts can race and get out of control, so to be able to calm down usually helps when I’m feeling overwhelmed. 

Do you still struggle with your body image? Or have "bad" body image days? What are things you do to help shake it off? 

Of course! We all have those days and it’s completely normal. I know that certain times of the month are harder for me and I try to prepare for that. I also know that working out helps with my mood a ton. Whether it’s an intense cycling class or just a causal walk, I know that moving my body and getting outside always helps my mood.

What is your absolute favorite thing to do lately? 

Oh man, I love doing so much - haha. But since it’s starting to warm up in Denver, I love to get outside. Whether it’s brunch on a patio or hiking in the mountains - being in nature brings me so much happiness.


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GET CONNECTED WITH JULIA:

If you want to catch Julia dancing to her favorite songs in the car, or enlightening you with her spiel on body positivity - I highly recommend checking out her Instagram. 

Instagram: @fitfatandallthat

Email:  FitFatAndAllThat@gmail.com

How I stopped binge eating

Some of you may or may not know that I used to struggle with binge eating. This was something I battled for years and it took a lot of time to heal from. 

While I do plan on sharing my entire story with you eventually, I wanted to share 8 tips that have personally helped me overcome binge eating.

I also want you to keep these things in mind if you currently are struggling with an eating disorder:

  1. Do not be afraid to ask for help
  2. There is nothing wrong with you
  3. You are not alone
  4. Overcoming an eating disorder is not easy
  5. It takes time and patience to heal from, this is not an overnight process (it took me over a year to overcome) 
  6. You might do really well for a while and all the sudden find yourself slipping back up into old habits again... This is okay, this happens, just be forgiving and easy on yourself. 

Watch the video to learn 8 tips that helped me overcome binge eating: 

Be easy on yourself darling. With love,

Devon Day


DISCLAIMER: I am sharing my personal tips that helped me overcome and stop binge eating but this is not guaranteed to help you. I am a Certified Fitness and Nutrition Specialist but I am NOT a registered dietitian or nutritionist. I can not and do not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, illness and/ or eating disorders.