Monday, July 07, 2008

Success Story: How I Beat Eating Disorders

Tracey tells us how she was able to break the cycle of binging and purging and develop a healthy body and mind...
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At its worst I remember binging and purging and repeating again several times in the same day. I hated every minute of it. Deep down I desired to be healthy and live a healthy life style. I felt so far away from this goal during this time frame in my life...

Ever since I was little girl, I always wanted to be beautiful. I remember growing up with Barbie doll and Walt Disney images as role models, and later - as a teenager - the “flawless” supermodels portrayed in glamour magazines and soap operas. In retrospect I can see that this kind of thinking originated from the pressure of what women are required to become due to societal norms and beliefs.

But, I didn’t know that then. I grew up with these influences and felt immense pressure to achieve external beauty. I often felt inadequate, that I was never good enough.

In elementary school I would either eat too much or not at all to try to regulate my weight and to stay thin. This behaviour became a daily habit and it spiraled into a series of eating disorders that I would later endure for years. While I was never obese, I did experience weight fluctuations from binging, then starving myself. In high school I lived off slim fast shakes (Yuck! can’t stand them today) and was able to maintain a thin frame. While I was thin – almost skinny, I felt terrible. I was constantly tired and I often had trouble concentrating. I weighed about between 115 to 120 pounds for most of my teenage years, but I never felt satisfied nor did I ever feel confident, or happy. I was never thin enough.

In my early 20’s I started training at a gym. I enjoyed this so much, but what began as a healthy activity developed into an obsession. About this same time instead of binging and then starving myself, I started to purge after binges. I knew what bulimia was, but I ignored my behaviour because I wanted to be thin. I remember wanting to be healthy, but I also wanted to look good and in my mind looking good meant you had to be thin. I quickly dropped to 110 pounds in a very unhealthy way. I had no energy, I was very pale with sunken eyes, I had no shine to my hair, and my nails broke easily. I knew that I was damaging my body and wanted things to change for the better, so I would work out even harder.

I worked out seven days a week and ate three very tiny meals a day. Just a little bit of chicken and a few leaves of lettuce. I would sometimes workout four hours a day and also worked full-time 4-12 in a factory. At the time I had three jobs and a daughter that I was raising on my own. The gym became the most important thing in my life at the time, I could never miss it. I worked at my other two jobs on the weekend. I developed Bulimia at the age of 22. I began to purchase large amounts of food and binge on it until I could barley move. In particular, stress would trigger the binging. Any time something negative would happen in my life – an argument, a breakup, financial stress, anything - I would binge. I kept wishing there was a way to control it and just be healthy, but it took over my life. I began to binge and purge everyday and my weight would fluctuate up to 10 pounds within 3 day periods. I remember binging to the point of not being able to physically move or breathe. It was terrible; I cried almost every time I put my body through this abuse. It was not long before I began to vomit blood. It finally scared me enough to seek help and change my life.

At its worst I remember binging and purging and repeating again several times in the same day. I hated every minute of it. Deep down I desired to be healthy and live a healthy life style. I felt so far away from this goal during this time frame in my life.

It was difficult to overcome this cycle of behaviour; it took me about 6 years to stop it completely. But at the age of 28 I began to research nutritional supplements and decided to change these destructive behaviours once and for all. I was able to slowly overcome the cycle of binging and purging and at first gained 20 pounds. From my research I discovered that this occurred because my metabolism had slowed because I had starved my body of nutrients for so long. I would still binge at first, which was another reason for my weight gain, but successfully overcame the purging part. This was a huge and positive step towards my recovery. I learned to eat healthier and to combine food properly to aid in the digestive process. I learned how to love and appreciate my body and felt an even deeper desire to treat it properly by giving it the nutrients that it required to function efficiently.

First I began taking active women’s multivitamins, additional vitamin C supplements, as well as antioxidants. I also started taking whey protein supplements and learned that they are the quickest and easiest way to consume and absorb protein. I used – and continue to use - the chocolate whey protein powder mixed with skim milk, I also add a teaspoon of udo’s oil (essential fats), which enhance the taste and nutritional benefit dramatically. I love taking it; it tastes fantastic and I know how much it’s doing for me because I feel fantastic, too. All it took was some reading; if I can do it, anyone can do it, too. I now have more energy and motivation to maintain a balanced healthy diet. I also began to take another nutritional supplement called green alive. It is packed full of nutrients that originate from a multitude of green vegetables. It gives me more energy and helps deliver micronutrients to my cells and organs more effectively. Virtually every physiological system in the body benefits from consuming green alive supplements. Since I have started using nutritional supplements I have experienced little desire to relapse into my old eating patterns.

I discovered that it is essential to learn about the nutritional supplements that you choose to use because it helps you understand the benefits they provide to your body. The more I learn about them, the more confident I feel in taking them because I know about the positive functions that they provide to the cells and organs in my body. Everything seems to be working better in regards to my energy levels and overall performance in the gym, at work, and at home. Being a nurse helps, too, because it makes me want to research the health benefits even more.

It has been two years since my last bulimic episode and I have never felt healthier in all my life. I am currently at a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and take a variety of nutritional supplements that are quick and convenient. In regards to my health and fitness goals I feel very fortunate to have found alternative health solutions through the use of nutritional supplementation.

More information about eating disorders

Losing Weight the healthy way

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