How vegan diet helped me to recover from bulimia nervosa
Eating disorders is a very difficult topic to discuss. First of all, it is extremely hard to admit that you were (or still are) sick. Especially since it is still quite a tabu topic to talk about. Mostly, because people do not see it as an actual sickness. It´s not cancer, not diabetes or coronary artery disease.
"Just stop over eating and you won´t have a need to self-induce vomiting", - you can still hear such advises. Unfortunately, everything is not as easy as it may seem.
So what is bulimia nervosa?
It is a very serious, potentially even life-threatening eating disorder. People, who have such disorder often secretly binge (eat big amounts of food without having control over it) and then purge in order to get rid of the extra calories in an unhealthy way (self-induced vomiting, misuse weight-loss supplements, diuretics or laxatives, excessive exercising, fasting, etc.).
Bulimia is mostly related to self-image. For me it started during early teenage years. Even though I was never overweight, I always had few extra pounds, which was completely fine by me and it never stopped me from living my life to the fullest. I loved (and still do) playing volleyball, horseback riding, hiking and much more.
Unfortunately, many of my classmates didn´t accept those extra pounds as well as I did. I was bullied every single day and would go back home crying my eyes out. I wanted to be like everybody else. I wanted to fit in and be liked.
I grew up in a loving family, but both of my parents had to work long hours to provide for all of us, so it was not hard to hide all the signs of an eating disorder. When I lost weight and my "beauty" was celebrated by those around me, I would just say that "healthy lifestyle" helped me to achieve it. I felt terrible lying to everyone around me, but I had no other choice.
"That´s the price I have to pay for being accepted", - I convinced myself for almost 6 years.
Thankfully, as I matured, I realized that such behavior cannot continue. I wanted to be healthy and strong, not just skinny. So I turned to the doctors (both psychologist and physician) and asked for help. The road to recovery was one of the hardest things I have ever done so far in my life. And I won´t tell you that there is some magic pill or phrase that can heal you. It´s a battle you choose to fight every day. Some days were easier, some - extremely hard and I cannot count how many times I gave up and started all over again until I discovered what worked for me - vegan diet.
I transitioned into a HEALTHY vegan diet. Word healthy is very important here, because as an ex-bulimic, in the very beginning, I couldn´t handle a single thought of eating burger or pizza even if its vegan, without throwing up afterwards. So my diet mostly consisted of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and seeds or nuts. And soon I noticed that even while eating solid amounts of such foods, my weight did not fluctuate.
So little by little my concern about weight started decreasing. Thoughts about weight loss or weight gain became more and more rare. Biggest win was when I actually threw away the scale. I became interested in trying new vegan dishes, cooking new recipes and discovered a feeling of freedom that vegan diet helped me to achieve.
Another stepping stone to healing was the amount of empathy and love I discovered inside myself. Not just for animals but for life in general. Every vegan I met talked about saving animal´s lives and how important it is. I will forever remember the moment when this awakening thought came to my mind.
"How can I love and save animals lives if I do not respect and honor my own existence?". I realized that by continuing to harm myself I would become a hypocrite.
"All lives matter!" doesn´t only mean that we should save other human beings, other animals. We should save ourselves too. That´s what veganism (together with professional help from doctors) helped me to realize and I will forever be thankful for it.
I got my life back!
P.S. I am not a certify professional when it comes to mental health or eating disorders. I am sharing my story with hope that it might inspire YOU to seek for help and in order to raise awareness.
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