It’s #NEDA week (National Eating Disorders Awareness Week) and the theme this year is Let’s Get Real–it can happen to anyone, anywhere! What better time for me to finally post my story!
For those that may not know, I (Meredith), have decided to share exactly why I am a Dietitian Nutritionist, why I counsel and teach Nutrition the specific way I do.
See, I had an eating disorder in High School and College. I have been through anorexia, bulimia, a shift between the two, over exercising, and so on. I was consumed by food. My eating disorder destroyed relationships. It disrupted how I viewed myself. And really it consumed everything in me!
It took a team of professionals and a very persistent, relentless, and dedicated mom and dad to get me to where I am today! Oh and I can’t forget about me–no one can change unless YOU want to change. And thankfully that point came when I no longer could take the anxiety, the stress, the pressure, the spiraling out of control, and really the exhaustion of it all. I was just.so.tired of thinking about numbers and letting them rule my life!!!!!!!
I made the choice to change, for me and only me, the summer of 2001.
To some it may sound interesting that after all of this I decided to go into Nutrition. I don’t know what to say other than I had to know more about Nutrition and it was my way of learning about the body and thus learning more about myself in my early days of recovery. I also thought I could make a difference in helping to guide and steer those into more of a lifestyle approach vs. quick fix dieting. Of course, I knew I couldn’t see any patients with a diagnosed, and even undiagnosed, eating disorder until I made a full recovery. I had to protect myself! It wasn’t until recently (3 years ago) that I finally felt, I could make the leap and offer up my services to clients who are in recovery or those with disordered eating behaviors. And even now, I still won’t see clients with active eating disorders–again maintaining my boundaries and my physical and mental health.
I made this decision to go into counseling and help others, as who better to help guide and steer than someone who has experienced it first hand. I have taken my learnings from school, education, but most importantly, the practitioners that have treated me and applied them to my philosophy. I have been through the gamut when it comes to food, eating, and weight–anorexia, bulimia, over exercise, weight gain of 30 pounds in a short amount of time (while in recovery), and to lose weight over a 5 year period in an extremely conservative and healthy way through lifestyle changes and choices. Nutrition and Nutrition Counseling is what I’m meant to do! Teaching is what I’m meant to do! Understanding the person in front of me and their WHY is what I’m meant to do.
I’ve shared just a tiny bit of my story. There’s so much more, but that’s for another time. I’m finally putting words to paper (after all this time) to show that there is hope. There are those out there that can battle an eating disorder and fully recover. It’s a long road, it’s really a life long journey and process, and it’s a journey that is full of exploration about ones own self! You take it moment by moment and celebrate the little wins each and every time. It’s the little wins (aka Bright Spots) that start adding up. Then the moments turn into days, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months….and before you know it, you look back and think, look how far I’ve come.
For anyone who is looking to get more information about eating disorders and even disordered eating, please visit the following link. There is so much information available these days! Much more than ever before.
NEDA’s screening at nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening.