Category Archives: photos

national eating disorder awareness week: note to self

dear 10-year-old emi,

i wish you could see yourself the way i see you now in pictures: this happy little girl who outwardly didn’t care what other people thought, who wore what she wanted, who got the haircut she liked and who listened to the music that wasn’t necessarily “cool.” i wish i could protect you from the years ahead and the hurdles you’re going to climb. i wish i could read you the last chapter of your narrative now, letting you know there’s a happy ending to the story.


remember: you’re never too far gone. recovery is always an option because you’re always going to be worth it.

you’re going to develop anorexia when you’re 14-years-old.

you’re going to have a closet full of clothes, but only feel comfortable in the same five shirts. you’re going to suck your stomach in while walking down the hallway and adjust how you stand during rehearsals for your middle school musical because you want your friends to think you’re skinny; because to you, skinny people are the best people.

you’re going to be weighed your freshman year of high school and the number on the scale will read “113.” you’ll become obsessed with that number and force your body into a weight you’ll soon outgrow. you’ll notice new attention at school: you’ll gain friends, guys will start to notice you and you’ll feel like you fit in. you won’t attribute any of this to your personality, or who you are as a person; you’ll attribute this back to the size sewn into your jeans.

you’re going to stop eating normal meals. slowly breakfast and lunch will be replaced with a stick of gum on the school bus. you’re going to drink water to convince yourself you’re full. you’re going to cherish the moments when your mom hugs you and tells you she can feel your ribs.

you’re going to love the disorder. you’re going to become addicted to the feeling of an empty stomach and get a high every time someone says, “em, you look so skinny.” you’re going to stop living your life and start letting anorexia live it instead.

you’re going to fight with your parents about your eating. you’re going to cry at the table. you’re going to stare at a plate of food and not eat anything. you’re going to stop coming to the table for meals at all.

you’re going to start punishing yourself for being “too fat” your junior year of high school. you’ll leave marks on your body and have to cover them up. you’ll lie on the floor, crying, repeating “i hate myself” over and over and over… you’ll feel so lost, but one day you’ll be found; i promise.

you’re going to reach your senior year and begin spiraling out of control. you’ll starve yourself to the point where you’ll feel faint; you’ll realize a 00 will start to feel too big.

you’re going to start calling the “problem” by its name at the beginning of 2011. you’re going to tell loved ones “i have an eating disorder” and they’ll say “we knew all along.” you’ll get blood work done and the results will tell you there has been no major damage done to your body. you’ll interpret that as a “go ahead” to starve yourself further.

you’ll get to college and stop eating all together. you’ll stop going to the dining hall in october and binge-eat in your dorm, when you think no one is watching. you’ll discover new ways to lose weight and lay awake at night, from the pain these methods will cause you.

you’ll start losing your vision one day, in your freshman year. this will shake you from the nightmare you’ve lived every day for five years and make you realize you need to recover. you won’t think twice, you won’t know why you’re thinking it at all, but you’ll choose recovery.

you’ll fight to recover. you’ll learn you have body dysmorphia disorder; all those times you saw yourself to look a certain way wasn’t “just a phase,” but a medical condition. you’ll learn how to eat again, you’ll talk through your darkest thoughts and you’ll try every day to improve. but recovery won’t be as easy as you hope.

you’ll contemplate suicide at times. you’ll think there’s no reason to continue living. you’ll have lost your thin body, your dream career, your dream school, your friends and will believe things will never improve. you’ll want to give up so many times. but you don’t; you keep going.

you’ll transfer to a different school; you’ll change your major. you’ll start completely from scratch. you’ll make new friends, you’ll still get to perform and you’ll begin to blog about your experiences; you’ll make your life’s goal to break the stigma associated with eating disorders and mental illness.

you’ll speak out about your experiences every year during national eating disorder awareness week. you’ll break the silence. you’ll fight back with words. you’ll speak for those who’ve been silenced.

you’ll graduate from college with honors. you’ll move to the city you always dreamed of living in. you’ll have a boyfriend you love. you’ll find strength in your friends and family. you’ll work for your dream network. you’ll learn to eat without feeling guilt. you’ll begin living your life “for you.”

no matter what, always remember: no matter how far gone you think you are, there’s always hope.

recovery is always possible because you’ll always be worth it.

with love,

a 23-year-old emi


10 examples of positive recovery inspiration

i’ve said this many times before:

i’m a pinterest addict.

while i was browsing recovery boards, i noticed there were some tagged posts that weren’t conducive to a recovering mind.

recovery is a difficult time when you’re trying to set new habits and change old ways of thinking.

you’re there now.

i’m there now.

so, i decided to compile ten of my favorite positive recovery inspirations from pinterest and post them here.

you're amazing. i mean it.

1. “you are a survivor and that is amazing”

you are changing your life.

you are changing your thoughts.

you could have given up, but you’re choosing to stay strong and keep going.

you’re an inspiration.

i mean it.

recovery is amazing and so are you.


b1b807a4d05013d57b52c954342d6c592. “one of the hardest things was learning i was worth recovery.” -demi lovato

demi has inspired thousands of people around the world through speaking openly about her struggles with self-harm and her bulimia.

i believe this is truly the hardest concept to accept while changing myself:

everyone is worth life and recovery.

that includes you, promise.

4d5f3d85803528933952ae31a3cfbdf13. “life is to short for self-hatred and celery sticks”

with bikini season right around the corner, summer is a very triggering time to be in recovery.

the urge to restrict and starve is very overwhelming.

sometimes it seems easier to say “no” to the ice cream cone and say “yes” to an empty stomach.

i challenge you to love yourself this summer.

i promise, someone is wishing they could have your body this summer.

411ff9e9a8a211f22c1a15b7907824094. “sometimes what looks like the end is really a wonderful new beginning”

someone told me once:

“you can’t move forward until you hit rock bottom.”

i completely agree, 100 percent.

sometimes hope comes to us in the strangest of ways.

sometimes hope comes to us in the strangest of times.

sometimes just as you’re ready to give up, just as you’re ready to give up hope:

a new beginning is presenting itself to you.

there’s more to life than the checkered flag at the end of the race.

8cbb2561bcb5bbc5cc5b3e2ec955222d5. “i will smile because i am alive another day… and because i’m one step closer to being happy and healthy”

counting calories may seem just as natural as breathing.

starving your body may seem just as familiar as blinking.

today, i challenge you to to feed your body and feed your soul.

fill up your tummy with good nutrients and fill up your mind with kind thoughts.

you’ve been given a gift of a new day; smile and be joyful.

db224d79dc6626b15ac83aaf67671b956. “relapse is not the same thing as failure. the only possible way to fail is to give up”

we all will mess up.

it’s part of being human and learning.

relapse is a very real thing, and each of us will go back to our old ways and thinking at some point.

don’t give up just because you have a bad day.

one bad day doesn’t equal a bad life; try again tomorrow.

7f2dcb988da09d670deb711f4c2744e57. “the moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens. don’t give up”

imagine the most difficult moment of your life so far.

got it?

think about what happened later.

*spoiler alert: things got better.*

trust me, i know.

nothing stays bad forever, miracles are right around the corner.

your life is a miracle, so it’s time to start believing in them.

860382171cc862779eae5294951bf50a8. “everyday may not be good… but there is something good in everyday”

we all have bad days.

eating disorder or not, it’s life.

however, it’s about how we view bad days that allow us to change our perspective.

you can’t always choose how things go, but you can choose how you approach life.

maybe it’s raining and you have to wait for the bus.

but maybe there are beautiful tulips planted right next to the bus stop.

there’s good in everything and everyone.

seek and you shall find.

9b0f2d11817f5674ef02eb3c77e0be169. “the enemy does not stand a chance when its victim decides to survive” -rae smith

in this case, the enemy is you mind.

your negative thoughts, your anger and self-hate: they’re all plotted against you.

but recovery is the hero.

you’ve chosen to side with the right side and are proving the enemy wrong everyday.

you’re a survivor.

you’re stronger than negativity.

3784f3b622c4b034216572d5032da72f10. “you think you deserve this pain, but you don’t”

at times we’ve all believed we deserve our disordered thoughts.

that we’ve done something wrong and deserve to be punished.

we haven’t.

the pain of an eating disorder, the pain of depression and the pain of self-harm are not targeted for you.

you deserve to be happy, pain isn’t part of the package.

so what’s the moral of the story, you may ask?

let’s surround ourselves with messages of self-kindness, and positive motivation.

today is a new day, carpe diem.

you are beautiful.

you deserve positive inspiration.


a semicolon is a powerful grammatical tool: it shows there was a potential to quit writing, but the author chose to keep moving forward.

a semicolon is a powerful grammatical tool: it shows there was a potential to quit writing, but the author chose to keep moving forward.

a semicolon is a continuation of a thought, where one could previously ended.

a semicolon is a a symbol that you could have stopped fighting, but you’re still here.

a semicolon is going to unite thousands this week.

last year, the semicolon project was born.

a group of people got together and tweeted out a simple black and white poster, asking anyone who wanted to draw a semicolon on his wrist, to show support.

the responses were overwhelming.

the goal was to have “anyone who self harms, is suicidal, depressed, has anxiety, is unhappy, going through a broken heart, just lost a loved one, etc.” draw a semicolon on her wrist.

one year later, it’s still that simple.




on wednesday, april 16th, draw a semicolon on your wrist.

that’s it.

draw a semicolon.

no flash facebook status, no bright colors:

just a little semicolon on the inside of your wrist.

by drawing a semicolon, you’re proving you are the author of your own life and where your sentence could have ended, you decided to keep going.

you decided to keep writing your story.

i decided to keep writing my own story.

the author could have ended, but chose not to. the author is you and the sentence is your life.

the author could have ended, but chose not to. the author is you and the sentence is your life.

by drawing a semicolon on your wrist, this wednesday, you’re showing support for a community larger than yourself.

you’re showing support to the boy in your language class.

you’re showing support to your boss at work.

you’re showing support for yourself.

take a stand with me and participate in the semicolon project this week.

if you do participate, tweet a picture to @RecoveryBeauty, include #semicolonproject416 and i’ll retweet it.

let’s come together on wednesday.

let’s become a stronger community.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to be the author of your life.

it’s okay to eat


somedays are easier than others.

somedays you feel like you can’t go on.

somedays you want to forget recovery and go back to your old habits.

here’s a friendly reminder for those tricky times:

it’s okay to eat.

food is not the enemy, the disease is.

show your eating disorder who’s boss.

you are beautiful.

you deserve gentle reminders.

refeeding syndrome: my story

there isn’t a lot about refeeding syndrome on the internet.

sure, websites will tell you about how it was discovered after the holocaust.

sure, websites will tell you how starvation mode, for an extended period of time, will cause this.

sure, websites will tell you that it’s common while recovering from an eating disorder.

but to me that isn’t good enough.

those aren’t answers.

those are facts.

those aren’t stories from real people.

this is me, november 2011. i was about 95 lbs here and truly believed i was disgustingly overweight.

this is me, november 2011. i was about 95 lbs here and truly believed i was disgustingly overweight.

i decided that if i ever made it to recovery, i’d tell my story.

well, here i am.

the pictures are of me.

the story is my own.

and here’s the uncensored truth behind refeeding syndrome.

the summer of 2012 was a living hell for me.

i had decided in february of that same year i was going to kick anorexia’s butt, so i began my own recovery program without the aid of a hospital.

i’m 5’4″ and at my lowest i was 85 lbs.

i knew i needed to eventually weigh more so naturally, i began to eat more.

months later i would learn how incredibly dangerous this was and how i could have potentially died, due to complications.

refeeding syndrome is the long-term effect of starvation mode in which your body stores everything you take in.

if untreated, health risks can range from cardiac arrest, organ failure and even death.

let that sink in, because of the eating disorder you’ve been clinging to for security, you could die.

the eating disorder i clung to for security almost killed me.

but getting back to the story…

i began to notice my physical appearance changing as i tried to increase my caloric intake.

i began to look “puffy.”

this terrified me because i didn’t want to “get fat,” but i knew i needed more food.

i began trying to restrict again and exercise more, but the weight kept piling on.

it scared me.


my clothes stopped fitting.

my face was getting really full.

the worst part was i was eating less than 400 calories a day and i was still gaining weight fast.

this is me, summer 2012. i had nearly doubled my body weight and was visibly "puffy." i was incredibly depressed and have very few pictures of myself from this time.

this is me, summer 2012. i had nearly doubled my body weight and was visibly “puffy.” i was incredibly depressed and have very few pictures of myself from this time.

some weeks i was gaining over 5 lbs and my doctors couldn’t figure out why.

they told me to eat healthy, but i already was.

they told me to exercise more, but i already was.

nothing was working, so they began to test me for heart, kidney and intestinal problems.

to make matters worse, every time i ate anything i was getting sick.

i seriously couldn’t keep anything down for more than 20 minutes before i would get sick.

the doctors couldn’t figure out why i was so puffy and i became frustrated.

i quickly slipped into depression and stopped seeing my friends.

i sat inside and played on my computer because i was ashamed at my outward appearance.

a few months ago, i was able to control every aspect of my physical appearance and now i couldn’t even if i tried.

i now was tipping the scale at a little over 160 lbs, officially overweight and unable to do anything about it.

i was about to transfer to a new college and i was afraid no one would want to be my friend because i was “the fat girl.”

i wanted to die and cried all the time.

then my doctor suggested one more blood test:


if this was my problem, it meant my metabolism had been so weakened, by my anorexia, that it stopped working all together.

words cannot describe how happy i was to find out that i tested positively for this disease.

by taking one pill a day, i was able to have a functioning metabolism again.

this meant more energy, better moods and natural weight loss.

over the past 20 months, i’ve learned to be patient with my body as i’ve watched to slow change “back to normal.”

this is a photo of myself from last month. i'm slowly making progress towards a healthy and normal life.

this is a photo of myself from last month. i’m slowly making progress towards a healthy and normal life.

currently i’m in the high 120s and have been told by my doctors not to lose anymore weight.

i’m not allowed to diet, but i am encouraged to exercise daily and make healthy choices.

i’d be lying if i told you everyday is easy and i never struggle.

i’d be lying if i didn’t look in the mirror and sometimes wish i had my skeletal frame back again.

but i’d also be lying if i told you i was happier living with anorexia.

these past 20 months have taught me that i may not look like a model but i’m still beautiful.

these past 20 months have taught me i’s ok to eat a reese’s cup.

these past 20 months have taught me that no one is too far gone.

if you would like more information on refeeding syndrome, please read the linked article.

it’s full of really good information that is very accurate.

just remember, you didn’t get to where you are today overnight, recovery takes time.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to know the truth on refeeding syndrome.

1200 calorie diet

you're walking a fine line between life and death.

you’re walking a fine line between life and death.

1200 calories.

divide that number by three and you get 400.

400 calories per meal.

no liquid calories.

no snacking.

you just need to eat 1200 calories.

you just need to lose weight.

sound familiar?

any of this ring a bell?

it looks like a lot when you write it out: 1200 calories.

it’s like receiving a monthly allowance and feeling like you can buy the world.

you have so much control.

you can spend those calories on anything.


so wrong.

1200 calories isn’t a magic calorie value to make you lose weight, it’s a dangerously low number which can harm your body in ways you never imagined.

for the average woman, 2000 calories are required for normal life to be carried out.

your body burns calories by just staying alive, so that’s not counting any exercise at all.

so what’s the big deal?

why does counting calories get me in trouble if i’m seeing results?

isn’t that the point?

think of 1200 calories as a magical line:

stay above it and you’re going to feel more energized, your organs will function better.

but fall below it and you’re setting yourself up for some serious damage in the long-run.

so what do i know about any of this anyways?

it’s called starvation mode.

i’ve lived through it and trust me, it’s terrible.

starvation mode is when your body is in a caloric deficit.

basically you haven’t been eating enough so your natural reaction is to retain whatever you let your body have.

ever notice how you’ve been dieting and then give yourself a “cheat day” and you feel bloated by the end of the day and it lasts for the next few days?

that’s the beginning signs of starvation mode.

it’s why all diets fail.

the minute you start restricting, you’re putting your body “in the red” and the only way to make it “to the green” is to start feeding your body correctly.

but what does any of this have to do with me eating 1200 calories a day?

your body needs more than that.

that’s the simple answer.

by letting yourself retain anything less than 1199, you’re just asking for serious health problems.

i didn’t say eat, i said retain less than 1199 calories.

there’s a huge difference.

by starving yourself now, later you could develop problems with your thyroid, menstrual cycle, bone density, vision and even the ability to have children someday.

after battling anorexia for over five years, i already have many of these problems.

it’s terrible.

i’m dependent on a pill to make my metabolism work, my bones have been weakened and when i’m older, it’s going to be very difficult for me to become pregnant.

maybe you’re eating 1200 calories a day now.

maybe you’re eating less than that.

it’s never too late to change.

the human body is insanely strong and can recover from just about anything.

you just have to give it the ability to recover.

strive to eat more than 1200 calories a day.

i know it’s hard.

i know it’s really hard.

but it’s possible.

you’re too smart to believe the lies about calorie restriction.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to not walk the 1200 calorie line.

always hungry: learning to eat again


you dream of food. you think about food. your reality is a constant battle with starving and binging.

you dream of food. you think about food. your reality is a constant battle with starving and binging.

your stomach growls.

you smile a little and feel as if you’ve won a small victory:

you’re hungry.

pro-ana sites have told you time and again this is what you want:

you want to be hungry.

you want to fast an hour longer than you did last time.

you want to feel hungry and if you don’t, you’ve one something wrong.

sound familiar?

for anyone suffering from an eating disorder, this is your painful everyday reality.

you starve yourself to feel any self worth.

you starve yourself to obtain beauty.

feeling hunger has become a regular part of your life, just as brushing your teeth in the morning.

for someone attempting to recover from an eating disorder, learning to eat regular meals is more of a struggle than some may think.

personally, i was a night eater, during my years battling anorexia.

i feared eating in front of others and would eat in secret late at night.

i was in a routine and had a difficult time changing this habit.

my body was trained to not recognize hunger and i prided myself for this unnatural trait.

when i began the first steps towards recovery, i was challenged by my nutritionist to start eating small “snack like meals” multiple times a day.

i’ll be honest, i cried frequently.

i was unstable.

i was unhappy.

i felt like a failure.

every time i ate, i would go to a mirror and analyze my body, searching for visible weight gain.

you are beautiful inside and out. that's the truth.

you are beautiful inside and out. that’s the truth.

so why am i telling you this?

why am i talking about my own struggle?

you are not alone.

you are not the only one struggling with learning to eat again.

it’s incredibly difficult, i understand.

sometimes we feel alone in our battle, with our personal struggles, because we work so hard to hide our condition from the world.

but know this:

you are not the only one.

learning to feed your body again is no easy feat, it took you time to get to where you are and it’ll take time to get back to a recovered “normal.”

you will have good days and bad days, but don’t give up.

for taking the steps toward recovery, you are already stronger than you know.

keep fighting and pushing forward, i believe in you.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to feed your body.

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