• Sara O'Malley

Coming Clean: My Battle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Binge Eating Disorder.

Since I’ve started this blog, or really since I’ve started sharing my fitness journey, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback. It’s been mostly positive feedback, which has been great! I love answering your questions and helping other people. It’s why I share all of this.

However, some of it hasn’t been so positive. I’ve heard, “Well, it’s easy for you, because you were small before you got pregnant.”

“You’ve been small forever. You don’t know what it’s like to need to lose more than 10 pounds.”

“I wish I had your determination. It would probably be easier if I was skinnier to begin with.”

What you probably don’t know is that I live with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). I have seen different therapists and been on anti depressants for BDD and a binge eating disorder for about 7.5 years now.

This isn’t for you to feel sorry for me. This isn’t for you to feel bad for making those comments. This is for you to KNOW that I struggle with my own demons while trying to stay fit and healthy, and if it seems like I’m obsessed, well, sometimes I am.

When I was in the 8th grade I weighed 198 pounds. I wore a size 16, almost 18. I was so unhealthy and was eating a lot of my feelings about puberty/coming of age. I lost 60 pounds, the healthy way, on Weight Watchers and walking “the loop” (my town sort of made a circle that we called the loop).

I did it! I was skinny! And it was SO easy to keep off! Little did I know it was because I was in cheerleading and band, working my ass off and staying in shape. The next four years were pretty smooth weight wise.

Flash forward to freshman year of college. I gained 6 pounds in one week, probably from drinking and literally having a buffet in front of me three meals a day at the dining hall. I wasn’t doing cheerleading or band, and I wasn’t staying super active. At the same time, I was seeing girls in belly shirts at every party I went to. I was comparing myself to size 0s - I was a size 8. I needed to look like them. After that week, I started to starve myself to lose the 6 pounds.

I was eating about 900 calories a day five days a week, then drinking and eating my face off on the weekends (cue binge eating disorder). I did this for MONTHS, until my newly-found best friend told me I had a problem. I didn’t tell her, I didn’t tell my mom, I didn’t tell anyone. I went to the free therapist for students and started talking about my habits, and she realized I had BDD and was binge eating on the weekends.

This continued for the next 4ish years. All through college, I fought the battle. I’d give up for a few months and gain 6 or 7 pounds, and then start back up by going to the gym 7 days a week and barely eating anything. I’d drink cucumber vodka mixed with water on an empty stomach then end up eating half a pizza by the end of the night.

My husband’s best man even made a joke during his speech about me sucking the cheese off of noodles and spitting the noodles out to fit in my wedding dress. Everyone thought it was funny, including me, but I’ve realized now that was a huge problem. I have put bites of food in my mouth to taste it and then spit it out in the trash can once I felt I got the “flavor”.

Then about two years ago, my trainer, one of my best friends, had a come to Jesus with me. I wasn’t toning up despite everything I was doing at the gym. I ran to her for help. She told me I wasn’t eating ENOUGH. Sorry, what? I needed to eat more?

So began my journey with macros, the system I now know and love and share with you guys almost daily. Dannie told me about calculating my macros, I did, and now I am healthier and more toned than I’ve ever been. I’m also more satisfied with my life than I’ve ever been. Knowing the exact amount of food my body NEEDS for fuel and to build muscle gets me excited and helps me, a busy full-time working mom, keep my eating disorder in check.

I no longer count calories to stop myself from eating too much. I count macros to make sure I’m eating ENOUGH.

While I go by the 80/20 rule of “eat well 80 percent of the time, have fun 20 percent of the time”, I still struggle with the negative thoughts and body image.

Just the other night, I ate half an eclair. HALF. I had hit my macros for the day and didn’t have the extra calories, but damnit, I wanted some of that eclair. I went to bed right after so I wouldn’t eat the rest, and then I started crying. It was like I could feel the cellulite accumulating on the back of my legs. I could feel my abs being covered with the fat from that MAYBE 150 calories I had just consumed.

This is where you go, “Oh my god. She’s so dramatic. One half eclair is not going to ruin her body”. And you’re right. It won’t. But trust me when I say, I don’t want those thoughts. They are real. They are a problem. And sometimes, not even all the Prozac and therapy in the world can keep them at bay.

So the point of my story? The next time you see a “skinny girl” not eating, or hear her complaining about her weight, don’t judge her. She might be battling more than you know.

And also, the next time you think I’m being neurotic about my food, I am. I’m neurotic about eating ENOUGH. Me tracking me food every single day makes sure that I don’t starve & binge and start that cycle all over again.

There’s more to everyone’s story. ❤️

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