If you’re new from meals and moves (or anywhere really), welcome!  Today is not a normal post – I’m typically much sadder and scarier (and sarcastic-er).

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This post is the fourth installment in my eating disorder story (Part I, Part II, & Part III).  My plan is to have two more posts – one to wrap up the bulimia years, and one to show you where I am TODAY!  Merely THINKING about writing that last one puts a smile on my face.  God’s grace has brought me so very far! 

Where we left off:

Full of fat and calories, ice cream was something I’d never have DREAMED about eating the year prior. Purging gave me back options that anorexia had stolen.

During my childhood, I remember eating huge bowls of ice cream or drinking my dad’s homemade Chocolate Milkshakes. We were an ice cream family. You could always find a Breyer’s “Take Two” or Rocky Road in our freezer (this still holds true).

This particular day, we had cookies and cream. It was really late at night. I’d already purged dinner. Mom and Dad were watching TV in their bed, Katy was already asleep. I snuck down and dished myself out a mug of ice cream and snuck it back upstairs to the bathroom. Cold and creamy – I inhaled it.

Then I stood over the toilet and started to throw it back up. Midway through the purge, I heard a knock at the locked bathroom door.

Caught.  By my mom.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been that embarrassed.  No, I take that back.  One time my dad caught me smoking a cigarette at a street fair.  He didn’t say anything, just turned and walked away.  That silence was FAR worse than if he had yelled.

Whereas my dad was silent in his anger, my mom was the complete opposite.  Her words were like hot lava, all gushing out at once, blaring into my red face – “What is wrong with you?” “We can fix this!!”  “You WON’T do this again!!”

She never asked how long it had been going on.  Deep down, I think she knew.  (After I posted Part II of this story, I asked my sister if she knew about my anorexia and bulimia.  She said, “I remember that you had hair all over your body.  And that mom caught you that one time.”  My mom and I don’t talk about this period in my life.)

I promised her that I’d never purge again.  I also promised to start eating more.  Two lies that I knew were lies as soon as they were spoken.  As twisted as this sounds, I was having WAY too much fun playing this game.  I enjoyed binging and purging.  I enjoyed the compliments that came because of my size.  And, as I’ve said in the past, the high you get from being IN CONTROL of your body, is unparalleled.

I didn’t want to change.  I simply got better at hiding my purges.

**If you’re triggered by words or descriptions, please stop reading.  I’m ashamed and embarrassed by what I’m about to describe.  I haven’t even told TRAVIS about this next part, but I believe that someone will be helped by my vulnerability.**

Instead of throwing up in the toilet, I would take a Tupperware container up to my room, go into my closet and purge into it.

There was an methodical order.  I would lay out a towel, making sure that the area was covered well (because vomit is disgusting).  Then, I’d stick the container in the very center of that towel and purge into the container.  After I was done, I’d take it and empty it into the toilet, then stick the container back under my bed.

This method proved to be much quieter than doing it in the bathroom.  I was “studying” after all.

Along with the “closet purges”, I sought out another easy way to purge that didn’t involve the risk of getting caught. I found a local gas station with an external bathroom (the kind where you had to go inside to get the key). After binging at home, I would quickly drive to the gas station, get the key, and go stick my finger down my throat.  I still couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I’d go turn the key back in, give the attendant some unnecessary story about how I always have to pee, and drive back home.  Elated….and numb.

A note on the binging – Throughout this entire three years, I never let myself go overboard with the binging.  I think it’s because my body was slowly starting to put on weight.  I had gained around 10 pounds. My body hung on to every single calorie that I allowed it.   Had I been able to stay super tiny while eating a box of donuts, I probably would have let myself.

If you were to look at me during my senior year, you would say that I looked A LOT better than my junior year, even healthy.  Inside, I was FAR from healthy!

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Puffy cheeks – a side effect from purging.

The last year of my ED, I went through a “starve all day, binge at night” phase. Like Eden said, every one’s definition of binging differs. For me, binging meant eating two granola bars, then two bowls of cereal.  I usually binged on “healthier” foods – I just couldn’t trust that I’d get everything up.

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Senior Trip – Panama City, FL – I’m in the Cheetah Print.  Up ~10 pounds from the previous year.

Spring and Summer of my Senior year, as I was gearing up to head to Carolina for college, I became even more obsessed with losing weight.  I was still skinnier than I am now, but I was SO uncomfortable in my own skin.  Knowing that I was about to encounter a whole new group of people, pushed me into a place of vulnerability.  These would be people who didn’t know how good I was at running or how kind my family was.  People who would judge on first appearances.

I searched for tips to lose more weight.  That’s when I found laxatives and Diurex.  So I added these to my arsenal and took all this baggage with me to college.

**I’m going to wrap this up next week.  And you’ll get to meet Travis.  And hopefully, you’ll understand my love for him, and for God, a bit better.**

Again I say…

If you think you might have an eating disorder, tell someone!!  Tell your parents or your husband or your pastor and go have them get you to someone who has been trained to help with EDs!

Life is just too short to live with this s*it!!

Thanks for reading.

QUESTION:  Have you ever dealt with disordered eating?  If so, how did you recover (if you DID)?

(P.S.  I wrote a guest post for Janetha, about staying fit during the holidays.  There’s even a little workout video – go here.)

splendid…lindsay

  1. Sara says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to thank you so much for sharing all of this… my story is SO similar it’s almost frightening. Started with anorexia, then progressed to bulimia. So many lies, so much deception. I can remember driving to gas stations, park bathrooms, to purge, so then I didn’t have to deal with the mess or people around. It all lasted about 4.5 years, and I am SO glad that I’ve been able to move on. By God’s grace, with lots of therapy, lots of strong will, lots of understanding from my husband (then fiance).

    And it’s totally something that is ALWAYS with you. No matter how many years you’ve been ‘recovered’, the thoughts are still there. The idea of purging, the stress of restaurants, etc… I appreciate your willingness to lay everything out there!

  2. Katie says:

    Bravo, my friend. Bravo. I don’t think I could ever write out my story like this – but it’s very similar. I am so glad for God’s grace and for my husband’s intervention and understanding, too. I love you!

  3. janetha says:

    love your honesty and these installments. moms know. they just do. i was doing ecstasy, acid, cocaine, mushrooms, etc… and sneaking out to raves every weekend… and my mom knew. she knew! then she caught me.. and told me that she knew. it makes me cry just thinking about what she must have gone through because of my bad habits. ughhh. moms are the best!

  4. Christin@purplebirdblog says:

    Your story is definitely an inspirational one! I watched an episode of Intervention in which a girl with bulimia would vomit into Ziploc bags in her closet, that she would then put into a trash bag and after so many bags were in it and her husband wasn’t home she would dispose of them in a dumpster somewhere. My heart hurt just thinking about the lies and deception. I am a recovered alcoholic, and I completely get the need to hide things and disguise things. It’s such a sad existence, and I’m so grateful you are where you are today, Lindsay! xo

  5. lindsay says:

    i really don’t know anyone woman who has not gone through some disordered thoughts on eating. Besides my grandma, haha. But being vulernable and letting GOd heal your heart through the encouragement and love of others is amazing! I have and sometimes still live in fear of getting my parasite again (all from foods), that fear leads to control and thats exactly what satan wants. BUT YOU ARE RIGHT, tell someone. Such an amazing woman you are!

  6. Missy says:

    It’s odd how bulimia is the same in every person when desperation kicks in. I too would use 3-4 gallon buckets or even this giant stainless steel bowl or stock pot. I too can say it’s enjoyable Ina twisted way because it’s a form of self medicating therapy. You can stand back and know how crazy it is, yet so hard to get out of.
    Thank u for this and can’t wait to read the next two, especially the last one!

  7. Liz @ Southern Charm says:

    Thank you so much for opening up. I’m lucky enough to not have had a full blown eating disorder. It is inspiring to hear what you have to say. Reading you blog, I know you have recovered and it goes to show people can heal :)

  8. Jess says:

    I continue to be impressed with how open and honest you are in telling such a sensitive story. I really admire that openness.

    As for disordered eating – I can’t say that I have technically experienced it, but I’ve definitely have had an unhealthy relationship with food in the past, emotional eating, in particular.

  9. Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Linds! It’s so incredible to me the lengths that people will go to in order to hide their disorder. I did have a period of disordered eating in high school and I remember telling so many lies to my parents so they wouldn’t find out. I guess I wasn’t “strong enough” to continue with my disordered eating – thankfully! – because after I had lost about 20 pounds I started having really bad stomach pains and went to the doctor. Not wanting that pain anymore and hearing from the doctor that I was too thin helped me start eating more food again. That doesn’t mean the thoughts don’t still exist though! I think sometimes that’s the hardest part of the battle to overcome!

  10. Georgia says:

    Wow. Similar story. When I went to college one day I just realized.. if my faith is real, then I have to believe my body is a temple.. and why was I not giving God control here? Man, it was hard. Now, when I want to binge, I think of how awful I feel (and thus how great purging would feel) and tell myself it’s just not an option anymore. It tears my body apart and doesn’t give God glory. I have fallen off the wagon maybe 7 isolated times in the past ten years. But each time I feel so much how wrong it is.. I can never “give myself over to it” again. Now, my body reflects my actions instead of it being a lie the way it was through high school(if that makes sense). Thanks for being open.

  11. Bonnie says:

    Thank you for sharing so much, Lindsay…I know that must have been so incredibly difficult to write. Your vulnerability and honesty opens doors and touches hearts. I have never gone through anything like this but feel pained for you then (yet rejoice with you now!) and pain for others who are struggling, whose lives are captured by this. Better to be in the open and ask for help, like you said! Thanks for being real. :) Love you.

  12. Tina @ Best Body Fitness says:

    Yes. yes. YES! Tell someone! That was a big step in my finally overcoming my past eating issues with binge eating disorder. And so true that binging is different for every person. Obviously, even just between the two of us. But the emotional harm is the defining factor and it’s there in all true binge eating disorder battles.

  13. Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats says:

    Wow, Linds! You have come so far! I just caught up on the past three posts. I’ve dealt with disordered eating since about the 10th grade. I was obsessed with being skinny, especially with making the varsity cheer squad for my upcoming junior year. I remember brushing my teeth in order to gag myself so I could throw up my dinner at night. My first serious boyfriend came into the picture at that time and these habits kind of went away and I put on weight after his mom’s multiple home cooked dinners. We broke up my freshman year in college and obviously I needed to get skinny so I could find a new man. I was so excited that I needed to get my tonsils out over spring break because I lost weight with no effort. I met my next boyfriend that spring break and we had a long distance relationship for about a year and a half. Weekends of multiple dinner/movie dates took their toll and that’s when I started restricting. I remember having a little notebook and writing down every morsel I ever put in my mouth. This went on for about two years and I was tiny. People commented and I thrived on that. I thrived on the sense of control and dedication that I had. I no longer write out everything I eat and I don’t obsessively count calories. These days, my issues really only come from “binging” when I am stressed. I wouldn’t say I have completely recovered from my issues but I feel like I am in a much better place than I was when I would have a total meltdown and be a bitch all day if the scale even went up .2 pounds.

  14. Lee says:

    I’m sorry that you went through all of this but am glad that you were strong enough to recover!

    I struggled with some disordered habits for a while (mostly in the form of orthorexia) but never really had a full blown eating disorder. As cliche as this sounds, on New Year’s Eve one year (this was probably 6-7 years ago), I told my group of friends that my resolution was “not to be so weird with food” and I made myself do it.

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