STORY BY KATIE NOYED
PHOTOGRAPHY by Katya Agatucci
Fact: spinach is a superfood. It is rich in iron, vitamin K, vitamin C and folic acid. It contributes to healthy skin, hair and bones and even has been linked to cancer prevention. Also a fact: it is a terrifyingly unsatisfying late night snack.
Towards the beginning of my four-year battle with my eating disorder, I truly believed spinach was a suitable/healthy/normal snack to have. At just seven calories per cup (without dressing, of course) this was my go-to when my hunger interfered with my daily activities, for example: sleeping. Having cut out all processed foods, sugars and most fats from my diet, I was hungry a good 99 percent of the time but mentally satisfied because I was nourishing my body with “good” food… and I was in control.
Of course, nothing pairs better with hyper clean eating than obsessively over-exercising, something I was very good at doing religiously. Like many Bendites, I made my health a priority; however, my goals shifted from being safe to dangerous in a matter of weeks and it took professional help to get better.
Every day at treatment, I learned something profound. For example, there is no such thing as good or bad food (whoa!), it can be pleasant to go out to eat (note* our treatment fieldtrips consisted of eating at restaurants and grocery shopping), and when you are not thinking about calories, weight or food, it frees up time so you can actually live your life. Like I said — profound. But in all seriousness, these were lessons I had to learn to fully heal and recover from my eating disorder.
Today I write this article from a café in Bend, a vanilla latte in front of me and absolutely no thoughts on the nutritional value of this beverage; it is delectable and I am happy. As someone who has gone through the misery of an eating disorder, the process of getting better and the stages of recovery, I have a few messages for our lovely and health-conscious community of Bend, Oregon.
There Can Be Too Much of a Good Thing
Yes, it is important to support our community through buying local, and it is good for your health to eat organic, but it’s also essential to have a variety of foods in your diet — plus it’s more exciting!
Choose Movement That Brings You Joy
Exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but doing it for the sole reason to look a certain way isn’t healthy and can even lead to an eating disorder. Shift your focus from how you look to how you feel and choose an activity you love doing. Whether it’s a daily walk with your dog or dancing the night away at a concert — choosing a form of movement you love will be much more sustainable, not to mention more enjoyable.
You Only Have One Body
This may seem obvious, but it is important. The body you are born with is the only one you get. Treat it well, show it love and appreciate it for all that it provides you. Just to be alive is a miracle, so treat your body with kindness so it can be strong and healthy for the rest of your life!
For more information about eating disorders or to find resources, go to www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.