Recovery Stories: Kayla K and why all diets should be damned! [Podcast]

In this podcast, Tabitha chats to Kayla Kotecki about her path to recovery, and the story behind damnthediets.com.

We talk about:

  • unrestricted eating
  • diet culture
  • obcessive and complusive exercise
  • bikini contest culture
  • social pressures to lose weight and exercise
  • extreme hunger

Learn more about Kayla Kotecki here:

http://damnthediets.com/

Transcript with thanks to Marie

The Eating Disorder Recovery Podcast

 

Recovery Stories: Kayla K and Why All Diets Should Be Damned

 

With Tabitha Farrar

 

Hey, welcome to this weeks podcast. So this week you are going to hear the conversation that I had with Kayla Rose Kotecki. Who is also a recovery coach and she has recovered from an eating disorder herself which is why it’s cool to talk to her. We talk about her recovery journey which started with bikini contests, well that wasn’t the recovery part I guess you could say, but that was the downhill part. We talk about how she got out of all of those and the diet culture that she was really quite entrenched in and also when all your friends are doing the dieting thing, it’s really even more difficult to get out of it that way.

 

We talk about the recovery process and things like eating lots of food and the fears that come up when ones doing that, general recovery stuff. I hope you enjoy the conversation, here’s Kayla:

 

K: Everything started back when I was a teenager and mine wasn’t necessarily because I wanted to lose weight, like your story. I had severe body dysmorphia and I didn’t purposely go on a diet. I was led into it, under my nose and I didn’t even realise what was happening until one day I woke up and I was like, oh my gosh, I actually have a problem and what have I been doing?

 

But then when you look at it more, you start to see there was a level that you wanted to manipulate your body for a certain reason. And you’re like, I didn’t even realise I was doing that, that whole time. But that was coming from a place that I did want to control my body and act to get attention from someone.

 

So, I’ll rewind and say I had some sexual trauma that happened to me when I was 13 years old, so that lead me to some other behaviours to try to suppress the stress and then pleasing other people and getting their attention and acting to compensate for what happened. Which lead me to drugs and alcoholism as a teenager, that lead me into a bad relationship that was very controlling, very appearance based and made me feel horrible about my body. Who was also into bodybuilding, so that lead me into exercise.

 

When I was a teenager I did not want to go to the gym, it wasn’t appealing. I was always into sports so I was always very athletic like a tom boy and that was fun to me. But the moment I started to go to the gym and doing for vanity purposes, that’s when everything changed. Something shifted and I stopped doing sports and I just went into the gym and I did yoga a couple of times a day along with the gym. I was always against bikini competitions personally, that felt weird to me you know? And even though I was exposed to it a lot I just had this desire to get into the fitness modelling world though. Low and behold I ended up training for a bikini competition because of the gym owner that I was going to talked me into it. So that’s where a lot of the trouble started.

 

Overexercising in the gym and then doing the restrictive dieting, chicken five times a day. 1/4th a cup of oatmeal and that was it. No salt, no oil just very strict and ‘clean’ as you would like to call it.

 

T: And you’re getting gratification because someone’s saying, hey you’re doing great, you should be in a bikini contest. Then you’ve also got that fuel even more motivation to continue to not probably just restrict and work out the way that you were doing, but even at a greater level.

 

K: Yeah, exactly and it pushed it to the extreme. Yeah, you hear that and you start to get all of the attention when you look a certain way, which is very underweight, very lean and not natural for my body type as a female especially, you know I wasn’t having my period and my hair was falling out and I was so fatigued. It’s like you look fit on the outside according to our culture standards but on the inside I felt like death, I felt like I was dying. My heart, I had a couple of heart scares where I felt like my heart was going to stop on me. From not only malnourishment but also from the stimulant drugs that came along with it.

 

And just you know, the over exercise on the body. Just all of it. The stress to continue to live like that, because that was not attainable and I knew it deep down. I was like, how am I going to continue to live like this? I was miserable but then you have this community that you’ve built and you feel the pressure to continue to look like that or else you’ve failed. So it’s a whole shit storm. I wanted to add, I forgot before I would use stimulant drugs like Adderall to suppress my appetite, to not eat because it made dieting easier. But I didn’t know I was dieting, I wasn’t aware but yeah, I used Adderall in all the competitions.

 

T: You know that bit where you said about, you develop friends in the gym and the community around it? I hear that a lot when I tell people that they need to stop exercise and I think that it’s harsh reality for some of us that we get so streamline obsessed with exercise that we kind of forget about all our other friends if we had them and do start to just only make friends with the people we want to be like or that reinforce our exercise and stuff like that. I think it can be really difficult in recovery because you sort of realise that you don’t really have any friends, not really, they are all just exercise people.

 

K: Yeah, exactly and they just fuelled the fire because it was a certain talk. It was very dysfunctional talk like always focusing and obsession on food and our bodies just always pinching at each other and looking at each other and committing like, you look super lean and ripped.

 

But I had this gym partner that would always tell me that body building or bikini competitions or whatever is selfish in it’s nature. And you have to be selfish, you can’t have relationships, you can’t have a life outside of this, you have to eat on the dot every 2 or 3 hours, you have exercise for hours in the gym everyday and on top of that you’re already in that starved state that you tend to isolate anyway.

 

So it’s just like so much is going on. And you’re really unhappy but people think your life must be perfect because you look that way. Or you have this following or you have this community. But that’s only part of the story and you don’t get the inside of mental and physical and it is not glamorous.

 

T: No and there’s no freedom there either.

 

K: Yeah, no freedom. And then so after I did that I got to the point where I was fed up and I was done with that part of the journey and so I just left, it was like a ghost town and I left by coach, I left the community and everything and because after that last competition I was binging and had extreme hunger and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I felt like a glutton and like something was wrong with me. How could I lose all my willpower and control that I had maintained for so long.

 

T: Yep, I think it’s really common. I’ve worked with and known a couple of people who’ve been in this bodybuilding scenario and I think that it’s really common that once the competition’s done or something than they have a binge.

 

But that’s the bit that nobody talks about it those sort of circles. No one talks about those bits and what it does to people. I guess because they feel like they’ve completely fucked up so they’re not going to go to their coach and be like, so this happened. But it happens, I think it happens to lots of people.

 

K: Oh yeah, there’s a lot of secrecy that goes on. But then there’s also ‘cheat meals’ like people like to say and that’s just a glamorised binge. That’s an OK binge but really? A cheat meal then turns into a cheat day then it turns into a cheat weekend and then you get back on track on Monday. Then the next weekend you have another binge. It’s just the same thing with different terminology. And a different, I don’t know, it’s accepted in that community.

 

T: Yeah, somebody actually brought up something that I looked up yesterday because I didn’t know what it was, this is how much I’m out of the fitness world now. Bulking and cutting. I think that’s basically a binge/restrict cycle isn’t it?

 

K: Yeah definitely. So you have this off season or whatever you want to call it, it’s just like when you’re going through recovery and you have oedema and the weight gain and you’re metabolism is trying to balance out. You have that same thing but then you end up doing the same cycle and you do the cut again. And your body doesn’t have enough time to actually heal. But they don’t realise that or it’s glamorised, I don’t know. But it’s like the same thing if you can understand the similarity there with starvation and refeeding.

 

T: Absolutely. I was just reading what that was on some men’s bodybuilding bulking/cutting and I was trying to understand, this is just binge/restrict. But organised.

 

K: Yeah

 

T: And that’s scary, because it’s in health magazines that this is how to do this, which…

 

K: It’s in magazines now, it’s all over the place. And if you think back before people used to look down on females, you don’t want to get too strong. Or if you’re a man, you don’t want to be that lean or too big because it’s scary. And then now all of a sudden, because of how this happened and the conditioning in our culture it’s as if it’s OK now because of what happens. It’s mainstream and the media.

 

T: Yeah this is a bit off topic but I was thinking about it the other day, kind of related. My husband and I, all over Christmas and still up to now we’ve been watching loads of 70s films and 80s films and some really old films. I was just noticing that apart from people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I guess he was more 90s anyway, but he was supposed to be the beefcake and it’s almost like comedy that he’s so muscular. Most of the run of the mill heroes in films were just not massively bulked up or ripped. But now if you look at films that are coming out, most of them are. And it’s just interesting to me that the good looking guy now is ripped where as before in films in other eras. It wasn’t really about that.

 

K: Yeah, it’s so true and I was just seeing that to in a comparison in action figures for example, Luke Skywalker from the old Star Wars films

 

T: He’s not ripped is he? He’s just normal.

 

K He’s just normal! And now it’s like the chest is ripping out of the shirt and like super big and bulky. Even young boys have this stigma that they have to live up to and it’s changing. It used to be not widely acceptable and now it’s completely normal and looked up to.

 

T: Back to your story, so you were a bodybuilder, obsessive and then what led to you just going, can’t do this any more? Not doing it any more. What led to that?

 

K: So I have that mindset where I set my mind to something, I’m going to do it. In the bikini prep because that takes months of cutting and dieting. So much cardio and depleting with diuretics so you’re dehydrated and so unhealthy. So every morning, I’d be crying, like I hate this so much, why am I doing this? But I was paying a coach and I’d put so much into it so I was just like I’m going to just do this competition and then after, I don’t know what I’m going to do but I’m not doing this any more.

 

And so I was just done because my biology was winning. I couldn’t control it any more. It was like, you need to eat! So I had to eat, I had no control, so we don’t really have control anyway in that situation. So I just went on this binge spree but I didn’t have the knowledge I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know that the restriction was the problem and that the restriction and the over training was actually leading to the binging.

 

So I kept, like you said with your story, I stayed in this restrict/binge/exercise cycle for so long and so at that point, I didn’t know anything about binging. I thought I had Binge Eating Disorder. I was going to go to Overeater’s Anonymous, I thought that there was a problem, but I was still really lean at that point. But I felt like I was blowing up and I had body dysmorphia that I never really had before and now looking back I’m like, how can you even think that? You weren’t even big or anything. I wasn’t swollen until later on in my recovery, after that, I need to heal myself. Because I had all these digestive problems, I was so bloated, I had bowel obstruction and I couldn’t digest anything any more. I even won an award at my job at the time for being the most allergic to everything because that’s what happens, a lot of people actually develop digestive problems, IBS, auto immune disorders all these things from restrictive dieting.

 

T: Yes because your body gets out of practise from digesting it don’t you? When you haven’t eaten stuff.

 

K: Yes exactly. So the worst thing you can do is avoid even more foods and weaken your digestive system and your organs even more.

 

T: Why were they giving out awards for that??

 

K: You know how they gave out different awards for each persons skill or personality trait, that was the joke.

 

T: So it was like for fun, they weren’t really, yay you’re allergic to all of this stuff? (laughs)

 

K: Yeah, it was a bittersweet, yeah it’s funny but it sucks.

 

T: Right, because that’s a really common thing also for people who are in recovery but usually what happens is it freaks them out and they are like, I have all these digestive problems so therefore I need to eat less. So how were you able to understand that you needed to eat more?

 

K: Yeah, that’s the hard part because this extended for another couple of years. I wasn’t even aware of recovery, I still thought that I needed to eat less and that I needed to restrict. That I needed to gain back my control.

 

So for the next couple of years, was me trying to gain back control, this is when I went on all the healing fad type diets that are out there today. Like paleo, vegan, raw vegan, juicing, cleansing, fasting all of those things to try to heal myself. And it just made everything worse so what finally lead me to that, I think we talked about this briefly on the interview when I had you on my YouTube but it literally just happened once I was out of control and I was in a situation when I was with someone who understood what I was going through and they had gone through it too. They just told me that I needed to eat and they sat me down and they just fed me.

 

And I was kicking and screaming and I was like no and I was pissed at them, like they didn’t understand and this food is going to kill me. It’s so unclean and it was toxic. But I ate it because I had to and then that just turned on that switch in my brain. OK, you’re not in a famine any more, you’ve got to eat. So again, I went on another several long month binge like I did before but a few years later.

 

But this time luckily I looked into it more and I did research online and I found different blogs and at first it was like vegan recovery and then at least it got me eating more and being OK with the oedema and extreme hunger and not only eating clean and I was able to eat more processed and stuff like that. So that just continued to open more doors of recovery and it just kept unfolding.

 

T: So that part there when you said that you were kind of kicking and screaming but you got yourself eating, so you did that with a friend supporting you initially?

 

K  Yeah it was a weird thing, so I moved to Hawaii because I thought if I’m going to be suffering I might as well suffer in paradise. (laughs) Also because I was raw vegan, I thought it would be fruit paradise, I’m going to have an abundance of fruit to eat.

 

So I had this friend though that I wasn’t too close, an acquaintance that I met one time when I was visiting for fun. So I went and lived and my car wasn’t shipped there and I was living in a van. So anyway, he just understood and he was just like, you just have to eat! So yeah he just was kind of supporting, he just opened my eyes.

 

I didn’t believe it at that time but at least he opened my eyes and showed me, because here’s the thing, I was pissed with him that night because I could actually sleep. But I thought that the food was making me too tired and that it was toxic and that’s why it was making me tired. But really it was just calming my nerves and bringing me out of that migration that we talked about. I didn’t stay with him long because I was sort of in that pseudo recovery for a couple of months. And I was trying to go back to that clean eating and then binging and trying to exercise.

 

So that went on for another several months. But I was just ill and gaining weight and I got my period back and things were still improving.

 

T: But as we were saying, we improve in a non linear way and especially with those of us that didn’t have a huge amount of guidelines. It takes failing and messing up to work out what you need to do.

 

K: Yes:

 

T: I can’t tell you how many times I cycled just from one diet to another being like, this will get me to eat more! But then it was still a restrictive diet, it never worked it turned out to be too restrictive. I had to go through all of them before learnt that this doesn’t work!

 

K: Yes exactly and then you go to Intermittent Fasting and think, this is going to be it. Then you go to paleo, this is going to be it, then you go to low carb and this is going to be it. And you go through all these things within your recovery this prolonged pseudo recovery. And I see this a lot. It’s like OK I’m in recovery but now I’m going to try this low whatever diet and it’s like, NO you’re still restricting. Stop!

 

T: It’s like, I’ve done all of this, I’ve been through all of this. And I’m hoping that you won’t have too.

 

K: Yeah because every time, like you said, you can learn from every time if you choose to. But if you keep going back to it, it’s like the definition of insanity you continue to push on a door that does not want to open, that’s not working for you. You have to come out of that denial. You have to stop, and realise, this isn’t working for me, just because it’s working for Suzy on YouTube or Joe or they claim that it’s working for them, it’s not working for me.

 

And just because it’s a trend or a fad and everyone in the world is claiming that it’s the most healthiest diet if it’s not working for you, then it’s not working for you! Like back in the day it was Atkins and then ketogenic that created a lot of problems for people and then it was no eggs and cholesterol was bad for you and then fat was bad for you and carbs were bad for you. If you are always following that then you’re going to be in this cycle, never going to be free from that.

 

T: And I think though that a lot of people do get there ultimately. You know what I think and I know from myself is really dangerous, is that I know that when I was vegan or when I was, whatever I was doing, paleo or gluten free, whenever I was in that little bit, and because my brain was malnourished and very black and white. It was like, I would drink that Kool-aid and be all over that diet.

 

I would be shouting it from the roof tops that this is the best thing for you and I’ve never been healthier. And I think that I actually believed it, or I wanted to believe it. I was trying to make myself believe it so I always worry a little bit when people are saying, they recovered on this restrictive diet and they’re still not fully recovered and they could possibly just be in that stage where they’ve just drunk the Kool-aid on that.

 

Luckily when I was going through all of that, blogging wasn’t such a thing and YouTubing certainly wasn’t such a thing, so I wrote a book about it afterwards. Saying these are all the mistakes I made but I guess I didn’t drag anybody else down with me. By creating a recovery vegan or raw or gluten free blog or anything like that.

 

K: It’s so true, yeah you see that a lot. I was just talking about that recently. Because people continue to ask, what about so and so? They’re vegan and they’re recovered, what about so and so they’re still not eating these things but they seem to be recovered? And it’s just I don’t know, I was in that point and I know exactly how that feels. You’re just in that, you believe it and you preach it hard, until the day that you die, until you wake up, like oh wait, this isn’t working for me.

 

T: You know, I would of, I really did believe and I would have told you and I would have sworn blind that I could fully recover whilst still exercising. That’s what I truly believed for a long time.

 

K: Yes:

 

T: Guess what? That wasn’t true (laughs)

 

K: No, it’s so true, there was a couple of times where I had to completely give my body a rest and then my appetite would balance out and I’d actually have hunger and satiety signals and I thought that I was truly feeling recovered but I still had all these starvation symptoms that I was just pushing to the side and it wasn’t until I finally let go of that last thing, it’s so hard for people to let go of the exercise.

 

T: Yes and we are in a society that really supports the exercise and it definitely makes it more difficult. So you like all of us went through and up and down path so how did that progress? To get to full recovery?

 

K: So I just like you said, every time I would try something new, or I would feel like I was committing. There was still something I’d have to let go of eventually. So it was just a slow progression of letting go until I finally got to a point where OK I am seriously going to let go of everything and that last thing was exercise.

 

So that last year of pseudo recovery before real recovery, it was first allowing to eat whenever, until all of my extreme hunger passed and I was still vegan and I was trying to go back to being raw vegan and all those things. And then after that, I’d add in eggs and I’d add in meat and then after that, I was like, OK I’m going to try ketogenic and I was fatigued and everything would come back and I’d end up binging.

 

So then I was like, OK I’m going to do intermittent fasting that should work and then I’d end up binging at night. And then I tried paleo again, but with meat this time because I’d tried ketogenic with vegan and ketogenic with meat so I tried all different types with variations. I was like, there has to be one thing that’s going to be my golden ticket.

 

Seriously, I had to get to that point where I was like, all of this is bullshit, I need to have a balance, find my balance and after that I did that for a few months and I was still exercising. It was like OK, you know what? I need to get rid of the exercise right now for the time being. And after that slow progression of letting go of each thing, each dogma because it’s like a mental rewiring after that.

 

First, it’s the nutritional rehabilitation and then it’s the mental game.

 

T: When did you sort of realise that you were actually changing, that you were doing something right?

 

K: As you’re going through recovery, if you stop and reflect because some of the changes may be subtle and you don’t realise them until you step back and you’re like, wait a minute, look at where I am now and where I was a year ago. It’s like wow, I feel so much better, I have so much more energy, my hair’s not falling out. I have a healthy weight and you start to really feel like all these problems are going away.

 

So, those were the signs and after a while of not having the binging or extreme hunger any more and not having the fears around food. And not having the guilt around food or missing exercise. You know? So all of those things keep you going and then you realise, wow I have my life back! I have relationships back. I actually can be free, and so keeping that in the forefront of the brain helps to continue going when all of those mental thoughts come up, saying you should be doing this.

 

You’ve got to stop shitting on yourself and just go with what feels good to you.

 

T: Yeah and now you work as a recovery coach.

 

K: Yeah and I have the course. So I typically try to get to people with bikini competitions and the bad diets and all of that kind of stuff.

 

T: So I’m not in an area where bikini competitions are big thing, you are obviously in an area where it’s kind of a big thing?

 

K: Yeah and back when I was doing it, it wasn’t a big thing people were always asking me, why are you doing that? that’s weird. But now if you look at the same town, everyone is wanting to do it. It’s just interesting I used to get ridiculed and now everyone’s doing it.

 

But I do live in California and there’s a lot of aesthetic external appearances that are heavily emphasised or valued over anything. External appearance, your money and your following, very superficial. That’s where a lot of the competitions are held, in LA.

 

T: Right yes. And so tell us about the course that you mentioned.

 

K: So that’s a compilation of everything having gone through my experience and helping other people it’s just a broad scheme compiled into one place, one course of all this info of the main tools that help you get through recovery.

 

Topics like binging and extreme hunger and body diversity, weight gain, healthy weight gain and just if you have emotional trauma, dealing with those things. Or if it’s really just a matter of being patient and you need support and guidance.

 

Every recovery is so unique so there’s not just one way and there’s different underlying roots and why we get into this. So it’s wide and varied and that’s why I also do Q and A’s to help, so like if one person struggling that answer might help another person. The group community type feel that’s so important in recovery to have community.

 

T: When you were in recovery, what’s something that you didn’t have in terms of support that you think would have been great to have had?

 

K: I think because I didn’t have anyone around me really, so I did have to rely on the virtual community so I was in different virtual communities. That’s why I’m spreading the message because I wish I had someone tell me in the beginning when I was confused that don’t fear your hunger and everything is going to balance out in time so be patient. Because it’s a huge thing with people, the patience!

 

T: Yes and often it’s like I’ve been eating without restriction for a month now, why aren’t I normal? I’m like, well erm, it’s going to take a longer time than that!

 

K: Yes exactly people are always like, it’s been a month or two, I feel like should be at a good weight now. I feel like my weight shouldn’t keep rising, I shouldn’t be this hungry any more. I don’t deserve to eat this food any more. It’s like, NO you can’t determine that.

 

T: Yes, you don’t get to make that decision. Have some compassion. How long did you restrict for? How long has your body been putting up with this? How long have you kept going? And now you’re like, it’s been a month body why aren’t we done already? What’s taking you so long?!

 

K:  Yes exactly and it’s in those times that people feel they need to step in and then they start to exercise again or they start to not eat until they are satisfied again. And it’s like, no you need to continue what you are doing and be patient otherwise you just sabotage all this work of recovery.

 

T: You’ve got to keep your poker face a little bit haven’t you? Even if you don’t feel it’s working, you’ve got to pretend that you think it does and keep going rather than crumble and take up exercise and restriction again.

 

K: Yes, how did you do that in your recovery? Because I’m sure those thoughts came back up when you were a couple of months in, did you ever feel like you were doing something wrong?

 

T: Yes of course. If I make myself a rule or decide to do something. I’m single track minded. So once I decided I’m not exercising for at least a year. I didn’t exercise for at least a year. Once  I’ve made a promise, I will follow through with things.

 

But I think that the restriction, it was very difficult especially when the body starts to gain weight and you’ve got the recovery belly and things like that. But I was just done with it. There were definitely doubts and moments when I thought I could eat less and it would all go away, which wouldn’t of happened anyway. But I think deep down I knew it wouldn’t work, and it would actually just slow my progress. I’m not entirely sure why I knew that maybe finally common sense kicked in, who knows?

 

K: After your brain gets some nourishment some common sense can come back in. Did you have support? Was your husband?

 

T: He was towards the end, for sure. Initially I didn’t. I think that I was incredibly opposed to even talking about anorexia. Probably because for the most part I refused to admit I had it, but that’s another story.

 

But I think it was just my bloody mindedness and stubbornness especially with family support. My family would have loved to have supported me but I just was just too stubborn to and you know, I’d spend however many years telling them I don’t have anorexia so I thought it would be like suddenly, oh actually I do have anorexia, can you help me?

 

But then obviously later on, it’s like the more and more recovered and nutritionally rehabilitated I got, the more my brain opened up. Stopped being so stubborn and was able to ask for help. So in the later stages I was definitely able to ask my boyfriend/husband for help and family as well and I could talk very open about. But when I was really sick I couldn’t talk openly about it. I just had too much pride. And too much fear, there was fear as well. I was worried that if I said I have anorexia that people would try and help me and I was scared of that. Just one of those pride/fear traps that I was in that I absolutely regret and I think I could have recovered so much faster and saved so many years if I’d asked for help sooner.

 

K: That’s so true and that’s a huge thing, the pride and stubbornness and it takes so much to do that because a big part of it too, I don’t know about you but for so long I was I felt like this thing was the perfect way and the only way to health, happiness, fitness and then you have to say, oh no I was wrong.

 

T: Right, oh yeah.

 

K: So I had to do that with the fitness and the bikini and also because I was hard core raw vegan is the only way to health and healing and you have to be like, oh no, sorry.

 

T: Yeah, you know  how many family gatherings had I lectured my parents because they were putting butter on their bread or something you know? And telling them that they had to eat low fat and cholesterol was going to kill them and all this bullshit that I used to spout.

 

So it was pride dealing with that, needing to eat more food then I wrote a book called Love Fat so I had to come around to saying, yes I was wrong! Which everything like that though, is really easy for me to say I’m wrong now, but when I had anorexia it was so difficult for me. I was so stubborn about everything. I always had to be right. I was pretty horrible, I would not have been my friend that’s for sure!

 

K: Me too, I look back and I’m appalled at how I was to my family. I am like, I am so sorry, I was obnoxious.

 

T: I was like, always had to be right, I had an answer for everything, you could argue with me about everything. It was just like no way get in an argument with me about anything, they were like maybe you could eat some fat and I could go on for hours, throw at you every study in the world as to why you shouldn’t eat that food, you shouldn’t do that and who wants to be friends with someone like that? No fun, I was no fun. I was the least fun person ever when I had anorexia.

 

K: Yes I feel like that too because I look back and I was such a stickler for so many years. And I feel like in recovery I was able to connect with my inner child again and get that silliness and playfulness back and I was so stuck up.

 

T: You know the other thing I love about working with anorexia is that I’ve never met a person with an eating disorder that wasn’t smart and intelligent but also tend to have, and I do as well, tend to have a really great sense of humour, but it’s sort of stifled when you are restricting and it really comes out as people get better. People can be really damn funny.

 

K: It’s true! Yeah, let that out and reconnect. It’s OK don’t take life too seriously.

 

T: That’s for sure.

 

K: It helped me in recovery.

 

T: Yes and it’s really hard not to be like that when your brain is stressed out and everything is a catastrophe. Every small things like knocking over a glass and the world ends. Where as when your brain relaxes because it’s got full nutrition, it’s just like it can deal with so much more and not get stressed.

 

K: Yes, exactly. The littlest things won’t set you off any more.

 

T: As long as nobody died it would be fine.

 

K: (laughs) Yes exactly.

 

T: Well really great to talk to you

 

K: You too thank you so much.

 

T: Where can people find out more about you?

 

K: I’m mostly on Instagram and YouTube lately. Damn the Diets and my book Damn the Diets. Everything is just Damn the Diets!

 

T: Love it.

 

K: Thank you so much Tabitha.

 

T: Pleasure to talk to you.

 

T: Now you may have noticed that recently I’ve been doing a few of these recovery stories, inviting people who have made full recoveries themselves to come on and talk about it. I think it’s really important to know that it can happen. And the more people that we get talking about it, the more we know full recovery is absolutely possible and is absolutely possible via the non traditional route aka eating lots of food.

 

Allowing your hunger to guide you through the process rather than just allowing somebody else who is not your body to dictate how much you should eat. Many of us find that if we listen to that mental hunger and sometimes that physical hunger is there too, that if we listen mostly to that mental hunger, that’s thinking about food the whole time.

 

That our bodies our actually just trying to communicate and tell us exactly how much food they need. And so recovery in many, many terms is about trusting that when your body is thinking about food, it’s telling you that it needs to eat food and that your body is going to be your guide through that process.

 

And that doesn’t mean it’s not scary. It doesn’t mean it stops being scary just because you trust your body. No. It’s still scary and so getting the most support and listening to other people who have been through that process is just going to help you hang in there and keep doing the right thing and keep eating.

 

So if you have a story to tell or to share then hey email me, info@tabithafarrar.com and we can chat. Cheers and until next time, cheerio.

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