This health story was just submitted to me by one of our members who prefers to remain anonymous. I greatly respect her desire to do so and am extraordinarily grateful that she took the time to write this up and share it with us all, as I'm sure it will benefit many and inspire others to stop killing themselves with food, as well...
"For 14 years, I abused myself with food. I restricted food and binged, but my “go to” habit was binging and then purging food. I discovered this behavior after I failed at restricting. I would purposely starve myself, and when the hunger was too much, I began to binge with pudding. The guilt and fear of gaining weight inevitably resulted in me purging. After my first time, I got a high, and deep down I knew I was hooked. Throughout the years I dabbled in other abusive behaviors, but I always found (what I thought was) comfort in binging and purging. I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound...however; my disease had brought me to merely 85 pounds and, at other times, all the way up to 185 pounds.
I was addicted to sugar, flour, fat, fast food, processed food, MSG and diet soda… and sugar-free gum when I wasn’t eating (which was a rare event). I didn't choose to get up each morning and spend every waking second determining how and where I would get my next fix; in fact, it was the opposite. Every morning I would wake up proclaiming that I would stop; I would pray to stop, and I would promise myself one more time...
For years I would constantly find myself chained to the destructive power of my disease. I would spend my afternoons, evenings and even my free time between classes and work eating at buffets - everything I wanted to eat and a bathroom close by and no one to bother me... I thought I was invisible, but the restaurants caught on and I was kicked out on numerous occasions. When I wasn't at the buffet, I was hopping from one fast food establishment to another binging in my car and purging at gas stations. I also loved to order pizzas to my house and tell the pizza delivery person I had people coming over. I never missed an opportunity to grocery shop. My typical cart included sugared cereal, strawberry milk, bags of chocolate, cookies, frosting, tubs of ice cream, chips, cheese, cake, etc. I would always end up at the check-out counter with an empty box of doughnuts because I couldn't stand not eating...I always paid for them and, of course, lied and told the clerk that I was starving because I hadn't eaten all day and that I was having a party later tonight (thus, the cart full of junk). The clerks knew me since I came in so much...They would just smile nervously. I would sneak the food home past my roommate, hoard the food to my room, and go at it for hours.
I spent my student loan money and worked two jobs just to afford my habit. I wanted to stop, but I couldn't. I was sneaky at first, but then my employer at the time caught on to what I was doing. I guess it doesn't look normal to the outsider watching someone stick $20-$30 in the vending machine daily and then disappearing to the bathroom. Human Resources sat me down and spoke with me. My friends caught on; they sat me down and spoke to me. I wanted to stop - - I tried, but I couldn't. Finally, one day I threw up blood and, for the first time, I feared for my life. I didn't want to die from this....I was desperate enough to step foot into “Overeaters Anonymous.” I got a sponsor and began working the steps and started to recover on a spiritual and mental basis... However, the program also provides physical recovery...but I didn't know how to eat properly. My diet consisted of meals from a box, spray butter, sugar-free ice cream, rice, whole-wheat bread/tortillas, string cheese, sugar-free yogurt, sugar-free candy, Subway sandwiches, oatmeal, sugar-free gum, some fruits, salmon in a packet and some veggies. I know my body and metabolism were “out of whack” from all the abuse; I ended up gaining 30 pounds in about 2 months just from eating like that and not purging. I was grateful I was not purging and I was willing to go to all lengths for recovery at this time, but I still felt miserable. I accepted the weight gain as part of the recovery. However, I was moody, tired, restless, and my cravings were out of control!
One day I met Christy Pooschke at a health fair where she was hosting a booth for Completely Nourished. She explained what she did, how she ate, and how she led her life. I was fascinated. She offered to take a trip to the grocery store with me and educate me on clean eating. That trip forever changed my life. I didn't realize all this food that I considered healthy was causing me mood swings, headaches, fatigue, cravings and weight gain. I knocked out all foods without real ingredients over time and with a lot of continued education. The more I took out, the better I felt and the more I wanted to continue to optimize my physical recovery.
Today I eat a diet that is 95% organic and about 97% clean (i.e., “real”) ingredients. My food is free from MSG, aspartame and chemicals. I also do not eat gluten and dairy because I discovered I am intolerant to these chemicals and they cause me anxiety. In addition, I avoid sugar at all costs because I am very addicted to the substance. If I eat one bite, I cannot stop. My clean lifestyle has given me a balanced mood, headache-free and craving-free.
I now maintain a very healthy weight. I live with my boyfriend. I am grateful he accepts me for my past and where I am presently. He ended up taking an interest and started educating himself on clean eating and began making an effort to change his eating habits, too. He is not as diligent as I am, but he still manages to eat clean and organic 80%-90% of the time (it can't hurt that I cook all the meals and send him off to work with clean food daily). As a result, he dropped 20 pounds, sleeps better, and his mood and anxiety are significantly better. Our efforts brought us closer to each other because we have a common goal of health and bettering ourselves.
I cook at home for almost all of my meals and, believe it or not, there are a ton of delicious recipes I have created and discovered that are in line with my food plan. Many recipes I found on the Completely Nourished website and in Christy’s cookbook. I still yearn for fellowship and let's face it...eating out is a social endeavor. When and if I go out to eat, I will eat at the Jason's Deli salad bar or order Sashimi or order chicken or fish and ask the chef not to season it at all, and I add my own salt and pepper.
My way of living takes some effort, however it is worth it! I feel great; I look great, and I don't have to take medicine to achieve this! Most importantly, I am no longer killing myself with food. Today, I am healing my body with food. I am eating to live!"