Posts Tagged ‘Anorexia’

How Sobriety Influenced my Eating Disorder Recovery

Rachel Moe

*Please keep in mind this is one person’s story and that everyone’s path to recovery and beyond will be unique.

Rachel Moe is a Registered Nurse, Emily Program client, Aunt, coffee connoisseur, and writer who loves sharing her experience through recovery in hopes of connecting with and helping others. Rachel started and leads an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting in Duluth, MN. She also recently started a blog and plans to dive more into recovery advocacy, as she is passionate about ending the stigma around mental illness. She loves to hike, spend time with her family and friends, write, and practice yoga.

I vividly remember the first time I was told by someone that I may be an alcoholic and I should consider a life of sobriety. It was a hot August day in the Twin Cities, I was 24 years old, and sitting in my therapist’s office in a residential treatment center for my eating disorder. I had already been struggling with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa since the age of 13. My parents were on the couch across from me, tears in both of their eyes, and we were participating in family week at treatment. Now, this was not the first time someone had brought up my drinking and substance abuse to me, this was just the first time that I chose to truly listen to what was being said. I could no longer deny my life was falling apart as a result of alcohol, drugs, and my eating disorder.

The flood of emotions came immediately that day—sadness, shame, anger, grief. I mostly felt sad for my parents. I felt as though I had already inflicted enough pain through my eating disorder, how could I add another diagnosis to the list that has been growing for as long as I can remember? I felt angry that once again, I was different from my peers. In my group of friends, I was always the friend who was too anxious to go out for pizza or ice cream, so how could I also be the sober one as well?

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Throw Away the Scale

Woman standing on scale

**Content warning: the beginning of this blog explains the history of scales and their association with glorified weight loss. To skip over this information, scroll to the subtopic, “Why Scales don’t Measure Actual Health.”

In American culture, scales are often a household staple. They are in bathrooms, gym locker rooms, medical offices, and more. While at times, scales can be important for medical monitoring or developmental growth assessments, they are often unnecessary to have in homes. For those with eating disorders, an easily accessible scale can fuel the disorder, lead to obsession, and spark dangerous behaviors like bingeing, purging, or restricting food intake.

The History of the Scale

While scales were invented hundreds of years ago to measure goods, the “bathroom scale” or the scale used to weigh humans wasn’t developed until the late 18th century. Scales became popularized in the 1920s when they were widely produced and served as an innovative novelty positioned on public streets. As individuals stopped paying to weigh themselves and the industry lost profits, companies began to make improvements in scale technology—ultimately creating the household scale.

Initial Uses of the Scale

The household scale became popularized in the early-mid 1900s at the same time that dieting as a means to weight loss became commercialized. This led the household scale to be used as a tracker of “health,” or so medical professionals thought at the time. This assumption then led to the glorification of thin bodies in the media, Hollywood, and magazines.

The idolization of thin bodies as healthy led individuals to pursue this new ideal. Oftentimes, the progression went like this: an individual saw the image of a thin figure on a magazine or read in the newspaper about the positive effects of dieting for weight loss, they then decided to go on a diet, in order to monitor the progress of the diet, they had to buy a scale. Once the individuals purchased the scale, they were able to weigh themselves daily to monitor the progress of their diet. These actions and this belief system contributed to disordered eating throughout the United States.

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Episode 12: Eating Disorders and Athletes

Baseball Player on Field

Episode description:

Eating disorders in athletes are incredibly common but unfortunately, they often go unaddressed. NEDA estimates that eating disorders affected 62% of women and 33% of men who participate in aesthetic-based or weight-class sports. To discuss eating disorders in athletes and how we can help advocate for healthy living and recovery, former Vikings’ and current Twins’ dietitian Rasa Troup and recovered distance runner and advocate Jenny Scherer join Peace Meal.

Episode show notes:

This episode of Peace Meal features two incredible women, Rasa Troup and Jenny Scherer. Rasa Troup is a former Olympian and licensed dietitian who has previously worked for the Vikings and is currently the Head Dietitian for the Minnesota Twins. Prior to working for the Twins and Vikings, Rasa worked with the Track and Cross Country teams at the University of Minnesota and was a dietitian at The Emily Program for over a decade. Jenny Scherer is a former college and professional distance runner who struggled with anorexia. She currently works with student-athletes and advocates for a greater awareness of and education on eating disorders in athletes.

Rasa starts this episode by reflecting upon her Olympic career and how her professional career led her to the Minnesota Twins. Jenny found a career in working with athletes following her own recovery from the eating disorder anorexia. Jenny sought treatment at The Emily Program and worked with Rasa as her dietitian. Rasa and Jenny discuss the dietitian-client relationship and how Jenny’s desire to continue running informed her treatment. With the thought that food is fuel and that no food is good or bad, Jenny was able to maintain recovery with a new understanding of why she was running.

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My Story

Woman looking at skyline

**This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on the path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptom use. Please use your own discretion and speak with your support system as needed.

Jenny Osland is an advocate for mental health awareness and blog writer. She has taken her battles against anorexia and used them to become a strong bodybuilder. Her passion is to help others realize their worth by showing her strength of overcoming such a powerful illness and how others can too.

In high school, I went to get a physical and found out that I had lost a significant amount of weight. This led my parents to make me go out and “eat a big bowl of pasta” thinking that would help. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and never in a million years did I think I would end up like that. I was the one who could eat a whole pizza and then snacks right after. I was so scared.

It started when I was playing two sports at once. I became extremely cautious about how much I was eating and I was not sure why. I would find myself counting calories and watching serving sizes. There were times I would ask my mom what was for dinner and then sprint to the cupboard to check the nutrition facts, which would lead me to break down in fear. I would start crying and go back to my mom and tell her I didn’t like what she was going to make. “I didn’t like it” was the lie I constantly told. Truth is, I would have loved to eat the pasta but my mind was so strong it led me to say no to everything I once enjoyed.

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