The way I recovered from my restrictive eating disorder was unconventional. At the time, I was 17 years old and I had just disappointed my mother when I told her that I hadn't had a period in months (read about it in the Story Behind: Screw This, I'm Out!). The shame that I felt from disappointing my mother was so strong that I essentially "quit" my ED behaviors overnight.

 In other words, I went "all in." The term was popularized by YouTuber Stephanie Buttermore when she documented her own all in journey to food freedom. Here's her YouTube playlist. I kid you not, when I watched her first video in the playlist, I cried. I cried tears of something-like-joy from finding out that there was someone who recovered from restrictive eating in the exact way I did (I'm not sure if Stephanie had an ED).

If you struggled or are currently struggling with an ED yourself, you might be thinking how it seems impossible to suddenly switch thought patterns around food. To that, I'm not sure what to say other than that I am very much an all or nothing, person sometimes. When I make a decision, I stick to it without fail. But either way, it's ok! We're all on this journey to food freedom so I don't think how we get there entirely matters.

Around the time I went all in, I got a gym membership for the first time. Before this, I didn't really exercise. I did bodyweight workouts in my basement while everyone was asleep and went for rigorous daily walks (like "let's do some cardio!" type walks) and barely participated in phys. ed. class at school. I had no idea what I was doing. So I hired a personal trainer to get me started. Over time, I made progress with gaining strength and muscle. I found myself wanting to push myself more and more to see how much more weight I could lift. The way I thought about going all in was that I should take advantage of all the extra calories to push myself to build muscle!

And then I found powerlifting. That's when things really took off for my recovery.

The feeling of being an athlete changed me for the better. I learned about how I should be getting proper nutrition and rest. I learned that I can't just over-exercise to achieve the results I wanted. Let me tell you, overtraining syndrome is a lot worse than you think - my body shut down and I couldn't move and function mentally and physically.

Here are some things learned in my all in journey:

  • Food is fuel, not the enemy -  don't feel guilty for eating!
  • Junk foods aren't "bad" - they just have different amounts of macronutrients
  • It's possible to regain/relearn hunger cues!! (I've cried over this SO MANY times)
  • Weight gain is a necessary and healthy part of recovery (and there will be a point where you will stop gaining and you get less hungry)

As for the design, I love the edgy, more aggressive look this has. I find that a lot of healing-from-ED apparel are too soft, gentle, flowery and feminine... where is the diversity?! It's not just women who struggle with eating disorders; EDs don't not discriminate against genders. The aggressiveness in this design I feel makes the design gender-neutral and keeps it away from the harmful stereotypes. Yay for gendy nooch!

And the pizza! When you achieve food freedom, you're not afraid of eating "junk" food! You just understand that all food is made up of different amounts of macronutrients and just because a food is high in one macro and low in another, it doesn't mean it's the spawn of the devil.

And that's the story behind the Recover design! Thanks for reading!


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