18. September 2014 by swissfitchick
I remember so well the day when I got diagnosed with Eating Disorders. It was only in 2006, during this huge relapse, when I actually went to a psychological institute to make tests about my behavior of bingeing. My compensation behavior to my binges were the drugs, excessive exercising and fasting – purging was just the ’emergency’ solution. So I thought I wasn’t bulimic. But I was.
‘You have bulimia. And you switched from Anorexia to it, which is very common.’ – I was in complete shock. I knew that I was anorexic in my past, but bulimic? I had no idea.
It was a shock, but also a relief. Finally I knew what was wrong with me. My behavior had a name. Yet, this was also the mark that I carried on my forehead from that day on. ‘I am bulimic. I am sick.’ This mark put a negative impact on my recovery – in terms of that I took this diagnosis as an excuse to do what I did. Does that make sense? It gave me the legitimation to keep up with my disorder, to eat disordered and to have relapses. ‘I am sick, I am disordered, it is ‘normal’ that I behave like this. It’s part of the disease.’ I hid behind the words of the psychiatrist and lived in self-pity, committed to my Eating Disorder. I was listening to people and statistics, saying that an Eating Disorder is extremely aggressive and stubborn and very very difficult to get out of or to leave behind. It was said, that I would never be able to fully recover. Especially not after so many years. I started to resign and accepting that I will be sick for the rest of my life. I thought, if I can just decrease the intensity of the binges, then I would be able to live with it.
But then I remembered the words of my former personal trainer Markus, who once said:’ It’s your decision if you want to change something or not. You can recover now. Or now. Or now. Or now. Every new moment is a new chance to recover and to get healthy. But YOU have to do it.’
Now get this. My diagnosis was in 2006. In March 2012 I realized that I can change something and started recovering. It took me SIX bloody damn years to understand that I have to ACT – and not wait, think and whine. So – I remember exactly when I was out for a walk or a run at the lake in Zurich, on one of my unemployed days in March 2012. The scales fell from my eyes and I thought:’ WHO says that I am bulimic? WHO the FUCK decides that I am disordered?? A doctor? Society? I decide to NOT being sick anymore from today on.’ And yes, that’s right – no one ever forced me to go out, buy shit tons of junk food and stuff my face until I am lying around like a sick whale. No one forced pills into my mouth and no one told me that being skinny is the only way to be happy. It was ALL MY CHOICE.
So, I knew if I choose to act disordered, I can also choose the opposite. I knew I wouldn’t be able to change everything from one day to the other, but I knew I had to make a start. And believe me, I had NO FREAKING IDEA as to HOW the hell I even want to do that.
Between this day in 2012 and December 2013, I had many relapses. I was still focusing on being skinny. I still took the drugs and I still did too much cardio. It all started to change in my mind. As I said before – you need to change your mindset – the actions and behaviors follow naturally.
So first, I started meditating DAILY. I still do that, every day since back then. 15 minutes, every morning. I am pretty sure, this saved my life. I was able to stop my negative talk after binges. I gave my best to forget what I ate, to forget what I did and instead of beating myself up, I tried to face the problem BEHIND the binge. I knew, bingeing was a cover up for a struggle, so I tried to focus on that. (Here’s a VLOG I did about reasons why binges happen). I tried to take care of myself instead of punishing myself. Bingeing is a sign of need, a scream for help. And I tried to give myself just that – love and support.
I did have a meal plan that included carbs and fats for the first time. I was scared to death that I would gain tons of weight, so I still worked out a lot. But with the proper food I ate, I started to see my body leaning out, getting stronger and looking fit. It was amazing to see and I started to be able to drop the anxiety of food. I slowly increased calories and very, very slowly decreased cardio time. I was in PANIC, but cause I took it so slow my body AND my mind were able to accommodate and adapt to this new routine. The time slots between my binges elongated and the binges turned into ‘slips’ – means, I wasn’t able to eat huge piles of junk food anymore, I just binged for example on a LOT of chocolate, or just overate on cookies at night. Everything started to lose its intensity, I recovered a lot quicker from the binges and was able to walk forward instead of looking back and drown in regrets and self-pity. This was all the strength I built up in my mind. Believe me, it ALL happened in my head. My thoughts around everything that happened had to change. With being able to change my thoughts, I was able to change my actions. And as for building up mental strength – you can look at it like if you want to build muscle. It takes time, patience and consistency. You will get the results you wish for if you don’t give up and stick with it. No matter how long it takes. It is the success that will last in a long term if you change your mindset in tiny steps day by day. No one can build beautiful lean muscle mass in one day – and it works exactly the same way with your mindset. But you have to start one day AND you HAVE to keep on going forward and never doubt it or yourself. It will pay off eventually, this I promise.
In Summer 2013 I decided to ditch all my drugs. And no, this decision didn’t happen just like that, I mean, I was fighting with the addiction for YEARS and a THOUSAND times I thought about giving it up, but I was always too scared. But I knew, I have to do it, so I decided to go cold turkey and bear all the consequences that come along with it. When I dropped the diuretics and the laxatives, I retained water like crazy. The only thing I was able to wear were leggings and skirts, my eyes were puffy, my fingers swollen and my legs hurt. I ignored the scale, as I knew I would be a lot heavier than usually and it would only make me freak out. It wasn’t fun, but I knew I have to go through that. And I did. 2-3 weeks later, my body started to regulate the water balance on its own again and I felt so much better. My skin started to glow, my cellulite disappeared, my muscles started to show and I felt energized, cause my body was FINALLY able to absorb the nutrients I fed it. It was a gift for the endurance I proved to keep up by sticking with the detox.
My digestion took a little longer to acclimate, but after about 4-6 months, it was back to normal – which I never thought was possible.
The progress continued. My thoughts kept on changing, I was able to develop a positive mindset towards myself and life. I was always a positive person and full of life, but I lived with so many self-doubts, negative body image and insecurity. I learned to like myself, slowly, but steadily. It was hard, so hard at times. I practised positive self-talk DAILY, even if I didn’t believe a single damn word I said to myself. I believed it one day, and that is all that counts. I fought binges, and I relapsed. These were the most difficult and strenuous 22 months of my life so far. I put all my daily effort, dedication and determination into my recovery. There was nothing I wanted so bad as to be healthy and free from this accursed addiction. I hated this Eating Disorder monster so much, cause it was SO strong and dictated my life for so, SO long. Way too long. I wanted to be stronger. I wanted victory. And believe me, I felt like a failure so many times. I thought it is all for nothing. But giving up wasn’t an option, it just wasn’t. And with the tiny progress I made each day, I encouraged myself to stick with what I was doing. I felt that I was on the right track – and I stopped caring about how long it takes. I only wanted to reach my goal – whenever that may be.
Fact is, you have to WANT it. You have to be willing to let go that ‘faithful’ friend called Eating Disorder. I was shit scared to death as to what would be left when my Eating Disorder was gone. WHO am I, if not a bulimic, anorexic, disordered girl? My Eating Disorder defined me for so many years, what was behind all that shit? Me. And that’s enough. Absolutely enough.
I am bingefree since December 2013. I never skip meals in order to adjust my weight and I eat regular meals made of real, whole foods. I don’t take any drugs no more. I don’t do massive amounts of cardio in order to burn calories. I train to get better and not to lose weight. My thoughts are not circling around food 24/7. I can eat guilt free 90% of the time. I like myself and I have a desire to take care of myself and my body. I am still very self-critical and I still have self-doubts. Sometimes I am insecure or frustrated by my training performance, a bad day at work or a poor eating day. It’s part of being human. It’s ok.
I was at my therapists a few months ago and she told me that I am recovered. After TWENTY years of battling this damn addiction and working my ass off, I finally set myself free. It is a feeling that I can not describe in words. It is a second life I gave to myself and I soak up every single minute of it. My body is thanking me by showing me how strong it is, capable of so many things I never ever dared to believe it would be. It glows. It looks and feels the best it ever did, and all the little successes I experience in training are my little rewards for all the work I put into recovery.
I have new goals. I want to become a better writer and I want to become a good CrossFitter. I want to keep up a healthy lifestyle and I will continue living life to the fullest. I want to see even more of this world. I want to keep up blogging and increase the awareness of Eating Disorders. I want to spread the message that recovery is possible and strive to inspire as many people as possible out there. And maybe…..maybe I will write a book.
Never stop believing in yourself. Have self trust, and take actions and work your ass off. What you really want – you will make it happen. Dream big, work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with good people.
My special thanks for unconditional support and love through all these times goes out to my family, my friends, my coaches, my readers, the blogging community and the CrossFit community. Thank you for your loyality, for never stop believing in me and for making me a better person. You made it possible for me to be where I am today. You give me strength and confidence daily and bring out the best in me.