Kayla wrote this blog in response to questions asked by local girls who participated in She Started It 2019. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, help is available through the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or any of the resources listed here.
The lonely girl sits and stares at the bathroom scale. The same girl who once was not lonely, who once was not afraid of food or failure, was now afraid of all foods, felt tired, moody, and depressed.
For the sixth time after waking up, (and it's only 8:00 AM), she gets on and off the white box with flashing red digits. It keeps showing her numbers she didn't like. How could she possibly gain 2 pounds overnight? She was mad. Furious actually. "Could dinner really make me fat?" she pondered. I only had the usual 250 calories. How could this be true? "Probably should skip breakfast, and perhaps not each lunch to see if the weight comes back off," she thinks.
She gets so upset because those numbers dictated how her day went, what she ate, how much cardio she could get in, or what she wouldn't eat. Day in and day out, that little white box controlled and consumed her mind. It made her feel incompetent to even be alive at times.
She hid it from others quite well for the most part. She acted as if nothing was wrong.
Let’s pause before moving ahead…. For those of you who are reading this, and don’t know my past struggles with eating….
I'm sure you're wondering; how did this mindset start in the first place right? For me, it all started when I was 15. The whole "dieting-thing" went WAY too far. What began as an attempt to look like everybody else because I thought I should look like everybody else, ended up escalading into 2 eating disorders that lasted for a decade!
I had the wrong attitude about food and my body folks! Let’s me reiterate…. this was NOT the right attitude or mindset.But if you were to ask me, at the time, I had no clue it would put me into chronic obsession of counting numbers. I had no clue, I would learn how to skip meals, hide food, and then binge when no one was watching. I had not the slightest idea that my periods would stop, my hormones would get out of whack, and my emotions would be blank or all over the place.
The whole restricting, comparison traps, and negative body-image, turned into anorexia and binge eating.
I wasn't the same person for 10 years in regards to food and self-image. Sure, I had some decent days, but more times than not it was one BIG roller coaster. Even if you're a fan of roller-coasters, this one SUCKED! Sucked the life out of me, that's for sure! It was a roller-coaster that kept me hung upside down!
Now, you may even be wondering, how did I get through it and ask for help?
One day, it was magic. I say magic with a grain of salt, but I was ready and needed a change. It was like a light bulb went off. Thank you, Thomas Edison!
Seriously, it was like someone said, "time to get better." Sure, the panic attacks may have put me on edge, but I was ready to heal. This was my ah-ha moment…. By heal, I mean to STOP fearing foods, STOP constantly exercising, STOP comparing, and STOP eating so many Hershey's, then restricting the next day.
I was tired. Really, really, tired.
I had to have lots of courage to ask for help. But in order to get better and realize I needed extra support, I went to see a counselor. I needed someone there to assist me through the whole process of why I felt the need to self-sabotage in the first place. She helped learn to talk out my fears. It was like a breath of fresh air having someone not judge you for what you hid for so long. Counseling helped me understand myself in a different way.
Which brings me to my next point through my recovery process.
Not only counseling, but intuitive eating. Have you heard of it? I had not until I found this book that assisted me on my journey towards food freedom.
Intuitive eating (at first) scared the crap outta me! I could have cookies, ice cream, what? Sugar was my trigger, along with lots of others things. But we will save that for a rainy day.... Sugar was what lead me to binge EVERY.SINGLE. TIME. Having these food groups, took me off my rocker in the beginning stages.
Anywho, this was a whole other way of eating that changed my life. I say life because not only my relationship with food started getting better, but with my internal messages my body gives me also improved. It's amazing what happens when we slow down start to listen. I'm not here to preach to you how to eat, but in my eyes, it's the best way that taught me how to eat again!
Learning how to listen to my body didn't happen overnight and was a process. But I've been recovered and practicing intuitive eating, for going on my 5th year now. I say a process because every day is a process and practice. Although I've not counted a single calorie since starting intuitive eating, I still have to work on a mindset shift every day.
Changing my mindset was the biggest GAME CHANGER, towards having a healthy balance between food, body image, and self-esteem.
The reason I chose intuitive eating.... When you forget how to eat, when to eat, what to eat, after years of uncontrollable dieting, intuitive eating was my saving grace.
Last but definitely not least…
As we close up shop for this blog post, I want to give you hope. If you are struggling, whether it be eating, body image, self-esteem, etc... I want to be able for you to know FOR SURE that there is a way out! A way out to feel better, get your happy pants back on, feel great during holidays, get-togethers, in a bathing suit, etc.
By no means am I am perfect, (perfection is BORING!) but I'm sure thankful to have healed from the inside out.
I'm thrilled to share a bit of my story and expedition with each of you!
Sending much love and happy vibes,
Kayla Douthitt is an intuitive eating health coach, and owner of Wisdom ‘N Wellness. Her goal is to inspire and empower others by looking inward to heal negative body image, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, and honoring their body fully. She’s on a mission to help end crazy dieting, stop negative spectators who damage body image, and believes strongly in healing from the inside out. Kayla overcame a 10-year battle with anorexia and binge eating that she hid from the world for so long, and now she truly wants to give back to bring awareness to the community and fight for those suffering low confidence and eating issues. Her positive attitude is infectious, she loves all things chocolate, and finally isn’t afraid to talk about the “F” word…Food, that is. Kayla recently started managing Project Heal, (the Largest US non-profit organization providing funds & recovery support for people suffering from eating disorders) Facebook page and is actively seeking more opportunities to end body shaming and food blaming. Learn more at www.facebook.com/WisdomNWellness.