Recovery. I never thought it was possible. You couldn't have told me it was possible to live life without a diet, no scale, not measuring food constantly, or not being able to count numbers. It was all I knew for 10 years. I thought recovery was something for people with other addictions. You know, like alcohol, drugs, not-ever-food.
Why would a 25 year old, need help? I thought I had it all figured out. Why would I need to go back and revisit where my negative body image began? I never seen myself as sick. I was trying to be like everyone else. It was my interpretation that all girls had to look a certain way. But where the heck were these panic attacks coming from? Why was I so afraid of being alone? Why was I constantly looking for a new diet or quick fix? Why is nothing making me feel beautiful? There were all thoughts. I NEEDED and HAD to get them out. So this girl...admitted herself into therapy. I was fearful and ashamed really. But that's where healing started, along with picking up a book about intuitive eating. Both which I thought seemed weird at first, ended up helping me out a lot.
It was a process for me to begin eating again. Nights at the dinner table looked like a buffet for quite a while. I had no clue how to listen to my body. Heck, I didn't even know what I liked to eat. I had to go back to the basics. Go back to realizing it was OK without knowing the numbers (which scared me to death!) I had to be OK with not letting those digits in a white box control my attitude for the day. So I got rid of the white box. There was no room for it my bathroom anymore! I had to get rid of the good food vs. bad food mentality, the shame of gaining weight, the fear of buying new bigger clothes. It was hard. Very hard. I had to let go of the unpleasant feeling of being bloated. I felt disgusting, but I had to let that go too.
But now...I'm free. Free as a bird to eat what I want, when I want, how I want. That girl that was bottled up, afraid to go out to dinner, and afraid to take life on, finally realized her worth. For she is full of love, kind, funny, and sweet. She is more carefree, yet still sometimes gets self-conscious. But when the voices creeps in, she can quiet them softly. She can now live her best life knowing she survived. Now she is ready to help others know it's possible too. She's ready to take the bull by the horns, and keep going. She is ready to share to love, the healing, that self-discovery brought. She is ready to LIVE.
Written by Kayla Douthitt
Emily Estes lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her Goldendoodle pup, Miss Adley Mae. Recovery from her own struggle with an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression has led Emily to create community and resources to empower others on the journey. Emily owns Sage Nutrition, LLC where she serves as a Registered Dietitian. Her work revolves around her motto that "food is meant to nourish our bodies, not nurture us."