Practice makes perfect. Be careful what you practice.

I just set a 20 minute timer to keep myself on track because honestly, the idea of spitting out 20+ years of damage is a little overwhelming. 

I drove by a church a while back. The sign out front said this:

Practice makes perfect. Be careful what you practice.

Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.

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Why? I felt like a phony. Like an imposter. Someone who says one thing and then does another thing behind closed doors.

And here is where I attempt to dish out 20+ years of a semi-secret eating disorder.  

I don’t remember the first time I forced myself to throw up a meal. It just started, sometime in middle school. By that time, I was well acquainted with eating disorders because of a family member’s own battle. It’s hard to tell my story without telling theirs as well and so I’m going to tiptoe lightly through all of this. 

There are moments in my childhood that stand out -- having a bag of Cheetos ripped out of my hands is one of them. 

We were at the cabin. I was plopped down on the couch, wet swimsuit still on, bag of Cheetos in hand. I think I was 8. That’s when I learned there were bad foods out there and if I ate them, I would become the worst thing in the entire world -- fat. 

It doesn’t matter who taught me that lesson. As a young girl, it was everywhere. The worst insult you could receive was being called fat and for me, there was no hiding from it. It met me everywhere. The bus stop, the hallways at school, my own brain at dance class or basketball, at the pool in the summer. 

Around the time my obsession with food and my body started.

Around the time my obsession with food and my body started.

My obsession with my body and with food started incredibly young and morphed into a monster that took over my life in college. Diet pills, weight-loss treatment centers, skipping class to go to the gym, eating in secret and then attempting to throw up in secret. A roommate once confronted me. Instead of getting help, I just worked on hiding it better. Then I cut them out of my life. 

Trying to tell this story is complicated. Almost as complicated as my relationship with food. My relationship with food has never been healthy. But like any addiction, there’s been some good and some bad and lots of hiding and lying. Even in the last few months. It’s a struggle that’s always there. Always on my mind. 

Last month, I finally reached out for help. More on how I got there later (pure exhaustion). All I want to share right now is I’m getting help. 

I’m still in the process of finding a program my insurance will cover (not stressful at all) but I have made the first step. I’m working on opening up to those around me. I’m cutting out things in my life that makes me feel icky -- things that make my food behaviors worse.  

But I’m also preparing for two television appearances. Two television appearances where I’ll give out tips and tricks to eating healthy and making good choices in the kitchen. And I think it is only fair to those that follow me that I try and be completely transparent on my own journey. 

Loving yourself is hard. Treating yourself with kindness and taking care of your body is hard. Especially when you’ve spent your entire life hating yourself. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As I’m learning. It doesn’t have to have constant control of your brain, of your behaviors. Getting help isn’t easy and getting better might be twice as hard. But when I think of the energy I’ve put into punishing myself… well, I’m not practicing anything I want to be perfect at. 

If you need someone to help you take the first step, I’m here. Reach out. It’s never too late.