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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Martin

A Peak Behind My ED and Road to Recovery

Fair warning that this is a really sensitive topic for me to write about & I'm getting totally vulnerable here.

But, it’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and I think I’ve finally come to a point where I’m ready to share a little bit of my ‘story’, with the hopes that it helps others…even if it's just one single person.

I struggled with an eating disorder (ED) for 5 years on and off, and I’ve only recently felt like I’m starting to totally overcome it.

Don't get me wrong, it still crosses my mind every day & I still struggle with it, but I’m to the point where I finally feel in control of my life & actions and that I’ve become stronger than the mental battle I’ve fought for years. And my strength only came from my true desire to actually WANT to get better & beat my demons once and for all.

I’ve always been way too scared & hesitant to ever post anything about this part of my life.

For the fear of judgement, others saying I’m just posting it for a pityparty/attention, & a big part of my fear of sharing my story is because health & fitness is what I do for a living.

It’s my life.

What would my clients think? How could I coach them to make healthier habits with food & working out if I had an ED?

But that’s just it…going through all of the dark times I did, fitness & nutrition is actually what saved me…along with therapy & an insanely supportive partner that I am forever grateful for.❤️

I got really into wanting to learn everything I could about what foods were best for the human body, what worked best for me, what made me FEEL good & how to develop a healthy relationship with food & exercise.

So, I took my weaknesses & turned them into strengths.

And then I wanted to share what I learned & use my own experiences to help others.

Fast forward to today & I’m 1000% in love with what I do, because I KNOW first hand that there is no better feeling than loving your body, eating food that makes you feel good, prioritizing your health, and actually ENJOYING life.

It’s actually not uncommon for people in the health & fitness industry to have battled some of their own demons when it comes to EDs, over-exercising, etc.

So, all of this brought me here. To finally sharing a little bit of my struggles.

I'll be straightforward with you.

I was bulimic. And it got really, REALLY bad at one point.

That's one of the worst parts about eating disorders...they can be dormant. Even for months at a time. Just when you think you might have beat it all by yourself, SMACK, it comes back full throttle. Which is why it's so important to get help. It's nearly impossible to truly recover, 100%, on your own. Trust me, I tried.

I'll now share with you how I started to develop my ED and how it 'grew', if you will.

It would make sense for me to say that my ED started when I moved out to NYC when I was 19 to purse modeling, while also starting school at FIT. But, it started slowly as anorexia, in high school. I would pretty much starve myself all day & only eat dinner. But then I'd binge eat, be consumed with remorse, etc. Which is another 'benefit' for me career wise—I totally get that mindset, and I can completely relate to my nutrition clients because I walked in those shoes before.

Anyways, then came college—Penn State. I went there for 3 semesters and was very careful and conscious of what I ate & drank. And I 1000% over-exercised every day, but didn't see anything wrong with that at the time.

Then, about a year later, I moved out to NYC, all by myself, without knowing a single soul.

And though it's not where my ED 'started', that's definitely where & when it escalated.

I was living by myself, in the world's smallest 'apartment' in Hell's Kitchen. I took that freedom & fell into some of my darkest days.

The modeling industry can be a cold and cruel world—which I'm sure isn't much of a surprise to anyone. Although, it has gotten much more inclusive & 'body-positive'.

To make a long story a bit shorter, I thought my ED came from the pressures of the modeling industry, but after going through some intense therapy, my therapist and I put together the true root cause of it.

I'm still not comfortable sharing that part of my story, but maybe in the future I will be.

For now, I just want to express to everyone, especially those going through something like this, that you might think you know it all and that you can come out of it whenever you choose to, but had I not gotten help, I'd probably still be struggling, or worse, not physically here to even be writing this.

I don't want to go into the graphics of everything, either, but this is when my anorexic-like behaviors turned to bulimic actions. I spent so much time—time that I can't get back—obsessing over food, my body, etc.

It made me SO anxious that I would leave events, parties, etc. early to get rid of anything I put into my body.

Eric moved out to the NYC area about three years ago, and living with someone else definitely helped with my anxiety and preventing me from doing the dumb stuff I would do as frequently, but it didn't solve the problem.

To speed things up, I'll take you to the months leading up to my wedding, which wasn't even a year ago. This was when I was really serious about beating my ED, once and for all.

I did the therapy, I got vulnerable and super honest with Eric & my family, and I started to enjoy life again & see that there's SO much more to it.

I took my nutrition & fitness studies and went ALL in.

I experimented on myself, learned A TON in the process, and all of that put together is what has really helped me in my recovery.

I'm not saying that in order to beat an ED, you should focus on a health & fitness journey—for some, that would be the totally wrong path and make things even worse. That's just what has worked for me. I set new goals for what I wanted to be able to do with my body, and as vein as it may be, with what I wanted to look like.

And I haven't been perfect at it, by any means. I still had spells here and there, but that's to be expected. You have to be gracious with yourself. You can't go from being anorexic, or bulimic, etc. one day to being completely free of it the next. It takes time, it takes making daily conscious efforts to get better, and it takes patience.

And the struggles, tears, fights, etc. are all worth it when you can come out of it recovered.

Like a warrior.

Looking back:

I’ve deleted a ton of pictures that were so painful to look at, but in the middle of deleting them, I decided to hold onto some…as reminders of how far I’ve come & I look at them, and I remind myself of my WHY—why I am consciously choosing— to be better to myself, to my body, and to be a better person all around.

For my husband, for my family, for my friends, my clients, and bottom-line, for myself.

Putting others before yourself can, at times, be a super respectable thing, but when it comes to an ED, you have to put your health & life above all else.

YOU have to want to recover and get better…it doesn’t matter how many people want it for you, YOU have to choose to want a better, fuller life that’s more than how much of a thigh gap you can create, or how far your hip bones stick out.

There is SO much more to life, and it took me a really, really long time to see that.

And my major hope for writing all of this, is that someone who needs to read this is reading this & sees that there really is way more to life.

We get ONE life, so don’t shorten it, like I almost did, by starving yourself or making yourself sick after you eat.

And if you’re struggling with an ED & the depression, anxiety, etc. that comes with it, just know that you’re not alone and you CAN recover.

It doesn’t make you weak, or pathetic, or a burden. And when people question you & worry for your health and/or life, it’s because they care about you & want better for you.

If you know someone struggling with an eating disorder, share this with them. Nonchalantly.

And if you yourself are struggling with an ED, I hope reading this helps you turn your life around for the better, and please reach out if you need someone to talk to who can relate, or if you just need a friend, or someone to vent to. I promise to listen & do anything I can to be of help.

Always remember that you never truly know what people are going through. Even if they don't look the part of an ED, that doesn't mean they don't struggle with food, weight, self-confidence, etc. regularly.

Here's to being human❤️

xo Mackenzie.

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