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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
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"Letters to ED" (By: Kristin F.)

Anyone who is familiar with the eating disorder recovery world knows ED. ED (Eating Disorder) is a way to personify one’s eating disorder, making it easier to distinguish between Ed’s thoughts and perceptions of yourself and the actual TRUTH. My nutritionist is an amazing woman who talks openly about the powers of Ed. If someone ever overheard one of our conversations about Ed, they would probably think that I had an abusive boyfriend. But, the truth is, Ed can be like that. He can make you believe the worst about yourself, saying that you are too this or too that. My nutritionist also talks openly about The Truth Channel, saying to listen closely, and to make sure we turn it on.

The recovery of an eating disorder is harder some days than others. It’s like I had to relearn my body. What I naturally look like in my new self. What feels good to me. What tastes good! What it is like to be naturally hungry and naturally full. It is definitely a process, and was hard at first, but I was given the people and the team to safely attack Ed and make him stay away for good.

Some days, when I am having a hard time distinguishing Ed’s voice from my own, I write a letter to him. Telling him what I hear him saying to me, but then releasing the truth to overpower his sick lies. Below is one of these letter’s I wrote to myself, early in recovery.

Dear Ed,
 
Thanks for making my day be centered around when I can go to the gym that day (well, if I get off at 4, I can go until 5:30 before meeting a friend at 6). Thanks for making me constantly think about what I am going to do for lunch (well, my coworkers want to go eat pizza, but I really should eat a salad) Thanks for taking away the joy that a very successful work event should have brought me (UGH, I look terrible in these pictures..that jacket makes my arms look big and my face looks puffy). Thanks for making me dread going to the Carribean with my family (A bathing SUIT? On ME? what a nightmare).
 
Ed, thanks but NO thanks. I will not have my day be filled with your evil whispers. I will ignore your sick remarks, your disappointment in my lack of restraint. I will not allow you to dictate my mind and control my thoughts. For I am a young, loving woman. I am kind and considerate. I have a huge heart. I am funny and playful and thoughtful. I am loved by God. By my family. By friends. By coworkers. I am STRONG. I am not who you want me to be, Ed. I am me, and I am proud of it.
 
Love,
Truth Channel
 

About the Author

Kristin is originally from North Carolina but has lived in Nashville, TN for the past three years and now calls it home. Upon going to college in Virginia, Kristin fell victim to bulimia and struggled with her eating disorder for six years. Two years ago, she confessed to her family (who were unaware of her struggle), that she needed help. Through outpatient treatment, under the care of her beloved therapist, caring nutritionist, compassionate doctor, and countless support groups through EDCT, Kristin was able to overcome her bulimia and find peace in her recovery. The openness and vulnerability that Kristin experienced within the support groups allowed her to relate with others and overcome the intense loneliness that was a result of her eating disorder. She is extremely sensitive to these issues, as she knows ED is always lingering around the corner. She hopes that her story of finally standing up to ED can help others. Lastly, Kristin has found that animals are a wonderful vehicle in recovery, as they allow for unconditional love, no matter your size. She recently adopted a pug named Rora who brings her great joy.

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Posted on 10/28/2014 9:30 AM by Kristin F.
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Tuesday, 21 October 2014
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"Sh-Sh-Shake It Off: Ditch the Veil of Perfection and Become More Radically Awesome" (By: Maria Grasso)

Five years ago I ate an entire sandwich. 

Take sandwich, insert in mouth, chew, swallow, be satisfied.  Simple as that.

“Simple as that” isn’t so simple to some of us, though. 

I wish the process of recovery had really been that stripped down for me: eat food, girl.  It wasn’t, though, and from what I know of my fellow travelers’ journeys, it wasn’t and isn’t for them either. 

I don’t want to oversimplify a complex feat.  However, as I took that very last bite, I felt an easy sense of release…and it rocked my soul.    

I, like so many, used my ED as a means of achieving perfection.  In doing so, I became extremely predictable and kind of dull.  It was like I was in an epic battle for the almighty crown of boringness.  What I didn’t yet understand is that the more I deprived myself of what I needed to survive, the more I deprived the world of the girl it needed alive.

The world needs me (and you) to carry it into the future.  Our flaws and imperfections—the things that set us apart from others—are the very tools the world uses to grow and change.  See if we were all alike we’d be disposable.  The world breathes in our differences and uses them to shape the future.  Call me idealistic, but it’s true. Each of us, in our most authentic state, cause ripples of change.

Besides, perfection is boring.  My attempts at “perfection” stripped away the character and quirkiness that made me my awkwardly charming self.  One bite of the past and that feeling rushed back to me, that feeling of imperfection that gave me permission to be me. 

The more and more I embraced every fiber of my being and every experience of my life, the more radically awesome, interesting, and imperfect I became.  And yeah, I like to think we are all radically awesome, interesting, and most importantly imperfect.

The coolest part about life is that we create ourselves by what we subject ourselves to—the more you experience and absorb the more dynamic and interesting you become.  Remember: You are the summation of your life thus far and the future trajectory of your life to come.  Appreciate where you’ve been.  Prepare for where you are going. 

Sometimes our creepy little stalker, Fear, lurks in the corner of our minds reminding us that we should be afraid.  Fear is not looking out for you.  Fear is not protecting you. And fear certainly is NOT acting as a "sign", telling you to stand still or, even worse, to fall back.  Fear reminds you that things might go “wrong”…and things will go “wrong”. But the only way to protect your true self is to act despite your fear. You will change because of it. You will grow because of the change. 

As silly as it might sound, I was afraid to eat because it meant change.  My ED had become a veil of fear that I was so comfortable hiding under.  I couldn’t grow there, though.  I had to act despite my fear if I wanted to get my true self back. 

I don’t want to belittle the struggle of so many of us, but for me one small step towards who I was and what I craved gave me the feeling I needed to rediscover the self I had lost.

Don’t run away from any experience, emotion, and or event that brings to light your imperfections.  These are the threads of your being.  These are what weave you—awesome, interesting, exhilarating you—into the vibrant fabric that makes up this world.  The world needs me, the world needs you, beautifully imperfect you. 

About the Author

Maria Grasso has a passion for people and commitment to education.  In her youth, she served as a Youth Ambassador for a United Nations Association development program in both South Africa and Namibia where she assisted in school development and built water sanitation facilities and homes for rural families. After graduation, Maria moved to Houston, Texas to work in urban education and nonprofit administration at an innovative Houston high school for economically disadvantaged students, while completing her Master’s of Business Administration. Currently, she serves as Executive Director of a youth success program that exposes high school and college students to the proven systems and techniques, that when properly practiced, give students a 7-year head start on their career and life. Maria is an advocate for using your body for strength—and loves motivating friends and family to reach their goals and laugh along the way!

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Posted on 10/21/2014 9:30 AM by Maria Grasso
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