My Eating Disorder Robbed Me of My Honeymoon

Our wonderful wedding photographer, {Steven and Lily Photography – check them out if you’re in the market for a photographer!} was giving away a photo session to expand his portfolio, and my husband and I were the lucky recipients! We were going to get professional pictures taken on our honeymoon in breathtaking Santorini to treasure forever. What an amazing opportunity, right!?

We had 13 days after getting married before we left for our honeymoon. I must’ve spent that whole time daydreaming about how much fun we were going to have sight seeing, how romantic it would be to watch the infamous Santorini sunsets, how we’d walk hand-in-hand on the black sandy beaches, and enjoy dinners by the sea. I had two of the largest suitcases ever chock-full with just about every article of clothing I owned, and we were on our way!

This was going to be great.

Then, we arrived in Greece and I remembered our photo shoot. My PMS was in full force; bloating, zits, cravings, constipation…the works! The terror of recognizing the potential that I would be having pictures taken in a bathing suit was all I could think about.

My “disgusting” body consumed my thoughts. I was exploring this beautiful island with my new husband and I was barely present. Not only was I feeling unattractive, I had the dark cloud of knowing I was going to be photographed like this hanging over my head. My mind was on repeat: “you look fat, you’re bloated, you’re ugly, you’re not good enough, people are going to make fun of you, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

When the day we were getting our photos taken arrived, we passed this place that had the best gyro’s; we had them a couple of days earlier, and they were delicious! But instead of eating one, I watched my husband eat one as I told him I wasn’t hungry. {I was actually very hungry, so “caved” and ate a kind bar instead.}

As the sunset approached, we headed down to the beach for our first photo session. Here we are seemingly having fun, lovingly hanging out in the Aegean sea.

Anxiety in Water

 

Reality Check: I wasn’t having fun.

All I had to eat that day was a coffee, a Kind bar and a handful of gummy bears.

My period was days away, I hadn’t pooped in 4 days, and I wasn’t sleeping because I was so anxious over these photos.

I was hungry. I was freezing. I was dizzy. I was self-conscious. I wanted the day to be over.

 

 

You guys…I MISSED OUT on my honeymoon. I was so worried about being captured at a bad angle, looking fat, looking ugly, looking bloated, that it consumed me.  I packed so many cute bathing suits, rompers, and dresses I was so excited about wearing…and I didn’t want to wear any of them. I felt so ugly and gross.

I didn’t try certain foods I wanted to, or when I did, I felt insanely guilty and like “my belly would be my own fault” because I ate that baklava or extra piece of bread.

My husband would suggest things like going to the pool or a boat ride. And I tried to make up excuses as to why we should do something different. Really, it was because I didn’t want to be in a bathing suit. I thought maybe he’d regret marrying me because I was fatter and uglier than he thought. I was afraid others at the pool or beach would judge me.

 

I share this story because I am someone who is seemingly “recovered” from an eating disorder because I am at a “healthy” weight.  It is so important to get the word out there that:

Eating disorders are NOT defined by your physical body. Eating disorders include that judgmental, self-destructive voice inside of your head.

It’s not your weight that determines if you have an eating disorder; it’s your actions.

 

Many of us think dieting or restricting food when we have a big event or a particular outfit to fit into is ok; it’s not.

Many of us think saying no to dessert or exercising to burn off that cake means we have great willpower; it doesn’t.

Many of us think that if we continuously binge eat we deserve to be unhealthy; that’s untrue.

Many of us have a deep seeded belief that until we are _______________ {skinnier, curvier, prettier, more toned, less toned} we are not good enough; this is false.

No matter your weight or physical appearance, the aforementioned are all eating disordered thoughts and behaviors.

And, in my opinion, awareness and acceptance is number one in the healing process.

 

When we got back from our honeymoon, I was sick in bed for about a week. I originally thought I picked up a microbe in Greece but after having a conversation with my husband I realized what it really was.

In my self pity of being sick I said, semi{mostly}-blaming him, “our honeymoon wasn’t even romantic.” To which he looked at me, one eyebrow raised, and said:

“how romantic could it really be when you didn’t want to go anywhere and were talking about being bloated and wanting to poop the whole time”

This was my awareness moment. I’ll be honest, it didn’t {still doesn’t} feel good. But, without this awareness nothing can change in the future. Not only did I miss out on many wonderful experiences there, I was so stressed over it, my body crashed when I got home.

 

I’m still working on acceptance. Accepting that in some ways I am recovered, but I still have progress to make, too.

When our pictures came back I was terrified to look at them. I analyzed {bashed} my body for days.  About 6 months have passed since we were in Greece, and as I look back on these pictures now, I can still pick out parts of my body I don’t like. Strikingly, what gets to me the most now looking at them is something different, though. It’s that I let these pictures rob me of a wonderful moment in my life. I spent hours, upon hours, agonizing over NOTHING. In fact, some of the pictures are actually pretty good!

 

 

Please, don’t let an eating disorder rob you of your life. If you think there is even a slight possibility that your relationship to food/your body isn’t serving you well, I encourage you to reach out for help. The NEDA has a wonderful, confidential screening tool that can help you get started.

NEDA SCREENING TOOL – www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening-tool

Thank you for taking the time to read my very personal, vulnerable story. Please share your comments below if you are in need of support, or have support to offer myself and others in similar situations.

Xoxo,

Courtney

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