5 Unexpected Ways Having an Eating Disorder Changed My Life

I first received treatment for anorexia at 15. I never thought at the age of 23 it would still be shaping my life the way it is does, but this time the way my eating disorder affects my life is recovery based.

I won’t say I am completely recovered. I struggle, and I have big and small lapses. Good days and bad days. As the saying goes, recovery isn’t linear. These are the ways having an eating disorder has changed my life:

1. My husband and I have made an agreement to never put a scale in our home. As frustrating as this is for my eating disorder, I know it is also saving my life.

2. I can’t eat dairy due to stomach issues, but I wish more than anything I could try being vegan. I understand this lifestyle isn’t for everybody, and that is OK; but for me personally, I am sad I can never try it. Most don’t understand how limiting one food group is a huge trigger, but limiting two would be my downfall.

3. Exercise is tricky. I want so badly to be toned, but in my head I can’t sort out if this is a “me” thing or a disorder thing, so going to an actual gym is not safe. I can do hikes, walks and sociable things; but a gym with the sole purpose of burning fat, gaining muscle and eating a certain way, is forever going to be a trigger.

4. I have to actively try to not look at what food is made of, or calories. Which you can image is hard when you have a food allergy you have to check for.

5. I have colitis. During flare ups, sometimes eating less is the only thing to lessen the pain, but having had an eating disorder, it is near impossible to not be triggered.

Each eating disorder is different, but I do know we all have little ways our lives has been changed by this awful illness. It is small, subtle ways that remind you to fight for recovery every day, because you refuse to let this take anything else away from you.

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Getty image via Juliia Tochilina

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