. the girl i used to be .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on March 29, 2013

I generally like to keep Fridays pretty light around these parts since I figure that everyone could use a fun and relaxing read after a hectic work/school week, but I’ve had something on my mind for the past couple of days that I really want to share with you guys

After Tuesday’s post about living a number free life, I got a lot of comments and e-mails from girls revealing their own struggles with numbers, and saying how badly they wish they could free themselves and live the kind of life I described; the kind I’m living right now. Not gonna lie – it broke my heart. Why? Because I remember being in that same hellish place far too well. Because I remember looking at people around me who were happy and carefree around food and wondering why I couldn’t be the same. Because I remember wanting things to change but never believing that they would.

If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be living a life without numbers, scales, or food fears, I would have laughed myself sick. Those things were so ingrained into every moment of my life that living without them was inconceivable. Desirable, but in the same way that one desires to win the lottery – as some far-off dream with the underlying belief that it will never actually happen. But, lo and behold, it actually did.

The girl I am now is so different from the girl I used to be that sometimes I look back on all those years and feel like I’m looking at someone else’s life. It’s a little hard for me to imagine that in the depths of my ED…

I was a girl… who weighed lettuce leaves…

None of These Please

I was a girl… who was terrified of eating salt… and sugar, and carbs, and fat…

I was a girl… who counted the calories in gum, vitamins, and coffee…

Gum Collection
Coffee Prep

I was a girl… who was afraid to go even 10 calories over her daily “limit”…

Phone or Calculator?

I was a girl… who spent hours each day calculating and planning our her meals…

My Life in Meals
My Life in Meals

I was a girl… who wouldn’t allow herself to eat the same thing more than once a day…

Delicious Cereal Breakfast

I was a girl… who constantly watched the clock, waiting until she could have her next meal…

I was a girl… who got physically sick from stuffing herself with low-calorie vegetables and water…

Hooray for Blah Food?
Drink Water

I was a girl… who would choose a flavor/variety of food that she didn’t want because it was 15 calories less than what she did want…

I was a girl… who hadn’t enjoyed a birthday cake in years…

Birthday Cupcake

I was a girl… who never wanted to travel because she wasn’t willing to leave her comfort zone…

Disney Castle
I Love Hawaii

I was a girl… who went to bed starving, woke up starving, and spent the day starving…

I was a girl… who forced herself to exercise every day, even when her body was begging for rest…

Weights

I was a girl… who could neither sit nor move without something hurting…

I was a girl… who hated everyone and everything because of how miserable she was…

I was a girl… who wanted to die…

There were times where my situation seemed so bleak and hopeless that I honestly wanted to give up. I remember wondering how the heck I let things get so bad, and feeling completely overwhelmed when I tried to figure out how to make them better.

I didn’t write this post for sympathy, and I certainly didn’t write it to boast about how far I’ve come. I wrote it because I wanted to give hope to those who are losing it. I wrote it because I wanted to show that no matter how deep you are, and how far off recovery may seem, it’s not impossible. I wrote it because there’s nothing special about me or my situation. I’m not some superhuman freak of nature with an iron will – I’m just like you, I’ve suffered just like you, I’ve lost hope just like you. And if I can recover, then so can you.

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{ 109 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian March 29, 2013 at 7:29 am

Thank you for being so honest and open with your history. I too was the girl who over exercised and made herself sick with foods. It took some time, but I dug out of that disordered eating hole. Thank you for showing that we can all come out ok on the other side :)
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2 Sarah @PickyRunner March 29, 2013 at 7:30 am

This is really such a powerful message. Eating disorders are scary things. They literally take over your body (and mind) and cause you to do some pretty crazy things. Reading this, it is clear how far you have come and it’s truly inspirational. I don’t really find myself struggling with much of that anymore but I remember the days when it hurt to sit, stand, or lie down. And I know that I never want to be back in that place.
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3 Khushboo March 29, 2013 at 7:33 am

Wow what a powerful post, Amanda..it’s not easy to countlessly open up like you do but just know that you are helping SO many girls in doing so. It’s scary how many of those tendencies hit home for me:

*Choosing a flavor merely because it was 10 calories less
*Filling up on ridiculous amounts of vegetables
*Planning my meals all day long, every day
*Clock-watching because you know, God forbid I ate before a certain time

It makes me cringe looking back but it’s also helped me develop a much bigger appreciation for food in general…to be able to just eat without constantly worrying if I’m eating enough protein, if I’m overdoing it with the bread, or if healthy options will be available in a certain restaurant. As much as I love food there really is more to life and the minute I stopped putting food on a pedestal, everything seemed to sort of fall into place.

Also going back to your point yesterday about cravings changing and everything balancing out, in the end I just want to reiterate that to others who are scared to listen to what their body wants. All I craved on Wednesday was carbs, peanut butter and breakfasty foods…and I obliged it. Unsurprisingly the only thing that sounded good today was chicken and loads of vegetables (and unlike the past it didn’t have anything to do with trying to “compensate”)
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4 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 11:47 am

“the minute I stopped putting food on a pedestal, everything seemed to sort of fall into place.” <– exactly this! My whole life and even my body were so completely out of whack when I was trying to control/calculate everything, but the minute I let go and adopted the “screw it” mentality is the minute that everything just started working out on it’s own. It seems so counterintuitive to think that the harder you fight for some kind of results, the further away from them you get, but there you have it…

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5 Rachel March 29, 2013 at 7:37 am

I agree.. this is such a powerful message… and I think a lot of people can relate to it. Food/diets/weight plays such a major role in our lives and I think a majority of that is the media’s fault. There is so much pressure to look “bikini” ready or to look a certain way, when the truth is everyone is different… no one has the same figure. Listening to your body and getting past those thoughts takes a lot of strength, and although I didn’t have an ED, I did struggle with eating enough and not listening to my body and that’s a place I’d never want to return to. I admire how far you’ve come girly, that’s something a lot of people strive for :)
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6 Lisa March 29, 2013 at 7:37 am

This is such a beautiful and honest post Amanda. I truly appreciate your honesty with us all. I’ve gone through all of that as well, and it was probably the worst moments of my life. I was living by numbers, completely obsessed by what they told me, I never listened to myself. A lot of the tendencies you mention, I still participate in, even is they are smaller than they once was. Looking how far I’ve come makes me think I can make even more strides and be in an even better position a few years from now.
Thank you for this post my beautiful friend! And have a superb Friday! :)
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7 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

You definitely can, Lisa! It was a long and gradual process for me, but over time those disordered habits seemed to slip away and they became easier to KEEP away when I started to see how much better life was without them.

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8 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers March 29, 2013 at 7:48 am

And I am a girl who is soooooooo happy to know the new girl you have become. You’ve let yourself be you- every wonderful, strong, beautiful ounce of the real you! It brings me joy to know that you have found joy not only in food, but in life!!!

I know it may still be a work in progress, but it’s worth the work. :) Now pass me some cake…
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9 De @ Cooking for the Other Half March 29, 2013 at 7:49 am

This is such a beautiful post. I relate a lot to everything you wrote down here– I was exactly the same. It’s refreshing to know that others have been through similar struggles, and that we can come back from those dark times.
Have a great weekend, friend! <3
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10 Tessa @ Amazing Asset March 29, 2013 at 7:58 am

This is just such a compelling, honest, brutal but wonderful post all at the same time. Thank you thank you thank you for putting your inspiring progress into words, words that people can read and feel hope that someday, they will get to the place you are at now. Amanda, you are just amazing, so glad to have ‘met’ you through this whole blogging thing :) Love ya lady xo
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11 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 11:51 am

Right back at ya, Tessa :) <3

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12 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl March 29, 2013 at 8:10 am

This is such an honest and personal post. Thank you for sharing. I can/have been able to relate to so many of these within the past couple of years. I have stopped counting calories over the past several months and it has been so freeing. I am still working on not having feelings of “guilt” based on the food that I eat, though. This is definitely a struggle for me.
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13 Caitlin March 29, 2013 at 8:19 am

Thank you for sharing love. So much of this resonates with my own past, the weighing food, choosing options with less calories that I didn’t want, not wanting to go places, always being hungry, hurting, forcing myself to exercise, etc. It makes me so happy and thankful to see how far I’ve come. I know I still have some work to do, though. I still watch the clock too much, usually waiting to eat till the “normal time.” Part of that is working with the kids, I know, to help keep us on some sort of schedule so things don’t get too crazy but I definitely still find comfort in eating around the same time each day, and the weekends can still be a little rough when things get hectic and I can’t eat when I usually do. I know I’ll get there…just have to keep practicing
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14 Sara @ fitcupcaker March 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

Awesome post- great words of wisdom is all I have to say. If women in the world could just LOVE their bodies how God made them…not to say that we shouldnt take care of ourselves or anything, but ytou are def giving hope to women. thanks!
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15 Melissa March 29, 2013 at 8:29 am

Reading this, I can’t thank you enough for posting and sharing. So often, I’ve found myself wondering if I am the only one who feels this way, or if I will feel this way the rest of my life. It’s comforting to know how far you’ve come and how you can truly relate, firsthand, to all I experience and endure on a daily basis. Lately, I’ve been contemplating recovery and change more than ever, and reading this post, is a reminder of how important it is to start now and how life can truly be different, in a positive way. On a daily basis, I read your blog and it’s entries like these that make me so very, truly thankful for making that choice.

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16 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

You’re definitely not alone, Melissa – unfortunately, there are far too many people out there who struggle with these kind of thoughts. But you definitely don’t have to struggle with them for the rest of your life. Even if you’re not completely ready to act, the very fact that you’re seriously starting to consider recovery is a huge step. Once you really become determined to change then the anxieties and challenges will become a lot easier to face. Stay strong, friend.

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17 Kate @ Quarter Century Southern Living March 29, 2013 at 8:34 am

This is amazing of you to share your story and to be so honest about what you have been through. I know that so many girls and women can relate to these feelings and there is something to be said for coming together and being open with one another about our experiences. Have an awesome weekend!!
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18 Sky @ The Blonde In Black March 29, 2013 at 8:41 am

Reading this post just shows me that there are girls out there who have struggled with the same things I have/am. Thank you for being so courageous and being wide open with your readers. That must be kind of hard. I’ve been doing really good lately, but sometimes I fall back into it. I’m so glad I read this post today :)
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19 Nicky March 29, 2013 at 8:49 am

Oh man, I can relate to every. single. one of these and it pains me to realise that that’s how I lived. But I can tell everyone one thing, on those frequent times when I did feel like ‘ending it’, I am forever grateful that I didn’t. Life now is amazing and free and I can enjoy the things that really matter. And if I had hurt my family by killing myself, I just can’t even begin to think how they’d go on with their lives knowing that they couldn’t have helped me despite giving up basically their entire life trying to…
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20 Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny March 29, 2013 at 8:49 am

It’s really hard to escape a life of numbers. I’m a very OCD person, so the obsessiveness hit me like a ton of bricks. I would measure EVERYTHING on a food scale, count my water glasses, etc. I realized it was getting bad when I made a weight watchers milkshake and when I measured everything out a four point milkshake, it was like one sip. My mom actually laughed a the milkshake, not in a mean way, but that’s when I realized it’s okay to just have a treat, so I did!

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21 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 29, 2013 at 8:58 am

You are so strong and brave. Way to go, my friend!!!

I dedicate my rest day today to you. Cheers!

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22 SD March 29, 2013 at 9:01 am

Yesssss Amanda!! Thanks a million times over for this. . .you have no idea how much it helps :). I’m on my way to getting there. . slowly but surely, one day at a time. I was once a carefree young girl who loved chocolate with a passion (couldn’t go a day without Oreos and Snickers!). When ‘health’ became an unhealthy obsession I not only lost my chocolates but my bubbly personality as well. I didn’t even realize how I was changing, but my family did and begged for me to bring back the old ‘me’. Lucky for me its not been too long, and besides its never too late right!? I’m at the peak of my life – 18 years old – and I’m going to win this battle for good :D. Today after a looong while I enjoyed a long time favorite chocolate bar sans guilt. Not as a substitute for a meal to keep calories low, but as a dessert/snack like any normal person. Sorry for the novel ;D !

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23 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Don’t apologize, SD! That’s really great news! :D

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24 Alex @ therunwithin March 29, 2013 at 9:02 am

You are such a different person now and you should be proud of that. What you have overcome was not easy and will never be easy. i think reminding yourself of how far you have come is the best way to stay in the moment and move forward. I can relate to a lot of these. I never thought of writing a post like this but I like it. The crazy things my ED made me do.
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25 Ashley@ Beautiful Bliss March 29, 2013 at 9:04 am

I am so happy you wrote this post. It’s comforting to know that there are people who actually felt the way I did and went through the same experiences ( that’s not saying that I’m glad you went through the struggles though). I can relate to you and your story because I was there once in my life too and it was the hardest time of my life. I lost a huge amount of weight and still didn’t feel good enough about myself. It was scary. I still have struggles today but I am progressing. I’m glad to see you come so far along into better health! You truly do give hope and motivation for those people who are struggling!
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26 Chelsie S March 29, 2013 at 9:15 am

One strong line came to mind while reading all of this. A line that I think that in our individual lives, you and I can both relate to ….

“now that’s just somebody that I used to know”

<3

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27 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Now you just got that song stuck in my head… and now I might just hate you for it :P

<3 <3

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28 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles March 29, 2013 at 9:18 am

Holy freakin’ crap I want to hug you right now. Like, would jump on a plane to Edmonton for that sole purpose.
I can relate to this so much…how I behaved in the depths of my ED is so different compared to my attitude and behaviours now. I remember thinking at the time that I wanted it to stop, begging for it to stop…but I didn’t know how to make all the fears, behaviours and thoughts go away. It took years of work, but eventually, I got to a place where the numbers just don’t matter like they used to. Sugar, fats and carbs are just part of my life, without having to think about it, weigh or count anything. So much freer and happier that way.
You are such an inspiration to so many people. <3<3
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29 Nicole March 29, 2013 at 9:18 am

Thank you so much for sharing this. I could have put a check mark next to nearly all of those things, except for the weighing of the food. But yes, that was me as well. And I think a lot of girls can relate to the bottom few as well…. where you get drug down so deep in your ED that you don’t even care if the end result is death. In fact, for me, I wished I would just waste away because I hated my life that much and could not fathom that it could be any different.

Unfortunately, it took hitting rock bottom for me to turn my life around. I don’t wish that on anyone who suffers from an ED, but it seems like a lot of times, that’s what it takes — is being so physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted that you just don’t care what you do next and embrace recovery out of sheer weakness to fight against it. I should add too that I could not have done it alone. I was too scared to wade into recovery waters… it took the overwhelming support of my family to hold me and lift me up and calm my fears. It got better and better, and like you, sometimes I look back to what was just 2 years ago and think I’m looking at someone else’s life. It’s scary but it’s also so refreshing to get away from it all finally.

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30 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

It took hitting rock bottom for me as well, and I couldn’t agree more about the importance of a good support system. The way I see it, looking back and feeling like you’re looking at someone else’s life is a good thing – it means that you’ve come so far that the thoughts that used to plague you no longer make any sense. Here’s to freakin’ recovery :mrgreen:

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31 Amanda @ maepress March 29, 2013 at 9:23 am

You are amazing.

And you’re doing a great service with these posts!
Thanks for being you, hope you have an awesome weekend!
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32 Jocelyn March 29, 2013 at 9:24 am

Hi Amanda – I’ve been reading for a while now, but have never commented … just wanted to say I love your blog, and so appreciate what you have to say. Really, really good stuff. Thanks. :)

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33 Hollie March 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

As someone who has never had an eating disorder but works with so many females that does, this is such a powerful post for everyone. I think what people don’t realize is that eating disorders aren’t to “look good”. 1 calorie is enough to send some of the females I’ve worked with into a tailspin.
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34 Sonia the Mexigarian March 29, 2013 at 9:49 am

A very strong post that truly resonates with me. Numbers controlled my life (ironic since I hate math and suck at it ha). And to a point they still do. I clawed my way back out of the damn hole I dug myself and still, every now and then I find myself teetering on it’s edge. I find myself watching the clock trying to hold out to eat my meal, estimated numbers flash in my mind, and the God damn scale still exists in my house, silently mocking me. Yeah. I still got problems. But they don’t change overnight but they truly get better once we recognize and fight to be healthy, free and alive.

Thank you for the post <3
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35 Miss Polkadot March 29, 2013 at 9:58 am

Oh my, I can relate to so many of the points you mentioned – more than I’d like to admit. No way I’d have assumed you to ask for sympathy or trying to boast writing this because that’d just not be you. You know about my struggles so therefore reading it was just what you’d intented for it to be: a reminder that, yes, it is indeed possible to get to the happy place you’re at now. Thank you, Amanda! It can really be hard for me to keep up my hopes for recovery at times and it’s reminders like this that I need.
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36 katie March 29, 2013 at 10:07 am

i have one question…how????????? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
love you girl

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37 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I’m pretty sure that you know how; you just have to be willing to do it. Stop thinking and start doing – it really is that simple You have to realize that you hate the way things are now enough to do something about it. Things will never change unless you change them, and as scary as that may be, isn’t the thought of looking back at your life and realizing you wasted so much of it even scarier?

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38 Devon @ Health in Equilibrium March 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

I can relate to so much of this. I remember counting every single calorie and not being social if it meant going over that limit. I remember my long list of forbidden foods. I remember drinking diet coke to keep myself from fainting before my next meal. Watching the clock, stressing over holidays… I still get nervous around holidays, I still feel guilty for overindulging sometimes and I still have safe go-to meals that I eat when I don’t feel like a challenge. But I hadn’t had a birthday cake in years and this year I had 2, I always have PB in my cupboard and if I’m hungry, I’m damn well going to eat! Love this post, and you :)
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39 Ashley @ Life and Fitness March 29, 2013 at 10:13 am

I love your posts because no matter what is going on in your life, you are always so open and honest. I’ve never suffered from an eating disorder, but I certainly could relate to many points. When I go out to eat I tend to always pick the lowest calorie option, even thought it’s not even what I want.
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40 dixya@food, pleasure, and health March 29, 2013 at 10:17 am

such a genuine post and I am sure a lot of us an relate to this. I am so proud of how far you have come along…
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41 Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness March 29, 2013 at 10:22 am

I love this post because I was the exact same girl! Since making changes away from these behaviors I feel amazing and enjoy life so much more without the focus on numbers. Good for you for making that change too!
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42 Carly @ Snack Therapy March 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

I remember eating iceberg lettuce over romaine or spinach because it had fewer calories. I’d mix a half cup of iceberg lettuce with plain balsamic vinegar and eat that for a snack. Geez, I can’t even fathom that today!

Thanks for this post. You really have a beautiful way with words! XOXO!
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43 Heather @fitncookies March 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

This shows how far you have come and how strong you are. I read this and immediately knew that you are one of the strongest to be able to overcome all of that. It is so easy to get into the obsession of numbers and rely on them to live our life, but you stepped AWAY from that and look at who you are today! You are such an inspiration to so many, and I know this post will be able to get someone to forget about numbers, maybe slowly at first, but eventually forever!
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44 Brittany March 29, 2013 at 10:30 am

I continue to be amazed by your struggles and accomplishments! Along with your humble attitude about it all. I know that this message will help at least one person, and that’s all you can ask for! I am so SO happy that you have come so far and you deserve every moment of happiness you now have because I can only imagine how hard it was to pull yourself away from the dark hole. <3<3

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45 Parita March 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

Thank you for opening up! I’m 110% sure this post is going to help a lot of people. You rock!!
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46 Rachel March 29, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thank you so much again for posting this. Yesterday I actually had a breakdown regarding food after a party I went to at work. I made the mistake of not eating anything before the party and I was so hungry that I started eating everything. By the time I had eaten a few things I didn’t know how much I ate and started to feel like I was out of control. I was doing so well from here on out and I hated myself for thinking that I made a “mistake” for having a piece of cake or eating “too many” pieces of cheese. I hate this warped mindset that I have. It’s so unhealthy. I know this takes time and I’m working the hardest I can to get through this. I decided to take away my scale and get rid of the numbers. I know it’s one step at a time.

If you don’t mind me asking what was the first step in your recovery? Did you do this all yourself or did you get professional help? I’m trying to do this on my own by taking away the measuring but I’m worried it may come back.

Let me know what you think. You are such an inspiration to me. You are my favorite blog and seriously you make me happy to be who I am and that I can do this and change myself. Thanks for writing.

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47 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm

The first step? I suppose it was just committing myself to the idea that I really wanted to recover, and then making small changes to my habits. I made sure that I was always challenging myself with something instead of allowing myself to stagnate and stay in one place. And I never saw anyone professionally… I did it all on my own. I found that going at my own pace and being the only one responsible for my recovery took a bit longer but made it more permanent.

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48 Rachel D. April 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Thanks so much for the response, really appreciate it. I’m definitely going to do this and try as hard as I can. You’re right just one day at a time. Thank you again for all your inspiring posts! Really helping me.

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49 Jessica March 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

Thank you for writing this, Amanda.

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50 Catherine March 29, 2013 at 11:22 am

I wasted so much of my life.

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51 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm

What’s done is done… The good thing is that you don’t have to waste any more :)

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52 Ksenija @ Health Ninja March 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

Hug. A big big hug from Istanbul – I am sadly on the run and therefore have no time for a great, long, thoughtful comment. <3

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53 Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom March 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

You are a strong and beautiful woman! Thank you so much for sharing!
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54 Meghan @ After the Ivy League March 29, 2013 at 11:47 am

Such a great post Amanda! And one that past-Meghan definitely can relate to. I am sure that many, many people out there reading will take something home from this message. Maybe it’ll be the push they need to stop counting the calories in their cup of coffee everyday and start living.
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55 Lauren March 29, 2013 at 11:55 am

The last paragraph gave me goosebumps. Thank you for all of the encouragement. People like you are the reason I keep trying, to be honest. You’re amazing and I love hearing everything you have to say! Awww, I just <3 ya!
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56 Allie March 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I am SO HAPPY to be seeing all of these “struggles with numbers” posts lately–Time for some blogging honesty and openness, and it can only lead to MORE people examining their relationship with food, calories, scales, etc. I know I have a long way to go before I leave numbers behind, but hey, realizing the problem and getting started is step one, gotta master that one first! I love this post, this positivity. It’s good to read when I’m having a hard time of my own letting go of numbers–other have been there/ARE there, so we’re all in it together, and we can get back to healthy food and fitness attitudes :) Much love for this post–and off to read your other one about numbers.

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57 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Realizing the problem is definitely the first step – as is truly wanting to be free from it. There are, unfortunately, so many that are fighting the same battle, so remember that you’re definitely not alone when things get rough.

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58 Teddi March 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Thanks a lot, Amanda. This is exactly what I needed right now :)

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59 Lift, Sleep, Eat March 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm

its great for how far you’ve come!!
i look back on how bad i was now and it is definitely like you say…looking at someone elses life, its crazy!
so happy to know how much better & freed you are now :)
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60 Stephanie March 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm

You are really such a talented writer, Amanda! I really think you should write a book someday. :) This post is so moving and I think it’s so wonderful how you have been able to reclaim your life and live fully. I can relate to so many of the points you made in this post. Heck, I even worried about the calories in my toothpaste at one point. And restricted my water intake. And of course went to bed starving each night, which is a horrible way to live. That’s when things were really bad. Thankfully, I don’t count calories anymore, but I still struggle with disordered eating and portion sizes. I just can’t relax around food. My anxiety still goes through the roof when I need to eat. I really do lose hope because this has been going on for such a long time. But I just want you to know how powerful, encouraging, and uplifting your words are. Your story really does give me hope that this isn’t how it’s always going to be and that I’ll get through it. :)
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61 Hayley March 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Thank you so much for this post! As I am going through a lot of this it is nice to know that there have people who have got through it. The worst thing for me is not being able to travel and go out with friends because I am afraid to leave my comfort zone. I am a freshmen in college right now and this has had a big impact on my social life. I also wish I did not think I had to exercise everyday. Taking a rest day is so hard for me. Thanks again.
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62 Karey @ Nutty About Health March 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm

What a really honest & beautiful post! I love how real & honest you are & that you wrote it to give others hope. :) Thanks for sharing your story!
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63 Cassie @RedLetterDaye March 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I used to be that girl too, and although I knew I couldn’t live like that forever, I didn’t know how to let go and live again. Slowly, it happened. And it will if you want it to, and you let it. Thanks for writing this. <3
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64 Katie @ KatieEnPursuit March 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm

May I just say that you are killing it lately with the amazing posts, you are awesome chica! We all are so lucky to be inspired by you, thanks for sharing your journey so open & honestly!
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65 sarah March 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm

(So, initially today I was going to comment to declare my lust over your fabulous blueberry nanner muffins that I made yesterday. Whoa..yummy!!)
BUT, instead I have to thank your for this wonderfully inspiring post, that’s full to the brim with hope.
Unfortunately many of your points: The Girl you Used to Be, I am still stuck being that girl. So it’s just lovely to see how far you’ve come in being happier , healthier and more grounded. Closer to the TRUE YOU, how you were pre-ED if you know what I mean?

Ya’ know it’s funny, I often think of Amanda@Seek, and now Amanda@Runningwithspoons…it’s like 2 different worlds! ( Well not COMPLETELY different worlds. Your love of writing, baking, books, cars and Game of Thrones for example :D).
Xxx

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66 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Hehe well I’m glad you liked the muffins :) – I think I need to bake some more myself. And I was actually reading over some of my older posts the other day and even I had a hard time believing that girl was me. I hope one day that you’ll be able to look back and do the same <3

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67 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie March 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Again, I always appreciate your honesty and I know many many others out there who feel the same! These kinds of posts really make me reevaluate where my thoughts have been heading and they give me hope that I can turn my life around and not allow it to be controlled by thoughts of food and exercise. I’m finally realizing that I truly love food and fitness, but I don’t have to let them become all-consuming. I want both of them to be a fun but small part of my life that I can enjoy in the moment but won’t dwell on too much afterwards. I’ve stopped counting calories and tracking macros which has helped immensely but it’s still hard to let go of some of my disordered thoughts and patterns. But your story makes me realize that it IS possible, if I want to make it happen, I can, I just have to actually DO something about it instead of just wishing it would happen!
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68 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Yup! Change requires action, and you’ve already been taking some so you should be proud of that! You don’t have to change everything at once, but as long as you’re always challenging yourself to something and not letting your recovery stagnate, then you’ll get to where you want to be with time :)

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69 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! March 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Have you ever considered writing as a career? I’m serious, though, not just saying that to flatter you. This is so well written, in such a way that doesn’t alienate anyone, or seem like you’re asking for pity.

It’s such a powerful message that the world, especially young women, really need to hear. Too many of us can relate to one or all of the things you mentioned – and kudos to you for being a support system to so many. This has more impact than you will ever know!

And on that note, happy friday <3
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70 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Gush. Thanks so much Rachel… I have actually considered writing, and it would honestly be a dream of mine, but it seems so daunting when I start to think about it more seriously and I have no idea how I’d get started!

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71 Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl March 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Amanda this is such an honest and powerful post and you’ve probably helped more people than you know. I’m so glad for you that you’ve been able to come out on the otherside. Thanks for sharing something so personal.
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72 Becky March 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm

A few months ago, I stumbled upon your blog and was one of those people you reference, who envy your freedom from numbers and carefree lifestyle in relatin to food. I was in the depth of my own struggle, almost identical to your story. I was obsessed with tracking my micronurients and calories, and I couldn’t imagine NOT being that way. I couldn’t fathom not counting my calories, or weighing myself everyday, or measuring every morsel of food that went in my mouth.
And then, in January, I sought treatment. My family deleted the MyFitnessPal app from my phone. My scale was taken away, I do blind weigh-ins multiple times a week, and all my meals were prepared (initially) by my parents. I was released from all control regarding my food intake, and it was such a relief. I have now reached the other side – I am with you now. And the reason why I’m writing this is to provide some hope to some of your readers who are still on that side that is so torturous. I don’t know how you managed to do it but for me, seeking treatment was one of the best decisions I ever made.

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73 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story Becky. I’m glad to hear that you’ve found yourself on the other side, and I hope that your success will encourage others as well :)

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74 Aimee March 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Wow- what an amazing heartfelt post!! I felt like I was writing this post. I too was at such a dark place in my life a few years ago and I never thought it would be possible to be complete,y free of this horrible disease. Thankfully those days are long gone for me…… I too want others who struggle know that recovery is possible and that the life you yearn to have is at your fingertips. My advice – one day at a time …that’s what worked for me, looking at the big picture of going from being sick to healthy was so overwhelming..,, one meal at a time became one day at a time became one week at a time. Final,y I got there!.,
I’m so happy that you too seem to really be at a good place I. Your life and I know that this post as well as many of your others will help others see who truly wonderful recovery can be!!
You really have a knack with words and should consider writing a book!!

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75 Holly March 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Amazing post. I am so happy for you! :)

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76 Sarah @ feeeding the brain and body March 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm

This is a great post Amanda. I am sure that your message got across and that you will bring hope to plenty of girls who are suffering from those things. Cheers to overcoming massive obstacles and insane mental daemons.
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77 lindsay March 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm

i see a girl turned confident woman! and with God’s strength, has overcome!
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78 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Couldn’t have done it without Him :)

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79 Courtney @ Star Systemz March 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Amanda, you are such an inspiration to this community! Thank you for shining light on this topic, so many of us use numbers and let them rule our lives I recently got over numbers and I have the best body I have ever had because I stress less and am enjoying my life which is a whole heck of a lot easier on my adrenal glands and stress signals which means less stomach fat! Plus my cravings have gone away because I don’t feel guilty having a bite of cake anymore. Thank you for being so open and sharing your story you rock :-). Have a great weekend love + shine Courtstar

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80 Katy March 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm

You’re amazing :)
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81 Jessie March 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I don’t see “i’m begging for sympathy” anywhere in this post. What I do see is a honest, strong, and powerful message that so many girls will be able to take away and learn from. <3
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82 Lm March 29, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I’ve never commented on a blog before…thank you I have missed out on so much and made so many excuses to friends and family afraid to leave my comfort zone and before you know it your comfort zone is your own mental madness and all you want to do is be happy and take that first step to make that change..I know that I am ready now…

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83 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 30, 2013 at 8:39 am

That;s really wonderful to hear :) Be strong. The freedom is more than worth the fight.

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84 Sara @ Nourish and Flourish March 30, 2013 at 12:26 am

*Hugs.* This post resonated so deeply with me–like in my gut deep. I can vividly remember being so transfixed by numbers–by weighing, measuring, calculating–that my mind literally couldn’t go anywhere else. I’d sit in a movie theater and pretend to be watching, when all I could think about was keeping my next meal within my calorie quota; I’d hang out with friends, but find an excuse to leave when someone suggested stopping at the ice cream shop; I’d jot down my gum calories on post-it notes, so that I wouldn’t forget to add them to the “tally.” Ooof. My rituals provided temporary comfort, however it was only that–temporary. Over time, I realized that my rigid lifestyle was causing more pain that I’d ever known. That realization is what ultimately drove me to take begin taking mini leaps of faith–and they were MINI. However, as with most things, I think slow change is sustainable change, and it really worked for me.

Your story is providing a light of hope, Amanda! Thank you for sharing, and for inspiring so many women to begin taking those mini leaps of faith. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Happy Easter! xoxoxo
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85 Gina @ Health , Love, and Chocolate March 30, 2013 at 1:50 am

Girl, your strength is going to help so many people. There really are no words for how much I admire you and especially posts like this. The person you’ve become certainly is an amazing one and I have no doubt that transformation will inspire. Enjoy your weekend <3. (Also, completely unrelated but mentioning the weekend made me think of it, I was out with a few friends tonight and one mentioned how he couldn't wait for Sunday not because of Easter because of Game of Thrones and I immediately thought of you :-)).

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86 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Awwr! That totally made me smile! Thanks girl <3

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87 Cori @ olivetorun March 30, 2013 at 5:52 am

This is incredibly beautiful and speaks to SO many of us out there who have been “that girl” in one or more ways before. Thank you for being so raw and sharing it!
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88 Courtney March 30, 2013 at 8:00 am

This is such an honest, powerful post. Chills. Thank you for sharing it. :)
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89 Lora @ Crazy Running Girl March 30, 2013 at 8:55 am

This is such an amazing post, thank you for sharing! I think it’s amazing that you are living a life without numbers and so inspirational!
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90 Brittany @ Delights and Delectables March 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

I am so proud of you. You are so beautiful inside and out. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that you are going to help so many women who struggle with this. I didn’t go as far as you, but counting is a slippery slope. I know you are an inspiration to me!
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91 Kate March 30, 2013 at 10:33 am

Wow, Amanda, this was an AWESOME post. It really is mindboggling to see the difference between who you are now and who you were back in your darkest days…..and I absolutely think you achieved the goal of giving hope to others who are suffering that way. I definitely had a lot of the same issues – eating by the clock, counting calories religiously, denying myself foods because of the calorie count (for so many Thanksgivings, my mom would make pumpkin pie and homemade whipped cream – my favorite holiday dessert EVER – and I would refuse it in order to have peanut butter on toast, my “safe” bedtime snack), fearing travel because it meant I wouldn’t be able to exercise the way I wanted (which is silly – you can go running anywhere! Running in Paris was amazing). I had a lot of these issues right up until my surgery, and I think it wasn’t till I had to literally stop all exercise and spend all day on the couch that I realized…hey…look…I still have an appetite…and if I feed myself, I heal faster…and look…it’s been 12 weeks and my body looks exactly the same….I realized that you don’t have to be a Spartan to be healthy and fit. You don’t even have to do formal exercise to be in good shape! And all that time where I would avoid going out with friends, avoid travel etc….Omg, I regret that big-time. Life is too short not to experience these things!!! There is a huge difference between being alive and really LIVING. Everyone should be able to experience a LIFE free from calories, food worries etc.

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92 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

It wasn’t until I completely gave up formal exercise that most of this stuff REALLY started to sink in too. It goes against pretty much everything that popular media would have us believe, but lo and behold… it really is true.

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93 Sunnie@moderngirlnutrition March 30, 2013 at 11:09 am

Amanda this is such a powerful post and it’s amazing how far you’ve come! xoxo
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94 Kat @ a dash of fairydust March 30, 2013 at 11:30 am

Thank you. Thank you just so much for this.
I’m happy for you,Amanda. You deserve it.
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95 Debbie (Accidently Delish) March 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

i literally laughed when i read this post, and not laughing at you by any means, but laughing because i was that girl too. and it is such an amazing thing to NOT be that girl anymore.

reading it makes me realize how ridiculous i was. because seriously it sounds so stupid.
-”choosing a flavor because its 10 calories less” – did that.
-”counting calories in gum” – i did it with mints too
“go to bed starving” – guilty
“worked out when your body demanded rest” – to the point of having almost no body left

i am so glad to not be that girl anymore and i am so glad YOU are not that girl anymore. are we 100% normal and recovered yet? probably not, but i feel we both are in a MUCH better/healthier place to where we can be.

best of love to you.

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96 Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I look back at some of the things I used to be afraid of and can’t help but laugh too. When I first started baking again, I was afraid of baking soda. Baking.freaking.soda. Why? I haven’t the slightest idea, but that’s an ED for ya :roll:

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97 Nicole @ Fruit 'N' Fitness March 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

What an honest post, I think its very brave of you to share this post with your struggles, and some of the things you have worked through.
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98 Jill March 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I’m struggling now.
I should have fisxed this at age 27 and 28 when it was going downhill.
Instead, it was obsession, flailing, searching…for years….result is a RUINED digestion and bowel system, cramping pain all the time, brain fog, fatigue, metabolic and hormones out of whack, potentially thyroid and adrenal burnout issues. And no way to know how to fix it.
And
NO
ENERGY
mentally or physically.
losting my dreams and hopes…

and swung the “other way”…i.e. “binging ” every night after a very very full and consistent day of eats …binging late at night SILL on 700+ calories (including so much sugar, dairy, fruit, and chocolate and not the safe chocolate anymore either but anyything…aero and kit-kat bars…the entire ones). Do not purge or exercise to “get rid of it”. Can’t even move bowels.
Wasting my mind and dreams and can’t escape them.

I feel so utterly lost and need a guide to take me through this day by day and can’t afford and don’t know who to trust anymore. My entire body…its just too far gone…and I’m nearly 32 years old now…its different this time…I’m too far gone and I’m SO SO

tired of it

I’m just tired 24-7. All. The . Time.

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99 Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets March 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm

What a powerful post. Reading some of these comments, your openness and honesty has truly helped many people, and that’s incredible and sometimes what it’s really all about.

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100 Leelu March 31, 2013 at 11:27 am

Love this, because it used to be so true for me as well. KEy word here is USED to, and I am so thankfull to be free and happy for all the people that have reached that place as well :)
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101 Alison March 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm

This is beautiful, Amanda. Thank you for your honesty and compassion! Last year I struggled with similar things like counting calories in gum/vitamins, choosing a lower calorie flavor, planning meals for a very long time, watching the clock, forcing myself to exercise, and looking up the calories to foods on my phone when I ate out. My parents and dance teachers stopped me and made me look at reality…I was sick. I started to become obsessive over time because I wanted to “have a healthy lifestyle” and maybe lose a few pounds. I lost a dangerous amount of weight in a fairly short period of time, and the worst part is that I’m still only 16. Luckily, the people that love me took care of me before my disorder became too severe. I only counted calories after that to make sure I was gaining weight and eating enough to fuel my physical activity. However, as I came to a healthy weight, I still counted and planned everything..and it felt slightly obsessive again. I wasn’t losing weight or anything, but I still knew in the back of my head that seeing the numbers restrained me a little. Just in this past week I stopped counting altogether because I think I have enough experience and respect for my body to listen to what it needs and fuel it properly. :) Thanks again, Amanda for your inspiration!

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102 Missy April 1, 2013 at 10:47 am

What’s your secret?
How’d you fix it?

Just kidding…. I know that there is none, and I know that you wish there WAS so you could share it with all of us struggling.

Whatever culmination of things occurred in your heart and life to get you where you are today, I just want to praise God and you for getting to where you are today. and you DO deserve appalause.
You are beautiful through and through.
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103 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I do wish there was a secret, fool-proof way to recover, but there isn’t :( It’s all about wanting it bad enough to do whatever it takes to get it.

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104 kris April 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I think this really shows just how strong you are and I hope you know how many people you’ve been able to inspire and help :) Amazing post, Amanda! xo
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105 Allison @ Life's a Bowl April 2, 2013 at 9:21 am

I’m behind in reading [as you know] but you are beautiful… This is so real and raw, so honest and open. You are amazing. XO
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106 Diane @ Life of Di. April 3, 2013 at 7:12 am

This post is amazing. Thank you for sharing. I could so relate with some of those statements and I know I need to change. One day at a time…
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107 kaity @ kaityscooking April 4, 2013 at 4:39 am

I can relate to almost every single one of these. You have come such a long way and your such an inspiration to me, plus a ton of girls out there! I remember going to sleep at night and already having my snack that I’d be so hungry and my knees touching eachother when I would lay on my side was always so painful. God am I glad I finally turned my life around and am going in the right direction I have no idea where I’d be in life if I didn’t. I would honestly probably just be in the same spot because I was never moving forward nor backward with life, kind of just sitting there basing my life around meals. Crazy. Thanks for this girl!
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108 Meg June 29, 2013 at 6:28 am

Thank you for this post…more importantly for HOPE! Although recovered, I still have my hang-ups, challenges, and struggles. I’m learning that I deserve to be healthy and being healthy doesn’t mean eating fruits and vegetables everyday….it means eating freely without restriction. I came across your website at the perfect time…Thank You!

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109 Caitlyn@HolisticSimplicity August 19, 2013 at 6:31 am

This post made me want to cry. This is so true of my life currently. Or my recent life – the one which I am trying to leave behind.

Thank you so much for having this page on your website. It was definitely something I needed to hear. Not a month ago, I felt suicidal. I felt like nothing I did would get me where I wanted to be; I felt hopeless.

I can do it. :) Your words give me that strength
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