If Balance is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

Recently, I've seen some posts discussing the "message" in my book.

Some feel that I should not be talking about eating disorder recovery because I'm not a professional.

Fair. . . but also, no.

My book is my story. My recovery. Mine. I shared it in hopes that it would inspire someone who is still struggling by showing them that they, too, can beat an eating disorder.

Someone argued that the “balance" I promote in my book is "actually referred to, in the eating disorder community, as 'compensatory behavior'- eating something bad and then making up for it by eating something good."

So, I did a little research…

It's important for me to clarify what compensatory behavior actually means.

Compensatory behaviors are the things that people with eating disorders do in an attempt to make up for having consumed calories. They're an attempt to erase shame, anxiety, guilt or other "bad" feelings about the food eaten and the act of eating it.

Now, if I eat indulgently at one meal, it's likely that I'll "compensate" and eat pretty clean at my next meal. But this behavior has nothing to do with feeling shame for eating the first meal. It's simply because I know that I can maintain a healthy weight (in a healthy manner) this way.

While the balance I live my life with may be a compensating behavior, it doesn't classify as a compensatory behavior, as defined by the eating disorder community.

The most well-known compensatory behavior is self-induced vomiting. Others include the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, colonics and enemas, compulsive exercise and fasting or restricting food intake.

While I understand all of these behaviors all too well (because I used to do them), I don't do any of them anymore.

Compensatory behaviors are behaviors meant to compensate for or "un-do" eating.

I would never want to un-do eating. Eating is what turned my metabolism back on and sparked a significant weight loss. Eating more changed everything for me.

One person went so far as to say that this lifestyle of balance that I am living is "part of the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder" and that "anyone working with eating disorders will tell you that (my) references to "clean eating" are a red flag (that I have an eating disorder)."

I'm having a hard time accepting that if a person talks about "eating clean," it's a red flag that the person has an eating disorder. And I have a big problem with someone telling me that I still have an eating disorder. I know what an eating disorder looks like, feels like, smells like, sounds like and tastes like. I lived it for a decade of my life. Every minute of every day. It was all-consuming and sucked the life right out of me. I am happy now. I eat whatever I want and feel no shame or anxiety about food. I may not have sought out professional treatment, but I did stop a decade cycle of bingeing and purging and am finally able to enjoy food and enjoy life! Don't tell me that I still have an eating disorder. Don't.

Squats and Margaritas-a Journey to Finding Balance is the story of how I stopped the cycle. It's my story and while I may not be professionally qualified to talk about eating disorders, I actually am (highly) qualified to tell the story of my own life. I am justified in sharing that the balance that I live my life with now has allowed me to overcome the abusive cycle that I inflicted upon my body for a decade.

A woman battling bulimia reached out to me recently to tell me that my book has changed her life. I don't know this woman personally, but I do know that she didn't throw up yesterday because of me, and I know that because she told me so.

For me, finding balance meant healing. But, it may not mean healing for every person suffering from an eating disorder.  If you’re struggling, I encourage you to reach out to my friends at Project HEAL.  Even if you aren’t suffering, please consider making a donation to Project HEAL. Their work is incredibly important. Also, know that I am always a direct message away, if you need support.

I’ve lived the unbalanced life. I’ve eaten to the point of utter discomfort. I’ve restricted my calories to the point where I deemed carrots off-limits because they were a starchy carbohydrate. Now I live with balance.

And for me, balance isn't just balanced eating. It's an entire lifestyle. I’m in the gym less and with my family more. I work out harder, but eat whatever I want. Balance works for me. It's changed my whole life.

If balance is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Cited articles reviewed by medical professionals before publication: