Going Vegan: Struggles with an Eating Disorder

It’s been almost a month since I put an animal product in my body. Knowingly, anyway. Navigating the world as a new vegan can be pretty confusing. I would have had more than a month under my belt but I didn’t realize that jam wasn’t vegan. Dammit. I like jam.

Truth be told, I like A LOT of foods that aren’t vegan. For instance, meat. As in every meat I’ve ever tasted (frog being the only exception…BARF.). I grew up in the South and always ate the typical American diet…fried chicken, steak, fish sticks with ranch dressing, potatoes in every imaginable form, cheese, etc. My diet was so typically American in fact, that I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.

I’m short. I tell people I’m 5’3″ but really it’s a bit less than that. I have to use a step stool to use our copier at work. (Keep in mind that I work with all men and each one of them is over 6′ so the office is set up to accommodate them, short girl be damned.) My weight has gone from being around 130lbs in high school to 200lbs at 32 years old. I was getting out of breath to reach down and tie my shoes. I was constantly hot and sweaty. I had heart burn ALL THE TIME. My sciatic nerve was constantly giving me trouble. The list of health and weight related issues could fill up a blog post all on their own. 200lbs was way too much for my little frame.

As a result, my mental health declined. I was drinking too much alcohol, depressed, and my anxiety was through the roof. I felt like complete shit all the time. Finally I decided that I had to do something.

That something was starve myself and develop a full blown eating disorder at the age of 32.

Looking back on my life, I realize that I’ve always had disordered eating tendencies: binge eating, heavy restriction, intense fears of being poisoned by food. It wasn’t until earlier this year when I started dressing so as not to startle people with my thinness, did I realize that there was serious problem going on. But even then I didn’t care. I was enjoying being the “small one” for once in my life.

I went from 200lbs and a size 16/18 to 108lbs and a size 0. And I had NO plans to stop. Until my kids started worrying about me. It was a stark wake up call.

I’d like to say that I’m all better; that I have a super healthy relationship with food and everything is just plums and pyro…but it isn’t. Every day is a battle not to starve or binge or purge. I don’t always win those battles. But I am determined to win the war.

Going vegan has helped me in so many ways. Knowing that the fuel I am putting into my body is whole and healthy gives me a sense of peace that I didn’t have before.

There are a lot things in my life that led me to veganism; some that I recognize already and some that I am still discovering.

A new journey is a scary thing. My life seems to be full of new journeys these days but I think I’m up for it.