“It was just past 7 on a crisp fall day. I was sitting at my cramped wood desk that also served as my makeshift kitchen counter, all of which lived right next to my bed – living in a college dorm room takes a lot more architectural creativity than I ever could have imagined. I was ready for a break from my Medical French homework when my suitemate called into our room, ‘Come eat cake!’
It was sophomore year, and I was so excited to celebrate my suitemate’s birthday. Her mom had gone all out and sent not one, but two bundt cakes from some famous bakery everyone had somehow heard of. I went into her room and could immediately smell the delicious scent of celebratory baked goods. Her dorm room was filled with decorations and streamers, and I moved through the birthday girl’s room to the spot where one of the cakes sat.
We chatted about her day of celebrations, and she told all four of us girls to dig in! I knew I only wanted a sliver. Firstly, I don’t even love cake – I’m more of a cookie and ice cream kind of girl. Secondly, desserts scared me. Not the kind of scared you feel when there’s a huge spider in your room and you’re home alone, or even the kind of scared you feel when the suspenseful music is building in a movie and you know someone is about to jump out from around the corner. No, this kind of scared was something I didn’t really understand.
I logically knew eating a piece of birthday cake wouldn’t make me gain 5 pounds. I logically knew eating a few sweets wouldn’t erase my abs. I logically knew I could still be perfectly healthy without a thigh gap. I logically knew eating white rice over brown rice wouldn’t dramatically change my life.
But fear is a deeply emotional state of being, and I was scared of desserts. Amongst other things.
So, I picked up a fork to take a few bites of Gi’s birthday Bundt cake. I hadn’t had sugar in a couple of weeks – trying to ‘detox,’ you know? – and the soft, chocolatey sponge set off fireworks in my mouth. Oh my goodness, this was the best damn cake I’d ever tasted. I commended her mom for doing a stellar cake-picking job and continued to fork bite after bite into my mouth.
Was there crack in this cake? My brain was on a dopamine overload as the sugary pleasure continued to wash over my body. A quarter of a Bundt cake later, and never a proper plate in sight, I finally put the fork down.
I walked back into my room with too-full of a stomach and sat with the guilt that followed. I couldn’t believe I had let myself eat that much cake. I was upset by the number of calories I’d added to my body. I was worried about what I would look like in the morning. I knew I had to do better starting tomorrow.
And while the scared part of my brain wanted to restrict and eat ‘cleaner’ starting tomorrow, there was another part of me that was awoken by this experience.
I knew I couldn’t keep living in this fear – fear of calories, fear of sugar, fear of white carbs, fear of liquid calories, fear of missing the gym, fear of falling off track – and was going to have to make some major shifts if I wanted my freedom and my life back.
Now, it wasn’t like I snapped my fingers and found food freedom the next day. I didn’t suddenly drop diet culture. I didn’t completely release the power of the scale. I didn’t immediately stop criticizing myself in the mirror. I didn’t totally stop comparing the size of my portions to those of my new sorority sisters. But it was a huge turning point in my journey towards eating with love and intuition.
Throughout my phase of disordered eating, I would wonder why it had to be me. Why couldn’t I just eat froyo without a second thought like my other friends? Why couldn’t I just choose the white potato over the sweet potato without feeling guilty? Why couldn’t I just eat a sandwich without feeling like I was missing out on the nutrients of a salad?
But now, almost 6 years after my fears of food started, I know the exact reason why it was me. And I am so beyond grateful it was me.
I was able to completely and deeply heal my relationship with food, health, and my body, and now I change lives daily by sharing the exact tools I used to do it. I am grateful every day for my experiences, healing, and growth, as well as my community, clients, and students who have also chosen to say YES to their freedom.
If there’s anything I learned from my years of restricting and healing, it’s this: food freedom isn’t actually about the food at all. It’s not about your workout routine or what’s in your supplement cabinet. It’s not about the number on the scale, in your fitness tracker, or on the tag of your clothes. Food freedom is about having the confidence, trust, and freedom to live your life fully as your best, highest self.
Was my best self the girl who sat in her suitemate’s room shoveling cake into her mouth? Maybe not. But was my highest self guiding me through those experiences, showing me the way, so I could come out stronger, wiser, and 100 times happier? Absolutely.
So even though I experienced many illogical fears and held myself back from fully living, I wouldn’t change a thing. The healing part wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely worth it. Life is meant to be lived, not restricted, and obsessively controlled. So, I encourage all of my clients and students (and you!) to consciously choose love over fear in every moment and watch as your life expands in limitlessly abundant ways.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sloane Elizabeth from Miami Beach, FL. You can follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook, and their website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more powerful stories like this:
‘No one else has the guts to tell you this, but you look like a crack addict.’ I was starving, and horrified.’: Woman beats long battle with eating disorder, ‘I get up every day and FIGHT FOR MY LIFE’
‘Our beautiful, once vibrant Sarah is now a shell of a human.’ I was spiraling out of control. A monster was being born.’: Young woman overcomes eating disorder, ‘struggling is not a character flaw. You are worthy of help.’
‘Look, she’s eating something!’ I hear the whisper. I feel the cold gnawing at the bottom of my stomach. I hate it and I love it.’: After 12 years battling anorexia, ED survivor learns to accept new plus-size body
Provide hope for someone struggling. SHARE this story on Facebook and Instagram to let them know a community of support is available.