I was apprehensive about going public regarding my struggle with anorexia. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find the words to adequately explain the disease. That I would be seen as a vain, shallow person who only cared about being skinny. I waited to share my experience until I knew I was strong enough to take any feedback that I might get from “outing myself” and letting people see my imperfections. Anorexia thrives on being perfect.
My cancer diagnosis in 2005 caused me to tighten up my clean eating routine, but the near death hospital experience unleashed any remaining control tendency that was still bubbling below the surface. When I was struck with pneumonia, I believed I was at the peak of healthy. A running, talking, kale loving, quinoa eating, antioxidant rich supermom. How the hell did I get so sick? It made no sense to me and I so badly needed it to make sense. In retrospect, the answer was looking me right in the mirror but at the time I didn’t see that.
I tore into my post pneumonia life with a new vigor. I made a list of life and health goals and set morning intentions daily to keep me on track toward achieving them, taking to heart a motto I had learned in my nutrition program. ” If you take better care of yourself, your desires naturally come true and life becomes more fulfilling”. Through the process, three desires kept emerging.
1. Increase my running routine.
2. Ramp up my health coaching business/get a fitness certification.
3. Improve my diet (yes really.)
Honorable mentions included: More patience with the boys, go back to Hawaii and remodel the kitchen. By the beginning of 2011 I was well on my way of achieving most of those goals.
It took almost six months to get my stamina back, but I was soon back up to my thirteen mile routes and had signed up for another half marathon to keep me motivated. I had a steady base of nutrition clients that I was coaching one on one and I was starting to do workshops in the community and, in addition, I studied and received a fitness certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. This would allow me to offer personal training to my clients as I was (am) a big proponent of exercise for overall health. As my life got busier, I became hyper focused on what I was putting in my body. Almost everything had to be homemade. I made my own granola bars using organic rolled oats, I baked my own bread using almond flour and flaxseed and I purchased a food dehydrator and began making my own fruit snacks, tofu jerky and kale chips. I started taking fish oil and ashwaganda supplements, stopped drinking coffee (gasp!) and increased my water intake. I also eliminated refined sugar (ok true confession, I tried to cut it out but my relationship with sugar is akin to that of Harry and Sally). And because I wanted to have ultimate control of what I put into my body, eating out, something I had always enjoyed, became something on the “don’t” list, determining that the excessive salt and preservatives made me feel bloated and lethargic and I had no time to feel crappy.
Once I identified my goals, I put a great deal of pressure on myself to achieve them. I didn't want to let myself or my clients down and I definitely didn't want to "fail" in front of my friends and family. However, I was not the only one feeling the heat.