Thursday, August 22, 2013

Troubles and Truffles

A few weeks ago, had a revelation of sorts and I wrote a letter about my recovery journey from Eating Disorders.  I posted it to Facebook and the responses I got afterward were astonishing.  People (yes, not just women) from all over the world shared their stories with me.  I received phone calls, text messages, and Facebook messages thanking me for being brave enough to share my story.  By publishing this again here, I am encouraging everyone else to share their own story.  The more public we make our struggles, the smaller they become.  It is my hope that when more people know, the more support we have, and fewer people will feel alone in their recoveries.

Here is what I wrote:

An Open Letter to ED

For those of you unfamiliar with ED, he is not an ex-boyfriend or some estranged family member.  ED is the nickname a few of my friends and I have given to Eating Disorders.  I am choosing this space as a forum for this letter because I did not bake anything yet this week to qualify for a blog post, and I needed a public place.  I want to share this letter with you and the world and the next generation of insecure kids.  Eating Disorders should not be shamefully swept under the rug any longer.  They are vicious, all-consuming beasts that tear apart their victims both emotionally and physically.  It is my hope that this letter will allow others to come out of their shadows and confront their own EDS head on.  Without further ado...

Dear ED-

This has been one hell of a ride, but I think it's time for you to go.  You have overstayed your welcome and I am ready for you to leave.  After nine years, I don't need you anymore.  I am no longer that insecure fourteen year old girl staring uncomfortably in front of the mirror in ballet class.  That is when you showed up at my door.  You took advantage of my insecurities and made me compare my body to those of girls half my age.  You stole control of my brain, and made me think it was ok to eat only cottage cheese and oatmeal, as long as I wasn't the fattest girl in the class.

Unfortunately, even after I gave up ballet class, you never left.  You stayed with me on the diving team, and convinced me that all that mattered was how I looked in my swim suit.  I was doing two work outs a day and eating little more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch and a salad for dinner.  That was when you told me that I should start measuring.  I should measure out exactly one cup of cereal and put it in a tiny bowl so I wouldn't know the difference.  Oh but it wouldn't stop there...

By the time I got to college you showed me the tragedy which is binging.  You forced me to eat so much that I thought I was having a heart attack.  But you never let me throw up.  Instead, you convinced me to take laxatives, fast, and over-exercise to combat my binges.  My freshman year was a tireless back-and-forth of restricting and binging, and you almost forced me to drop out of college.

Sophomore year you dragged me over the deep end.  I was using online "fitness" trackers to plan all my meals and be sure I was only eating 800 calories a day.  I ate a piece of fruit, 10 almonds, and 2 prunes for breakfast and lunch, and then a salad for dinner.  I got down to 104 lbs, and you could have snapped my legs like a twig.

For years I have eaten the same things every day for fear that I would gain weight or start a binge.  I could not go out to dinner without looking at the menu the day before and taking an hour to decide what I wanted.  Any change in my planned meals would send me into a system-override shut down, and I would just go to sleep instead of confronting the anxiety you caused me.

Then one day in my junior year, I got really sick of you, ED.  I was sick of being your bitch, and decided it was time I fought back.  I found the meeting room number for the Anonymous Eating Disorder support group, and met an incredible group of girls that would empower me against you.  We cried together, we drew pictures of you, we ate meals together, and we set daily goals in order to beat you.  I started telling people about you, and found that the more people knew, the smaller you became.  I was not in this fight alone.  

I have struggled with your control for nine years, but I have been trying to actively recover from you the past two and a half years.  I joined support groups, I got a sponsor, I journaled, I meditated, and I cried more than I thought was possible.  I started teaching Zumba and running, and I remembered how strong my body used to be.  Bodies are fucking awesome, and you tried to take that away from me.  You succeeded for a while, and you took my mind with you.  But not anymore.  I am finally winning.

This summer has been a difficult one for me.  But after all I am going through, I did not come running back to you to take control of my life.  I went out for dinner last week and did not even bother looking up the menu ahead of time.  I decide what I am going to eat for lunch at lunch time, and not the day before.  Today I was hungry after my morning snack, so I ate another snack and didn't think twice about it.  I no longer pose for pictures using "the skinny arm" tactic, and I've stopped untagging myself if I appear to have a double chin.  That's right, you are losing.

Today I looked in the mirror and instead of seeing extra fat in all the wrong places, I saw a beautiful, strong body.  Today, for the first time in nine years, I looked in the mirror and I liked myself.  And no, I did not like myself for looking like you taught me to, I liked myself for being a beautiful and independent woman that was strong enough to stand up to you.  

I know you are not gone from my life entirely yet, and you may never be.  But the truth is, ED, I am stronger than you.  I am winning this fight and you are going down, bro.  I am the healthiest and happiest I have been in nine years, and it is because I told you to back the fuck off.  

But don't even think about finding someone else to prey on.  Just because I got rid of you does not mean you can go ruining the lives of other insecure little girls and boys standing in from of the mirror in ballet class or watching the Victoria's Secret models on TV.  Don't you even try.  Because they have me on their side.  And together, we will defeat you.  My generation will teach the next that being strong and independent is more important than looking skinny in a leotard.  We are going to be there for them and support them so that you can't touch them.  

So, dear ED, this is goodbye.  You are no longer welcome here, and you won't be anywhere else for very long.  We will get strong and defeat you, together.  We will win.  I already have.

No longer yours,
Hannah

In the spirit of being free from measuring and binging on cookies, I decided to make some really awesome protein truffles.  I have been thinking of making these for a while now, and this was a great occasion to celebrate.  There is not really a recipe or step-by-step photos, because the truth is, I just threw a bunch of stuff in the food processor.  And they turned out awesome.  Here is what I made:

Chocolate Protein Truffles (No Bake, Vegan, and Gluten-Free)
Recipe: Completely made up in my head
Yield: About 2 dozen truffles



Ingredients:
2 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice (I used dried pineapple)
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
Water, as needed
Extra cocoa and shredded coconut for finishing

Directions:  
1.  Blend dates and dried fruit first until smooth. 
2.  Add in other ingredients and pulse until a thick paste has formed.
3.  Add in one Tablespoon of water until the mush reaches the desired consistency.  You want it to be thick enough to hold its shape, but soft enough to be able to roll it into balls without being one giant, awful sticky mess.
4.  Roll into Tablespoonful size balls.  Roll in cocoa powder or coconut.
5.  Store in freezer for a fun cool treat!



I love these little guys.  They are a perfect treat for when I want something sweet and chewy but don't have any cookies in the house.  And who doesn't want healthy chocolate in the freezer at all times?  

Here is to sharing stories and moving forward.

2 comments:

  1. This is a great letter Hannah! So much I learned from you thanks to this blog! I also went through ED (what a surprise), I was a definite bulimic since high school which changed into plain binge ED after a few years of uni. I feel just the same as you, since about my 22nd Bday I have begun to like myself, to like the body I was given, this awesome machine as you say that can carry us so far if we want it. Unfortunately, I am left with rather severe food intolerance now (IBS, lactose...) but it feels so good to NOT CARE anymore! When I eat, I savour each bite again :)
    I love your last lines! They are very inspiring, and I think you are right, we are the generation that has all the tools to distance ourselves from EDs and teach our followers what a deceitful psychological mechanism it is and how to defeat it!
    Warm hugs !!

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