Friday, January 29, 2010


Hummmm, well, I am really not doing a very good job of posting more frequently am I? I wish I could could come back with a fun and hilarious post for Freaky Food Friday, and although will get to one of those sometime soon, I really wanted to talk about some other freaky business. Not like that. get your minds out of the gutter ;)

Normally, I advise you guys to skip through if you want to avoid my more serious ramblings, but this time I am asking you to PLEASE READ! This is serious, this is scary, and this is important.

Although I had entered recovery for my eating disorder last spring, by the summer, I was still struggling to hang on to the desire to heal. I emailed my nutritionist, who has played an amazing role in my recovery, and asked her for some help. I asked her to scare me. At the time, languishing in my eating disorder was so much easier and I was having trouble feeling like health was the better option.

She emailed me back with some information on how eating disorders can affect one's health for the long term, which we all already know. the stats she sent me helped to improve my outlook on restoring my weight and my health. However, nothing hits home like a little personal experience and a heaping dose of reality.

Here is my email to her, which I would like to share with you:

Dear XXX, You may not remember, but last summer ,I sent you an email asking you to scare me. I needed some motivation to move forward with my recovery, but more than that I really needed a reason to improve my health. Well, in case anyone ever asks you for that same fear-driven push forward, here is something you can tell them: After struggling with my eating disorder for 13 years, my body is no longer producing any type of hormones at all. I have less estrogen in my body then my male endocrinologist. My levels of estrogen were so low, that they were unmeasurable.

My pituitary gland is dysfunctional, which means that although my levels of that hormone are normal, they are not able to send the correct messages to most other hormones in my body, including my thyroid and my reproductive systems. Because my thyroid is not producing the hormones it needs to be, my metabolism is slower, I have less energy and I am not absorbing some essential vitamins and nutrients, including, but especially calcium. This is compounded by the fact that without estrogen, I am doubly unable to absorb calcium. This means that although I eat tons of dairy, take a multivitamin and calcium supplement (with vitamin D) and eat fortified foods, it is not doing any good.

In addition to lots of blood tests and several painful procedures to determine whether or not I will
ever be able to have children due to the damage inflicted on my body, I also had a bone density scan performed. It read in the negatives. Despite all my calcium intake and the amount of bone-building exercise I do, I am still on the verge of osteoporosis.

Even through my previous struggles, although my hormones and menstrual cycle were restored, I may have done permanent damage that I will not be able to recover from this time. In order to even entertain the possibility of conceiving children, I will have to consider taking Clomed (which may not work), or more expensive and very invasive hormone therapies (that also may not work). The cost of these treatments will be tens of thousands of dollars, and as my doctor explained, will also be even more emotionally expensive. The side effects are numerous and can can even be dangerous, and still may not result in pregnancy.

There is the strong possibility that my hormones will never return to normal. I may never have a family. I may never be pregnant. I have been so against any type of artificial hormones entering my body, but now I have no choice but to accept that sort of treatment. If I am unable to conceive, and my hormones do not return to normal, I will be forced to take birth control pills so that my body is able to absorb calcium through the artificial estrogen in order to slow the progression of osteoporosis. If that's not scary enough, I don't know what is.

You officially have my permission to share this with anyone you think it will help. I'm not losing hope, and I pray and try to have faith that my body will be restored as I keep working hard in recovery. But I also have to accept that the damage I have caused may cost me even more hard work and heartache.

Many of us in the blogging community have battled eating disorders and won, but for all of us, please take this as a warning and cautionary tale for your own health and the health of those you care about. Please share this information with anyone who may have had, or currently has an eating disorder. For my dear friends who are struggling still, get your own tests done, and get on the path to health. Recovery is hard. It is a lot of work and anguish. But it is worth it to have your whole, real, life ahead of you.

Of course, this sort of helps to explain my absence from the blog lately. All those test have been re-damn-diculous and very difficult to process, both physically and mentally. I was a little afraid to post this --first of because it's so personal. But secondly, I really don't want anyone to feel like I'm throwing myself a little pity party over hear. Please rest assured that I am not just hanging around feeling bad, nor do I expect anyone else to feel sorry for me. But I decided even it it helps just one person, it would be worth it to talk about. I have a couple different plans of action and I am continually making steps to move forward.

If you have ever had an eating disorder, or are fighting one now, please ACT, and get the help you need to enter recovery and heal your body. Do not take your body and your future for granted.

Wishing you all the very best health and hope. xoxo


  1. I am so sorry to hear you are going through this, Emily. People often warn of the immediate effects of an eating disorder, but the long drawn-out slow damage that is done often goes unspoken. Thank you for sharing this- you are in my thoughts and prayers right now. Here if you want to

  2. I am a new reader and let me just say how incredibly brave and strong you are to share all of this with us. I am so sorry to hear about all the problems you have developed. In this post it is evident that you have a heart of gold, because to put yourself on the line to help others is truly admirable. Keeping you in my prayers :)

  3. Gosh, I am so, so sorry to hear about this. It is so courageous of you to share. It's very easy to deny how damaging eating disorders can be. I'm afraid to get a bone scan, so that tells you something. I've been saying for a while that I think effects on hormones are not talked about enough. Eating disorders rob us of womanhood, in many ways, and estrogen is linked to so many other systems in the body. I hope your doctors can help you with your hormone levels, and I hope you are feeling motivated toward health and not regretting too much of the past (I do this A LOT). You have so many wonderful insights, and so much encouragement to offer those who are struggling to find inspiration to be well...

  4. Stay strong honey show strength just admitting and posting this. Recovery is a JOURNEY, and you're on the right track. While I didn't have a full-blown eating disorder, I've been there with the hormones thing, and I too am scared for the consequences that still lay in the future. I wish you the best.


  5. Emily, thank you so much for sharing this with us. You are a brave and strong woman.. and you are in my thoughts and prayers! I'm sure that this post inspired many woman (including myself) of the consequenses of a disorder that effects many of us. Hang in there.. if you need anything let me know!

  6. Oh my dear Emily,

    This was one of the most empowering posts I have ever read. I knew you mentioned your struggles before, but I had no idea the turmoil you have faced as a result. My heart goes out to you! I have also recovered from an ED in my past, but thankfully, I feel I was able to get out before doing any perm. damage (I hope!). Your story will inspire so many and I can't tell you how proud I am of you for unveiling this to the world. God will bless you! Whether it be in the way that you are thinking or an entirely different aspect, HE will!!! Keep strong and if you ever need anything, to talk, to cry, to vent….please email/call me.

    I love you and I will be praying for you! :)

  7. thank you for posting this. thank you thank you. my hormones are pretty unstable, but i've always looked at it as not that big of a deal. i am going to get them re-checked asap.
    i'm so sorry you are going through this, keep your head up.
    hope you have a peaceful weekend.

  8. I really commend you for sending that e-mail. I bet it meant a lot to your nutritionist and it could potentially be life-changing for a young girl who stumbles across your blog.

  9. Thank you for sharing that. .. extremely powerful.

  10. holy geez! em! i had no idea all this was goin' on~ i was too busy blabbing about myself at lunch the other day, now i feel horrible. i think this letter you wrote is SO powerful and i KNOW it will help many girls here in the blogging community so thank you for posting. ALSO~ if you need anything everything whatevs~ holler at me. i love you to the moon!!!!

    p.s. i just got your text, since i was without phone.. GO YOU!

    p.s.s. i ate that whole bag of trail mix in a week. it was the best thing ever. and i am sure it totally derailed any progress...

    p.s.s.s. xo

  11. I LOVE YOU! Why is embracing life so hard for some areas of my life and not so much in others? I KNOW what I need to do to be more healthy, but choosing self-reprimand and punishment FEELS SO GOOD in the hour to hour decisions. Sometimes, okay, many times, I have trouble eating a WHOLE slice of bread during the day (but at night, I eat if I won or earned it). Thank you for your revealations. And your willingness to give.

  12. First of all, I actually look forward to your serious, insightful posts much more than the freaky food or sandwich experiments, as I love your honesty and your authenticity. That said, thank you so much for this post in particular.

    While I haven't had my hormone or bone density levels checked, my bloodwork came back "normal," which has given me a false sense of health and a strong sense of denial. This is a great reminder--even though I've never wanted kids--that the effects can be long-term and devastating years down the road.

    Hang in there and know that no matter where life takes you, you are amazing and a gift to us all.

  13. Hey sweetie. Great post. I really admire your ability to share something so personal. It truly made a huge impact. I do dealt with an ED although luckily I caught it in time and got back on track. Its a tough road to go down and I find you to be a very strong person to be making your way through something like this. I wish you all the best sweetie!!

  14. Emily my dear, you are SO brave for sharing this, and so smart for doing it too! Growing up, my mother was the executive director of an eating disorder clinic. I've heard from her, and seen first hand what it can do to people, even after they "recover." I know you've always wanted to start a family, so it breaks my heart that this has made it more difficult for you. Just remember, just because your bones are weak, does't mean you're not a strong person. That "Emily" spirit will always shine through :)

  15. may you find peace in your inner strength that you've found. May you continue to shine regardless of what comes out of this situation.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being honest.

  16. Susan linked this post and wow, what a horrific tale you tell. Powerful stuff. I am going to try to remember this post when I see others in the 'sphere clearly in so much pain. I will point them this way. however, it's clearly not for the faint of heart. But it's your story!!!! And it's so powerful...and million hats off to you for sharing it, enduring it, and toughing it out. Keep up the good fight and thanks for empowering others!

  17. I too followed Susan's link to this post and think it's wonderful that you came forward with this information.

    I know it's scary and it's so hard to deal with these issues, and then to come forward and post them online to be received by so many strangers.

    It's funny because I think when you're in the middle of your eating disorder these are the last things you think of, at least it was for me. now that I'm on the other side of it, I too am on the verge of Osteoporosis- I hope that my bone density has gone back up, but because of you and this post- I'm going to make the appointment so I know that it's gone back up.

    I'm sorry that you're dealing with all this shit so young in life, but at the very least you are surviving and you are here to share your story, which is something that will touch and save many other girls from following the same path.

    Thanks again for posting this.

  18. oh sweetie pie!

    you are so brave! you WILL help people with this post, and i think we are all so concerned about the now. what we look like, act like, feel like - when really, we do have to take into consideration the long run. i am sending you such BIG hugs right now and so much LOVE. you WILL get through this.

    things may not end up all hunky dory - but keep on fighting and don't give up. you have come so far, and i know that treating your body right will help you so much more.

    love you so much - holla at me if you need ANYTHING! <3 ya!

  19. Sending you and your body healing strength and good vibes. You can keep healing with lots of love, good food, rest, and help from people around you!