On today's Better Together story, I am honored to share this amazing woman's story of struggle and perseverance with eating disorders. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or know someone who is, may this serve as encouragement and offer them hope. Eating disorders can be fatal and affect children and adults. You are not alone. We are better together.
As a woman and mother who openly shares stories about my more than 10 year history with anorexia, bulimia, and anxiety, I was not surprised when my new friend Jessi asked if I had a food story I would be willing to share. Since sharing stories that connect and inspire women is my life's work, I said, "Absolutely!"
Let's start at the beginning. Like many typical middle-class children growing up in 1980s, I was a fan of watermelon, popsicles, fried bologna sandwiches, Doritos, ice cream and those wiggly squares of red and green Jell-O like all my friends. As an active girl with hard-working busy parents, these were the staples of my after school snacks, and it didn't really seem to be an issue in my youth.
Sometime during middle school that began to change as I noticed my stick thin friends could continue eating bags of Doritos and washing them down bottles of Sprite while my face began to get chipmunk like and my thighs began thicken.
Around the same time, my love of ballet, tap, and jazz led me to become a member of my high school dance team, which was highly competitive in our little suburban area of town. As weekly weigh ins began and skin tight leotards became my regular attire, I began to see food as the ultimate enemy to my desire to look like the other girls.
I was about 15 at the time I began studying calories and fat grams and the downward spiral from there was fast and furious. By the end of my junior year, I was consuming a mere 300 to 400 calories per day in the form of air popped popcorn and cucumbers, all the while dancing for two hours and then jogging or rollerblading for another hour or so.
Obsession does not begin to describe what food, and the fear of it, had become for me then. And so began my more than 10 year battle with mental illness and eating disorders. During that time food remained my most vicious enemy.
Finally slaying that dragon and overcoming anorexia and bulimia at the age of 27 can only be described as a miracle. Since then and for the last 10 years, I have radically changed my relationship with food and all that it represents in our lives as women. I have come to see myself as more than just my body, but rather body, mind, and spirit. I now see food as the fuel that propels me into the world to serve the women I have come to love so much.
The same food that was once my enemy has now become the means by which I share warmth and comfort and joy around my dinner table. But what really changed? Did I study more nutrition and understand how the right foods can literally heal my body and mind? Yes! Did I start practicing mindful eating and make peace with my body? Yes! Do I still have days where I want to lose a few extra pounds? Unfortunately, yes!
But so much more than any of that, is that I forever changed my mindset about what food means to me and to other women. Food is the means by which can offer life giving love and kindness and strength to one another, especially when we gather at a table and eat it together in a spirit of gratitude and connectedness.
As the survivor of a more than 10 year battle with anorexia and bulimia, Christina Tinker is a gatherer of women, a story teller and a hope spreader. She is the Owner & Founder of Tinker Talks LLC and Richmond Moms Blog. If you'd like to learn more about her personal food journey of suffering and healing, please follow her at https://www.facebook.com/tinkertalksllc/.
Christina's favorite recipe: Caprese Di Farro
Speaking of mindfulness and food, I am so excited to partner with Laurel Holland with Live Your Inner Power for this powerful event! She has helped me transform my life from within. I cannot wait for you to meet her! Since this will be held in my home, we have limited spots available.
How is mealtime at your home?
Are you satisfied with your eating habits? Do you mindlessly snack or eat?
Are you wondering about how to be more mindful, more present to life and your family?
Join Jessi and Laurel for an evening of both mindfulness lessons and cooking inspiration.
We will cook together, share tips in making meal time a pleasant and rewarding part of the day, and learn how mindfulness can create positive transformation in this part of your life.
If you have a desire to be a parent who teaches her children healthy habits, come and spend the evening learning skills that will support both yourself and your family for developing a more peaceful and present-to-the-moment lifestyle.
* Once you let us know you are interested by submitting this form, you will receive registration information and pricing. *