...currently writing from: Los Angeles, CA
The world I inhabit is full of super models, actors, and fashionistas. They are not only on the pages of magazines or the big screens, but they are everywhere -- sitting at my neighborhood coffee shop or eating lunch at a table next to me. I breathe the same air as some of the most “beautiful” people in the world. Living in that kind of environment makes even the most secure person in the world question their beauty or worth.
Although I did not grow up in L.A., I grew up in another very beautiful part of the world -- Brentwood, Tennessee. Everyone was “pretty” and everyone was in shape. Therefore, I had to “keep up.” My college experience on the west coast was a similar one -- I went to a school that was rated as having some of the “hottest” girls around.
It was not until college that I truly hit a low point. I developed something known as binge eating disorder. I didn't recognize it as a disorder for almost a year because I'd never heard of “eating too much” described as a disorder. I would hide food in my room after dinner just so I could eat more after everyone dispersed. I would wake up and eat seven cookies, and worst of all, I would continue eating no matter how full I was.
I was obsessed with food. It consumed me.
After about a year and a half of dealing with this on and off binge disorder, I was just so sick of myself, and my own mind. I was also sick of the way I felt physically. I realized I had made food an idol, and I realized that was a serious issue.
One day, on my way back to my room sophomore year of college, I stopped by my school's free counseling center. I walked in and saw a pamphlet that read, "binge disorder." Up to that point, I didn't realize that what I had was a disorder. I just thought it was an unhealthy relationship with food, but as I read through the pamphlet, I realize that every symptom it described was one that I had. It was at that moment that I realized I needed to get help.
That day I signed up for counseling.
If it's an eating disorder you're struggling with, I want you to know that you CAN have a positive relationship with food.
There is hope to live a life that is fully balanced and healthy. Whether it's food or body image, it starts with letting go. It starts with being the way you are, right where you are. It starts with letting go of comparison and self-hatred. Once you let go, you are well on your way to recovery. For me, I had to learn how to eat again. Not seven cookies in one sitting, but one cookie (if I was craving something sweet). Weight Watchers was a great tool that got me back to healthy eating. It taught me how to have a healthy relationship with food -- not cutting anything out, but limiting my intake to a healthy amount. I have had a healthy relationship with food and a positive outlook on my body for over three years now.
I am so thankful to be finally free.
- Misha Hoyt