I hope you all liked the pictures of the NYC! I was thankful that the Train allowed me some computer time to share with you all our honeymoon, even though we both agreed no phones, no computers (usually I’m the one telling him to get off whatever form of technology he always seems to be on).
Today you are all in for a special treat! A very dear friend of mine has agreed to do a guest post for me to help fill in while the Train and I forget about the world. So without further ado please give a very courtious, supportive, and loving welcome to my soul-sister, LT. 🙂
Hello Soul Searching Vegan followers,
While Chelsea is away on her honeymoon with the wonderful Z-Train, I thought I would share some of my own soul searching experiences as per her request. While I had originally planned to write a piece about the food industry, “Food: Public Frenemy #1” (catchy title, I know) as I sit here to write I feel that something a little more personal is in order. Chelsea and I (as well as many of you I’m sure) share much in the way of personal struggle. So much so, that when we discovered that we had lived eerily similar childhoods from almost opposite ends of the country, we could not help but to be somewhat in awe.
My ED began at the ripe age of seven. From what I can remember, I always felt that I was not “right” physically. My body was too big, my legs to FAT, and when compared to my classmates, friends, and basically any other kid walking the street, I was simply sub-par. I sat idle with those thoughts for about three years, and at the age of 10 took action against the body I had grown to hate. By age 11 I had landed myself in the hospital for the first time, and for two years after that my parents and I made weekly visits to the ED specialist (7 hour drive both ways), rarely attending school and exhausting my entire family. At 13, in desperation, my parents placed me in an inpatient program in Arizona, where I spent 6 months “working on” my issues. After being released, it was two weeks before I was back in the hospital, and for the first half of high school I spent life in much the same manner as before treatment.
In my final two years of high school I seemed to come through the haze and became healthy- in body anyway. When I left for college, the weight fell off again quickly, and I spent my undergraduate career yo-yoing between two extremes. Days of restricting led to nighttime binging, and it was an awful cycle that I could not seem to turn off. Fast forward to present day, and I am learning for the first time to like (love is still a lofty goal) my body for all that it can do, and accept the form that I have been fighting against for as long as my memory serves me. There are days when I think I can live with what I have, but many days are still driven by the need to exercise for hours and restrict my intake in an attempt to shed those excess pounds.
But I have discovered a few things that help. Chelsea has been writing a lot lately about yoga, and how it has helped her mind, as well as strengthened her body. I too have begun the practice of yoga, and the benefits have been amazing. A longtime Bikram follower, I am now practicing Sumits Yoga as well, and the wonderful people at my local studio have strengthened my dedication to my practice.
Cooking (and then actually eating what I cook) has also helped. For years I cooked for EVERYONE: my family, my friends, my roommates, my boyfriend, and then would simply wish that I could eat what I had made. These days however, my mantra is to allow myself everything. When nothing is off limits, nothing is scary… and more importantly nothing is “bad”. I have found that by practicing this, the binges have almost stopped altogether, I am actually enjoying food without the intense guilt, and my weight has naturally come down and remained stable.
Finally-and this is the kicker-I got a life. I have always been a busy-body. School, multiple jobs, training for this or that marathon, I have spent my life “doing stuff” as so many of us do. But I realized that I was not really living, simply going through the motions of what I thought I should do. Furthermore, I wasn’t really having much fun doing it. For all of the time I spent surrounded by people, I was isolating myself at the same time, for fear of missing a workout, or getting caught in a situation where I might eat too much bad food. While this has been slow in coming, I feel that I have made significant progress in coming out of the shell that I imposed upon myself.
So I ask you all now, what has worked for you? If you share a similar struggle, or something that is completely different, I think that at the root many of us have the same core fears. The manifestation of these fears are simply expressed in different ways. While I still have such a long way to go, and it has taken me 25 years to get to this point, I am full of hope for the future. Thank you for reading, and thank you to Chelsea too! 🙂
Thank you so much LT for being so brave and sharing with us your story. You are such a beautiful person. And thank you for saving me, you truly are my soul-sister!