A Letter to Myself- Divorcing ED for Good
By: Gisela Bouvier, MBA, RDN, LDN
My dear sweet Gisela,
I know how you’re feeling right now. You’re lost, confused, stressed, and sad. No matter what you do, ED is always around. He controls every bite you take, every minute you workout, and every thought in your head. But, I want you to know that you deserve happiness and you deserve freedom from your Eating Disorder. I promise you can and will get rid of ED eventually. The road isn’t going to be easy, but I whole-heartedly know that you will get there.
Remember when you were little and you used to love eating grapes straight of the bag with your sister? Or when you and your grandpa would go to the grocery store to buy Snickers bars and eat them together? Heck, I bet you even remember your weekend trips to Dairy Queen to eat soft serve vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. All of these beautiful memories, created by the foods you used to love, have been taken away by ED. And he’s taken away so much more.
How many times have you not attended a family event, gone out with friends, or even slept, for the sake of exercising? You workout at least 15 hours a week because you feel like you need to “burn calories” and “change your body.” Again, that’s not you at all – you’re beautiful and don’t need to change. But that’s what ED does – he controls everything about you.
You may think that ED came around because you are unhappy with your body and you don’t like who you see in the mirror. Know that ED isn’t your fault. Eventually you’ll realize why he happened. You’ll go to treatment and your therapist will help you put together the pieces in your life that eventually were the reason why ED was created inside of your mind. They were things that happened to you that are not your fault. When things in your life got out of your control, the one thing you could control was food. Unfortunately, ED ended up controlling it for you.
I want to tell you that you’ll eventually hit rock bottom and, when you do, it’ll be hard. But, it’ll be the reason why you seek treatment – it’ll be your last hope to find peace within you. You’ll find a treatment center that will be unlike others that you’ve been to. They’ll want to get to know you, your story, and will be the ones who save your life. Inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient treatment will suck everything out of you, but they will be the foundation to finding your health and finally getting rid of ED for good.
As crazy as it may sound, there is such a thing as finding food freedom. You’re a dietitian and it’s hard to believe that. You were never taught in life or in school that you could “just eat” and be happy. But, you will learn that it is possible. Your treatment center will teach you about Mindful and Intuitive Eating. You’ll get to know your body again and learn to trust it. It will ask you for the nourishment it needs on a daily basis and you’ll learn to exercise because you enjoy it, not because you need to change your body.
It’s hard to believe it or see it now, but ED came into your life because divorcing him will be the best thing you will ever do.
This path that you're on will lead you to a path in helping other women in strained relationships with food. You’ll understand the constant emotional battle they experience when eating and exercising. You will be able to help them find the tools they need to learn to put themselves first, embrace their bodies and love food again.
Life without your Eating Disorder exists and is waiting for you. Be patient on your journey – it won’t always be perfect. But I promise, it will lead you to where you are meant to be.
Gisela (without ED)