Eating disorders started elbowing their way into my life at a very young age. I remember being seven or eight and staring my little kid body down in front of the mirror, repulsed, so certain that I looked as though I was pregnant. In hindsight my body was probably perfectly fine and normal and acceptable, but body dysmorphia has a funny way of turning every mirror into a funhouse mirror and skewing our vision to make us see what we cannot bear to see, and what is not there. Those problems lurked in the background for several years, and then the active eating disorder entered the scene.

I started going to public school in seventh grade after homeschooling for years and, as a result of being completely unused to it, felt too anxious around people to eat in the cafeteria at lunch. What started as an avoidance problem quickly became tied to my body image problem. I skipped breakfast at home just so that I could have that flat stomach all day and then binged when I got home, ravenous enough to shovel in food until I had consumed enough to keep my weight relatively stable. I would later learn the proper term for this period of my disorder was “bulimia non-purging type.” My eating hasn’t been completely normal since that started. I’ve gone from bulimia non-purging type to binge eating disorder to EDNOS to anorexia and hopped between all of those for almost a decade.

I am ready for recovery at this point. I either starve and die or eat and live—point blank. But that is not to say that it’s all about the food, and that’s where the title of this blog comes in. Gaining weight is only one component of healing from this. It is also learning to love myself; discovering who I am and what makes me special when my most prized characteristic isn’t taking up the least amount of space possible. It’s about seeing my body as something that can be built into a strong vessel that allows me to do every single thing that I could possibly want to do without feeling exhausted or passing out. It is getting to a point where I can accept that as a child of God my worth does not lie in the way my flesh–or lack thereof–is arranged, but rather the contents of my heart. This blog will be about food, the cheap (mostly microwave friendly) kind, but also style, self-care, faith, and my personal journey on the road to healing. Recovery is hard, and I’m hoping that we can support each other and that this blog will be cathartic for me as a writer and you as a reader as you feel understood and validated, maybe for the first time. I want you to be able to laugh and cry and relate to my words. If you can, my job will have been done.

There are many parts of my story, and I want to share them all in utter transparency with you on this blog so that it might give you hope in your struggle, make you feel less alone, or, if you yourself do not have an ED, give you insight for that friend or family member who is battling all and any type of eating problem.

Let’s do this. Let’s regain that weight, remain positive, and recover life. Together.