My Eating Disorder and the Valuable Lesson it Taught Me

My Eating Disorder and the Valuable Lesson it Taught Me

I never had a healthy relationship with food. Growing up in a big Italian family, food was always a center of any occasion. It was something we gathered around, something we joined together over. Something we used to celebrate and to show love. But as joyful as it sounds, growing up with a family that was very close, there was something eating away at my soul and separating me from truly celebrating those moments: My Eating Disorder.

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I never really knew I had an eating disorder. I couldn’t tell you how it started, or why it started, but I can tell you the moment I recognized my body as something that was bad and needed to change. I was Seven. Yep… Seven. My friend and I were talking about our new favorite dance classes. I told her I loved my Jazz class, and that Ballet was boring. Offended by my statement, my little seven year old friend told me “Well, you wouldn’t be good at ballet anyway.”

“You have to be able to suck in your stomach,” she said.

I challenged her … showing her I could force in all my breath– sucking in all the air I could muster…. “See! I Can!” I said with a smile. Then she told me what she was trying to say all along. “No. Not like that. I mean… you have to be skinny.”

My Eating Disorder And How it Evolved

Through the years that moment, my body perception haunted me. As I got older, I wasn’t really getting attention from boys like my friends were. I blamed this on my body. And I started to believe that maybe my friend all those years ago was right. After all, I did have a belly… and my mom did tell me to suck in my stomach when she took pictures of me and my sisters. “Maybe my weight is what is holding me back,” I thought.

I wasn’t incredibly heavy, but I wasn’t skinny like most of my friends either. It was kind of like I was in this middle ground… I was on the edge of fitting in somewhere — I just didn’t know where. And like most teenagers who suffer from an eating disorder, I believed that if I gained control of my weight, I would be able to find my place in life. I would get guys to like me. I would feel more confident. I would finally have everything a teenager girl wants: LOVE.

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So in an effort to want to find love, I started punishing myself. I cut my calories, kept journals to log every crumb of food that touched my mouth…. and every pound I lost or gained. But the extremes of my lifestyle – eating nothing and starving my body only made my weight bounce up and down from one extreme to another…  all the way into college. Gaining and binge eating, Losing and starving, it was like I was on this rollercoaster of extremes with no middle ground.

When I started to date this guy my first year of college, I felt like I was finally in a place where feeling good about myself was possible. I started to believe that maybe my weight didn’t really matter much. But then, our relationship turned ugly… he didn’t treat me right and totally destroyed my self-esteem.. Things got really unhealthy and abusive really fast. And as a result, life got pretty dark for me after that. I got really depressed because of the way I was being treated and my self-esteem totally fell through into the deep end. I felt out of control of my life being in an abusive relationship. So I decided it was time to switch schools and head back home. And as quickly as my eating disorder had left my mind, it entered back again full force.

I felt the lowest self-worth I ever felt… and thinking that there was something wrong with me that I needed to change, the only way I could feel like I had control over my life was by forcing my body to change… in any way possible.

I starved myself. I purged. I did everything in my control to keep food from entering my life. But my eating disorder was controlling me.  I started loosing my hair. I could feel my spine poking through my shirts. And I was cold… all the time.  I dropped to under 109 pounds, losing more than 70 pounds in four months. Sure my mom wasn’t telling me to suck in my stomach anymore…. but now she was telling me I looked like a skeleton. A ghost of my former self. And even then, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I was never going to be as thin or as beautiful as I needed to find the love I was looking for… because the truth is, I was looking in all the wrong places.

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The Road to Recovering from My Eating Disorder

The road to recovery was long. I gained the weight back and learned how to lose it all over again — this time, the healthy way.

The most important lesson I learned was that my body wasn’t the thing I needed to fix in order to feel good: It was my mind that needed the true repairing.

I started educating myself on emotional eating and discovered principles I now teach in my online courses— Learning to let go of my insecurities about being accomplished or “being good enough,” and learning to actually just go after what I wanted for myself… without the fear that I wasn’t worth it. I started going after my goals in a healthier way.  And I uncovered the emotional compass that led me to set goals that were achievable, goals that were confidence boosting, not destructively unhealthy.

And mainly… most importantly….I started treating my body like something that was a reflection of who I wanted to be — not something that was holding me back from being beautiful.

Slowly, I learned to let go of my eating disorder, and let in love.

 

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I’ve realized something looking back on those moments where my eating disorder was strongest…

I was fighting to change my body because I believed that the world around me would change if it did.  I thought maybe if I was skinnier I would feel better about who I was by fitting in and getting the attention and love I was seeking. I thought what would follow would be a sense of true beauty that would keep me from ever being harmed or hurt by others.

But why did I think other people were holding the key to my ability to feel good about myself?  Why did I believe changing my body would change the feelings I had toward myself — and my worth? Why couldn’t I just make effort to feel better about who I was in general?

My eating disorder taught me that finding love is about figuring out how to love yourself first. Feeling confident doesn’t come from other people. Feeling beautiful never follows any physical transformation unless you yourself embark on the emotional journey required to get there.

To all the girls out there struggling to find the body they are looking for — the body they think will bring them amazing love, or a larger amount of happiness than they already have…. the key to changing everything, starts within you…. 

How to Break a Bad Habit Forever

How to Break a Bad Habit Forever

Full disclosure: I have some pretty bad habits up my sleeve. Some that I am holding onto for now, because I am not ready to commit to the step of letting go, and others I have been trying to quit for years. If you’re honest with yourself, I’m sure you could admit to having a bad habit or two no matter how close to perfect you are.

The question is how do we kick butt and remove an unhealthy habit from our lifestyle? And how do we find the passion and drive to stay committed to quitting a bad habit?

How to Quit a Bad Habit

PART ONE: Steps to Getting Rid of a Bad Habit

Step One: Acknowledging your bad habit it is holding you back. Ask yourself this important question: “How is this bad habit negatively effecting my lifestyle?” When I was a heavy drinker, for example, I needed to recognize that drinking too much was really preventing me from living the life I truly deserved. I knew this. But I guess  I didn’t want to admit it. So I made myself admit it. I got out a pen and paper and I made a list.

Set Two: Make a list of all the reasons your unhealthy habit is negatively influencing you. I’ll give you an example from my personal life just to help you on your own self discovery process. I used to be a heavy drinker. How did I change that? First, I recognized that my drinking was negatively affecting me. Then I listed all the reasons how it was actually doing that. When I was drinking heavily,  I was feeling behind on my weight-loss and healthy goals. I was also holding myself back from emotional balance because whenever I was drinking heavily, I had a hard time relaxing and being present. Most importantly (the biggest eye opener of them all) my heavy drinking was effecting my relationships with others: I would fight a little more often with my boyfriend and my sisters when I was under the influence. And that was a big no no for me. Making that list really made me want to give up drinking. I couldn’t deny the truth when it was staring me in the face.

Step Three: Figuring out exactly what that bad habit provides you. It’s true though, we all get something positive from our bad habits. And we need to acknowledge that too. You cannot get rid of a bad habit without replacing it with a good one. So you need to ask yourself what that bad habit offers you and how it enhances your life. Do you smoke to relax? Maybe you drink to have a good time? Or perhaps you are an overeater who uses food to cope with anxiety. Whatever it is – figure it out.

Step Four: Replacing your unhealthy bad habit with a new healthy habit. It’s easy to pass up the idea of quitting a bad habit when we program our brains to think that the bad habit we love is actually adding value to our lives. But once we get real deep and honest with ourselves, we can recognize how that bad habit enhances our lives and then figure out a new healthy habit to replace it with. Maybe instead of drinking to relax you will go for a walk or meditate. Maybe instead of overeating to cope with anxiety you read a book or paint your nails. Whatever works for you is what you should do.

PART TWO: Finding The Drive to Change NOW.

Step Five: Discover the reasons why you must change this bad habit now as opposed to later on in life. Have you ever known someone who says they want to change but they never do? There is a reason so many people put off the idea of making a positive change for their lives: They don’t have the motivation to make that change NOW. Instead, they just keep putting it off. How many times have you wanted to start a healthy lifestyle and kept telling yourself, “oh I’ll start on Monday.” Or maybe you were trying to quit indulging on sweet foods but kept telling yourself that the holiday’s were around the corner, “Why not wait until after then?” Find the momentum to change your lifestyle NOW. Ask yourself, “What will happen if I don’t make this change NOW in my life? as opposed to two years from now, or next year or next week?” There has to be something about your situation now in life that will give you the urge and desire to take massive action TODAY. Find the reasons.. reflect on those reasons.. and push yourself forward.

Step Six: Implement new healthy habits. Remember how I said bad habits stick around because we get something good from them? What do you get from your bad habit right now? You have to be getting something good or else you wouldn’t be keeping that bad habit around! Does your bad habit relax you? Maybe it gives you something to do and keeps you busy when you are bored. Perhaps your bad habit has become such a routine part of your life that you don’t even remember what that good feeling is that you got from it. Dig deep. Figure it out. You can’t give up a bad habit without replacing it with something new. That’s just the truth. If you don’t find new ways to feel good, you’ll just give up a bad habit, feel bad, and then go back to it! So don’t do that.

 

All of these Steps and more for sustainable bad habit kicking are outlined in my free E-Guide. Come grab it by clicking the button below and start making positive changes to your life today!

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IS IT LOVE OR AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?

IS IT LOVE OR AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?

I’m going to make this simple today. Because for a topic that is so super complicated, being clear and to the point is really important here.

As a Relationship Recovery expert I see a lot of girls struggling to recognize when their relationships are really bad for them.

And I totally get it.

I’ve been there too.

I run a whole group dedicated to helping girls like this (join the community here if you haven’t already.)

We don’t always go into a relationship with low self worth, am I right? But when we find ourselves in an abusive relationship – we slowly start to feel “less than.” Know what I’m talking about? Good. Okay. Here’s a little check list I want you to go through today. Use this list to start figuring out if you’re romantic life is really just an abusive relationship in sheep’s clothing. Get it? okay. Here we go ladies:

 

Top Warning Signs that You are in an Abusive Relationship

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He is constantly making you feel “less than” good about yourself.

If you are struggling to feel good about yourself on a regular basis, it’s probably not your fault. Nine times out of ten, when we find ourselves in an abusive relationship, we often feel crummy about ourselves too. It is really easy to let the quality of your relationship dictate how you feel about yourself. And if you are feeling less than or not good enough, then maybe it’s time to start asking yourself if your abusive relationship bears those qualities too.

He has you questioning your own loyalty, morals, or values.

I have yet to see a client that is a bad person or heartless partner. Yet, so many of my clients come to me feeling like they are! They actually start believing that maybe they aren’t worth anything better. Here’s why: an abusive relationship causes you to feel that way. Being in an abusive relationship plays tricks on your mind. Because if your partner is constantly being source of aggression, it wouldn’t surprise me if you fall down to his level every once and a while to defend yourself. Is he yelling at you all the time so on a few occasions you yelled back too? Or maybe he called you names and one day you suddenly snapped and called him a jerk face too (or probably something worse.) We try to defend ourselves by speaking the language our partners speak… and if that way of living isn’t in line with our morals, values, or beliefs, well… then we start feeling like we aren’t very good people. (and maybe we deserve this unhealthy mistreatment.) News flash: You are NOT to blame for your situation. And if your abusive relationship has you doubting how kind hearted or good you are, it is a big no no warning sign to walk away.

When you try to work on things and talk, it always turns into an argument.

Ineffective communication is a big red flag. It comes with the territory of being in an abusive relationship, unfortunately. When partners don’t communicate properly, it can really wear you down and start making you feel insignificant. I’ll give you an example: a client of mine was so deeply frustrated in her unhealthy relationship. She kept trying to communicate what she needed and wanted, but it always turned into an argument. She could never tell her partner how she felt without him yelling and screaming back. What happened? Well..she started to believe something was wrong with HER. She started questioning herself – “Why can’t I get my message across clearly?” “What’s wrong with me that he just doesn’t understand.” ….. If this is you.. just know – the problem is not on your side. It’s time to walk away.

You often feel like you want more than what you are getting in the relationship.

Let’s play off that example I just gave for a minute. That client of mine was trying to tell her partner that she needed certain things from him. And he wasn’t reciprocating. A loving healthy relationship should have healthy communication and sense of respect. Check out my post on How to Communicate if you need more help on this. But basically, what I’m saying here is that if you are in need of something, a healthy happy relationship partner should be able to work on giving that to you. If he doesn’t – well then bye bye!

You have lost a lot of your friends and feel very alone.

I’ll keep this one short. When we are in an abusive relationship, our partners may push us away from the people we love. It isn’t because we don’t love them – it’s because we are scared of losing our partner if we don’t distance ourselves. It’s a survival mechanism. And if you’re at a point where you feel like you are alone or without the friends you once had, it’s time to walk away.

OTHER WARNING SIGNS: 

The things that are important to you seem way less important to him.

You feel like a different person than you once were before the relationship.

You cry and yell more than you laugh and love.

You feel scared to talk or bring up certain things.

You changed your personality in the relationship

IF THIS IS YOU: START HERE

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What I learned when I hit rock bottom.

What I learned when I hit rock bottom.

Rock bottom is the shittiest place to be.

And I guess, like most of us, I’ve hit it a few times in my life.

Before I was the “What is Perfection” girl, I was actually, the “What the heck is wrong with her” girl.

Because seriously, I was super miserable in my life.

It was so bad, that in 2009 I attempted suicide. 
My abusive boyfriend had pushed me over the edge. I had enough.
And I wanted to give up on my life.
So I grabbed a bottle of pills. The next thing I knew,
I was waking up in the hospital with a second chance.

I struggled for a really long time after that.

I knew in my heart that I didn’t want live my life unhappy and insecure.
And I knew there was more to living than hating life. I just had no idea how to change it.

 

 

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

But sometimes, it takes you a long time to learn them. Sometimes rockbottom happens a few times before your life can change.

In 2008 –  I tried to kill myself.
In 2009 I spent the year in and out of psychiatric wards,
struggling with a drug addiction and suicidal thoughts.

I spent 2010 heavily medicated trying to numb the pain
and the fact that my husband was lying, cheating and using drugs.
in 2011, we went bankrupt.
Financially and emotionally broke.

I HIT ROCK BOTTOM. AGAIN.
So 2012 I decided to make a change.
I decided I was going to be a
BRAND NEW ME.
The moment I made that decision, 
Everything about my nightmare life changed.
-I stopped living at rock bottom.
-I landed my dream job.
-I left my unhappy marriage.
-Found true love.
-I bought a house.
-I got engaged.
-I kicked my addictions.
-I beat my eating disorder.
-I went off medication.
-I ran my first half marathon.
-I lost 60 pounds and took my first vacation.
I found true happiness.


Yes. All of those things happened to me. And they can happen to you too.

Because rockbottom is not permanent. Pain is temporary and all those silly cliches are actually sort of true.

The minute you make a decision to change your life, you can actually change it.

When you make that decision is entirely up to you.

Yes I completely transformed my life.
But it didn’t happen by accident.

It happened with hard work, determination, and endless endless drive to be the person I deserved and wanted to be.
I finally took a stand that year in 2012 when I hit rock bottom.
“The way you have been living is NOT you. YOU deserve BETTER.”
And I realized no one was going to hand me “better.” I needed to go out and fight for it.
If you are ready to fight for your life – don’t wait to go out and create it.

Stop hating yourself… start healing yourself.

I love you, believe in you, and want you to know, whatever you want,
you deserve it.

The Story of My Life Falling Apart

The Story of My Life Falling Apart

When My Love Life Turned My Life Upside Down

Let me take you back to 2012. The year my whole entire life changed. The year that (I think) actually catapulted me into the life I have now: full of self love, happiness, and joy. You see, before I became the What is Perfection Girl and developed all my online self improvement courses, I actually had a pretty messed up story to tell.

So here’s just a little part of it. Me: 2012.

My bank account was empty, and so was my  heart. I was about to walk away from my 5 year relationship. Actually.. I was really walking away.  Literally. Well.. more like running.

And all of my belongings were jam packed into a the back seat of my ’95 Honda Civic. I was done. Officially.

I decided it was time to leave my relationship because I was so sick of being hurt. It had been years of me trying to make it work and I guess I reached my breaking point. I don’t know what that “point” was specifically, but I definitely knew I was broken.  And so “over” the being lied to and the secrets. There were so many secrets.

Having your life physically fall apart in just a matter of months isn’t the worst part: It’s believing that you will never be able to put it back together again. My life was a big Humpty Dumpty Disaster, and I had no idea how to fix it.

In case you’ve never been in a story book like this one, let me tell you what happens next:

You feel hopeless. You start believing you will never be happy again. You form this idea that you are a miserable person who will always be miserable. You feel angry and resentful for the pain you are carrying. And you fall into a scary pitiful version of yourself you didn’t know existed.

You feel stuck, heartbroken, and angry. “I never asked for this.” or ‘Why me?” are very common mantras.

Ever been there? You know what I’m talking about.

And while other people may not feel like the world has ended, you sure as hell do.

The truth is, as painful as those moments are, having your world turn upside down can be the best thing that ever happened to you.

You just need to let it.

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Rebuilding and starting over.

Trying to put the pieces of my life back together was really scary. When you live for so long depending on your “other half” for things like happiness, love, and confidence, you kind of forget how to do those things for yourself. And trying learn how to do those things again for the first time is really hard.

But I promise you – now matter how hard it is, rebuilding your life and being able to look back on what you once had will make you feel so grateful for that experience. Because once you heal your heart, you will see just how wrong that past life was for you.

 

When My Life Turned Upside Down, It Changed for the Better.

Before my “Perfect Life” shattered in front of my eyes, I was living with rose colored glasses on. I didn’t see it then, but looking back six years later, I can see how truly unhappy I was. I was successful, happy, and loved by everyone else’s standards but my own. I wasn’t “truly fulfilled by my life” but I didn’t realize until it was taken from me.

To everyone else, my life was “perfect.” At least that’s what people told me. I had a “successful” career as a television news producer. At least that’s what other people said. I was a married young twenty-something who lived a loving happy wonderful life. At least that’s what other people saw.

When my marriage ended I was able to take off the rose colored glasses and see my life for what it really was: Something that caused me more unhappiness than joy. I had a life that I was “trying to make work,” rather than a life I truly wanted.

My life was never perfect because it wasn’t the life I wanted it to be.
I was never actually successful because I wasn’t pursuing my passion.
I didn’t feel wonderful or full of love because those qualities were only based on other people’s standards.

Picking up the pieces of my life and rebuilding myself became almost like a big art collage project. I was able to remove all the clutter, the garbage, the unnecessary and the negative; I started filling my life with all the things I truly wanted there. I recreated my life.

Looking back, six years later, I realize that I didn’t just leave a broken marriage: I left a broken life. And having the chance to rebuild it was the best most wonderful opportunity I ever had. It was a chance at a fresh start and new beginning: To makes something of myself that I truly wanted.

And it’s a chance that – if you’re struggling in an unhealthy unhappy relationship (or trying to heal your heart from one) you deserve to have too.

Sometimes you need a little help (heads up all my life transformation tips are in my online courses)

But there’s a deep lesson you need to learn here: Painful experiences can be a blessing in disguise. You may not ask for painful experiences, you may not expect them, and you may even curse the world for letting bad things happen to you: But years later, you can look back smile, and chant a new mantra:

“Everything Happens for A Reason.”

What happened when I finally moved forward? 

I healed my heart in a way that I didn’t even know it needed to heal! I thought that my relationship was the only thing damaged, but when that ended, I realized that my self love needed a ton of TLC too. Had I not had that rock bottom experience, I would have never faced the truth about myself – I was picking low-worth relationships because I had a low-worth placed on myself. I didn’t think I was deserving of the good stuff. I was constantly trying to please other people, so all I did was find “takers” to fill my life with. People who would take advantage of me.

By walking away from that relationship, I was able to drastically transform every area of my life. And I’ve never been happier.

Don’t worry… one day. That will be you too.

What You Need To Remember When Things Are Tough:

This is a learning moment – that if you let it – can make you stronger.

Everything – even the shitty stuff – happens for a reason.

Life is never perfect. And sometimes when things go drastically wrong, it just means there is a big drastic transformation waiting to happen.

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Heads up. If you’re relating to this story here, hurting and down on your luck. I’d suggest you check out:

The Broken to Beautiful 30 Day Course

Broken to Beautiful 30 Day Online Course what is perfection

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