Why It Is Hard To Workout For Someone Who Has Suffered From An Eating Disorder

It is crazy to think that 2 years ago I had officially identified myself with having an eating disorder. I was 20 years old, a full time broke college student, and had “no time” in my schedule to eat paired with “no money” in my wallet to spend on food. These were of course excuses. It started out as me being lazy, not wanting to pack my lunch or go out of my way to buy something off the dollar menu with my change lying around in my car, to an obsession with feeling skinny and hungry. I knew if I just pushed past the first part of the day, I would no longer feel the pit in my stomach. I was going days without eating. There were times where I couldn’t remember when the last time was that I had a meal. I was eating a fruit pack a day. That’s it. I made sure to stay hydrated because I didn’t want to pass out but I CHOSE not to eat. It was a mental demon I fought every day for months.

I remember looking at myself. All 108 pounds of me (which for me is really bad). I could see my ribs, size 0 pants were loose, I looked like I had a bobble head, and I just stared. I sent a picture to my then boyfriend, now husband, and I vividly remember asking him, “be honest, am I too skinny?” We had just recently started dating and he had no idea I had this problem. His answer was the thing that I needed. I had always thought “I could afford to lose some weight”, but his exact words were “you could afford to gain some weight.”

I opened up and told him all about my eating disorder and from then on he made it his personal goal to make sure I ate every day. I would eat a kids menu burger and be so full I felt like I was going to throw up. My stomach had shrunk tremendously, but I forced myself to eat 3 times a day. Buddy (my then boyfriend, now husband) would buy me dinner and lunch meals so I had no excuse but to eat. I hated it. I was gaining weight and my pants stopped fitting me, but when I would be angry with my weight gain I would look at old pictures and continue eating. I realized 2 things: 1. I was pretty prideful about how thin I was. And 2. I had the best boyfriend in the universe for walking through this with me and loving every pound gained.

In 6 months I had successfully gained 30 pounds! I was eating 3 full meals a day, and no longer had the desire to be hungry. Success!

Just 4 weeks ago I decided I wanted to live a healthier life style. I started working out everyday and one thought lead to another and there I was thinking, “If I skipped breakfast and lunch and only ate dinner (a small plate) my husband wouldn’t find out and I could lose weight faster.” It wasn’t even my goal to lose weight, but to be healthy. Starvation isn’t healthy! I did it for 3 days and on the third day, which just so happened to be my 3rd day of my brand new job, I was walking out to my car and started passing out. I sat down as fast as I could. Luckily I was walking with my coworkers so they gave me some snacks they had in their purses. I was sooooo embarrassed. I told my husband and he immediately identified it. Can’t get anything past that smart cookie! But he is my biggest blessing with my health. That was 4 weeks ago. The very first relapse and the very last. Sometimes when you start working out again after recovery, you want to revert to your old methods of weight loss. But the biggest concern that I remind myself of is my health, not my weight.

Post eating disorder sufferers struggle with this daily. I know it because I have been there and seen it. It’s not always easy to start working out again but I’ll tell you one thing, it sure does make you face your demons and overcome them. Hitting this head on has been hard but it has given me more healing then I even thought I needed.

Turning Your “Work Brain” Off

As someone who enjoys working and being busy, this was hard for me to grasp. When I am in something I am full force, pedal to the metal, submerged. This can be good in moments when I need to be attentive or exude a lot of energy, but also a down fall.

When you are growing up you have shift work jobs where you work 3 times a week, four hours at a time. When you get into corporate America, you work at least 40 hours a week, which breaks down to 8 hours a day of work and one hour a day for lunch. Although you technically work 40 hours you are away from home for at least 45 hours, not including your drive. On a “normal” week I leave my place at 6 am and get home around 5:15 pm. I generally pump myself up for work on my way there and decompress on my way home which means I am spending a little over 11 hours in work mode. IT IS HARD TO TURN OFF. I tend to find myself having a hard time clocking out mentally at 4 pm along with my body.

For the first couple months of my job in corporate, I dwelt on my work constantly. I couldn’t take my mind off of it. I was excited and ambitious but it led me down a rough road. I started getting irritable, I was waking up in the middle of the night with items I needed to add to my checklist, and I was panicking over everything I did.

I did hit my breaking point. I was exhausted, my co-worker had quit, we were hiring someone new, I never rested, I was working 10.5 hour days (not including the hour commute) and I couldn’t take my mind off work. My mental health had taken a serious hit. One day, I was sitting at work and felt my toes and hands starting to hurt. I looked down and there were red spots all over my feet! I went to the doctor, they took my blood pressure (which was through the roof), and found out that because of all the stress I was putting on myself, my immune system was low and I got hand, foot, and mouth disease.

This forced me to rest. I was out of work for four days and spent all day, every day, lying down. Awful, but glorious because I got so much rest! A mental vacation was what I needed. From that breaking point I have trained my brain to turn off of work mode. Mental breaks are not easy and it took practice believe it or not, but sometimes you have to choose not to think about something. here is how I did it:

  1. I started by actively doing something after work that I enjoyed, like blogging! TV and social media doesn’t do it for me, I don’t need something mindless, I need something that I can focus on that brings me joy and sweeps me away.
  2. I stopped talking about work on my free time. I still do this if something is bothering me but I try to make a conscious effort not to talk about it to fill space.
  3. I started planning events to look forward to so when I was stressed I could remember what I had planned that was going to be fun and NOT WORK!
  4. I stopped giving all of myself to everyone. When I did this I let in room to take care of myself, my husband, and my job. It became a lot easier to balance.

It gets better, but it does take time and effort.

Photography by Naomi Ledford:



“Lucky You”

Most of you know if you follow me on Instagram that I am doing an entire year of only buying resale clothes and shoes. I am so excited about this because I am a sucker for finding diamonds in the rough. My photographer, Naomi Ledford, will be documenting my finds and I will be posting about them every Wednesday. (I highly recommend you follow her incredibly beautiful pages linked at the bottom of this post.)From March 1st, 2018 to March 1st, 2019 I will be on this crazy journey! I hope you guys are ready for some “Big Gas” steals! So before we get this kick started I wanted to share how I got into second hand clothing.

My amazing, beautiful, Puerto Rican Princess of a mother is the main reason I was introduced to second hand shopping. I am the youngest of four siblings and every year at Halloween time my mom would ask us what we wanted to dress up as. She would take us to thrift stores to find authentic, cool, one of a kind, pieces to create our costumes. She would wash them, alter them, and make some of the best creations ever! She killed the game for sure. People used to go crazy over our outfits and I just remember being so proud that “MY MOM made my outfit.”  She has always been so crafty and creative. I definitely get that from her.

Her making my costumes lead me to wanting to create something of my own. I was 15 years old when I decided I was going to go to the thrift store, get a few items, mix them up, and VWALA! Masterpiece! LOL because it turned out to be less of a masterpiece and more of a master disaster. I didn’t stop there however, I continued to get lessons from my mom on how to sew, and it was pretty affordable when I was only spending maybe $10 for the whole outfit. I later decided “Okay, I am struggling with making an entire new outfit so what if I just start finding items I like and if they are too big, I’ll alter them.”  I was no longer limited to a one size and I even looked in the men’s section. I was finding cool, unique pieces and I. Was. Hooked!

The very first “steal” I ever bought was at a low grade thrift store. I was looking through the jackets. I was a freshman in college, it was the winter, and I just wanted something warm. After searching for over an hour I found it! A perfect quality, black, fuzzy, North Face jacket, in my size. I looked at the price tag, $12!Woo Hoo! Even better, I started opening the pockets and found $6with a note that said “Lucky you”. I did in fact feel very lucky. The original tags were even still attached! I was bitten by the thrift store bug, infected with the money saving virus, and consumed with my beautiful new $6 North Face jacket.

Since then, I have been able to find brands like Brighten, Tory Burch, Steve Madden, Banana Republic, White House Black Market, Ralph Lauren, Nine West, Betsey Johnson, and so many more! Luckily, the vintage/second-hand market is really booming right now. There are multiple boutiques, online stores, and ginormous thrift stores that have some honest, good quality garments.

So, as I start this year journey I hope that I can share the luck with you all and if somehow I inspire you to go out and find a hidden treasure please tag, message, email, or DM me your findings so that I can celebrate with you!

Photography by Naomi Ledford: