How I Started Healing

When I was in my early twenties, I never thought I was on a diet.  I thought the discipline I had around my food choices was me simply choosing to live a healthy lifestyle.  For years, I did not think that the rules and the mentality I had around food were harming my physical and mental health.  I often felt proud of the “will power” I had when I said no to office treats and dinner rolls. I often judged others who were choosing to eat “unhealthy” foods and thought they were not taking care of themselves.

All of this restriction led me to an unhappy place in life.  I was unhappy with my body no matter how small it was. I dreaded any type of social event because I feared the food that would be there.  I hated having to choose seeing friends versus spending another hour at the gym for the fifth time that week.

I was unhappy with life in general because I felt like food was controlling everything.

Eventually, this restriction led to a binge eating disorder.  I would restrict myself all day or week to the point where my body went into starvation mode and wanted to eat all the things.  Not all of my binges were physiological - some of them happened because I wanted to avoid feeling an unwanted emotion.

Either way, these binge episodes left me feeling like absolute crap.  I felt so much guilt after a binge and often found myself alone in my room, thinking that this was how life was going to be forever.

And so this restrictive eating and binge eating continued for years and years.  I finally realized I needed help when I started hiding my food from other people.  I found myself sneaking food into my room and going to grocery stores just so I could get something sweet to binge on.  This was not an easy decision or an easy recovery process, but I am glad I took that first step to heal my relationship with food and my body.

I was able to start healing by first going to therapy and then by attending The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. (IIN®).  I used therapy as a way to address my emotional binges and the overall feelings I had about food and my body.  Educating myself on holistic health at IIN® helped me to understand my body better so I could stop dieting and start practicing intuitive eating.  

I took that first step over 3 years ago and it has led me to a much better place.  I do not have any rules around food anymore. I do not say no to social events just because I fear the food that will be there.  I no longer hate my body for having stomach rolls. I no longer exhaust myself at the gym to get the “perfect” body.

I never thought I would be able to break free of the chains that food and diet culture had on me, but I am a living example that it is 100% possible.

So what was the point of me sharing that story with you?  I wanted to remind you that everyone has to start somewhere.  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably see pictures of food, positive quotes, and me enjoying life.  But, I was not always so free in my life. It took hard work and courage to face my issues to get here.

If you need someone to talk to, please contact me here. Also, you can find me on Instagram: @JessMalingowski. Click here for your daily inspiration.