Overcoming Eating Disorders

Battling Eating Disorders: A Man’s Journey

ian

My name is Ian, I was born and raised in Maine where I was able develop a deep love for adventure. I have spent the better part of the last decade traveling and working with faith based charity organizations during which time I crossed paths with Katie. Currently I need to focus on healing and exploring possibilities for the future, Lord willing my plans to travel later in the year will be realized and perhaps the trip will even go smoothly… this is a small part of my story.

When I was 17 I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to go into the military and pursue a career in the special forces.

I knew several former special forces operators and I could already meet most; if not all, the requirements for the physical tests but it wasn’t good enough for me. The only thing that was standing in my way was myself and thanks to Hollywood I still felt like I didn’t fit the part, or more importantly I didn’t look the part. In the movies the guys are big, strong, have defined muscles, and great six packs.

I decided that the only thing that was keeping me back from looking the way I wanted was my diet. At first I cut my food intake in half and focused on vitamin rich foods while I increased my workouts; I quickly dropped some weight. I thought if I could drop that weight by simply cutting out that much and working out a little extra then I should see what else I could do.

Before long each day I was eating no more than a few handfuls of food each day and working out for 4-6 hours. I was fueled by my desire for perfection. I didn’t just want to pass the test or even get best score possible, I wanted to pass with ease. Except somewhere along the way my desire to better myself was tainted, it transformed into a growing hatred for my physical appearance. I hid this hatred from everyone around me, I acted happy and outgoing but inside I was full of disgust for myself. I know now that these were all lies but I couldn’t see past them. They seemed like truth and the only reason those around me didn’t say them was that they were too nice.

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I continued to live my life and feed into those lies, continuing on that road to self destruction for the better part of three years, hating and destroying myself until one day; with a plethora of health issues, I saw a doctor. He told me flat out that if I continued like this my heart was going to give out on me and I would be dead before I turned 25. That wake up call saved my life, but it was a long road ahead. I tried to start eating again but I just couldn’t, not for a long time.

By the end of my downward spiral of over exercise and anorexia I could barely get my body to eat a protein bar. After a mouthful I would grow exhausted from chewing and overwhelmed by a feeling of nausea and a desire to throw up. My body had become so accustomed to my handful of food and vitamins a day that it rejected anything additional. I spent months working with a doctor retraining my body to eat and process food again, the desire to actually eat anything was another issue entirely.

It’s been over 10 years and to this day I still battle with it.

The food wasn’t and still isn’t what I needed to overcome, it was the lack of love and acceptance for who am and how I look. Looking back I can see how much of my anorexia stemmed out of lack of love for myself and for a sense of control in my life that had changed so drastically in only a few years. (I had lost my father, lost my childhood home, and transferred to a new school.) My sense of self was cracking and through those cracks seeped in the lies of the world hidden in self doubt and confusion of who I was and what I was to do with my life.

To this day, I still hear those lies lurking in the dark recesses of my mind and at times of weakness they manifest, I can never let them last. But I must be ever mindful of them as I try to eat healthy and workout even to this day. Those few years were long and painful and I have lasting damage to my body because of it. I give thanks each and every day because I am still alive. I thank God for His healing and I look forward to the day when it is complete be it in this life or the next.

Ian

 

 

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