Conquering Fears: Talking about my eating disorder.

June 17, 2013

While most young Americans spend their 21st birthdays whooping it up at the clubs or wearing birthday sashes and doing Power Hour at every bar in town, I spent mine at an eating disorder clinic crying over the Pop-Tart on my plate. The reason I’m telling you this is because The Dollop Book of Frosting is coming out soon and I realize that some people will be uncomfortable with my excess use of sugar. As we’ve all heard—‘sugar is bad’. My prior belief in sugar being ‘bad’ led me to a three month stint in the New York Presbyterian Eating Disorder Program and several additional years of fighting my anorexia through therapy. There’s an obesity epidemic in this country. There’s also an eating disorder epidemic that we don’t speak of. Eight years ago my days were spent counting calories, powering the elliptical machine, and praising myself for avoiding food. Sugar was taboo, fat was taboo, and frankly, happiness was taboo too. I was able to hide the anorexia for a while but then it became too obvious when I couldn’t keep my pants up. I cried a lot, I was cold a lot, I was depressed a lot, and I was angry a lot. What truly fueled me through that time was hearing from women who had lived through anorexia and survived; insisting it does get better. Learning that it can get better, that it’s possible to have a healthy relationship with food, and that someday I may just accept my body was the twinkling star in the distance that I was eventually able to cling to. I’ve been holding this story close to my chest. I thought I was waiting for the right time to help people with it. But there is no ‘right time’ to help people. I was really waiting to feel healed myself. I still have my moments of panic about my body and a fear that I’m out of control with my eating. But I’ve finally found, eight years later, a balance between eating for health and eating for joy. I drink green juice every morning, fuel up on protein throughout the day, and CrossFit 5-6 times a week. I value being strong over being skinny and I haven’t weighed myself in 8 years. I rarely go to sleep without savoring dessert. I suffered with anorexia. I then opened a cupcake shop. Two of them, actually. I competed and won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. I wrote a frosting cookbook. They say to conquer your fears, immerse yourself in them. I think it worked.

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