Challenges are part of our everyday life with varying degrees of intensity. Their common characteristic: they will require you to find and develop the inner strength you need to overcome them and make a change in your life. Believing that there is a purpose behind each challenge you are facing will help you to discover who you are and to move forward.
I struggled with eating disorder when I was 17, anorexia to tell it like it is. It lasted 2 years and I still don’t know how I was able to get out of it, as well as I don’t really know the reason that made me start to be obsessed with food until I become sick. But to be honest, I know this will probably follow me for the rest of my life. I just have to accept it instead of fighting it and be proud of what I have accomplished so far instead of trying to hide what makes me who I am now.
That’s what lead me to ask for help a few months ago because despite all the efforts I put to live a healthy life, my body kept telling that I was not ok. My years of eating disorders and overall concern about how I look like got the better of my health and happiness. Little by little, by eliminating certain type of foods I considered “bad” for me, by worrying too much about how I looked like or if I was “thin” enough, putting a lot of pressure on my shoulders, I just damaged my metabolism, created a hormonal imbalance, suffered from adrenal fatigue that destroyed my self-esteem. I just thought that if I was able to control what I ate, if I was strong enough to say “no” when I was hungry, if I was "perfect", I would have the strength to control every other aspects of my life, overcome any problems and be happy. Not having your periods for months and experiencing hormonal imbalance is not something you should take lightly. It’s just a sign from your body that tells you you are not ok. But at that time, I just did not want to be healthy, I just wanted to be skinny.
I also wanted to prove myself I was strong enough not to ask for help. The truth is that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it requires a lot of courage to expose our deepest and most intimate part of our life to somebody else.
I worked closely with a Registered Dietitian, Cody from Nutshell Nutrition to learn how to listen to my body and nourish it mindfully in order to find the balance it needs. I have been through the hardest period of my life. I discovered that I was suffering from what we call Adrenal fatigue with a high cortisol level. Basically, I spent years exposing my body to a chronic stress (working long hours, depriving myself of sleep, starving my body...) and put my adrenal glands under a permanent alert causing extreme fatigue, insomnia, sugar cravings and acne.
In order to heal my body and get my periods back, I had to stop all forms of intense workout combined with the increase of my calories intake which is tough to accept for an ex-anorexic. But I was committed to do it for the respect of my body. Day after day, I just learned again how to eat and not deprive my body just because I wanted to correspond to what the society wants us to look like to be happy. I learned how to tolerate my body. Loving it was just too hard at that time. My body changed but not the way my mind wanted it to change. I cried. I struggled. Again.
Now, I can say that I’m on the right path towards a healthier version of myself. I still have some upside down and I have to be careful not to put to much pressure on my body. Treating adrenal fatigue is not as simple as just taking a pill every day, you need to listen to your body, eat mindfully and find new ways to relax. I am currently reading Womancode from Alisa Vitti (that I discovered thanks to Lee from America) and I am more than ready to take this new step and start my well-being journey on loving my body.
Ladies, remember that life puts challenges in our way to test our courage and willingness to change, to become a better version of ourselves. The challenges you will face in your life are here to teach you that even life is not easy, it worth the try because you have so much to learn from the hardest moments of your life.
Don’t be afraid to share your experience and ask for help. This is how stronger you will become.