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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dara

Dear anyone with a heartbeat…

I don’t think there is anyone on this planet that has never felt guilty after eating too much food or has not had some thought about their body not being good enough. We eat when we are happy, sad, to socialize, when we are lonely, bored, overwhelmed, or if the wind blows funny! We pretty much eat for any reason or season! Some, or probably most are freaking out of the current Corona15. Worried we will not fit in our jeans or our non pajama, lounge clothes! Even if you have not gained weight, the thought of wearing make-up and not wearing stretchy pants is horrifying!

Jokes aside, thoughts of food are serious business. Times like this are not about an extra Oreo or only wearing comfy, oversized clothes. For many it is the critical difference between disordered eating and eating disorders. Realistically, if you (or I) struggle with food a pandemic is not needed to throw your eating balance into an uproar. Chances are the binge or restricting (or whatever maladaptive food crazy you have) seeds that were already planted before this pandemic are now like a monsoon of rain growing your brain crazies fast, furious, and spreading like a wild fire.

Last year during eating disorder awareness week I leaked my ugly headed eating disorder cat TIGER out of the bag in a post on social media. My eating disorder was a personal shame dreaded skeleton in my closet for way too long that could have been an ABC after school special (Side note: much similar to the one I saw in middle school that was not helpful and contributed to my demise).

This is what I shared….

The pretty mask of my EATING DISORDER…

Eating disorders are serious and sometimes fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors and life. Eating Disorders are silent killers.

My eating disorder wasn’t obvious. No one knew. I appeared healthy. I always seemed okay on the outside, while inside I was in hell, like purgatory and slowly dying.

This picture attached got your attention because most think I look good! I competed in bodybuilding figure competitions that literally put me over the edge and needed medical attention from my desperate attempts to manipulate my relationship with food and my body. This picture is the UN-BEAUTIFICATION of the depths of the secret magnitudes of my eating disorder. It doesn’t depict the truth of the binging, the purging, the laxative abuse, the diet pill misuse, the starving, the torturous exercise sessions, the SHAME, the GUILT, the sadness or the embarrassment.

Meanwhile, other pictures over the decades of my struggle looked average and typical. I wasn’t underweight, I wasn’t overweight, I was just in pain. Like most eating disorders, it became my facade and I was the master of disguise.

Eating disorders do not discriminate. They are not about willpower or ignorance. It was not who I was and it ISN’T MY IDENTITY. It was a mis-read from my brain thinking I needed to do things different or be different. It was a misread from my brain thinking I had to be more or I was not good enough. It was never really about the food. It was always about the emotions and feeling connected with comfort from food. The food I ate created a chemical reaction making me obsessively want more and warped my perception of a healthy body and eating.

Freedom from an eating disorder shiFts when we heal from the root of the beliefs. Getting to the root and shiFting has been a journey for me. I am happy to now be able to share my story. In fact, this week a segment I recorded about my own recovery aired on The Dr. Nandi Show. Boy oh boy did I feel raw and vulnerable putting my guts out there to hang in this episode and now I am inviting you to see it. But, my purpose and mission is to squash any one else’s pain and the stigma and shame of eating disorders. So, take a gander:

Part 1

Part 2

There is hope, there is relief and you can heal from an eating disorder.

Warmly, Your no bull-shiFt, mental fitness advising, expert Eating Disorder Recovering Mom, Psychologist DaraDear everyone with a maternal instinct,

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