Fact: You don’t have to have an eating disorder to be a disordered eater.
You also don’t have to live in the diet/binge, restrict/relapse/repeat, self-help/body-hate cycle forever.
Changing your relationship with your body, your food, and your fitness takes work—but it is possible.
How do I know? Because I’ve done it.
My name is Kaila Prins, and I am a health coach.
I have recovered from 13 years of anorexia, orthorexia, EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), and exercise addiction.
I have been a vegan, a fitness/figure competitor wannabe, a strict Paleo devotee, and an emotional eater.
I believe in Health at Every Size—because health is not one-size-fits -all.
Now, I teach Discovery, not Recovery.
Tweet @MissSkinnyGenes, because I count characters, not calories.
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What is Disordered Eating?
Disordered eating and distorted body image can develop for a number of reasons—they’re not just the result of too many photoshopped magazine ads (although those unrealistic portrayals of the human body rarely help…).
For some, the trouble starts innocently, when we make small, positive changes in our diet, our exercise, and our health. In fact, the very reason why disordered eating and distorted body image are so rarely caught and remedied before they become a serious and unmanageable problem is that they rarely start out as a problem at all:
We perfectionists usually stumble into healthy eating and exercise through a New Year’s resolution, a loved one’s recommendation, a Pinterest board, an allergy, a health scare…and when we realize how amazing we feel after making those small changes—and how our bodies can be changed and manipulated by obsessive attention to food and fitness—we usually want to keep going until we’ve taken it to the extreme.
Because of losing five pounds is good, then becoming a fitness model is better—right?
Eating and exercise become disordered as soon as we make them the basis of our identities—and find ourselves struggling to align those identities with the rest of our lives.
What is Recovery?
You don’t have to have an eating disorder to approach your food and fitness with a disordered mindset.
Restriction, over-exercise, binge eating, emotional eating, guilt, shame, dieting, obsessive attention to weight and body size…the disorder manifests itself in different ways, but it takes over our lives just the same.
The first step to getting better is, of course, admitting that there is a problem to fix—and that you want to fix it.
Recovery means addressing the reasons why you’re disordered: figuring what hurts from your past or worries about the future that you’re trying to cover up with food and exercise.
Recovery means figuring out how to eat again. It means making different choices about how and when and how often you will exercise. It means coming to terms that you may have to gain weight (or not) or feel your body change as it heals.
Recovery is very much food and body focused: and I believe that those who stay in recovery are the first to relapse. If you never stop looking back at the past and worrying about how it will affect your future, how can you ever learn to love your body as it is right now?
What is Discovery?
Discovery is what happens when you take the first uncomfortable—but not unsafe—steps away from your identification with food and fitness.
Discovery is what happens when you start figuring out what else makes you feel the most like you.
Discovery is not easy.
And that is why I am a health coach: because you shouldn’t have to do this alone.
Coaching provides you with accountability and insights to help you learn how to empower yourself. My goal is to be obsolete—but until then, I’m here to help you learn how to uncover your passions, cope with the disappointments, and ultimately feel empowered to live your best life.