My sister, Holly, was a good sport and took some pictures
 of me for an employee board at work. I was surprised by
how  much I actually liked how I looked in each one.
Definitely a new experience. 

Lately I've started to realize that the older I've gotten, the more prioritized and selective my free-time has become. Thanks to this, February came and went with no blog posts. 

Last month I had an appointment with Dr. Spigarelli and heard some great news.

Guess what? 

I am officially eating disorder free. 

It took me six years of battling my thoughts, my habits, and my body, but I did it. 

If you asked me six years ago if I ever thought that I would like my body at any size, I would have said no. 
If you asked me five years ago if I ever thought that I would have a healthy relationship with food, I would have said no. 
If you asked me four years ago if I ever thought that I would ever have a normal life, I would have said no. 
If you asked me three years ago if I would be alive right now, I would have said no. 

If you asked me three years ago if I wanted to be alive right then, I would have said no. 

It's amazing what time can do. 
Actually, scratch that. It's amazing what the influence of selfless people can do. 

My mom. 
Dr. Spigarelli. 
Dr. Cheung. 

Without them (and countless others) I don't know where, or who, I would be right now. 
They were my friends, my mentors, and ultimately, my saviors. 

Dr. Spigarelli mentioned during our last appointment that he had just been my cheerleader, and that I was the only person to credit for my success. 

Obviously he's right in the sense that it was up to me to find the desire to change and act upon that desire, but in all honesty, what I needed most was a cheerleader; someone who unconditionally believed in me more than I believed in myself. No one is ever "just" something. We all play roles in the lives of the people around us, whether we realize it or not. Who you are or what you do may be exactly what someone needs. 

Looking back on the past six years I spent fighting either an eating disorder mentality, or an eating disorder itself, I can't say that I regret anything that happened...which must sound crazy given all that I went through.

I was miserable, I was suicidal, and even at my lowest weight during my first eating disorder (restrictive eating/ anorexia), I loathed myself. The smaller dress-sizes, lower calories, and increased exercising didn't make me happier, they made me paranoid.

I sold my childhood to see a lower weight on a scale, only to have it stolen from me when my body said "enough" and my growing appetite became an addiction (bingeing/ bulimia).

As I gained weight at the rate of 20 lbs. per month, my world shattered around me. I had an identity crisis, and broke down. I remember thinking that if I wasn't thin or "beautiful", all I did was take up space. I felt like the "real me" was hidden under layers of fat. I thought that it was my bigger body size that kept people from I asking me to dances or going on dates.

I sincerely believed that because I weighed more, my value was less.

I realize now that it wasn't my weight that held me back, but myself.

Why is it that we tend to think that we need to change or "improve" ourselves in order to be loved or accepted by others when the only person we're really trying to earn acceptance from is ourselves?

I've been told before that God gives us trials to make us better people, and I completely agree. My experiences have opened my eyes and caused me to see the world differently. I'm more compassionate towards others, especially myself.

The lessons I've been taught through my eating disorders weren't easy, but they were worth every ounce of weight gained or lost. I know now that there's more to life than calories counted, clothing sizes worn, miles run, or weight placed on a scale; life is about living.

Even though I'm no longer medically diagnosed with an eating disorder, I still fight my past every day.
Sometimes I wish I was smaller, and sometimes I eat when I'm not hungry.
But that's okay.

Because I like who I am, regardless of body size or what anyone says I should or shouldn't be.
I am a survivor, the hero of my story.

I am free.