Yeah…Immaeatthat

Jan 26

What is your disordered eating making you miss out on?

While on our trip, I started reflecting on similarities I see among my eating disorder clients. One thing that stuck out to me was the number of clients who cook their oatmeal in water. (Stick with me here. I promise I’m going somewhere with this.)

One of first changes I encourage ED clients to make is to switch from cooking their oatmeal in water to cooking their oatmeal in milk. When I first see a client, they are all eating oatmeal because it’s a “safe food” for them because society has deemed it as one of the few carbs that is acceptable to eat.  The reason I make the water to milk switch is to 1) help the client move towards not undereating at breakfast, 2) increase the protein content of their breakfast, 3) help them get in some calcium, and 4) because holy heck it just tastes better.

Once the client has made the water to milk change, they come back and tell me something along the lines of, “holy crap why haven’t I been doing that all along? I’ve been missing out! It’s delicious! Such a game changer!”

When they say this (clients tell me on a weekly basis!), I always think/say, “if you think adding milk to your oatmeal is a big deal and it brings you joy…what else have you been missing out on because of your disordered eating?”

Milk in oatmeal is such a small switch to make. If that rocks one’s world, holy cannoli just think what is waiting for you when bigger switches start to happen. What’s gonna happen when your entire mindset moves away from disordered eating and body hatred? What’s waiting for you when your mindset is one of taking care of your body instead of trying to manipulate your body’s natural size?

For me, two of the things that I was missing out on due to my ED/disordered eating were 1) feeling like I’m flowing with my body’s instincts and 2) feeling at home in my body.

(psst. she the below photo? I bought a turtleneck sleeveless sweater thing and I love it!)

Here’s a little more explanation on two of the many things I was missing out on… 

  1. Feeling like I’m flowing with my body’s instincts: The majority of the times nowadays, I feel like I’m in such a rhythm with my body.  I listen to my body’s instincts by honoring my hunger and fullness cues.  I don’t overthink eating when I’m hungry any more than I would overthink going to the bathroom when I have to pee. I’m hungry…I eat something that sounds satisfying. I have to pee…I go pee. I feel very engaged and connected with my body. I’m very mindful of what it needs and how I can take care of it best. When I was in my ED, I couldn’t have cared less about what my body was asking me for.  (If you’re interested in learning about the 2 types of hunger and how to discover what your body needs, read this You have two kinds of hunger post.)
  2. Feeling at home in my body: I finally realize that being healthy doesn’t guarantee thinness.  In recovery I felt like there were parts on my body I was dissociating from.  In a podcast I listened to recently (I don’t remember which one!:/) it talked about how we can choose to not embody parts of our body.  So if you hate your arms, you could choose to dissociate from them. You’d do your best to not think about them. For me, my arms and stomach were the parts of my body I choose not to embody. I mentioned in this video I started embodying and connecting to the natural size of my belly my resting my hands on my belly after yoga and feeling my belly rise and fall.

If the idea of touching your stomach overwhelms you, that is okay.  Be patient.  Body image is the last thing to improve with ED recovery, but I do think it is worth starting to practice good body image now.  I don’t believe you recover from disordered eating by first making your food normal. Then making your exercise habits normal. Then thinking about working on body image.  A lot of this work needs to happen simultaneously.

I’d love to hear from you.  I’d love to get a conversation going in the comments section from those who are in their eating disorder/disordered eating and those who are recovered from disordered eating. What do you think your disordered eating is making you miss out on currently or made you miss out on in the past?

76 comments on “What is your disordered eating making you miss out on?”

  1. Another great post. The oatmeal analogy really rings true, I still find myself panicking with a milky coffee rather than taking it black, so silly when I write it down! I know for a fact I’ve missed out on meals out, desserts I would have loved, cheesy pasta dishes that I’ve longed for, even little things like advent calendar chocolates that I’ve tossed away because “I couldn’t afford the calories.” Because I’m now in the recovery stage, I tend to find myself caught somewhere between eating what I want mindfully, and still finding sick success in hunger pain. I’m a lot better than I was, but I’m not quite there yet. Posts like this on blogs like yours really help, so thank you, and never stop sharing the healthy messages and body positivity!

  2. I have made my peace with the things my disorder made me physically suffer and miss out on; like respecting (and nutrifying) my body whilst it was still growing and enjoying it (in a wholesome way) whilst it was so young and fresh rather than despising it. But years after recovery it is the non-physical things I regret much more. The void in memories and all the time lost. All the things I said no to because I was scared of being around food or being found out, the isolating of myself and the people who may (or may not) have passed me by because of it.

  3. Now that I’m recovered from from anerexia I just feel more awake.  I actually experience things instead of merely getting through them while thinking about food and exercise.  I’m also a mom now which never would have happened if I had continued being sick.

    Thank you for writing honest, thoughtful pieces about eating disorders.  

  4. I missed out on not being present for many things. Thinking what I was eating next, how I was going to exercise, how does my body look, etc. I wasn’t fully there for those conversations with friends and family. I didn’t enjoy social get togethers or even lunch with colleagues. 

    Now, I savor the delicious meals that I enjoy with family and friends. Focus on the conversation at social get togethers. Exercise to feel strong and happy.

    I won’t lie, there are days or moments its hard to be present and not go back to those old thoughts. But I have come a long way and feel so much better for it. 

    Thanks for always being honest and open <3

  5. For me it’s definitely the social part I have missed/am missing out on, because of my disordered eating. A lot of my friends are these tall, sporty guys who think more calories is always better. Which is fine, of course, but being so scared of eating too much, I have shied away from eating with them regularly.
    As for the water/milk dilemma when cooking oats, that is definitely something I recognise. I think it is great how you use something so simple to make that first change. Thank you so much for your post, I think it will really help me.

  6. I love the oatmeal analogy. For me it was when I chose to start eating the food that was provided at a meal or social gathering rather than bringing my own or eating before hand. Not only did that take a ton of stress off of me in the long term, it made me less isolated. 
    In my most disordered year I missed out on a ton. No long lasting friendships were made during those years other than my now husband 
    I’m just so dang thankful to able to be laid back around food and social outings, in stark contrast to my ED self. I feel like I am way more in line with who I was created to be.

  7. Vacations are so much more fun now that I’ve recovered (mostly at least) from disordered eating. I actually enjoy eating out and trying treats on vacation and guess what? There hasn’t been a significant weight change from going on a trip. One vacation was a big turning point for me because I ruined it by stressing about food the entire trip and binge eating as a result. Food consumed me that trip. Now on every vacation I’m thankful for how different and more enjoyable it is.

  8. Love this post! (as I do all of them) This is still something that I am working on but last weekend when I was at brunch I ordered a biscuit as the bread side, and it was the most delicious biscuit I’ve ever eaten. Usually I’d restrict myself to only eating half or a few bites, but I actually ate the whole thing and was pretty proud haha. Sounds so insignificant to a lot of people but you just have to realize that one biscuit isn’t the end of the world.

  9. Such a great post! For me, the part of my life I was most missing out on was social connection. When I think back to that time, I still feel guilty about how much brain space and energy I spent on eating/exercise instead of my now-husband, family and friends. I am so grateful to be able to really be with people now instead of stuck in my head counting calories or obsessing over when I would be able to next work out. 

  10. I might have to try making my oatmeal in milk! I always use water because I think I made it once a long time ago and scalded the milk and it was disgusting.

  11. I enjoyed this post and it felt very real for me. I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but through recent self-discovery over the last several years, I realized I likely did struggle with disordered eating for a really long time. I was one of those “water / oatmeal” people you mentioned. Many of my strange eating habits I thought were “healthy” because they are low calorie are a thing of the past now (except somehow along the way I actually learned to LOVE black coffee and it’s the only way I can take it now…). When I go out to eat I don’t research menus ahead of time to plan calories, and I don’t let myself feel guilty or feel the need to work out and burn off the calories. I go out to eat and pick what will make me happiest to taste and workout because it is freeing for my mind. I’m by no means perfect and still struggle with the body image part of my issues some days, but heck, posts like these make me realize how far I’ve come. Thanks for being you, Kylie.

  12. Whenever I was restricting I missed out on that feeling of fullness! I was always hungry and felt deprived. I wonder why. Going out running 8-10 miles and not eating anything beforehand.. and then only eating 2 pieces of toast w/ a minimal amount of nut butter when I get back. <– Yeah I wonder. My body is so glad I am finished with that!

  13. The oatmeal analogy is SPOT ON! Love this post. I am a RD that see’s a wide variety of things, but anytime I come across a patient with disordered eating, I always tell them to check out your blog. Thank you for making others (myself included) feel more Human, everyday!

  14. Wow, I think about this often, honestly.

    I missed out in college on enjoying food with friends. I remember when they would go out to eat and I would make so many excuses as to why I couldn’t go when really it was fear of getting fat, eating the “wrong” thing, and being judged.

    I missed out on enjoying vacations with my family as freely as I can now. The restrictions I placed on myself were always there. “Don’t eat too much,” “don’t eat that because it’s bad,” “exercise instead of spending time sleeping in,” etc.

    It makes me sad to know how much I really lost but I am grateful for how much I have gained. That sense of wholeness and happiness fills me up.

  15. I always love the conversations you start on here. Thanks for sharing your story, struggles and all! xo

  16. The oatmeal example is wonderful! I’m beyond thankful I got to a much better place by the time I got married and took our honeymoon last fall. I ate plenty of delicious, rich foods, and rather than feel guilty, I loved it! I loved experiencing it with Matt and feeling at peace. Even now, we have something in the evening after dinner, and I love this part of our routine. I love allowing myself to enjoy a smoothie/yogurt bowl/cookie/anything. I have better days than others, of course, but I am a work in progress. Throwing away my bath scale was really huge for me this past Sunday. So liberating.

  17. I can’t even count and I don’t want to. The people I hurt is probably the worst part. Missed friendships and damaged relationships…and the blatant lack of happiness.

    Right now it’s dealing with the aftermath of irregular periods and infertility.

    I don’t think your blog could get any better and you are definitely hitting your mark of helping end disordered eating. Thank you thank you thank you. :)

  18. Reading your posts like this makes me so emotional (in a good way). You’re so inspiring! I loved the part about making peace with the parts of your body that you’re most critical of (by touching your stomach, etc.) I think that’s a really wonderful idea.

  19. Somewhat unrelated response but yes, milk is a game changer. I’m lactose intolerant so I use almond ‘milk’ but it’s way more creamy even with that!

  20. In the times I most struggled with disordered eating, I didn’t even realize there was an issue. Only now can I see how much of life in general I missed out on. Not only was I completely preoccupied with food/exercise (I sometimes wouldn’t eat when out to dinner with others), but also my energy levels were extremely low and I was always cold! Of course, at the time I thought it must have been some other health issue and was at the doctor constantly in an attempt to resolve these “mystery” issues! I feel like a different person now mentally and physically and get so much more out of my experiences overall.

    PS – I was totally an “oatmeal with water” person back then and now proudly enjoy it with milk, nuts, fruit and brown sugar!

  21. I have definitely missed out on beach vacations and time at the pool. I used to tell people that I wasn’t really a “beach person” that I was a “mountain person” because we never vacationed at the beach. We always went on vacations in the mountains (hiking, cabins, etc.) While I DO love the mountain vacations, the truth was, I wasn’t a “beach person” because I didn’t want to be in a bathing suit.
    Such a great post! Thank you!

    • I so believe you have to practice having confidence in a bathing suit. No one puts on a bathing suit and feels amazing. Just like you have to practice speaking a new language before you are confident…it’s also normal to have to practice wearing a bathing suit before you feel confident. I hope you are filling your life with beach vacays now!

  22. The question you posed IMMEDIATELY made me think of what I missed out on as a disordered eater.  

    My great grandparents lived 10 hours (driving) from us growing up, and we would make the trip to go see them once or twice a year.  We’d stay at their home for several days.  My great grandmother was a true southern cook and baker.  Even if it was not a holiday, there were lavish meals prepared every day.  Every day there were hearty breakfasts of toast with butter and homemade jelly, eggs and bacon.  The abundance of food and organized meals drove me to the edge of sanity and to tears.  I felt I could not escape eating multiple rich meals per day.  I dreaded the visits, and did not have the capacity to be present in the time we had with them.  

    As a thirty year old and recovered/quite normal eater, this makes me quite sad.  They passed when I was in early college and time is something you cannot get back.  These days, I relish a splendid breakfast spread more than almost anything.  This past weekend, I was thinking to myself, “If I were to pick a last meal…” as I enjoyed banana-walnut pancakes, fried eggs and bacon.  (and a couple lattes).

    Through writing this out, I am now making the connection that, just maybe, that love is in honor of my late great grandparents. 

  23. This is a great post!! And so true. I touch upon similar topics on my latest post talking about the negative aspects of whole 30 ( I think it can be extremely triggering for people with disordered eating in the past!)

  24. I love this post (as I always do with your blog). One very similar example of something I missed out on in the past is a good latte. I would always get non-fat milk, or sugar-free syrup..and it was not the same. Not that there is anything wrong with those foods, because I often still get sugar-free syrup in my coffee, but sometimes I just need a full-fat latte. And it’s delicious.
    I also agree with many others who said their social lives suffered because of disordered eating habits. When trying to lose weight or be “healthy” I would often turn down invitations to go out to eat, or suggest somewhere different where I could get something on my plan. It makes me feel bad to admit that I turned down an invitation to eat at one of my favorite places just as recent as last week, because I was “trying to be healthy.” Posts like this help me understand I’m not alone in these thoughts/behaviors, and it possible to change them. Thank you.

  25. So much!!!  When I was in my ED, I didn’t allow myself to have any kind of real sugar, only stevia (that was after my Splenda phase…😖).  I thought stevia tasted good, until I allowed myself to have sugar again, and now stevia tastes weird and bitter (still working on the mental piece with certain sugars, but I’m getting there!).  Also, I rationed how much chocolate I allowed myself to have per week, how much fat I could have at one go…now, no more, and I am SO much happier!!  ED really does keep you in a very small mental space, worrying about stupid, insignificant stuff, while you could be so much happier than you can even comprehend with your ED mind by just letting go.  I say it like that’s easy, but it’s actually incredibly, terrifically hard…I am still working on letting go and it’s been several years since I started recovery.  But you CAN get there, and it is one of the most rewarding and freeing journeys I have gone through in my life!  Stay strong and keep pressing on, everyone! 💓

  26. i missed out on everything when i was in my eating disorder. life just happened all around me as i lied my way through it (i already ate. not hungry, etc.) i have been in big time recovery for many years now, but do still struggle with counting calories. i honestly don’t restrict, i just count! it makes me feel good and calm, or bad and stressed out, or guilty as i am calculating while my daughter is playing next to me. : ( and i would love to hear how you stopped (if you were a calorie counter.) i also feel guilty that i don’t/can’t make time to excercise during this season of my life – full time job, commute, kiddos, tired. i could get up at 5am, but i chose to sleep!…and that makes me feel like i am not doing everything i can to be the healthiest i can be / make my body the best it can be. maybe i do still struggle…and maybe with all these feelings life is still happening around me a bit. that’s hard to write. also – you rule. x

  27. Love reading all of the comments, this was such an amazing post to read and think about! When I had an ED (and even when I was recovering and still holding onto disordered eating patterns), I missed out on SO much. Literally so many day to day things that I realize now like being able to eat or not eat when I’m hungry or not. And being able to eat whatever the heck sounds good to me and what I know will make me feel happy and let me be true to myself. The ability to say yes to going out to eat with friends or new friends or my boyfriend and not be freaking wondering what I need to eat all day so I can “splurge” at night. The ability to go for a walk or do some yoga in my bedroom or just play around with handstands or dancing with my roommate and being totally content with that movement, not feeling like I need to hit the gym. Being able to try different recipes and not think about how I can cut fat or carbs or “healthify” it. Not feeling hurt or unworthy or terrible about myself if someone comments about my body or my size. Being able to focus on my studying completely and being able to access a part of my brain that I think was just turned off or not accessible when I had an ED–not being in a fog all day and being able to see and do and think and experience so much more!!! And being able to eat oatmeal with freaking delicious milk and brown sugar in it for breatkfast :)))

  28. I am just starting my journey and realizing (thanks to this blog) I might have an ED, if not I definitely have a fair amount of disordered eating going on. The oatmeal thing definitely resonates with me as well, but I’d started adding greek yogurt to it to increase the calcium content and protein. I had two stress fractures this year, that should have clued me into the whole eating disorder thing, right? :P It did make it creamer, but I was ok with the extra calories cause it was protein; it just meant I’d be stronger and could workout more. Or so went my reasoning. I am just starting to realize how isolated I’ve started to make myself. I just got married 4 months ago, and my husband wanted to do social things with his friends. I totally balked at that. I thought, I can’t handle the stress of being around them, and they’ll want to eat normal food then it’ll be rude if I don’t eat it too… And then all the time with my family, who I only see a week or so a year, spent running off those calories because they like to eat pizza…. I’ve already missed out on so much. Thank you so much for helping me realize where I am at.

  29. One thing that was difficult for me to change in recovery was measuring out my cereal. It took a long time to get away from that. When I no longer needed to measure that was a huge leap toward recovery. I totally agree about body image being the last hurdle- still working on that.

  30. Oh my where to even begin…the ED made me miss out on soooo much. The delicious food is obvious but its more those moments of pure joy that it really messes with. Missing out on spending more quality time with your grandmother because your afraid of her offering you a biscuit with your tea, missing out on forming friendships with people because you can’t handle the anxiety of party food or completely ruining holidays because you can’t find safe foods.

    I could go on for ages, its crazy how much it affects when you look back…I wish we could all get those special moments and time back but in saying that God uses everything for good and you can see exactly why he gave some of us (like your lovely self) the trial of an ED, because now you get to help and encourage so many others.

    P.S. The oatmeal thing is freaky, seriously everyone I speak to with an ED has the same thing happen to them

  31. I actually tried to research statistics about oatmeal and eating disorders because that seems to tie us all together! my research attempts were thwarted by lack of scholarly research but tons of insta pics to prove a strong correlation between oatmeal and eds! But I digress….
    I can only imagine what I’m missing out on because my disorder is a product of trauma and I never knew “normal” before it started. There’s more that goes into this, but my point is that not everyone has the privilege of a better life without an ed when the ed is the most normal thing in their life. It’s horrible, and distorted, and not a byproduct of beauty ideals. It is a bad result of things gone wrong, and the only thing I miss is the healthy life I never had. Yes, I’m in lotttts of therapy, and yes, I put milk in my oatmeal. but body image and food choices sometimes go beyond the mirror, the scale, and all the yoga.
    I loved your post, per usual!! You are the blogger who grounds me than all others because healthy and normal are on a spectrum, and I’m continually filled with hope from your stories. Thank you so much.

  32. I think the thing I hate the most is imagining the way I made other people feel. I was a high school teacher and coach and I imagine all my girl students who wanted a thin body like mine. All my athletes who looked up to me for staying fit. I think about my sister, my mom, my friends who felt awkward because i always ordered salad and never ate dessert. My grandma who watched me pass on cookies and milk. I hate to think I perpetuated the cycle. I also hate how much time I’ve wasted. I could have been reading books and learning piano in the time I spent measuring my oats and water. I could have skipped 5 years of infertility. I could have enjoyed eating out with my husband. I could have loved holidays without stressing about calories. Disordered eating robbed me of so many things.

  33. Being present!! So much time spent glued to calorie counting apps, so much time spent hiding in my room binging (yet saying no to all food out). It’s time I will never get back, but closing that door behind me and walking head talk through the open door ahead

  34. My eating disorder made me miss out on a lot of things, but I think one of the biggest was social connection. A really important way that people connect is through food, and there were so many ways that I wasn’t able to be a part of that – from avoiding going out for pizza or ice cream with friends, to turning down my grandmother’s homemade cookies, to stressing about traveling with my family because I was worried about having to eat foods I didn’t see as “safe.” And of course, because of the constant voice of my eating disorder in my head, there were so many things I was there for, but not truly present.

    When I started college, instead of worrying about getting good grades or making friends, I was terrified of gaining the “freshman 15.” I was convinced that if I could control my body and weight, everything else would fall into place. It wasn’t until I finally started to pursue recovery that all the other parts of my life started coming together, and I can honestly say now that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

    And about the oatmeal – one of the first food “challenges” I tried when beginning my recovery journey was adding peanut butter to my oatmeal. It felt really weird at first, but now I wouldn’t eat it any other way :)

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  36. Love this post. Everything resonates!

    My eating disorder made me miss out not only on hunger-filling and satisfying foods, but on so many soul-filling and relationship-growing conversations and times spent with other people. If a get-together interrupted my exercise routine, well, guess I won’t be seeing you, people I love. Even if I was physically “there” at a family dinner or “there” at lunch with friends, I wasn’t mentally present. Too many calculations about carbs and calories and whether or not the food was “clean” swirling around in my tired, starved brain. 

    And then there’s this concept I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: being comfortable in my own skin. My eating disorder started when I was twelve/thirteen, which is kind of a “figuring out who you are” time of life. I’ve come to realize that it’s only been in the last year or two that I feel like I actually even know who I am and what I like to do. I’ve always known what I’ve thought I should be like or do, but this self-discovery of who God made me to be and being completely content with what I’ve found has made me understand what being comfortable in my own skin means, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And it’s helped me enjoy life more than I thought was even possible! 

    Thank you for writing this post (and all your other ones)! These are things to have conversations about and I love that you start them. 

    P.S. I made your snickerdoodle caramelized banana/blueberry oatmeal recipe–with milk. The bomb. 

  37. My disorder made me miss out on basically all of high school, and the first year of college. Of course I still attended, and got good grades, did extra curriculars etc., but I was never really present, or engaged. I never hung out with friends and I never did the stupid teenager things – there are even full summers I have no memory of whatsoever. I missed out on dances, social events, creating true connections, I was isolated for almost 5 years. And of course I missed out on food – I remember bringing my safe food to birthday parties and restaurants, never tasting things on menus besides salads, etc. I am now a junior in college, and a full year into a true, honest, no holding back recovery (complete with really fighting my exercise addiction, which your posts helped immensely with) and I can honestly say that I don’t feel like I am missing out anymore. I am so much more present day to day, and less anxious about things. After a period of bingeing (a result of finally allowing myself foods that I hadn’t had in years) I am finally learning to be in tune with my body’s hunger signals and cravings, listening to my body for exercise, and really honestly enjoying life – social aspects and all. But I think the best part is that now I have so much more time -without obsessing over exercise and food and counting, there is time to learn and grow and be really engaged in my classes. I feel like I have a purpose again, and that my body finally isn’t standing in my way of fulfilling that purpose.

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  39. Baking. It made me loose my passion of baking. I really loved it, it was my hobby and I was even quite good in making sweets. I also thought to do it for a living… (one of my biggest dreams is still to have my own cafè or bakery shop) But then I started to cut off sugar, butter, regular flour, etc. and so I baked much less. I was always trying to make those ‘healthy’ treats (with protein powder, no fat, low carb, no flour, paleo etc.) But of course they almost never turned out to be yummy. Now I’m finally starting to rediscover my passion, making cakes with REAL ingredients. :)
    Ps. I may be strange, but I prefer my oats cooked in water…(I don’t eat cow’s milk, but I tried a couple of time with almond or rice milk and it really wasn’t a big deal to me) true, that I usually mix in some protein powder so the result is quite creamy. ;)

  40. This is a wonderful article. On New Years Day I started with the resolution “no more diets” and it has been an interessting time. I stumbbled on your instagram and understood that while I never had an ED, I do have years of disordered eating. It feels like I spent half my time on a diet and the other half on a guilt trip. Now so fresh in my journey I am amazed, how much better food tastes when you just eat it, and how much better I feel when I listen to my stomach for what sits right with me and what doesn’t. My disordered eating made me miss out on wonderful flavors, it made me miss out on wearing beautiful cloths because I meant to buy them “when I am smaller” or bought them smaller and then looked terrible, it stole so much of my time for planning for healthy snacks (that then I ended up not wanting to eat) and reading about the next diet and the one perfect solution.

    ….. and all in all judging by my pants (not my scale, because that one is gone). Everything else is still the same. Just minus the guilt :D Thank you!

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  42. First, thank you sooo much for all of your blog posts – I am in the beginning stages of recovery from my ED and your blog inspires me to stick with it because I know the good that is yet to come! ive missed a lot because of my ED, but the thing I miss most are the random dance parties I used to have in my room before my ED took away my energy – I’m still regaining it back but I can’t wait to have the urge to burst into random dancing again!

  43. Oh boy, how this resonates with me. I finally came to terms with the harsh reality of disordered eating a few months ago. It takes a lot of work to get through, and I’m not sure if it ever stops. My disordered eating lead to a severe injury, which lead me to reflect on the past year of my life. It made me very, very sad. My parents visited in April 2016. It was my mom’s birthday and she loves tiramisu. In the past, I made it following a regular recipe without any thought about calories, etc. Well, this year I searched feverishly for a “skinny” recipe. All recipes had to be “skinny.” The tiramisu was still good, but how sad to remember that part of it! I should have been celebrating my mom, but all I cared about was being skinny, which got me NOTHING but misery. I apologized to my mom months later when I figured it all out. There are many other moments that were like that. I missed out on so, so much. It makes me cry. Now, it’s been a challenging journey, but I’ve promised myself not to miss out anymore. My mantra now is, “what did being X weight or X size get me?” This is often said over and over. I figure, if I’m lucky, I have 80 some years left on this planet and I will never waste another second on a stupid number. Your blog, as well as Robyn’s, has been life changing and comforting! Thank you!

  44. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. thank you for this. I feel like disordered eating made me lose touch of listening to my body. And it made me lose sight of everything else that was important to me in life because all I cared about was freakin food!!

  45. I love this post. I suffered from an eating disorder from age 17-22, or I guess that was the worst of it. I think for a while before and after it was a battle for me and even now at times I struggle some. I know my safe and unsafe foods like you said.
    During college I was at my worst and I truly feel I missed out on everything. I lived in the heart of Boston but never ate out, went out with friends, went to parties or events hosted at my school because i knew at home I’d be “safe.” I truly think back to that time and am so sad for what my ED kept me from and the friendships I could’ve made. But I am thankful for the friends I had at the time to help me through it!

    • I had some of those great friends who helped me through ED too:) Many of them didn’t even realize how much they were helping me…I’ve been sure to let me know now.

  46. Amazing post and I love all of the comments. All f these brave readers have inspired me to contribute.  I missed out on so many fun evenings and celebrations.  Even if I did attend them I was never really present; my fear of being surrounded by food and liquid calories terrified me.  I missed out on enjoying many family dinners and BBQs.  I also developed amenorrhea, which persisted 1.5 years after marriage.  About a year into being married baby fever hit but I still had to wait for my body to heal itself.  17 months ago we had our AMAZING daughter who I love more than anything in the world.  Some days I do wonder if I gave up having extra time with her because I was so hard on myself?  It pains me to think that but has also taught me to be gentle on myself and to love my body and what it’s capable of.

    • Thank you, thank you for sharing, Christine<3 I can resonate so much with this --> “Even if I did attend them I was never really present.” Happy for you and your family and your sweet daughter:)

  47. Even though I would say that I am still in my disordered eating mindset, it has definitely improved over the years, and I am still making changes every day. In the past, it made me miss out on social events with friends and my team members, because when they asked if I wanted to go get milkshakes, I would say no because milkshakes scared me and I would rather go home to the roasted vegetables that I had everyday for dinner. I revolved everything around food instead of thinking about the fun I could be having with the people that truly matter. 

  48. Love this post! Understanding and learning about intuitive eating has created so much freedom from my disordered eating past. A couple months ago I sat at our small town café with my younger brother. Instead of getting a plain salad (like I would have done throughout the years disordered eating), I gladly ordered a delicious burger along with my bro, because I could finally recognize a craving. We enjoyed the time + food together. It was that simple, yet for so long I just lived in darkness.

    The light is so much better. The Lord has helped me to come into the light, and I am so thankful! For those struggling…there is freedom! I now have so much more joy. My brother and I can enjoy food and time together now in ways that the disordered eating got in the way of. This is just one example of how joy and relationships have been restored.

    • Thanks for commenting, Claire! I’m so glad God has helped you come into the light! I frequently direct clients (who are ready) to read Intuitive Eating and it changes EVERYTHING for them. Glad learning about IE (and then choosing to embrace it) was a similar experience for you!

  49. I have this random memory of being at my grandma’s 15 years (?) ago and turning down a cookie made from scratch because my mom decided she didn’t want one.  
    If I ever wrote a book, it would be called “Eat the Damn Cookie” 

  50. Kylie – once again, I love your authenticity. This same concept has been on my heart and in my mind lately. I have always been a sucker for the holidays. I adore spending time with my family & friends, sharing in traditions, & enjoying all the yummy meals & treats that surround them. However, ED stole that love from me. I began to isolate myself during the holidays. I avoided any and all situations that involved food for the fear that I would have to eat it. This holiday season was so different. For the first time in a long time, I enjoyed the season to the fullest. I ate treats & indulgent meals when I wanted them and stopped when I was full. I baked cookies with my mama & sipped hot cocoa by the fire and not once did I worry about food. It was truly magical. ❤️

    • Thank you for sharing this, Miley! What a great holiday:) When I felt fully out of my ED, it seemed to me that I could finally fully take in all of life’s emotions without my mind being distracted by ED – the good and the bad…which can be tough, but for me I eventually realized it felt better than being numb! In your ED it’s like when you try to take a deep breath and you can’t get enough air into your lungs…being out of ED’s control is like being able to take a full, deep inhale. It feels great!

  51. Such great insight as always, Kylie! Back in the day I used to miss out on so many social events, since they often revolve around food. Now, dinners out with friends are pretty much my favorite thing ever :)

  52. Thanks for this, Kylie. One thing I definitely think my eating disorder made me miss out on was (and occasionally still is, although I manage it better now) being able to fully concentrate on life beyond food. I think that’s the irony of disordered eating–the more time I spent controlling and reducing what was on my plate, the more my entire life was reduced to only thinking about what I was eating. When I’m more easy about what I’m eating, my brain has room for other things (and enough blood sugar to concentrate on other things!)

    • AGREED! When I first meet with clients I always ask them, “how much of your day is spent thinking about food?” And I typically hear “80%-99%.” Has to start making you wonder who is in control…

  53. I weighed myself on my wedding day, knowing that if it was a “bad” number it could ruin my whole day. It makes me so sad to think about it now. However, if there is one good thing to take away from the years I spent buried in an eating disorder, it is that I am now dedicated to loving, caring, and enjoying life in a way I never could before. Don’t get me wrong, there are still bad days and bad things still happen, but I don’t let them consume me and I am so grateful to be on the other side of some really dark years. 

    • A lot of this resonates with me. Occasionally a thought will cross my mind about how I used to treat myself. I feel like that person I was is different in a lot of ways than who I am now. Like that person was still me, but there was a part of me that was asleep (or like you said, “buried”)…the caring/compassionate/loving/gentle/respectful/happy part of me was buried for all the years of my ED/disordered eating.

      Thanks for commenting, Molly<3

  54. something that has been a huge weight off my chest as I recovered from disordered eating was not perusing menus ahead of time and choosing the lowest carb thing on the menu if I knew I had a dinner out. if i went to the restaurant and wasn’t craving what I had previously chosen, sometimes I would order differently which would lead to a lot of guilt, or i would order the low carb option and feel unfulfilled.

    now I don’t peruse the menus ahead of time and when I arrive at a restaurant, I am excited to pick something off the menu and enjoy whatever I’m craving!

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  56. Thank you for this post – really, really thank you. It struck me right in the heart (in a positive way) and seriously got me thinking.
    I’ve missed out on everything. From the big things (relationships, friendships, career opportunities) to the small but equally important things (eating chocolate for breakfast on Christmas day, enjoying a fresh pastry in Austria, that extra slice of birthday cake just because, spending all day in PJs because you feel like it) – I can’t even quantify everything my ED has made me lose out on. But life is short and I am strong, and I refuse to let it dictate me anymore. 
    Interestingly, my ED also (indirectly) made me close down my old blog, such was my insecurities about it not being perfect or interesting. But your post was the kick up the backside I (or my ED!) needed and I’ve started afresh – so thank you! 

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  58. I found your blog not so long ago and I really have to tell that I’ve been loving it SO MUCH. I feel like you get every single part of my journey from disordered eating (I’m a binger) to regular, normal, no-stress eating.

    I think that my disordered eating has really stopped me from enjoying time with friends, like I would go to social gatherings or to a friend’s house and, while they were eating, I would just stare at food with disgust and longing. I’m currently trying to heal, as well, my body dysmorphia, and I was wondering if you could write a post on how to stop body checking all of the time (you mentioned doing it in a previous post) because it’s a habit I haven’t kick yet. Thank you so much for your insight and your posts! xo, Sara.

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  60. Not so much about missing out – but something I did that upsets me now, looking back. 

    When I was in my ED, if a server/barista/staff member didn’t make my food or drink to my exact, low-caloric liking, I would act like a baby. I was never outright rude, but I’m sure my disdain was clear on my face. I have a few distinct memories of being super passive-agressive to Starbucks baristas who didn’t make my frappucino “skinny” or servers who brought me my bagel with full-fat cream cheese…. It saddens me looking back, not only at how inflexible I was with food, but also at how I treated these people, as if they were personally wronging me. Now, I can’t imagine being anything but appreciative for their work. 

  61. I enjoyed this article because I can really connect to it. I’ve only been aware of my eating disorder for about two years and did treatment a little over a year ago. To be struggling the entire time since going in for treatment has been confusing and frustrating, yet liberating and amazing. But tonight, right now, I am was slapped in the face, twenty mins before reading this article, that I don’t “try” to go to social events with my boyfriend. And I’m realizing, it’s less social anxiety and more about not having control over the situation. That if I want to focus on not eating it will be difficult to do with a lot of food around, or I can’t hid and binge. There are more examples that I’m realizing are connected but less obvious to most. Most notably besides those are isolating myself from the world. But it’s affecting my relationship with my boyfriend, friends, parents, siblings, potential friends. Its disappointing to them and they feel neglected. And that’s not want I want. But it’s what’s been going on. I can’t continue to just blame it on social anxiety anymore. I can’t.

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