Guilt and Ghosts: Struggling in Eating Disorder Recovery

(Thank you to BetterHelp.com for sponsoring this post, with their link on anxiety included below. I received compensation as a thank-you for my participation, and believe offering links to resources like this may be of help to some.)

I still have so much anxiety about what and how much I eat because my body will stop at nothing to get what it wants–even if I think it doesn’t need it, even if I think I did everything right, even if I think I know what I am supposed to do.

Words from friends play over and over in my mind as I observe myself:

“Looks like you’ve got some meat on you now,” she says, gently pinching my arm.

I feel the heat rise in my face. Anger? Frustration? Guilt? Embarrassment?

“Yeah, I thought you looked different from the last time I saw you.”

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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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“It is What it is” and Second Chances

Thank you to BetterHelp.com for sponsoring this post! A link to their website is included in the article below. I received compensation as a thank-you for my participation, and believe offering links to sources like this may be of help to some.
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I am still racing in college–in fact, after coming out about my eating disorder and starting this blog, I am only halfway through my college career. I have two more years!

At this point, I see the final two years of college as a second chance–a second chance to compete for my team, to continue to let go of Rawchael, and to continue to become the best Rachael I can be.

It’s a second chance to be able to live college life free from (or at least lessened by) the burden of anxiety with food. I can’t believe I’ve been consumed with all of this for nearly four years now. It seems early intervention is an important part of recovery. Once I did receive more help, I saw that writing, analyzing myself, and getting the support and help from friends and family sped things up.

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A Glimpse of Where I Am Now

This post was sponsored by BetterHelp.com. The link included in the blog post below leads to an article on BetterHelp’s website about depression. I received compensation as a thank-you for my participation and wanted to offer links to resources like this that may be of help to some.

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It feels like it’s been a long grieving process; like a part of me was dying slowly before my eyes for the past few years and I had to watch it unfold. I just couldn’t let her go. No matter how mean, how frustrating, how deceiving that voice was, I could not let her go. Hadn’t she given me success? Hadn’t she brought me glory?

Or had I forgotten that there was pain and fear all along?

After gaining the weight back, I felt I had lost the powerful Rachael, the Rachael in control. And now I’m left with a blanket of fat to cover me up. Or is it the eating disorder covering me? Did I just need to let that past Rachael go? I felt like losing all the weight through restriction and gaining it all back plus some left me feeling that I lost a piece of myself. And every day I thought about bringing her back to life.

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