I’m Sydney, a 25-year-old new-ish mom and wife, ex-athlete, coach, nutrition graduate, and 5-year sufferer from restrictive-type disordered eating. This blog is to a way express myself through my recovery as well as inspire others in theirs.
My eating disorder started innocently enough. I was a dietetics major in college and a swimmer at a Division I school. The more I absorbed from my classes, the more I began to apply the principles to my own life. Though I knew athletes needed more calories, my intake was far far too low for someone who exercised vigorously over 3 hours a day. Furthermore, I deeply desired to have that leaner body type – both because I thought it would make me swim faster and because I thought it looked better. Restricting calories became a way of life, and I honestly thought what I was doing was healthy.
I ended up with some pretty bad health complications during my senior year. After swimming was over, I adopted a vegan diet in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms I was having. I was unable to really exercise at this point due to injuries (though I still walked my dog for over an hour daily), and the clean vegan diet made me not feel “guilty” about it. A lot of my health problems went away, so I finally decided to throw in the towel on veganism. I was clinically underweight and made the decision to gain. Again, I didn’t think I had an eating disorder at all.
It was when I finally caved on the diet that I started to have disordered thoughts about food. I was not happy with my body when I started gaining. I seemed to go through phases of various levels of “quasi-recovery.” In other words, I attempted to gain the minimum necessary amount of weight necessary to put me in the “healthy” category. Things really felt out of control, and though I was gaining weight, I was still starving.
I went through one phase where I was really stressed out with grad school and honestly didn’t have much time to exercise or even think about food. I had noticed the numbers on the scale creeping up and wanted to do something about it. After Christmas, I made the decision to go vegan again and to train for a half marathon.
Fast forward about three weeks later –> I find out I’m pregnant.
Somehow despite my history and the fact that I maybe had 3 or 4 periods total in a 4-year span, I managed to conceive a child and bring that child to full term. I found a great deal of relief from my ED thoughts during pregnancy. Nourishing the baby became more important and I was much less restrictive, though I did still worry that I’d gain too much weight. I exercised, but just easy swimming and walking. I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy without any complications and delivered my baby girl naturally without any medications in September of 2012.
“Losing the baby weight” became the name of the game shortly after her birth. I didn’t have to try too hard to be honest… I was nursing and was thrilled to see the weight fall off so quickly. I plunged into exercise like I never had before. I ran my first half-marathon, then triathlon, then full marathon, all within one year of delivery. I did this all while I was nursing (we stopped at 12 months). But after nursing is when I really got discouraged. I gained weight almost immediately, and despite all my efforts to lose it, it just wouldn’t budge. I was having some serious digestive problems and was just depressed in general. Let’s just throw in the fact that we want another baby and I am, at the moment, infertile (due to hypothalmic amenorrhea).
So that brings me to where I am now. Finally admitting that I have a problem. I discovered the Your Eatopia webiste and it all just clicked. When I read through the articles I couldn’t help but think, “wow, this is me.” Food and weight has come to be the center of my universe and I have based my self-worth on it for far too long. I know it’s a long road ahead… but forward is where I’m going!!