Emily Meador of @lettuce.thrive
When you look back on your life, there are major moments that shape and define your development as a human. Before you keep reading, reflect and think about what one or two of those defining moments have been for you.
I would be willing to guess that the first thing that came to mind was a hardship, not an easy, exclusively positive memory. Personally, I can think of 3-4 stand out moments that have shaped me into the confident woman I am today, and most of them were TOUGH.
One of my big defining moments was deciding to recover from my eating disorder. Let me be clear, the eating disorder itself was not the moment, deciding I was done with it was. Here’s how it went down.
I had been suffering from an eating disorder for years. It started with excessive exercise in attempts to avoid putting on the “freshman fifteen” when I went to college. In a few short months, it progressed into a full-blown eating disorder, counting every calorie all the way down to my gummy-vites. It became more and more severe until my body could no longer take it and I began binging to the point that I was so physically ill I could not keep the food down. My anxiety around food and my body completely took over my life.
During this time I felt completely alone in my struggles. That is until a year later when I read a book in which the author shared her struggles with an eating disorder. This was all before the social media wellness boom so it was the first I heard of someone else who had OVERCOME my same struggles. I felt so inspired that I stayed up all night writing the author a letter sharing my journey and my experiences with an eating disorder. It was cathartic.
I never sent her my letter, instead, I shared it with my boyfriend. That was the first step to recovery. Finding someone to join my team and help me fight the battle was my big defining moment. It took years of HARD work, but I am now recovered from my eating disorder. I no longer have pervasive thoughts about food or my body image. In fact, I have since become a Registered Dietitian and have devoted my life to helping people build healthy relationships with food. As an extra bonus, working through the eating disorder together helped show me how strong my relationship to that boyfriend was, how developed our communication skills were, and how capable we were of making it through hard times together. We are happily married now.
So, if you are suffering from mental illness, or any hard time in your life right now recognize that you have to power to grow from it. You can take the lessons you have learned and apply them to something bigger than yourself. You can make right now the moment that pushes you to become a better version of yourself. You’ve got this girl!
If you want to hear more about my story, you can read the full letter I wrote to myself here on my blog, or follow me on Instagram @lettuce.thrive where I share tips on building a healthy relationship with food, dealing with anxiety, and getting comfortable in the kitchen.