National Eating Disorder Awareness: Recovery Stories

Today’s story comes from a man who wants to take an opportunity to share his journey regarding how his obsession with nutrition became one of his life’s struggles and how he was able to overcome the issues that developed.

Growing up as a kid, athletic performance was at the very top of my life’s priority list.  I was taught that dedication and extreme discipline would allow me to separate myself from my peers and help me reach greater goals.  These principles proved to be true as I saw success in high school and college athletics.  After college, I no longer had competitive basketball to fulfill my drive, so I turned to a focus on working out and weight lifting.  I had always lifted weights but now I was doing it for different reason.  Previously, the motivation was performance based, but now there was more of an aesthetic motivation.  I implemented my dedicated and disciplined characteristics into this endeavor and found that nutrition played a huge role in helping to meet my goals.  Soon enough, the “health” component would prove to be the unhealthiest aspect of this hobby.  I became obsessed with every calorie and I wouldn’t let myself deviate, even the slightest bit.  Additionally, my friends and family came to admire this level of discipline, adding pressure to my situation.  I felt like I had a reputation to uphold as everyone was looking to me for nutrition and advice on health.  As this situation progressed, an important observation should be noted – my performance, mood, and energy all began to suffer, creating even more of a toxic situation.  Eventually, I caved.  One Sunday afternoon, I ate more calories in 6 hours than I typically would in 3 days.  The psychological effects from this binge were the worst part.  This continued on and off for a little less than a year.  During that time, food began to take over the majority of my thoughts and I felt imprisoned – it was awful.  I was constantly in a state where I was either trying to undo the damage from a binge by frantically working out for hours, or I was in continuous thought about how I would prevent the next binge.  In due course, I sought professional help and learned how to prevent these binges, but more importantly I learned how to relieve my mind from obsessing about food.

I spared a lot of details, but I wanted to share this quick story for a few different reasons.  I think it’s important that people realize that eating disorders can affect people of all different shapes and sizes.  I was doing my worst, when I was physically looking my best.  I was striving for “perfection” while I should’ve been striving for balance.  Since altering my mindset, I have been much happier and healthier physically and mentally.  Also, I can’t stress enough, the importance of seeking help.  Understanding the how and why wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of someone who had professional experience in this space.   I encourage anyone who is struggling to seek guidance – every problem has a solution!


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