Acceptance

Dear body,

It’s been about 2 months since my last letter to you and I have some things I want to tell you.

It’s long overdue, but I finally accept you.

I love you, body.

I love your scars.

I love everything.

I was ashamed of you for so long, but not anymore.

I started realizing this the other day at work. I see my campers running around without a care in the world. They are all different sizes. Some are super tiny and others have a belly that sticks out. I look at them and all I see is beauty and potential. I do not look at them and see fat or failure.

These little kids do not worry about how they look. They just want to run around and eat Popsicles. They are excited and hopeful. They do not miss out on activities because they do not like the way they look. 

I wish I could go back to having the innocence of a 5 year old. I may not be able to change that, but I can change how I react to the changes my body makes. I am 21 years old. I need to accept that it is not normal to still wear jeans from my sophomore year of high school. I am a woman now, not a little girl. My body is growing the way it is supposed to be.

Right now, my stomach is so bloated. And I honestly am not triggered by it. I think of one of my campers who is so lovely in everyway. She has a belly and is so confident in herself and she is only six. I feel crazy for being inspired by a six year old, but my campers really are what helps me get through tougher times. 

So body, I’m glad we are friends again. I’m glad that you are getting the nutrients you need to grow how you are supposed to. Maybe it’s time we throw away those clothes from high school. It’s time we move on from this. 

Take my hand, body- we are in this together

I love you body,

Your friend always,

Liv

Seven

Seven.

I was seven the first time I started to hate my body.

Seven is too young to start hating your body. At seven I should have been eating ice cream and swimming with friends. Not training for triathlons and crying in fitting rooms when I went shopping with my mom for clothes.

I remember the moment perfectly when I first started obsessing over my body. 

I was living in Florida and we were going to the beach. I had this super cute orange two piece that I LOVED. When it got wet, purplish flowers would appear. I thought it was so cool. Outside my bedroom in the hallway we had a huge full length mirror. I actually looked at my reflection for once and ever since then, I was never the same.

Fat. Fat. Fat. The thoughts scream in my head.

At age seven I let in darkness. I did not restrict much, but I did a lot of things that my parents never found out about. I was a sneaky kid growing up which helped strengthen Ana. Again, I will not mention behaviors I did to trick my family into believing I ate my meal, but one can imagine. 

In one of my journals from 2009 I wrote, “all my friends left me but Ana will always stay.” I thought this for a long time.For awhile it felt like it was just me and Ana against the world. Ana introduced herself to me when I was so young. Ana is that invisible friend gone wrong.

I don’t blame anyone for this. I do however wish growing up I was taught things like how to love my body. I went to school 7ish hours a day learning multiplication and grammar, yet I never got a lesson on self love.

We need to teach today’s youth how to love their bodies. We cannot keep this trend up because eating disorders kill. 

I will spend my whole life doing whatever I can to teach people to love their bodies. Now that I broke up with Ana, I am starting a healthy, loving relationship with my body.

Seven is a young age, and I am one of thousands of others who let evil in so young. 

My journey started at 7 and now at age 21, I am still fighting. My anorexia did not get really bad until 14, but Ana was with me for a long time. The longer one suffers the harder recovery is. 

So to the parents who may read this blog of mine. Take note. If your child obsesses over meals or acts suspiciously while eating. If you see him or her comparing bodies and thinking of ways to compensate for eating. If you leave the mall with a child in tears each time for feeling inadequate, then please- sit your child down; have a talk. 

It may not be a big deal, but it is so important to check in and make sure. Ask how they are doing. Teach them how to love. 

I cannot speak for everyone, but I know there were many times I wish someone noticed me struggling. 

Open your eyes to those around you. EDs are silent and deadly. 

I am no expert, but feel free to reach out to me if any of you are concerned about a loved one and do not know how to start the conversation. 

But please. Have the conversation. Because 7 is just too young. 

“Real women have curves”

You know what saying I hate so much?

“Boys like girls with curves.” Or “real women have curves.”

I have accepted that I will never be pencil thin again and I am okay with that, but I will not justify gaining weight with the concept of pleasing some guy. My body is my body. If a guy only wants to talk to me for the way my body looks, then that is someone I do not want in my life. I am working on my body for MYSELF. I am eating for myself. Working out for myself. I am NOT recovering to get attention or validation from anyone else but me.

A lot of times, when I get upset about getting curves, people will tell me things like, “guys like a little extra to hold at night.”

It upsets me that this is the way some women think. Why do people think that their body should be a trophy for others?

This is why there are so many women struggling with loving their body. We are constantly surrounded by signs with curvy women saying this is how we should look. Or we see the victoria secret models and then we believe we need to look like that.

So, here is what I am going to do.

I am going to continue to eat and work out in a healthy manner.

I am going to continue to focus on my recovery and accept the changes my body makes.

If I get curvy, so be it- that is how my body should be then. But I will not be changing my body because that is what some guy will like. I will not work to have my body be a certain way to please anyone but myself.

This is my body.

I plan on being with someone who likes me for me- not only for the way my body looks.

The right guy will like you curvy or not. Do not change to please society. Live your life to better yourself.

So, while some say “real women have curves” I say all women are real and all bodies are beautiful.

Ups and Downs

I was going to write a different post tonight, but I stopped myself because it would not be an accurate representation of recovery.

I was going to not write at all to avoid making my blog seem sad, but that is not realistic to recovery.

I was going to try to fake my way again, but I am sick of trying to portray a perfect life.

I am struggling. I am losing motivation. I am having to force myself out of bed. I am having bad thoughts. I am faking my happiness.

Lately the normal things I love have become more of a chore. I keep my phone on do not disturb mode the majority of the day. I want to be alone- which is not me.

This is recovery. Recovery is not always uphill and easy. Recovery is hard. Recovery is filled with setbacks. Sure, I have weight restored and continued to follow meal plans, but my eating disorder is not the only thing I am fighting.

Recovery is filled with good days and bad days. it’s how we combat the bad days that show how strong we really are. No one said it would be easy. 

As bad as my depression is right now, I need to force myself out of bed. I need to get myself to continue my normal activities. I need to fight. 

I am strong

I am a warrior

I am in control.

To anyone else in a recovery slump, we are in this together. You are worth it. You deserve happiness. I am here for you even if my pieces are not all together. 

Pretty Girls Don’t Eat

The computer flashes and the screen displays my trigger words:

Pretty girls don’t eat.

I was 14 when I first became introduced to this sentence. I was making a collage when I first saw this quote picture on Google.

Pretty girls don’t eat.

Being a teenager about to enter high school, looks were (and still are) important to me. I was used to people calling me the “pretty” one and I enjoyed having pretty as my identity. So when 14 year old me saw this sentence I began to question everything I was doing. I did not just want to be pretty. I needed to be pretty.

“Pretty girls don’t eat. You eat everyday.

No one will love you if you are not pretty.” -Ana

It really is ridiculous that those four words have this strong of an impact on me, but boy, those 4 words will follow me to my grave. Ana loves that sentence. And Ana knows what that sentence does to me. Even right now, as I sit here in my room typing, I feel a golf ball in my throat. I am taken back to past me sitting in the closet of my old bedroom. I see myself staring at myself in the mirror for hours and crying as I pick out any flaw I can find. I see myself drawing and writing this saying all over my body with sharpie. Engraving the words “worthless” and “fat” into my skin. This sentence instantly controls me.

I am trying to provide insight of the thoughts inside my mind associated with my ED. I attached one of the saddest things I ever found in one of my old journals. I write down my thoughts. And this page…this is a screenshot of some of the things I hear everyday. This is what my ED is like. So while some people do not always treat me kindly, no one will ever be meaner than the voice in my head.

This is the mind of someone with an eating disorder.

This is why I seek constant validation.

This is why I act the way I do.

I grew up with this idea that I would be worthless for eating. I let myself give up my own happiness because of the control a sentence had over me. I let myself believe that pretty girls don’t eat. Ive done things I am not proud of because of that sentence. I lost control because of that sentence.

This is my past. I am creating my future. My future where pretty girls EAT.

Meal of the Week

I am going to start highlighting a fave meal of mine each week so up first we have: Olivia’s oats. 

Before I dive in, let me give you a super concise breakdown of what my meal plan is like.We do not focus on caloric intake but rather what we call exchanges.

So you have 6 exchanges for each of the food groups: protein,grain,fruit,vegetable,lipid, dairy.

 Each type of food is worth part of an exchange. For lunch I need to have 2 grains so I would have a cold grain of like cereal and a hot grain would be a serving of potatoes. It’s hard to initially understand because cheese can count as either a lipid or dairy so getting used to that took a while. However I was lucky to have a whole team of eating disorder warriors at the hospital to help me figure it out. Now it’s a breeze (kind of…)

When planning meals I always think how I will meet my exchanges. A recent new favorite of mine is using oatmeal for the grain exchange. Here is what I do:

Ingredients:
2 cups of oatmeal (grain)

1 cup Soy/almond milk (dairy)

2 TBSP peanut butter…or more since PB is DELISH (protein)

A serving of raspberries (fruit)

Lots of Cinnamon (which I just realized does not count for anything… Thanks H and E) 

If I have this for breakfast, I still need to hit my lipid exchanges so I normally just add a cheese stick or some nuts. (Peanut butter can also count for a lipid exchange) 

It’s pretty self explanatory. Combine the oats and milk and microwave one minute. Microwave the PB for 30 seconds (make sure to stir!!) and then just combine everything to make it look pretty enough for a picture.

However, it smells too good that I do not take the time to make it pretty for a picture… I just dive in to eating the gooey deliciousness. 

I’m not trying to call myself the next Ramsay, BUT man this oatmeal combo is great. Also I clearly am not an expert with the exchange system so if you are curious on it more I highly recommend meeting with a dietician.

Solid foods are a bit challenging for me right now since I am struggling with chewing so I have been preferring to eat more liquids/ soft food. This meal is perfect in every way. 

Try it out! Let me know what you think… And keep in mind… the more peanut butter and cinnamon you add the better it will taste. Don’t let ED scare you away from peanut butter! 

The Scale Jar

Me and my scale are having a tough time breaking up. SO i had an idea. What better way to motivate myself than with money? 

Being a college student on a budget, any extra cash I have is nice to spend on an occasional chai latte or some random thing I don’t need but at the time feel like I MUST have. This is when the scale jar idea came to mind.

I weigh myself at least 3x a day still. This hinders my recovery because I am still OBSESSING over my numbers. So from now on, if I want to weigh myself, I have to pay.

Each time I weigh myself I am charged 50 cents. If I weigh myself more than once in a day, each time I step on the scale the fine increases a quarter. 

It does not seem like a lot initially but considering I weigh myself 3x a day everyday, it could add up quick.

So obviously I am not going to want to be wasting my money on weighing myself. That’s foolish. There’s so many better ways to use my spare change.

The only problem with this is accountability. Will I stay true to the jar? Will Ana be stronger? This will be a test on trust within myself. I feel confident that I will remain honest and stay true to the scale jar.

Any money collected in the scale jar will be saved up and donated to NEDA (along with more since I am really hoping to not accumulate much money from laying to weigh in.) 

So friends, let’s see if this helps. I sure hope it will be the motivation I need! I’ll post about it again in a few weeks to check in on how my progress with the scale is going.

Oh and here is a picture of the jar. Keep in mind crafting is NOT my thing 

Happy Post

I want to take this time to talk about the things that make me happy. So here are my top 5!

1. My Friends 

  • I really am lucky to have the friends that I have. They know everything about me and always stick by my side. They make me happy because they always know what to say or do. My friends are always up for adventures and when I’m with them I am blissfully happy. Blessed with some of the best!


2 My Job

  • I look forward to going to work everyday. I love the summer camp I work at and I adore the families I watch back in Des Moines. Working with children is what makes me unbelivably happy. Whenever I am in a low, I think of the kids I work with and that is what helps snap me out it. Honestly, my work with kids is what keeps me going and a major reason I want to teach kindergarten one day. 

3. Dancing/Running

  • I may not be the best dancer, but I am always down to hit the dance floor. My whole life I wanted to be a ballerina and a few years ago I started taking lessons. I love it! It is a great break from my busy lifestyle. Along with dancing, running is a perfect escape for me. Nothing better than headphones in and competing against myself. It’s a time of freedom.

4. My Family

  • While I have had many differences with my family in the past, they still always find some way to pick me up. Whether it’s my mom being overly concerned about my meals or my sister dragging me out to do fun things when I am feeling sad, I would be lost without their support. It gets annoying, but they have helped me through the darkest times and have seen me when I was in a pretty nasty state of mind. 

5. Meditation

  • I enjoy the things that take me away and meditating does exactly that for me. I recently started practicing Buddhism and it has really helped me better understand myself. Whether it is in the form of writing, yoga, or full out meditation I can count on it to make me feel refreshed. I try to meditate every morning and night to start the day off right. It keeps me zen and in check! 

So here is just a little snapshot of what keeps me happy. And my readers, you also make me happy. Thanks for following my story. I’m excited to have you all on this journey with me. 

Peace & Love

Liv 

Judgments

This blog of mine always makes me wonder how people may start to change the way they view me as a person. I have made myself awfully vulnerable and revealed some of my darkest secrets. Some secrets I haven’t even revealed to those closest with me. I do not know why I publicize what I do sometimes. But I do not regret it. This is something not many people decide to do for fun, but sharing my past is what strengthens me. It holds me accountable. It makes me feel real after acting for so long. 

I have been viewed as the happy peppy enthusiastic girl my whole life. Does this blog make others think of me as a fraud? 

By far my biggest problem is I constantly worry about how others see me. How will being so public impact my friendships and relationships with others? This is something that petrified me because I do not want people to walk out on my life again when they realize how I really am. 

I remind myself that if someone does this to me then they are not really a good friend to have around. But I am so in love with all the great people I have in my life right now that the thought of losing any of you really scares me. 

I have made myself unbelievable vulnerable to the public. I revealed a lot of myself that I sometimes regret when I hit post. However the feedback I receive from others is what inspires me to keep making myself this vulnerable. I know somehow I am helping someone else who has not yet found their voice.

So yeah sometimes I get hella embarrassed for admitting I am not as perfect as I am in this facade I created of myself. But you know what that’s life. I’m all or nothing. A packaged deal that is a confident hot mess just trying to figure out what I am. 

I may have these disorders, but it does not make me a monster. It makes me a survivor. So as hard as it is to admit these personal things about myself I am glad I am doing it. My story has been locked away too long and I want to reveal my struggles. It’s exhausting to always act to be happy when some days I just really am not feeling that way. 

So yeah, this is me. Here I am. Here is an open invitation to walk out if my life is too much for some of you to handle. I have seen too much darkness but I am still deserving of love. I have been through a lot and encountered far too much evil in the world. 

I am glad that this pain  happened to me though, because I know I can endure the pain. I would gladly suffer so others do not have to go through the same darkness I did. 

I will continue to make myself vulnerable. I will continue to reveal my secrets because I am sick of hiding.

This is me and I will not be changing who I am. My only intentions are to better myself. The only way I plan to change is by strengthening my health and fighting my demons. 

I am olivia. I have been through a lot. And this is my life. So here is a formal welcome or goodbye. I hope you stay, but if not no hard feelings.

Xx