Being that it's National Eating Disorder Awareness week I want to spread the word on this disorder that effects so many lives. For over ten years I struggled with bulimia and was scared to get help. It is something I would never wish upon anyone but at the same time i'm so thankful it was a part of my life (and i'll explain that later). My eating disorder really took off when I decided I wanted to try and lose some weight in the 8th grade. I ran, cut my calories dangerously low and did everything the wrong way. Eventually it became obsessive. I was weighing myself after every meal and running multiple times a day. It eventually turned into a starve/binge/purge cycle that only got worse over the years. I was scared of restaurants, scared of foods that weren't on my safe list, I would go to the gym 2-3x a day and take fat burners until I was sick. I had no comprehension of what it meant to take care of my body. All I wanted to do was weigh a certain amount.
As time went on I got worse. Eventually I reached out for help. It was a long and emotional journey. I was going to different therapists and nutritionists on a weekly basis for multiple years. I was so ashamed of having an eating disorder that I kept it a secret for years. This is a subject that is difficult for people to talk about, open up about and accept. It's messy, its awkward and its real.
There are 30 million adults that have eating disorders in the U.S.
40-60% of 6-12 year old girls are concerned about their weight and wanting to diet (I was 12 when I started).
81% of 10 year old's are afraid of being fat.
These are not numbers that should be ignored. These are not statistics that we should pretend are not there. This is a real life issue that is very much still a problem.
When I got to a place of recovery I could not for the life of me find a place that practiced self love, acceptance or being comfortable in your body. Everywhere I went there were bikini boot camps, weight loss groups, body building competitions and so on and so on. I knew that people needed (heck, I needed) a place that we can work on health- not kill our self esteem.
With that, iamwell opened. I push self love, acceptance and balance because I know what it's like to not have any of those things. I know the impact we have on lives around us when we choose health over starvation. When we choose happiness over punishment. When we choose self love over self hate. I so strongly believe in creating a life you love. Moving your body because it feels good but also resting it because it needs that too. I believe in nourishing yourself with healthy, whole foods but also enjoying a night out at your favorite restaurant - guilt free. I believe in working hard but also giving yourself time to relax. I believe in working towards a healthy body without bashing the one you're in now.
So, I ask you to think twice about the next diet, weight loss challenge or superficial goal that you might have. Change your goals to visions and don't be afraid to be different.
If you have a daughter, teach her about life. Teach her how to cook a balanced meal but show her it's also okay to enjoy that delicious ice cream cone every now and than. Show your friends that instead of saying negative things about their bodies (which is all too normal for us) it's okay to say "yup, I LOVE my body!" Teach the people around you that it is okay to just be healthy, and that that will look different on everyone. No extremes. No diets. No perfect mold that we're trying to get to. Just taking care of your body, mind and soul.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder or would like to learn more I will leave some tools below that might be helpful.
You can always contact me directly with any questions.
See ya in the studio,
My name is Hanna Kuyper and my mission for iamwell comes directly from my past experiences. Read more