My Story

Hi, my name is Greta and I had an eating disorder for a half of my life. picture 084It all had started with a diet when I was 18 and now I’m 35!

Eating disorders ruled my life for almost two decades. I was obsessed with, and tried, every possible diet, weight loss plan, detox, cleanse and restrictive eating plan. All that I got was an even greater obsession with food and weight.

My eating disorder took various shapes and forms – starting off with anorexia and then progressing to binge eating, compulsive overeating, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, bulimia and binge eating. I have been through it all! I was given a taste of all the different flavors of an eating disorder.

I sought help through a number of different paths and sources. I tried eating disorder counselors, support groups, spiritual healing and I was even hospitalized twice in order to stop the extreme acting out.

What I didn’t realize was that it was my dieting and restrictive eating that was fuelling the eating disorder and until I stopped that, nothing would change. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

I would try all the different treatment programs but my behavior and attitude remained the same – I would diet, restrict and eventually binge. I just could not connect the dieting to the eating disorder. I thought you HAD to be on a diet and anything else was absurd and ineffective.

I never truly believed that I would find a lasting eating disorder recovery solution. I thought that I would always in some way or another live with the mental obsession, the preoccupation with food and weight, and at best have periods of “abstinence” from the extreme manifestation of the eating disorder.

Things got so bad at some point that I guess I reached that real rock bottom place. You now the place – where you cannot live another day the way that you have been living. Things had to change because I had no life, no interest and no spirit left.

Since my early memories I was expected to be perfect. I was very cute, intelligent and talented. I was praised by my parents, teachers, tutors and even strangers who came my way. But I worked my butt off for that perfection – studying, practicing and exhausting myself in order to keep up with everyone’s expectations.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. Therefore, I just knew what to do and how to behave to be likable. I guess I need a good therapist to dig deeper in that situation, because that was the time I began lying. I didn’t have any bad intentions doing that – I just lied to present myself better than I was.
Moving foreword in my teenage years I found out that perfection meant being attractive and being thin.
I had never heard of a word diet in my life so I started to do various exercises and massages to make my growing thighs look smaller.
However at my senior year at school we, girls, had noticed that one of our teachers has noticeably slimed down. We complimented her and she told us about her diet – calorie counting and gave us calorie count tables to copy.
There it all began. According to that diet we only supposed to eat 1000 calories per day. We tried and failed and tried again. I do not know why I was doing it. I wasn’t overweight at all. I just did what all my fiends were doing. Except I still reached for perfection. I started reading fashion magazines and tried ever more restricted diets as drinking only tea for three days or eating a couple of yogurts. I managed to stay under 400-500 calories a day and my weight decreased. I was worshiped again.
I want to note here what this teacher’s diet did to my friends. There were 5 of us – best buddies, girlfriends who hung out together all our time at school, after school and beyond. 3 of us developed and eating disorders – anorexia and bulimia. One of my friends recovered from it at the age of 24 because she wanted to have children. The other one still suffers from bulimia (she couldn’t finish college, start a family or stay at any job because of this disease – lately she moved and stopped all contacts with us so I still wander what had happed to her and pray for her every day)
Well, as a result, my body couldn’t keep up with the diet. So from time to time I stated binging. It led to self pity, anger and more restriction. At that time one of my friends (who already started suffering from bulimia) introduced me to laxatives – here the circle started: restricting, binging, laxative abuse, restricting and so on. I had been staying under 500 calories for a week, then binging and using laxatives on weekends. I do not remember when I heard first about bulimia and purging. I sure tried it several times but I could not bring up any food so I stayed at my restricting/binging/laxative abuse routine. I have finished two universities, lived abroad, worked some fantastic jobs while living with my disorder. I had some good weeks or months at this period – it was when I managed not to restrict so badly, but I have always returned to my cycle.
Sure I lost friends, all my relationships with men failed and I had no idea how to enjoy life any more. It had continued for about 14 years.
Years after, my weight, kept creeping up and I became even more obsessed with it. I tried every diet that was on the net with no luck and even more despair. I had found bulimic sites and read their tips for purging food , thinking why not – I just need to lose a couple of pounds. I remember my first and the most painful purge. I promised that I would never do it again – I was so swollen, my throat and fingers hurt and I knew that I did not manage to bring all food up. The second time it had happened out of hopelessness – also painful as hell. Therefore I dig deeper into pro mia sites for more information and tips. This first bulimic year was experimentation. I purged once or twice a week. Then went months without even restricting. It was because my current boyfriend came into the picture at this time, so I did everything to keep this relationship, which meant I ate similar to a normal person. Soon we moved together and shortly I restarted my old habits, only this time I had already knew how to puke. Somehow in two years it evolved into uncontrollable disaster. I ate tons of food and purged up until 5 times per day. I need not any fingers any more – I learned how to do it and how to purge everything. I lost a lot of weight. I lied to my boyfriend about some metabolic disease and that I pooped a lot (this was when I was purging). I became underweight. People started commenting on how bad I had looked now, but I couldn’t stop. Well maybe for a day or two, but as I saw the scale move up even 100grams, I returned to binging and purging. My hair started falling out, I started experiencing some severe pain in my chest area. It was so scary because I knew that at any time I could die. My boyfriend offered to go to some expensive specialist for the check up – he saw how week and miserable I became, but I couldn’t tell him what was it. I was so ashamed.
So I started to look for the treatment. I had read four books on bulimia and began following the advice provided there.
Structured eating, distraction tools and lots of love for myself had helped me a lot. I started to hear myself, my happy and sad thoughts, my cravings for love, attention and care. I started eating very healthy non processed foods and eliminated all sugar and gluten products from my diet because I felt better and better eating this way. Then I started exercising. Nothing major, because I was still weak: some Pilates, some aerobic classes and finally weight lifting – oh, I loved it from the start.
Today I am in recovery. I still have issues with the looks and the food, but one day, I will be me again – Not being perfect.

The process takes time, patience with oneself and practice. I’m still on my journey. I’m still learning every day and I make mistakes so don’t judge me strictly. I didn’t become disordered eater overnight, so the recovery takes time. However, the more I let go of diet rules, plans and restriction, the more I focus on ACTING like an intuitive eater, the faster I notice results.

The biggest challenges that I have faced up to this time are initially not knowing what to eat and a major fear of weight gain. But slowly I add food that I like; I taste things out and observe the results. Even thought I am terrified at times that I would not be able to stop eating, the I’m happy with the results that the more I focus on being a normal eater, letting go of the scales, rules, restriction, the more freedom I experience and the lesser the obsession is.

I’m healing and I will be NORMAL, taking just one day at a time.

65 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. Greta, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an incredibly strong and beautiful person. You inspire me. *hugs* ♥

  2. Hello friend!

    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger and Tell Me About Yourself awards.
    Please find my initial response here: http://elizadolly.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/super-mega-catch-up-blog/
    And my nominations here:
    http://elizadolly.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/nominees-and-an-apology/

    Much love!

  3. Huge hugs.❤

  4. Hello Greta,

    Thank you for visiting my blog, “Talking 37th Dream with Rainbow (Rumors of Peace)” and for telling your story of recovery here on your blog. Maybe you found my posts on my eating disorder under “Labels” in the right hand sidebar.

    I went on my first diet when I was 10 years old, in 1960. I was not overweight. It was just that I was taller than most of the other children and weighed more than most of them. I thought I needed to lose weight. From age 10 to age 17, I tried to limit my calories to 1000 calories a day. Of course, I almost always failed to do that. When I was 17, I began throwing up. When I was almost 37 years old, my recovery from bulimia and anorexia began. I recovered with the help and support of other women recovering from eating disorders, before there were eating disorder units at hospitals and before there were treatment centers for eating disorders.

    What I discovered for myself was that I couldn’t eat sugar or drink alcohol without experiencing unbearable craving for more and more food. Whenever I drank alcohol, I found it easy to stop drinking after one drink, but I found it impossible to stop eating after one drink. The alcohol seemed to trigger an insatiable appetite in me. The bulimia ended when I stopped drinking alcohol and eating sugar. I am still more careful than most people about what I eat, and my eating disorder has been in remission for a long time. People who don’t have eating disorders don’t understand that. Everyone with an eating disorder is different, but we have a lot in common as well.

    Now I am 62, in good health, at peace with food and my body, with nearly 25 years of recovery. My recovery began in 1987, when I talked with another woman who had been in recovery for six months from bulimia and anorexia. Before that, I didn’t know that recovery was possible. Her story gave me hope. I want to offer you hope for long-term recovery. I am guessing that you saw part of my story at Nicole’s blog. It is good to see women sharing stories of recovery through their blogs. Our experience can help others who want to recover from eating disorders. It isn’t easy but it can be done with the support of other people who are recovering from eating disorders. That’s all for now.

    Kind wishes,
    am

  5. Hi Greta! I’ve found your blog via Fiona’s, and I’m sad to read that your life as well was dominated by an ED for so many years. Well, so was mine, for a comparable amount of mine. I’m so happy that you’re getting out of it now and find pleasure in life and health again!!

    • Thank you, sweetie.
      Well, I must confess that I had been a lurker of your blog too. You seem as a highly intelligent girl to me, so I was always too shy to bother you with my nonsense opinions.

      • Oh I’m happy you’ve found my blog already!😀 I’ve been lurking on yours as well!😛 Thank you for the compliment, that means a lot to me! (And I never believe it comes across at my blog.) No need to feel shy, I’m always happy to meet nice and interesting people!😀

  6. Kudo to you for facing your health issue. Like you, I have a love/hate relationship with food. It’s a long-lasting battle, but hope we all can have a peaceful harmony🙂
    Keep it up🙂

  7. To write this you been strong and beautiful from within. A really heart felt and emotional read and I commend you on your positive steps forward to being a beautiful woman

  8. Good luck with the recovery process! I don’t know anybody with an ED but I’ve heard it’s similar to being an alcoholic–you work at it every day. I am so glad you realized you were harming yourself and decided to get help/help yourself.😀

  9. Wow – this has really scared me. In a good way. I have just admitted to my friends and family about being a binge eater (i started blogging about it, in fact. It does help, doesn’t it?). I try to counteract binging by eating under 500 calories a day even when running and working out a lot. I didn’t realise that was part of the problem too. Blimey – I have a lot to learn.

    Thank you for writing this – it’s really hit a nerve. I wish you all the best and will keep reading to see how you get on.

    • Dear Emily, it’s so cool you admit your problem to yourself and to your family too. I have suffered alone. That was a bigger torture than an ED itself!
      And blogging does help! At least it did for me. I started my blog as a distraction tool from binging! Ant time I wanted to binge I went writing a post! No one read it, but I did not care! This was my space. I played here. Eventually I met some people like me and blogging became a hobby rather than a distraction tool. Also I usually binged because I was hungry. 500 calories is a joke. Anyone (not anorexic) would binge!
      I hope you won’t need 15 years to beat this illness. I’m so sorry that I’ve wasted so much time!
      Btw, you are very talented too!
      Best of luck to you! And please let me know how are you doing! I really care.
      xo

  10. You gain my respect for everything you wrote here.I belive you need a lot of courage to admit you have a desease. I’m a skinny girl, and all my life I tried to gain pounds, and a lot of ppl around me think I’m too skinny. But I am who I am, and I will never change bcuz someone thinks I’m skinny. We should all accept who we are and how we look:) Anyway, great post.

  11. I am so glad you are in recovery. It was almost 29 years ago that I recovered from eating disorders. Recovery is like being released from chains and I have never lost any of my gratefulness for being healed. I started blogging about my garden – then I met a young lady who almost died recently due to ED and that was it…time to share my story. I admire that you are willing to share yours! ~ Blessings, Wendy ~

  12. Warriors and Goddesses said:

    so brave and honest in sharing your story and experience. Bliss and Bless to you

  13. The Ninja Mommy said:

    So glad I stumbled across this blog! I want to wish you the best for your recovery. I will be following closely. I have suffered from an ED ( bulimia in high school and anorexia in adulthood) since I was 12 ( I am now 28yrs old) after two years in recovery, I relapsed horrendously last year and nearly lost my life, but I continue to fight, I have just passed my 1 yr milestone. Big strength and hugs to you xxx

    • Hi there and thank you for your kind wishes! I’ve been to recovery for about two years actually, but I had a huge relapse after 6 months being b/p free! And that was awful! It was like 15 years all together misery, so I get how a relapse might be worse than anything!
      Thank you again and good luck on your journey too!

  14. Congratulations on becoming Freshly Pressed – your blog is very inspiring.

  15. You are amazing to share such a private aspect of your life, I commend you.🙂

  16. fullfrontalfiction said:

    Congratulations! It gets easier!! Best thing you can do is appreciate that that emotions are like having your own personal circus performers. Become a ringmaster!

  17. MySoCalledLifeSigh said:

    You are so brave to decribe what you went through.

  18. I think it is amazing you are sharing your story. Many girls have gone through this and would be relieved to know they were not the only ones, when you are in that cycle you start to believe that there must be something wrong with you and everybody else is normal. But infact there are many people out there experiencing the same thing.

    The best way to heal is to face your fear which is exactly what you are doing/did. Way to go! Inspirational🙂

    • I really hope that no one out there is experiencing anything like I did/do! But I’m very aware that my hopes are just illusions.
      Thank you for your kind words! They mean a lot!

  19. So courageous. I hope to one day be as frank as you in this particular department. Your journey, as you continue to post about it, will help many – and I am sure has already.

    With love,
    Maia

  20. As someone who publishes a health blog, this was definitely an eye opener and reminder that everyone has a story of their own and that we really may never know what others are going through. Congratulations on being strong and telling your story to the world. You seem very strong and with the right mind set, you’ll be able to overcome anything.

    • I appreciate your response so much!
      teaching and inspiring healthy living is so important and inspiring! Good luck with your projects and prospects!

  21. Your story is so honest Greta and I’m hoping you well on your road to recovery! You ARE a beautiful lady and keep on being healthy!!😀

  22. Why does it bother me? said:

    Hi Greta, I read your posts and find them really compelling. You are very candid and honest and because of that I would like to nominate you for this award.
    http://whydoesitbotherme.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/one-lovely-blog-award/

  23. Walker Zirk said:

    Diet calories should be kept as low as possible to prevent building up fats in our bodies.’

    Stop by our personal web blog too
    http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/amlodipine-side-effects/

  24. Thank you for sharing your story, Greta. I can SO relate – I started with anorexia when I was 16 and then switched to bulimia – and I am now 34. Half of my life. These are lessons and we are meant to learn out of them! You are doing great I wish you the best of luck for your recovery, I am with you in this process!!

    • Than you so much for this amazing comment, Lucie!
      I must confess that I’d started reading your blog while browsing though some healthy living ones, and there was that heartbreaking post about your eating disorder issues. I did not comment, but felt the things you talked about. They were so real. I got them.
      But now you are so beautiful and healthy and vivid – INSPIRING! I want that happiness you posses. One day. And you are a living proof that I can do it. Thank you for blogging!
      xo

  25. pickyrunner said:

    This story is so inspiring. I’ve been recovered from anorexia for a few years now but I’m beginning to get into the bingeing cycle. I “purge” through exercise and I need to stop that habit before it gets out of control. Thank you SO SO MUCH for sharing this story. You have made me want to help myself more than ever before. I know I can do it and I know you can do.

    • You are so sweet to leave such a wonderful comment. Than you! I believe you’ll find your way out of that binge cycle. You are so beautiful and deserve all the best in life.

  26. Hi Greta, just wanted to say that I am so encouraged by you. I am struggling to recover from an eating disorder as well, and your writing gives me hope.

    • Aw, you are so sweet, V!
      I’m struggling with the recovery as well… so we are in the same boat here.😀
      I might me imagining, but I swear I checked out yesterday and saw your blog – and now it’s gone… just wish to help someone and to be helped as well.

  27. Thanks for sharing your story Greta! I wish you all the best xxx

  28. Greetings Greta,
    Thank you for sharing your difficult journey in life with an eating disorder. You sound like an intelligent person with a good heart, and I sincerely wish you good health, peace and joy in life. May I make a suggestion? focus on your mind, heart and soul, elevate them and your physical appearance will always seem beautiful to yourself and especially to others. The most beautiful people that I ever met were those that I could sit down over a cup of coffee and talk about our life experiences.
    All the best in your life’s journey Greta.
    God bless you

  29. Hi Greta,

    I’m 31 and SO glad to find someone in my age bracket…I’m so lost mentally and physically…our stories are different…but would love to chat…need some guidance and true thoughts…email anytime,,thanks.

    • Hi Jill! I hope you are well, or at least better than you sound. Sure, I’ll drop you an email😉

      • hi Greta, not sure I got your email? Can you try again? Or maybe I did and my foggy brain is not registering it🙂
        I am 31 and feel so “old”. Not that that’s old…but when you have only a blur of years and years of zero accomplishment..well..

        anyway, SO many digestive issues and would LOVE your thoughts on things truly. Thanks muchly.

        • I have written to you, sweetie.
          And thought of you a lot.
          Gosh, sometimes I lose my emails… I’ll try to find the one I’ve sent you, if not, I’ll drop you a note to make sure it’s the right address😉

  30. Hazel Awkit said:

    Heyya. I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award, check it out here: http://hazelawkitreviews.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/the-versatile-blogger-award/. Good day! c”,

  31. beautiful, heart-wrenching, poignant. thank you so much for sharing your story, I hope it is okay I chose to follow your blog🙂

  32. hi greta! got to ur blog randomly from my wordpress main page. and I’m glad i did. i just want to say thank you for sharing your story and please know that you are inspiring in every way…great blog, great you🙂
    cheers!

  33. hi my name Darul Ma’wa .. im from indonesia ..
    nice to meet you in wordpress ..😀

  34. Hey, Greta. I nominate you as one of the recipients for Sunshine Award. Thank you for pouring it all out in your posts which inspire many including me. Keep shining!🙂
    http://aboutgivingandreceiving.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/a-sunshine-award/

  35. I was very touched by your words .. I’m Italian and I have a sister who is suffering from anorexia for 25 years. I thought marriage and motherhood heal but no. After many words and speeches, now I feel anger … I’m angry with her that throws her life away in front of her child. Her daughter is 10 years old and no longer believe in excuses of intolerance or allergy….I’m sad and worried about the girl. She begins to imitate her mother refusing so many foods….Why all of that must be passed to her daughter too? She has no guilt just having a mother like this. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you can completely heal and love yourself. I cannot believe that eating disorders such as drugs make someone slave.
    Keep going this way.
    A presto, Gabriella

  36. Ashley Marie said:

    Hi greta,
    I happened to come across your page after reading another blog of someone who suffered from an eating disorder. I am bulimic and have decided to change my life and defeat this monster after 10 years of battling. In two days it will be a month since my last purge and I have to say it is hard but i am so proud of myself. I want to thank you for your bravery on writing this blog. It truly brought tears to my eyes. For you to share your story has for the world to see not only takes courage but also a person who truly wants to make a difference, and for that i respect you. I hope to create a blog that is similar to help those with eating disorders. As of now I feel it is too soon and I am just taking it one day at a time as well…so no judgement =).

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