Why Certain “Lifestyle” Diets Didn’t “Fix” My Eating Disorder

(Thank you to BetterHelp.com for sponsoring this post, with their link about getting professional help included near the end. I received compensation as a thank-you for my participation, and believe offering links to resources like this may helpful to some.)

Q: Balance – If we don’t take care of ourselves, we aren’t as able to [take care of] others. It’s about finding balance so that you avoid extremes in diet and exercise. I know that people have commented that they want to know what diet you finally found that works best, and it makes me wonder if they are looking for answers for themselves. That’s a pretty tough question to answer because nutrition isn’t that cut and dry, and there is still a lot that we don’t know. Everyone thinks that they are an expert, and you can find great arguments that support almost any diet. That’s why I think balance and moderation is best. I’m curious to learn where you are at with this.

A: Perfectionists like me seem to want to go “all the way” with anything and everything. If a little bit is good, then a lot must be better. I think many runners and other athletes fall into this trap, too. You think, if I run this many miles, then ten more miles each week would make me even faster.

While that can be true, we perfectionists can escalate things quickly: Because I have enough discipline. Because I have enough willpower. Because I can force myself to do it.

When my mom suggested I cut down my portion sizes if I was uncomfortable with my weight, I figured I had to starve myself. After all, the way I ate at the weight I was at meant eating until I was full/content. To lose weight, I figured, meant I must go hungry.

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Eating Disorders vs. Healthy Eating

(Thank you to BetterHelp.com for sponsoring this post, with their link on anxiety included in the final paragraph. I received compensation as a thank-you for my participation, and believe offering links to resources like this may be of help to some.)
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Let’s say a friend chooses to order a salad while the rest of your friends order pizza. Is this friend restricting calories to lose weight? Or does he want a salad right now because pizza doesn’t sound appetizing at the moment?

Some people may eat in a way that makes others think, eating disorder.

But you can’t point to every raw foodist and claim they have an eating disorder. You can’t claim every vegan is masking a bigger problem. And you don’t want to assume that just because someone eats a seemingly balanced diet that they don’t have disordered eating. Some may eat in restrictive ways to avoid food allergies or find that they feel better eating this way, while others use “gluten intolerance” or “raw food diet” as an excuse to carry out their eating disorder behaviors in a more convincing way.

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A Mother’s Struggle to Free Her Son from Anorexia (Guest Post by Bev Mattocks)

I’d like to introduce a guest blogger Bev Mattocks. I first discovered her blog about three months ago, only to find out that it was a blog-turned-book. I was able to read Mattock’s book, Please Eat… A Mother’s Struggle to Free Her Teenage Son from Anorexia. It helped to see the struggle from the perspective of a parent, especially as my own parents have learned to deal with my eating disorder.

In the second chapter of my book Please Eat… A Mother’s Struggle To Free Her Teenage Son From Anorexia I describe my pride at watching my 15-year son, Ben, win the 1500 metre race at the school sports day in July 2009. At the time Ben (who lives in the UK) was into a whole range of sports, not just running. Then, over the summer of 2009, his sporting activities got even more intense. He was swimming, running, and working out at a local gym every day – and more. With this came a whole new dedication to ‘healthy eating’, especially fat-free food. Ben quickly became an expert at slimming down recipes, cutting out the ‘baddies’ from his diet, and examining the nutritional content of food packaging in microscopic detail.

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Why Did I Attempt a Raw Food Diet as a Runner?

One of the biggest questions asked was why I felt the need to do the raw food diet. For those of you who think it is the most strange, absurd decision anyone could make, for someone who was battling an eating disorder, it might make “a lot of sense.” It all depends on perspective, what is important to us, and who we are as people. Nutrition happens to be important to me. It has always been a large focus in my life, probably because I had a focus on health as a runner since the age of five. Since my obsession with weight had escalated (to the point where I felt mostly food and weight mattered in making me a better runner) I went into the raw food diet thinking it would help my relationship with food, not hurt it.

running at houseman

I’ve been running for a LONG time

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