Niki 's Story

I recovered from 14 years of restricting, binging and purging


I recovered from 14 years of restricting, binging and purging. I do believe there were patterns, behaviours, social factors, beliefs and societal factors that contributed to the eating disorder starting well before the extremely harmful behaviours. I am and always have been a very sensitive person, so my focus could not just stay on one eating disorder behaviour to deal with my feelings, it had to be a range of eating disorder behaviours. When I was very little I would much rather eat lollies and chocolates than a meal. I would have tantrums to get my way with this. Super models and Victoria Secrets was all the hit when I was younger and this is what society classed as beautiful. I slowly learnt when I felt horrible on the inside, that if I changed my outsides I would be envied, liked, admired and classed as beautiful and special.

Sometimes when I share about my recovery I share a photo of being unwell and underweight next to a photo of me now, but the before photo of me being underweight should not be my only before photo. There should be photos of me with quite a bit of weight on, being underweight and being a healthy weight. Eating disorders are not just severely underweight people, eating disorders take form in all shapes, sizes and behaviours. I was so ashamed of myself at a healthy weight or heavier weight that there is not many photos as I was either too ashamed to be in a photograph or deleted it later because of guilt of how I looked. The underweight photos I have not had much shame in keeping, I always felt like they were my proof I had a problem. You see here is the problem: I was suffering so much inside at a healthy or higher weight and family, friends and work thought I was fine. When I was underweight, everyone worried. It felt as if my pain was not valid unless I looked sick.

I eventually came into my first eating disorder inpatient and outpatient treatment in 2013 this was 7 years after developing an eating disorder. It was extremely helpful and extremely confronting. I was so desperate for help.

From 2013 to 2017 I was in and out of being almost recovered to back into eating disorder behaviours. In 2017 I stopped purging for good. I stopped weighing myself and still to this day have not weighed myself. That has been one of the most freeing things and most helpful things in my recovery is to not know the number on the scale. I learnt to ride out the urges when I am full. I still had an eating disorder mindset even though I was not binging and purging. I still had rules and some secrets I choose to hide. Until we arrive at the end of 2019 when I became ready to fully recover. I had to deal with all the core issues that were leading me to use eating disorder behaviours to truly heal it once and for all.

In 2019 to help me recover I started by getting so honest with my partner, therapist and naturopath. My body was calling out to recover. I was constipated all the time, bloating from food and arrived at a point where I was tired of the eating disorder and scared to what it was doing to my body. I got honest with people in my life, and told them all the tricks and secrets I had to hide my eating disorder behaviours, so that they were now in the open and people could support me. The more secrets I revealed, the less places the eating disorder had to hide. I surrendered to the fact that my body shape will change in full recovery and that over time as life goes on it can change again like bodies should. I let go of controlling what size I am. I still do not weigh myself today as my health and happiness is based off how I am looking after myself physically, emotionally, mentally and with nutrition.