Posted in anorexia, binge eating disorder, Body Image, Body Positive, Bulimia, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Orthorexia, Recovery, Self-love, Social Media, Writing

Eating Disorder Declarations

Today I reflected on the disordered declarations I used to make every morning while in my eating disorder.

I would spend hours scrolling through fitness instagrams. Updating myself on the latest health trends, finding exercise gurus to follow, and pinning vegetarian recipes.

I would go to sleep with all this newly-found inspiration on how to be thin and active.

It felt exhilarating to create a flawless routine for myself. Thinking: “this time it will work. If I follow this plan, I will never have another unhealthy craving. And I will never want to stop exercising.”

Oftentimes, I fell short of my goal. My motivation to work out would inevitably dwindle, and I’d eat things that caused severe guilt.

I failed yet again. Somehow all these beautiful women I read about could do it, but I wasn’t good enough to keep up.

My personal eating disorder often included binge/purge cycles that crept in about a week after I implemented my strict diet and exercise regimens. And I aways wondered, with such intense self-loathing, how could I allow myself to get to this point, again? What am I doing wrong?

“I just have to try harder,” I would think, as I scrolled though more Pinterest pages and found new ideas on how to tighten the reigns on myself.

I’d spend a long time reading and pulling tidbits from everywhere: what women ate, how they exercised, how much water they drank, how they kept their motivation.

Another night’s sleep would pass in anticipation that… “tomorrow I’ll be good.” and “this is the last time I’ll have to start over.”

Years later, in an eating disorder treatment facility, one of the first steps I took was deleting all accounts that fueled my desire to be thin and fit. I could not allow myself to look at anything that made me feel as though image was ‘all-important.’ This even meant unfollowing certain friends. I made a conscious effort, which was very difficult, to not indulge in the health/fitness and diet culture. I had to be really serious about it.

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Two years later, I hold true to this. However, I still see fitness models and seemingly flawless women all around me. I do not seek them out, but it is truly unavoidable (especially with social media.)Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 3.00.55 PM

I do not speak about it, but I overhear conversations pertaining to the subject. How people plan to lose weight. I hear many people confidently boast about their work out routines, and others “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” at their “dedication.”

I know the truth: coming up with ways to change my body is an absolute waste of my energy and time. I am a better person when I am not trying to be like others. I am proud that I want to obsess over the beautiful/unique aspects of myself, and not pick apart my flaws. My core belief is that self-love is all-important.

But that doesn’t change how hard it is to deal with the fitspo pictures that pop up and conversations surrounding food and body.

When ‘Jill’ talks about how many miles she ran today: I hear the remanence of my eating disorder telling me how flabby I’ve become since I stopped putting so much energy into working out.

When my eyes graze the cover of Women’s Health and I see that another actress dropped ten pounds and gained lean muscle, I wonder: why the hell would I give up focusing on what I’m eating everyday.

I noticed today that my declarations, although lessened, have not stopped completely. They are not as loud and intentional, but they do remain in the back of my head. It’s the little voice that says: “maybe I’ll just give up my mac and cheese.” IMG_8912

or “I have to start using my pull-up bar again.” or “no more desserts for the next two weeks.”

I made a couple of these subtle declarations in therapy.

My therapist stopped me. She reminded me that focusing on food is my way of regaining control in some area of my life. And although my eating disorder isn’t as obnoxious as it once was, it’s still successfully convincing me that I have an inadequate body and I need to change.

If that little voice starts to plan anything related to food or fitness, shift my thoughts and start planing other things: such as what do to with my free time. Start imagining the canvas I plan on painting when I get home from work. Or what facial mask I’ll wear while I pick out a color to paint my nails.

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Declarations aren’t quite as bad as I once thought they were.

I can still wake up exhilarated to start or continue something. But, let your declarations be constructive and worthy of your time. Let them be soulful and artistic. 

Look forward to your current life, do not plan on changing yourself.

“I declare that I will use my experiences to write more” …

Posted in anorexia, Body Image, Bulimia, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Orthorexia, Recovery, Self-acceptance, Self-love, Social Media, vision board

The Dreaded “Tagged” Photo

I preach about self-love.

But let me just say–right now I’m having a very hard time accessing that part of my brain.

So, to begin I’ll let you know my rule when taking pictures: either don’t take them at all, or be prepared to take about twenty until I find one I am comfortable with.

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I want to love my body, whole-heartedly, I really do. But, having body dimorphic disorder challenges that ideal constantly. Generally speaking, I am doing a great job working towards my goal though.

I have a meal-plan, guidelines about what to eat and why. And I am learning more and more about intuitive eating. I try to listen to, and not judge, my cravings and hunger cues.

I am damn proud of all that. I like that I am no longer afraid of bagels in the morning. I love that I can have dessert during celebrations. And I absolutely relish the fact that I never read the nutritional facts of ANYTHING I eat anymore. I look at the ceiling when the doctor weighs me. And I am making great strides in ED urges–haven’t had a lapse in a while. I should be a bundle of positivity and righteousness. Everything has been going splendidly, right? I should have my socks and shoes off and be chanting in front of a mirror about peace and self-love.

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ENTER: FACEBOOK.

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Omg. I look disgusting.

I thought about the night that photo was taken. I was so naive. Seriously, how pathetic? My arm looks fat. My checks are so chubby. Ugh.

I mean, maybe others thought I liked nice. People were talking to me a lot. The important part is that I danced and laughed the entire night—

**looks at picture again**

Oh god, no. I don’t want anyone else to see this picture. I hate it so much. Why can’t I be cute in candids.

Why can’t I be cute like I used to be in photos?

…Like I used to…

^Of course, I’m referring to when I was stuck in my eating disorder. Under complete control of ED.

Do you see how quickly ED can be missed?

My mind immediately thought of an old photo… around a fire, someone took an unexpected shot of me laughing—I was doing the same exact face, scrunched nose, huge smile—but ED made me look so much cuter. And “recovery” now makes me look fat.

These are my harsh words. I feel tempted to erase them. Why would I want to expose such negativity about myself? Especially when I work so hard to show the power of self-love.

Honestly, because it is human to feel this way. It’s human to have moments of insignificance or unworthiness.

But, I also want to share what happens when you face these thoughts and work through them…

I could have easily shut down my laptop. It’s my first instinct. I’m so disgusted with social media sometimes. I could have just said “I hate this stupid photo. Whatever. I just wont look at it again.”

But, what happens when I do that? That image will linger. I’ll be going about my business and I’ll get a twinge of disgust when I look down at my thighs. My body will suddenly be so pronounced, I will feel like the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka. And my urges to eat in order to cope with embarrassment will subconsciously surface. And I’ll binge. Or the pressure to work out will be hovering over me. So I will purge with over-exercising. The point is, without facing these ED thoughts about the picture, he’s going to hang around until I give into his urges.

So I looked at the photo.

I’m laughing, I thought…

YES, and I wish I didn’t crinkle my nose like that. (ED chimed back in).

But, when I crinkle my nose it means I’m admiring the people I’m with. 

And that’s what I was doing. I was soaking it all in. MY cousin had just gotten married to a girl that makes him so happy. It was a magical (Disney themed) wedding. My aunt, uncle and mom had been dancing all night—I have never seen them so happy. Rob was with me. He was getting along with my entire family, and everybody loved him. He was looking at me so adoringly. He loves me. He was slow dancing with me, which does not happen often. I was really enjoying my sister’s company—I felt like we were 15 again. I was seriously, genuinely smiling the entire time. In fact,  there was another candid taken of me that I actually liked. Probably hours in between both photos being taken and I was still making that same adorably happy face. At least I liked one of them.

OKAY! we are making progress. I am saying kind words about myself.

Alright. Now we can close up the computer.

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I still felt like a blueberry. But a cute blueberry, that’s recovering—and I’m going easy on her.

I suddenly realized something.

I opened pinterest and scrolled down to an old folder entitled “vision board.” This was created over two years ago. For those unfamiliar with vision boards, I basically pinned all the photos I wanted for my future. And they were chosen PRE-recovery, so some were quite triggering.

And there it was: the photo I remembered pinning two years ago…

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From my “Vision Board” folder

And I remember why I pinned it, too. These two girls are all dolled up at a party:

“I want to go out with my sister, and my friends. I want to be carefree and happy and positive.”

I scrolled down a little more and saw this picture:

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Another “Vision Board” photo

“I want to be genuinely happy. I want to smile infectiously.”

Well, hell, isn’t that what I’m doing in this photo? The one that triggered all these self-loathing emotions…

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The facebook photo I was tagged in earlier.

Oh, that’s right, I want ALL of those things (happiness, family, friends, laughter) but I really need to look SKINNY while doing so.

But ED has those values, not me. And ED was the one who choose those photos to pin for my future.

Tasha is the quiet voice underneath it all saying–“No, I really just want the happiness.” ED may have inspired that Vision Board folder years ago, but Tasha controls my actions now, and it was really Tasha who got motivated to write this article. Because I know it’s wrong to be mean to a girl who is experiencing pure bliss in perhaps a not-so-flattering photo.

(By the way, you may or may not agree with the way I looked at my tagged photo. It’s very exposing to announce the judgements I have over myself. Especially  when I want to be an example of self love. But the reason why I’ve exposed them is because people tend to judge themselves too harshly. It is human. But I wish it would stop. And if you experience body image issues, social media is a breeding ground for feeling bad about your “so-called” imperfections)

I have to take a deep breath while reflecting on all this.

I really want to love myself.

But It’s still hard to push out ED’s criticism.

However, I know I’ll get there. Because I want it.

I scrolled through instagram for some positive quotes (using social media powers for good instead of evil).screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-8-59-28-amscreen-shot-2016-10-29-at-9-03-45-am

It helped. But then I read an old text from a friend. I saved it because it initially made me cry, and I knew those beautiful words could help me in moments of self-doubt.

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I read it over and over. And then I remembered all the kind things other friends, my boyfriend, parents and supporters from Renfrew had said to me.

I felt better. I shouldn’t call myself a blueberry, that’s not nice. And I wouldn’t do it to anyone else.

I’m Natasha, and I work very hard in recovery. I work very hard to love myself. And screw anyone that looks at a photo and judges me for anything less than what I am. Including you ED.

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And I hope to look at that photo someday soon, free of ED, and admire my geniune laugher and beauty. Because that’s what I would see if this photo was of another beautiful, strong and happy woman.

Posted in Body Positive, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Pro-recovery, Renfrew, Self-acceptance, Self-love

Tricks For Shopping Without ED

Numbers are very defining to an Eating Disorder. No matter how bad you may want recovery, if you suddenly have to go up a pant size, all bets are off and ED is back to controlling your actions. When in treatment, I took recovery very seriously—I was doing pretty well and for that reason I was afraid to go shopping; what if I don’t fit into the same size clothes?

Shopping during recovery:

I decided to grab three sizes (I knew my roundabout number). Without looking at the tags, and making sure I did not WATCH myself in the mirror as I was putting them on—I changed clothes until the right pair fit. Then I bought the most comfortable ones WITHOUT checking the number on the inside. “It doesn’t matter because these look the best on me” I repeated to myself.

Before going shopping:

Goals during ED’s reign over me: Buy the smallest size. Buy the sexiest belly shirt. Keep these in my closet in order to motivate myself to lose weight and work to look like the skinny models that wear them.

Goals during recovery: Search pinterest for models/actresses with REAL bodies (tweak the wording to find different size beauties ex: plus size, curves, real bodies). I discovered so many celebrities with sexy bodies that were not a size 0. (After finding women I admired I started searching specifically for them and copying their style)

(Below: Kelly Brook, Iskra Lawrence)

Honestly, I have no idea if their figures were bigger/smaller or the same as mine, I just know that they inspired me to be proud of my shape just the way it is. They accentuated their best features instead of focusing on bones the way my ED always wanted to.

Vision Boarding:

I made collages of these woman and hung them up on my mirror.

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I also made collages of things I wanted in my future, things that only a life without ED could give me.

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Before Getting Dressed:

(post for my instagram Just_Do_Today

Grab a small mirror and spend lots of time on your make up and hair. Focusing solely on your face, as to not get distracted with your body.

I would carefully curl my lashes, paint on my cat-eyes, and line my lips. I pampered myself until I genuinely smiled and felt beautiful. Then I threw on my clothes. I took a quick glance in the full length mirror and tried to focus only on that smile.

Make a List of Go-To outfits:

Getting dressed with ED can be really difficult. I took hours and I changed clothes every 5 minutes. Whenever I thought I was happy with how I looked, he would point out an imperfection that forced me into changing again. Truthfully: ED was full of shit–when you stare at something long enough, your bound to find a flaw. Therefore, I devote all that wasted time and effort coordinating the outfit I want to wear before it goes on me. Trust your style! They are your clothes after all (and get help from those pictures you’ve pinned).

The trouble is that this is not always realistic. Sometimes we get caught up trying to make sure we look okay, and spend a little too much time analyzing. Suddenly before we know it, we are getting badgered by ED.

That’s when I turn to PLAN B:

Lay down. Take a deep breath. Distract yourself with a show or texting a friend. After ten minutes throw on a GO-TO OUTFIT.

What’s a GO-TO outfit? These are outfits that you’ve worn in the past that you’ve been complimented on; that you’ve found yourself attractive in; that you’ve actually managed to smile about when looking at yourself in the mirror. Write every single detail of this outfit down and DO NOT question how you felt last time you wore it. Throw it on and walk out the door.

My only disclaimer is that you have to be VERY committed to recovery. Do not get tempted by ED when he tries to lure you in (checking the tag inside your pants, scrolling through social media) Be proactive.

Posted in Anxiety, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Pro-recovery, Recovery, Self-acceptance, Self-love, Strength

Finding Strength in Breakdowns

I spent last night drowning in self-pity. I was angry, embarrassed and ashamed of my eating disorder. I called it “disgusting.” Why did this have to happen to me; why is it still happening!?

That’s crap. I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself.

I’m not saying it’s not okay to fall apart. Everyone has hardships, and crying about how difficult it is does not make someone a weak person. The difference here is that I was questioning my life and judging an uncontrollable illness. Of course I do not want an eating disorder, but no one knows what cross they will bear. It’s ok to cry when life gets rough, but I was only focusing on the bad. 

I was angry. And I’m torn about that emotion because everyone tells me I should feel angry sometimes, but why? Feeling anger is a slippery slope. In this case, like many others, it assigns blame. “Poor me” because of what so and so did. In this case, my ED. And who was I blaming for having an ED? Life? So I was angry at life? That’s not okay.

Today I woke up, initially embarrassed for having fell apart to my boyfriend. What if I lose Rob over this? I started to panic. Then I remembered my dream last night:

I was dating someone named Kevin, but had been calling him Rob for the duration of our relationship lol. He never corrected me because he thought it was cute (weird) but even dream ME knew it was because I’m only in love with one person and it’s Rob.Believe it or not that’s what made me realize I need to stop drowning in self-pity and pointing fingers at life for what it dealt me. I needed tough love.


What if I lose Rob… What if this….What if… What if… What if…

What if—nothing!

What do I have right now in this moment? I have a wonderful boyfriend that loves me. I have my family. I have the experience of treatment behind me. I have overcome mountains and tackled many fears I had about life. I am thankful to continue down this road with the knowledge I need when things get hard. I have my emotions and the ability to express them: laughter, adoration, gratitude, pride, generosity, compassion, love.

(Below is a tattoo I got– my grandmother’s handwriting to remind me of what I have)


What about the emotion of Anger? I only need anger to show me when I am being treated unfairly. But, that’s a very specific purpose. It takes two seconds to make that sort of realization. And then I can let go of the anger. 

Without anger, I could not recognize that a co-worker acts the way I acted last night every single day. She self-pities and what-ifs and convinces me how hard she has it. I really believe that surrounding myself with someone with these beliefs had an effect on my psychology.

I started questioning if she was right about life. I didn’t know how to react to her opinions.. 

“I should feel bad for her. I’m a bad person because I judge her sometimes. I want to yell “cut it out, it could be worse!” … Does that make me apathetic? Maybe I would be just as ungrateful in her situation. I wasn’t dealt her hand in life. What if these things happen to me and what if I can’t handle it. Is something going to happen to me now…

STOP. Rre-evaluate this situation:

Anyone can drown in self-pity.

Let’s take someone else, perhaps with a similar situation (there are many people who have gone through hardships in life). And yet they wake up everyday and manage to smile. You would never know all the things they go through. They genuinely ask others how their days are going. They appreciate the big things: like what family they may have left, a roof over their heads. They take notice to the small things: like the beauty outside, the laugher of others. They may cry and breakdown, even get angry sometimes, but they always pull it back together. Empathizing is okay, but pitying someone is not. A strong person will appreciate compassion, but will never ask for pity.

And so, if my co-worker is asking for pity I have every right to walk away from the situation. She is reminding me of old fears about life. But I don’t like the person I am when allowing those anxieties back in! I don’t want to be afraid of life! And, I need to gently remind myself, that does not take away from my compassion as a person, but merely adds to my strength as a fighter.


Today, I gave myself a pep talk when I woke up. I know my situation isn’t as bad as I made it seem last night. But I had built up a lot of very real emotions inside me: frustration, confusion and (fleeting) hopelessness (have faith, always find your way back to it in lost moments). Therefore, I forgive myself for the breakdown. Today, I have to go to work and face the person that is angry at life and I don’t want to. I cannot just walk away from her (I’ve tried).


 I made the realization that perhaps she influenced my way of thinking because it reminds me of old habits and anxieties.

I don’t want to have any pent-up anger, and I really don’t want to be surrounded by that way of thinking especially if I am clearly affected by it.

I don’t want someone talking about life as if it such a bad place. (I have to live here too!) I am grateful for it, and anyone can be, even those with hardships.

I am a stronger person after last night. And in choosing strength, I have to let go of badmouthing life and myself. I will not be embarrassed or ashamed for how I acted last night—I am human. But, I can commit to change. I am stronger today. And I am grateful for everything I have in this moment.




Posted in Anarexia Reocvery, Body Positive, Bulimia Recovery, Eating Disorder Recovery, Self-love, Self-talk

Do They Think I’m Fat?

“You’re not super-skinny, but you’re not, like, fat”

I think that was supposed to be a compliment.

A friend said this to me earlier today. In the past, ED would have encouraged me to use symptoms after a comment like this

I would have drowned in self-loathing because someone doesn’t think I’m skinny, and skinny=pretty. Not to mention she hesitated before saying fat… so she definitely thinks I’m a cow.

Today I laughed. I laughed because bodies change and mine has been through way too much for a label. Because I couldn’t believe how little I cared what she thought. I was feeling a mixture of shock and pride for feeling so little.

I was too busy thinking about something else.

I was at work when this happened. Moments earlier one of the mothers was dropping off her toddler to my class. She is pregnant with her second baby and today she was glowing. I admire kind people and good moms. She is one of those people.

I was thinking about my future, and hoping I’d be like her someday. I was daydreaming about being pregnant. And I wasn’t letting ED get sucked into worrying about how anyone judged my body. That felt like a recovery win.

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I wish that the word ‘fat’ could be eliminated from other people’s vocabulary. Fat is considered an insult. God forbid we are ever tagged in a photo that makes us look ‘fat.’ FAT is the important substance protecting all of our organs. HELLO we need fat. But that definition doesn’t change the way people interpret being called ‘fat.’ That word, along with many others, can really fuel eating disorders.

I still remember my best friend at 17 telling me, “be careful, you’re getting fat.”

I am still good friends with her today, and I’m sure she doesn’t remember this moment like I do. But then again, I was in the midst of developing an ED. And she had just struck the fear of God in me. I was changing after eating a meal together, and didn’t give a second thought to how I looked until she spoke. I had been losing weight consistently. I thought I looked skinny. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t get my clothes on fast enough.

“I know,” a very naive 17 year old me agreed in response. She must be right if she called me out like that.

To this day I wonder if words like that helped to fuel my body dysmorphia.

Words can really sting.

My weapon against this is having my own voice.

(I know it isn’t as simple as words, but If they can hurt enough to fuel eating disorders and body dysmorphia, then I can see the importance of “self-talk.”)

24 year old ME would have responded this way: “That was really judgmental. I have to eat every meal because I have an Eating Disorder. So thank you, but I didn’t ask.”

I am also not the most confident dresser. As much as I love my style, the action of putting clothes on can be challenging(#EDproblems). However, I have lived by the saying: “fake it till you make it.” SO THEN, I’d also throw in:

“Besides, I think I look smoking hot.” (Even if I don’t fully believe it).

Most people who make ignorant judgements aren’t bad people, they just need a new outlook. I initially want to rip their throats out, but that wouldn’t help.

By choosing to ignore negativity and try to build up my own self-esteem regardless of other people’s standards, I hope to make a difference.

My dream is that self-love becomes real and stomps out poor body image. That the ‘everybodyisbeautiful’ movement replaces all the diet fads.

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Ultimately, that’s why I post what I write.

But, besides spreading awareness, writing helps to take away the sting that some words leave. This entry helps remind myself how far I’ve come, the vast difference between the voices I choose to listen to now (voices like iamiskra, nourishandeat and lindseyhallwrites), and to also commend myself for being one of those voices in my own small world.