Body Image and Eating Disorders

I’ve been thinking a lot about body image lately. It is something that I have struggled with, and I know many other women, teenage girls and postpartum moms struggle with as well. So today I’ll share my story.

Body image & eating disorders | sharonisamom.com
Here’s a picture of me the summer after I graduated high school. This was not at my skinniest, but I was still at an unhealthy weight.

It was back in my senior year of high school that I  became anorexic. I still remember the words that someone told me that kicked it all off. Words can destroy someone’s whole planet, especially when you are a sensitive teenage girl.

When it started off, I was in denial about, thinking that I was just like anyone who was dieting and restricting my caloric intake. I would have days that all I would eat was a banana and an apple-cinnamon Nutri-Grain bar, a total of about 225 calories. And I was proud of my “self-control” on those days. On top of that, I had a very obsessive workout regimen. I’d do 500 crunches a day, and that was only half of my workout. At 5’8’’ I whittled down to 101 pounds.

Then following a rough breakup, I became bulimic. I would over-indulge in sweets and fattening foods and devour massive meals, then later, disgusted with myself, I would hover over the toilet and force myself to throw up, while hot, wet tears prickled and stung in my eyes.

I weighed myself daily. I reveled in the glory of the compliments I’d get, that I looked like a model, etc.

All I wanted was to be skinny. To be perfect.

But when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see what everyone else saw. I was never happy. My mind was clouded with darkness and self-loathing. I was never good enough. There was an ugly monster in my mind that would rear its nasty head and seep awful thoughts into me, its poisonous words coursing through my veins.

Looking back on it now, I feel so ashamed of myself and who I used to be. Eventually, my poor eating habits and obsessive workout routines went away. That’s only part of the eating disorder though. The other part is that sickness in your mind. That part, I’ve heard, may never fully go away.

Today I eat (mostly) healthy and workout regularly. And most of the time I am happy with my body. But on occasion, there are moments when I look in the mirror or try on clothes or weigh myself, that the ugly monster rears its head again, with its disgust and hatred.

These moments are rare and fleeting, thankfully. I try my best to keep the monster at bay by practicing positivity. I look at my body and remember what an amazing temple it is. I grew life inside me, and today I sustain that life through breastfeeding. My worries over eating now are more towards making sure that I eat plenty to take care of myself and to ensure that I am passing on good nutrition to my little one.

Today I am at a healthy weight. I don’t count calories anymore. I work out on a regular basis. Sometimes I don’t get to run as many miles as I’d hoped to, to or go to as many workout classes as much as I’d planned, or go to the gym as often as I’d like to. And that’s OK. Part of practicing positivity is forgiving myself.

Love and appreciate yourself. Spread the love and positivity to others. You never know who might need to hear those kind words the most.

Be beautiful on the inside. You are amazing. And thank you for listening to my story.

Love,
Sharon

Fresh Wave Giveaway!

This has been one busy summer over at our house this year! Last summer, I went back to work full-time when Ellis was just 6 weeks old. After digging into my sick time and vacation time for my maternity leave, things were too hectic at work to be able to afford to take any more time off or even think about the costs of vacation after shelling out thousands of dollars of medical expenses. Now that I’m home with Ellis though, this summer has been the best one yet.

My husband is a teacher, so it has been great getting to spend so much family time together the last couple months. Without an office job to get back to, we’ve been able to work some vacations into our schedules this summer, and it’s been awesome! We took our longest vacation yet: 8 days in Portland in July! And we are squeezing in one last trip before summer’s over and heading to Gulf Shores with my dad (Ellis’s first beachy vacation!). We also worked it out to take a mini-weekend trip to Austin in June for MommyCon.

We love Austin anyway (lots of good vegan food us there), and I was psyched to meet up with other crunchy moms at my first MommyCon. While I was there, I scoped out the vendors and found some awesome, crunchy-mom approved goodies to take home.

My favorite from MommyCon was Fresh Wave. I hadn’t heard of them before, but I’m so glad I found them. They make natural products to remove odors from your house without all the icky-chemicals.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been trying to slowly replace things in our house with natural alternatives and a few DIYs. We swapped out cleaning products for natural versions, I make my own laundry soap, and I’ve even tried my hand at a few Pinterest projects.

When it comes to bad odors, we used to spray a bunch of Febreeze on a regular basis. Now I’m weary of putting all that crap in the air with a baby around. I found a recipe on Pinterest called “Faux-breeze” and gave it a whirl. Worth a try, right? Well, sadly the result wasn’t anything to write home about. It didn’t really cut it, so I set it aside and gave up for a while.

So I was really glad when I found Fresh Wave to give their products a try. I tried out their odor removing spray, gel, packs and fresh pod.

Fresh Wave Giveaway | sharonisamom.com

Their spray was the perfect solution to replace my Pinterest fail. You might think we’d need it most for baby-related stinks, but we actually use it most for animal-related smells! We have two cats and two dogs. Between the lot of them, it seems like it’s nearly every day that I’m spraying to remedy their dog farts, vomit and poop accidents. Oh my!

I use the fresh pod on the inside of the lid for our diaper pail. It sticks right on to eliminate odors round the clock! We use the Diaper Décor brand one for our cloth diapers, but it’ll work on most any diaper pail. After a few days, the diapers start to pile up, and the smell is not-so-alluring. The fresh pod has been working great at removing those odors though! I think I may need to get another one for our trash can in the kitchen as well now! After 30-60 days, just pop it open and replace the odor removing pack inside. Easy peasy!

We also use spare odor removing packs as car fresheners. I stuck one under the driver’s seat in my car and my husband’s car. They’re quite versatile!

Best for last! The odor removing gel just might be my favorite! My office/guest room has been taken over at our new house as the “cat room.” Things were starting to get pretty gross in there with the litter boxes. It was so distracting that I couldn’t even work in there anymore! Stuck the gel on my desk and noticed instant relief. We keep one in the living room as well. The changing table or bathroom would be another great spot for one though!

Check out freshwaveworks.com for more info on all of their products. Fresh Wave is also available at Target and on Amazon.

And what you’ve all been waiting for… how to win it all! I’ve partnered with Fresh Wave for a giveaway on my Instagram @sharonisamom. One lucky person will win everything pictured: a fresh pod, odor removing spray, odor removing gel and odor removing packs. The giveaway ends on Sunday, August 7 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Good luck, mamas!