A Belief In A Full Recovery, Freedom & Joy.
Recovering from an eating disorder is not something I write very much about for a few reasons.
It has been a couple of years, but still… one, it’s a very personal thing. Two, I felt I owed myself the space and sacredness of my own healing journey. Lastly, I was unsure if I was allowed to write about recovering from disordered eating if I still had areas I wanted to improve. I realize the journey to lasting change takes time.
Most importantly, it has required and taught me to cultivate a deep, gentle, loving kindness towards myself.
The truth is the process has been incredibly long and difficult. My family and my friends know firsthand, but they also have witnessed my commitment and progress. On days when I am tired, irritated, and frustrated with old tendencies that creep up to control what and how I eat — the people I love remind me of how far I have come. And they are right.
I was once malnourished, overexercising, and had a distorted starving mind. I felt out of control in my life and had no idea what I wanted or who I was.
However, I had this determination and this undeniable wisdom within myself and I knew I had to figure out how to tap into that. I prayed night and day for recovery. My life had to change, otherwise my heart was going to stop. But how? I realized that the food was just a symbol, this whole disorder wasn’t about the food.
It was about the emptiness within me, the deep fears of not having a purpose, the lack of meaning in my life. I had everything I could ask for, family, friends, a home, a car… but my heart and soul ached for something more. I had so many different dreams, unanswered questions, and I thought often of this big wild world I had yet to explore.
So I began to search for meaning. This was how Wildly Nourished came to life.
I started to research healing foods. I wanted to know the history, where they were grown, how they were grown, the indigenous sacred medicinal uses of it. I was amazed as I read about cacao. The Mayan culture referred to cacao as the food of gods and they used it as a ceremonial sacred drink.
The legends of cacao have a common theme in that when balance between humanity and nature was lost, the cacao tree appeared to restore harmony and peace within people’s heart. And the medicinal and nutritional aspect of cacao is profound. Anyway, I began to research different foods, building my recipe of Wildly Nourished squares.
Every ingredient in my Wildly Nourished squares has a home, a story, and healing powers. I shifted my entire thinking around food, and it launched new rockets of desire. I started to find more meaning in my life and new ways of expressing my creativity.
Recovery became possible as I began to realize I was not a mistake. I wasn’t flawed and doomed for life. The struggle with food was just a symbol or a metaphor. And when I was willing to stop banging my head against the wall of shaming, isolating, and fearing myself, I began to understand.
When a woman wants to understand the deeper issues underlying her struggle with food, she needs to learn how to look at her obsession with food as a metaphor or as a sign that there is a lack of nourishment in some aspect of her life.
The lack of nourishment in my own life was unexpressed creativity and the disconnection from my own heart that longed to travel, to learn, and share my story.
Wildly Nourished started to pick up, but I had more to learn. I took a leap without looking, and left for an adventure. I’ve spent the past year living in Central America studying/teaching Yoga, living within indigenous cultures, experimenting with medicinal foods, farming, and learning different alternative healing modalities.
You learn as you keep peeling back layers of disordered eating, that the key to recovery is telling more and more truths. It can pop up in all sorts of ways, so a woman must be very courageous and willing to honestly look at her behavior. I came to a new realization and a time for a new truth to be told.
I, essentially for the past two years, have been raw foodie or vegan. I have learned so much and understand the vibrancy and health benefits from living this kind of lifestyle. But my truth is a little different.
Yes, it is healthy eating, but not for a body that had been abused for three years. Not for a woman who hasn’t had her period in years due to the malnourishment in the past. Not for a woman who is determined to find complete freedom.
Yes, I no longer had an eating disorder and Yoga was my new medicine, but there were still too many rules, too many restrictions. It felt isolating for me.
So I am embarking on my next challenge. I want to live a life in which I feel free to eat what I want without any labels or rules. Of course, I’ll always eat healthy — local, organic, and unprocessed. I want to be able to go to dinner with friends and families, and not research the menu before searching for something I can eat.
I want inclusive living, not exclusive. I don’t want to be vegan, I don’t want to be paleo, I don’t want to be vegetarian… I want to be free.
On flying into LA airport, I spotted this super cute farm-to-table restaurant. I searched high and low for something I could eat. Frustrated, I asked myself what I wanted to eat. I went for it. I ordered this vibrant salad with balsamic dressing and goat cheese, and a small bowl of chicken chili.
I hadn’t had chicken or cheese in over three years. I felt nervous, the critical controlling voice in my head try to make its way in, but I brushed it off with gentleness… sorry, I just have no space for you right now. I sat down, set my plate up nice and pretty, and closed my eyes. Quietly I thanked Mother Earth for the food and I felt tears roll down my cheek.
I knew it was the start of a new chapter, and felt so grateful for my growth and patience. It was as if I felt this old part of me die, and give life to this new determination for this path.
Unlike other addictions such as drugs or alcohol, with an eating disorder the answer isn’t removing the substance. Because the substance in this case is the very thing that nourishes us and gives us life. However, when all the emphasis is focused on the food itself, we miss the fact the food is merely a metaphor for deeper underlying issues.
Once this is understood, we are able to identify what it is we are truly hungry for, and develop tools or new coping skills with support. As we learn new skills to respond to our deeper hungers, our relationship with our body improves.
Not to mention, the chili was delicious, and the goat cheese was unreal. I started to giggle, and couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on these things. Going forward, I hope to share my journey on exploring all sorts food again as I really Wildly Nourish this beautiful body.
I will keep telling more and more truths as my relationship with my intuition and body deepens. I believe In full recovery, freedom, and joy.
Stephanie Morrissey’s deepest desire as a Yoga teacher, holistic health coach, and body worker is to help people feel at home in their bodies, cultivate unshakable trust and confidence, and connect with their hearts awakening passion and purpose. She left the comforts of her life one year ago to travel through Central America, studying culture, farming, holistic nutrition, teaching Yoga, and living with indigenous healers/elders. She started Wildly Nourished, to share her path to freedom and help others by offering nourishing food, health coaching, Yoga, cacao ceremonies,and massage. She believes each person has a special gift and it is part of the journey to learn how to share our own unique medicine with the world. You can find her on Facebook or follow her blog.