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LK Nutrition LLC

Taylor's journey to food & exercise freedom <3

LK Nutrition
LK NutritionPublished on December 05, 2022

A few years ago, Jessi told me about a survey another eating disorder professional posted. The survey asked if people felt more compelled to work with a provider who previously struggled with an eating disorder (ED) or disordered eating (DE) themselves. While some said this would in fact draw them to a provider, an overwhelming amount said it would repel them.

This surprised me. I thought sharing this lived experience would connect client and clinician in a powerful way. It made me second guess whether sharing my personal story was valid. If it would chase away the potential clients I wanted to help. For a long time, I was embarrassed when people asked me how I ended up in the eating disorder field. I would still share I struggled with a past of disordered eating, but would be very vague and my face would grow hot, eager to get the attention off of me.

Over the past few years, I realized, I don't need to be afraid of sharing my authentic truth. No one should ever feel ashamed of struggling or voicing what they have gone through (if they want to!). In fact, sharing our personal stories might even help others! My lived experience, is what lead me to become an eating disorder dietitian. I wanted to help others get better, because I know what's it like to suffer. Research shows the sooner you seek treatment, the better prognosis for long-term recovery. Sharing my story might touch someone enough to seek out help or at least show them they are not alone. So, here we go!

**TRIGGER WARNING: if you are in recovery from an eating disorder, please be mindful of thoughts and emotions that come up if you choose to read this post. I will not be sharing specific numbers or diagnosis, as they are not an important piece of my story. However, I will briefly mention certain thoughts/behaviors I struggled with in an effort to paint the full picture.

Up until the beginning of middle school, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Like most young kids, I relied on my hunger-cues to guide me. I ate when I felt hungry and stopped when I felt full. I didn’t worry about my weight or the nutritional value of my meals.

Around 11-13 y/o, I began turning to food for comfort. I distinctly remember when it first started. I was going to a summer camp and had a difficult time being in a strange, new environment without anyone I knew. I was shy and didn’t make friends easily. One night, my mom was eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate chips and so I asked for one too. It tasted SO good, and made me forget about my problems for a few moments. Well, after that, each night I would sit down to the same big bowl of ice cream to make me feel better. Now, let me be clear, eating for comfort isn't always a bad thing! In fact, it is natural and can be helpful to an extent. However, I started going back for second helpings despite being satisfied, skipped breakfast and snacked mindlessly. In summary, I was not listening to my body and didn't feel well as a result.

As a result, I didn't feel good and decided to make some changes. It worked. I gradually lost weight in a healthy manner while still maintaining a healthy relationship with food and fitness. I still ate all my favorite foods, skipped workouts when I wanted and just felt GOOD. Friends and family noticed too. They complimented me on my weight loss. Little did they know, this fueled my desire to continue losing weight.

Well, this is where things flipped from healthy to unhealthy (AKA disordered). To keep losing, I started counting calories, exercised daily and eliminated foods I labeled (or rather, society) labeled as “bad”. I analyzed every food label and had a rigid workout routine. My energy levels tanked as my obsession with food shot sky high. I couldn’t sleep, lost my period, developed irritable bowel syndrome and had horrible anxiety. I was miserable. The crazy thing is no one noticed! To the outside world, what I was doing looked “healthy”. Unfortunately, this is all too common in our weight-obsessed culture. No one could see the inner turmoil I was experiencing.

Flash forward to college. I started my dietetics journey wanting to be a weight loss dietitian. Yep, you read that right! Despite everything I went through (and was still going through), I still thought losing weight was the key to health and happiness. During my time at school, I didn’t have access, time, or the desire to meticulously analyze everything I ate. My sophomore year, I joined a sorority and participated in all the fun activities. Ultimately, my surroundings helped me naturally relax around food. A powerful testament to how our environment can really impact (positively or negatively) an eating disorder.

Over-exercising, on the other hand, was still a problem. Although I didn’t recognize it at the time. I became a certified Spinning instructor and taught multiple classes a week. Even after late nights studying, I would wake up bright and early to hit up the rec center for a cardio workout. This was one of my only coping tools.

Upon graduation, I moved to Ohio to complete my internship and master’s degree. During this time, I moved even further in my understanding of eating disorders, including my own. The real flip happened when I went through a breakup (my first one). I was devastated and went through all the crappy emotions that came along with it. Finally, I knew I needed to make a change, physically and mentally.

I switched to weightlifting, fun fitness classes and yoga vs. my intense solo cardio workouts. My body gave me signals it needed more fuel. I had the decision to deprive it like I had in the past or listen. I chose to listen for the first time since childhood (when we all innately experience intuitive eating).

Now here we are in the present. I finally have found my elusive set point. Where my body is naturally supposed to be and where I can LIVE. Living to me means eating dessert when I want it, eating out at a new restaurant and participating in movement that feels good. Living to me is not religiously calorie counting, denying myself my favorite foods or running my body into the ground through intense workouts.

While I did not receive professional help for my disordered eating, I definitely could have benefitted from it. Looking back, there were so many red flags myself, my parents, doctors, etc. did not recognize. Unfortunately, this is the case for many. You cannot spot an eating disorder by looking at someone. They are secretive, isolating and misunderstood diseases.

Research shows that the sooner you seek and receive treatment, the better prognosis for long-term recovery. It is never too late to get help. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, LK Nutrition offers various resources to help, including our Ditch the Diets subscription services (just $15/month!) and 1:1 counseling with myself or Jessi.

This week, I will be sharing how I live my life in full recovery. Join me on Facebook and Instagram to follow along and ask any questions you have!

If you made it all the way here, thank you for listening to my story. If you personally relate, I hope this helps you. If you don’t, I hope you gained some nuggets of knowledge surrounding the depths of eating disorders.

Thanks for allowing me to share my story with you,

<3 Taylor

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