**Catch up – Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.  I swear, I’m almost done talking about myself!  And I apologize for the length of this post.  I found it hard to tie up all the loose ends.  I hope I’ve done an ok job.  Next week will be the last installment – My ED Today.**

As I wrap up this series, I want to be sure that people understand something.  Having an eating disorder doesn’t make you a bad person.  It just means that you’re battling your “flesh”.  And all humans battle their flesh.  What makes it bad is when you actively CHOOSE to do nothing about it – and worse than that, you actively CHOOSE to disobey that inner voice (aka, the Holy Spirit).  When you know that you shouldn’t make yourself throw up or not eat for 3 days, but you do those things anyway – that’s when you cross the line.  Most of the letters that I’ve received through this series have been from women and girls who KNOW that how they’re treating their bodies is wrong, but they just can’t do anything about it. 

No.  You CAN.  You can make the choice.  Yes, it’s hard.  And yes, you might backslide a time or two in the process.  But each day, you’re given choices to start fresh.  Choosing your HEALTH over a number on the scale or a pant size is up to you.  The personal trainer in me wants to yell at you and say stop whining and DO something about it.  But, the recovered ED girl wants to give you a big hug and tell you that I’ve been in the trenches and come out. 

I have ABSOLUTELY NO JUDGEMENT for anyone battling an eating disorder.

I have HOPE!

There is light.  Seek it out!

————–

Here’s where we left off…

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.

Like a Fish out of Water

I was excited about going to college.  Carolina was my first choice and I even applied for early admission and got in.  My sister and I are those type of dorky people who ENJOY learning, so the thought of studying and going to class didn’t frighten me.

The people did.  Or rather, the girls did. 

For the two years prior, I thought I looked fat.  I thought my size 4 clothes were too tight.  I was self conscious about what I wore, about how I was perceived, about everything having to do with my body.  I’m not sure where this stemmed from because I was getting positive reinforcement from my boyfriend, my friends and my parents.  My Senior year, I was elected to the Homecoming court and for yearbook awards.  Those external validations didn’t come close to helping my self esteem. 

Like most colleges I’m sure, Carolina was teeming with bright, athletic young women.  Women, who I perceived as threats.  (I still sometimes feel this way about fellow bloggers – if I notice that someone is skinnier than me or works out more than me, I perceive them as threatening. RIDICULOUS!  Why do I do this?!!?) 

Living with an ED at college was a bit easier than living at home, because I had more freedom.  I bought my own groceries, prepared my own food.  I had no one there to tell me when or what to eat.  By this time, I had moved past the days of starvation.  Instead, I adopted weird food rituals and relied heavily on LOW CALORIE foods. 

My diet staples:

  • Grapefruit
  • Single-serve oatmeal packets
  • Rice Cakes
  • Plain w.w. bagels

(Notice that there is no protein.  Had I known more about nutrition, I would have probably restricted carbs.)  Most days, I would eat very little from breakfast until dinner, and then binge on bowls of cereal or nutrition bars. 

I was still purging these binges, but again, this was WAY trickier since I shared a bathroom with 20 or so hall mates.  I’d pick a time of day when most people were out (having a social life) and then go “take a shower”.  Once under the sound of the water, I’d purge into the shower drain. 

Thinking about that now, makes me shiver in disgust and embarrassment.  But that’s the truth – that’s what I did.

I also hid laxatives and diuretics in my private closet.  Way back in the back, where my roommates couldn’t find them.  I used them EXCESSIVELY – popping 6 or 7 laxatives at a time.  After months of this, it got to the point where they just stopped working.  This might be TMI (isn’t this entire series?), but due to my laxative abuse, I STILL have problems with my bowels.  Please use me as a warning! 

This binge-purge/laxative abuse cycle lasted my entire Freshman year.  I had no social life, GREAT grades, and had broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years.  Essentially, life was lifeless. 

The good thing?  I knew it and I recognized it. 

The Road to Recovery (ahhhhh!)

Two things played a role in my recovery – my relationship with God and meeting Travis.  Actually, those two things are SO very intertwined that they could be classified as one. 

#1 – My Faith

I was raised in a Christian household, saved at a young age and thought I knew God’s love.  But throughout my ED, I was running from Him.  I’m sure it was because I knew that my behavior was wrong.  The mistreatment of my body was like slapping God in the face.  My actions SCREAMED,

“I don’t appreciate this gift that You’ve given me.” 

“I want to have more control than You!” 

“I don’t trust You!”

It’s so very hard to walk close to God when you’re screaming at Him.

My roommate in college (a girl I grew up with actually), invited me to church numerous times.  I rejected her invitations (and in fact, sometimes got angry at them – didn’t she know that I was already a Christian?)  But slowly, God softened my heart and opened me up to her requests.  And I went.  And I got more involved.  And made friends.  Christian friends who came in all shapes and sizes and ate food together and laughed. 

Taking small steps toward God opened my eyes to how I had been treating myself.  These small steps evolved into an all out SPRINT to cling to Him.  And to change my behavior. 

I felt CONVICTION.  I felt REMORSE.  Those feelings, paired with the knowledge that I needed to change, were what helped me recover.  Just like I said in that opening paragraph, I needed to stop whining and DO SOMETHING about it! 

So I started changing.  And that’s when I met Travis.

#2 – Travis

(I want to devote an entire post to how we started dating…this isn’t the time for me to tell that story.  But in summary, Travis and I met through that same nagging roommate.)

I remember some of the first conversations I had with Travis after we began to date.  He told me point blank, “I like girls with butts and boobs.” 

What a novel idea!  My body SHOULD have curves!  Just the way God made me.  (I think that’s a huge problem – all us girls are trying to get skinnier to look like men.  And all the men just want women to look like, well, women.) 

Now, that statement alone didn’t make me run out and eat a Krispy Kreme.  But it most certainly got me thinking.  Remember – I’m a people pleaser.  And I SO wanted to please Travis.  In this case, changing into the type of girl that Travis wanted, was JUST what my body needed. 

After only two months of dating, I knew that I wanted to marry him.  We fell in love.  Like a fairytale story kind of love.

It sounds completely corny, but Travis was my ED therapy.  I felt completely vulnerable around him, but in the best of ways.  As we spent more time together, those past three years of anorexia and bulimia came spewing forth.  And he listened.  No judgment or criticism.  Just open arms and lots of hugs.  Travis is not God, but I do imagine that God held me in His arms in that same way.  Without judgment.  And with total and complete forgiveness.

It took a lot of determination, but I changed my thought processes.  I began to view food as fuel and not an enemy.  Purging was no longer an option.  It wasn’t an acceptable behavior.  I became more flexible and less rigid with my eating rituals. 

And I grew some dang boobs.

————-

I’ll forever be on this “Road to Recovery” – a road, for which there is no final destination.  It is foolhardy to say that one can be “completely recovered”.  Much like it is naïve for me to believe that I can be ever be “perfect” or “without sin”.

It is a battle against my flesh.  A battle that I fight daily.  One that I’m winning.  But a battle, nonetheless.

But at least I’m choosing to fight and not lie down.  I’m CHOOSING…because I have a choice.

————-

splendid…lindsay

  1. Justine Duppong @Upcycle You says:

    I just published an eating disorder recovery book, with contributions from nearly 100 recovered people from the United States and beyond. And you know what nearly all of them had in common? They all believed it is possible to FULLY recover. I am a huge advocate of that. You really can accomplish anything you believe in wholeheartedly.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. katie says:

    OH my gosh, how have i just now started reading your blog? I LOVE IT!! I can so relate, wow! the Lord is the only thing that got me through mine. And I so desire to be a wife and mother one day (I am 21!) and I know the Lord has that purpose for me, and I need to stay healthy in order to fulfill that role. You are awesome! And your family is beautiful!

    • lindsaymwright says:

      Katie – YAY! I’m so glad you found my blog too!! God has a way of drawing Christians together!! I’m certain that He also has a plan for you to be a mother and wife! His word says that He will give us the desires of our hearts when we are called according to His purpose.
      Off to read your blog now!

      • calee says:

        I love that Travis was a big part of your recovery. My current beau has been mine. Even before we were dating. He knew.

        And I’m glad that I never let mine get this out of control. I don’t know how I didn’t. But I didn’t. People started to question me LONG before they questioned you. Which is good. And I got help earlier. I’m sooooo sad reading all of this that you had to go through this (or I should say made yourself go through this — wwe did it to ourselves).

  3. Kerryne says:

    I know I haven’t been commenting on these posts. I don’t know why because every time I read one I find myself lost in thought. I just had to let you know that I appreciate you sharing your story. I know from my own experience how HARD it is to live with an ED. Its something that you never can get rid of but you can get through it. I love how positive you are and how encouraging you are. Thanks again!

  4. Tessa @ Amazing Asset says:

    I have really been enjoying this series so far Lindsay! I haven’t commented much before, but I have been reading, as I can relate to so much of this. My blog talks about my own eating disorder/disordered eating issues and how I fight each and every.single.day to get better from them. My blog is a “recovery” blog I guess, but I also discuss the daily frustrations and victories that go along with it.
    Sharing this information about yourself helps you out, but so many other people struggling too. Thank you for talking about this!
    p.s. I have been a fan of your blog for quite some time now… love Tuesday Trainer :)

    • lindsaymwright says:

      Thanks for reading, Tessa! I think you’ve commented one other time? Can’t remember. I do remember going to your blog and thinking that you were in a pretty balanced place!
      and you should totally participate in TT – you’d be great!!

  5. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats says:

    I have to say that in terms of my own body image and eating issues, your road to recovery frustrates me. I don’t mean to say that I’m not glad that you are happy now, it’s just that to hear from you, and several others, that a huge part of recovery has involved their significant other makes me feel very hopeless. It makes me feel like I won’t ever be really happy or able to recover until I find someone who can help me in that way.

    • lindsaymwright says:

      NO NO, Katie! I don’t think that it has to be a significant other! But I do think that it’s imporatant to talk to an “other” – a therapist, a pastor, a family member. Not necessarily someone you’re intimately involved with. Having someone to talk to makes A HUGE difference, because it a) reveals your secrets and b) puts you in a place of vulnerability so you can begin to change. If you could get out of the hell yourself, you’d already be out of it. TALKING it out is what you need.

  6. Kirsten says:

    You are amazing and strong! It is so incredible when the recovery process begins. When you are stuck in the depth of an eating disorder nothing makes sense. You battle with your own sensibilities and are continually defeated. But then something clicks. Whether it’s meeting somebody (like you met Travis!) or starting to work out instead of solely battling with food, you finally see the bigger picture! And that it is so much better to be constructive instead of destructive!

    Thank you for sharing your story and showing that is IS possible to heal and overcome. You are great :-)

  7. Lindsey Gump says:

    I have really appreciated this series of posts. Though I have not had the same sort of ED issues, I have had others. Food is a tricky thing. Especially since there are numerous unrealistic social norms even on the side of gluttony in many cases. Sometimes even now when I am eating healthier I feel like I am still giving too much attention to food. Does that make sense? It is always hard to balance ourselves and our flesh. Thank God that he loves us and cares for us. He created us and He understands us. And thank you for women like you who are willing to be outspoken and help light the way out of the darkness, because the worst part of any struggle or sin is feeling alone.

  8. britt@knewlywifed says:

    You are an awesome lady, Linds! Why do we women constantly compare ourselves!?!? And we judge ourselves compared others. We have no idea what their lives are really like. We just see an outside picture of them. And we try to measure up to impossible standards, that we usually create in our minds. Gah! We’re crazy. Love you girl!

  9. julie says:

    i think you’re so beautiful and brave for sharing this lady! just think about how many lives your changing by publishing this.

    on a another note I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOUR LOVE STORY! haha i’m obsessed with hearing how people met and fell in love! xoxoxoxo

  10. Katie says:

    Whohooo! So glad to be hearing this side of the story. We are so similar, and a million ways, but now I know that those sweet boys in our lives are the the reason for our recoveries, too. God knows what He’s doing…

  11. Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health says:

    Such an honest and touching post, and series Lindsay! It’s so amazing how far you have come and how much better you are! It’s interesting that you say your bowels are still kind of messed up from what you did, I think that sort of happened to me as well….though not because of taking diuretics of laxatives because I didn’t.

  12. JennyV says:

    I wish I didn’t “get” these posts so much — but I do because I’ve been there. I believe that the fight is real and that it is ongoing. I felt that I had my fight won but I have recently regressed in a major way. Your insights are enlightening though and they remind me to continue to seek God and His ways and my insecurities will fade.

  13. Christin@purplebirdblog says:

    My last boyfriend before Alex broke up with me when I quit using drugs because I gained quite a bit of weight. I knew it would happen too, so I kept using drugs way longer than I even wanted to because I didn’t want to lose our horrible relationship. (I look back on that time with a huge wtf?.) Alex’s love of my junk in the trunk and of me for who I am, not what I look like (though he definitely likes that booty, lol!), was of tremendous aid in helping me to love myself again. It’s amazing how God places the right person at the right time in our lives! <3

  14. holly says:

    you are a vibrant, wonderful, giving, loving & open person, and i love that about you. thank you for sharing this series – i know you will help many people going through this same thing! love you :)

  15. Allie Finch says:

    I might love this intro most of all this series. It is a choice. I want to shake women sometimes — about EDs, about depression/anxiety, etc. I’m not meaning to be harsh, but sometimes people get stuck in the “victim” role (I was), they think & say just like you mentioned: “I can’t….” “I can’t help it…I can’t do anything about it.” But you can. EVERY moment we live, we have a choice of HOW we want to live. You just have to finally DO IT. While I’ve never struggled with an ED specifically, I’ve had my own demons to overcome. You don’t overcome them by just lying down. Facing them is hard — the hardest thing you may ever do — but it.is.so.worth.it. Thank you for sharing your story. I know your compassion & understanding will help many.
    & Travis — he is an amazing & beautiful man. I don’t think many would have been able or willing to help like he did. You are so blessed to have EACH OTHER.

  16. Jess says:

    Such a great way to round out this series – I love how instrumental your faith, and your relationship with Travis had on your ED recovery. Amazing. I’d love to read a post on your relationship with him sometime!

  17. Tina @ Best Body Fitness says:

    I relate to this SO SO much. Peter, my relationship with God, and also thinking of being an example to a future family all made a big impact on my journey to healing. I’m with you 100% on the not being in line with God’s will for your life is continuing with those habits despite knowing they aren’t good. That was the biggest wake up call for me to finally commit to taking steps to heal.

  18. Jamie says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I just read your entire ED story. I did a lot of the same things and I understand what you mean that you are never truly over it. I really want to lose about 10 pounds right now but it can be such a slippery slope for me and my thoughts get obsessive. I don’t even know what to do about it… I also still constantly compare myself to others and feel that I come up short. I had hoped that by 29 I would be more comfortable in my own skin.

    • lindsaymwright says:

      The comparisons MUST stop! Because you can only be the best YOU (that sounds really hokey, but it’s true!). If you’re taking care of your body through diet and exercise, the rest should fall into place! Email me if you ever need to talk, Jamie!

  19. Bonnie says:

    God is good. :) And Travis is from God! Travis is good. :D So much to be thankful for in this post despite the pain and sorrow that is also within it…Thanks again for sharing and being so vulnerable, Lindsay. You truly have a relatable story (as evidenced in the comments each week!) and one that speaks of hope. And as was mentioned above, this is a time of hope where we look back at the prophesies, the fulfillment in Christ’s birth and ultimately in his life, death, and resurrection and can live.with.hope. You are loved!

  20. Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats says:

    I can really relate with the faith part of this post. I never really realized until I read this that I do resist going to church and things when other people ask me. I always come up with some excuse about how I am a Christian and I will go when I WANT TO. Its just frustrating sometimes how people are always trying to push it but at the same time maybe that is just His way of trying to get me to come.

  21. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries says:

    this post almost brought tears to my eyes! i couldn’t agree more with everything you said. it’s crazy to me how similar my “story” is to your’s… i would definitely owe my road to recovery to my faith and my husband as well. thank you for sharing. i know it isn’t always easy for you, but i know i sure do appreciate it. :)

  22. lindsay says:

    See, thats why God created men like Travis. to give such honest and pure love and tell you that God cares and loves you. He had it all in his plans and thats what makes this journey so significant. A story that defines the true strength and significance of your marriage. A bond that is bound with God. Thank you for sharing it all again Lindsay. I love you!

  23. Kris says:

    my friend! hard to read when my eyes are blurred with tears! once again I am SO happy you are on the other side of this and can now help with your story (VERY well written, by the way).

    I am also so happy you have Travis. I just want to hug both of you!! :)

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