Hi! I am so glad that you checked out Take a Bite Out of Life, but I am sure you are wondering who is behind the blog.
Currently Living In: Tel Aviv, Israel
From: New York
Since 2011, I have struggled with an eating disorder. It began that spring and the following spring, I was diagnosed with anorexia. When I came home for the summer after my sophomore year of college, I was entering a house that was under a “lifestyle” change. I also happened to be depressed after having a huge falling out with, who I thought, was a close friend. That summer I began seeing a therapist for depression and jumped on the “lifestyle” change bandwagon. I had been overweight my whole life, always being told to loose weight. I finally found the motivation to begin to loose weight. I started cooking healthy, cutting out foods and exercising everyday. Maybe I should have done this under a doctors supervision, but that didn’t happen. I lost a significant about of weight that summer. When I returned to college for my junior year, everyone noticed and had good things to say about my appearance. I continued these behaviors, but only made them more and more extreme as the semester went on. I cut out most food, exercised before class or in-between classes everyday. I isolated all the time. I was completely miserable and lonely. At the same time it was my best semester yet academically. I had a 4.0 GPA that semester.
The spring semester of my Junior year, I began to notice what I was doing and wanted it to change. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital. I was scared, so I made an appointment with the school nutritionist. She immediately referred me to the school counseling center, who immediately called my mother telling us I needed to withdraw to receive treatment they could not provide. Did I mention it was Valentines Day too! That day, my mom flew down to North Carolina where I was in school, and we drove home together, beginning what would become a 5 year struggle.
It has been a long 5 years filled with therapy appointments, nutrition appointments, psychiatrist appointments, group therapy, residential treatment, PHP and IOP. But, it wasn’t all filled with treatment. In these 5 years I graduated college at the top of my class with a degree in childhood education, I spent 10 months teaching English to children in Israel, I became an Israeli citizen and met some amazing people along way. I credit my team and my family with helping me have all these experiences. Without them, I would never have began to figure out my identity and gain the confidence to go after what I want in such a far away place.
Prior to my eating disorder, I had always been a very shy, and quiet girl who observed rather then participated. Over the years, I have learned to participate in life. I guess you can say that I began taking a bite out of my life. I started to realize what I wanted in life and went after it. I knew I wanted to return to Israel to teach after I got home from Birthright in 2012, I made that happen in 2014. The end of my time in Israel was cut short though due to my eating disorder. I began to get so anxious about the upcoming transition, I started using behaviors again. My team and parents brought me home and I went straight into residential treatment for the first time. After going through the step down process and graduating from IOP, I knew I wanted to return to Israel and decided to make Aliyah-the process of becoming an Israeli citizen. I had been doing well, and wanted a change. It’s hard to explain, but being in Israel has always given me this feeling of peacefulness within myself and an overall happiness. I just wasn’t getting that in NY. So April 2016, I picked up my life and moved to Israel. I started taking Hebrew classes and living in an absorption center. If only hindsight was 20/20, I probably should not have done that, but I can’t change what happened. I can only move forward. I began to get so anxious and began to feel like I wasn’t smart enough or good enough. That’s when my behaviors started to peak through again. I chose to put myself back in treatment in NY knowing I could not do it on my own. I went straight to PHP living in the centers apartment with other girls in PHP and IOP. This time around, I was much more open and willing to dig deep to really figure out the underlying issues of my eating disorder. I think I finally figured that out and now know how to live a life in a healthy manner.
A couple months after completing treatment the second time around, I decided to move back to Israel. I found an apartment with a friend of a friend, I found an amazing internship and some families to babysit for. I am still figuring out my life as my identity evolves and grows, but I can say I am happier and more confident than I have ever been. I really, truly do love my life. Having the beach so close is a pretty nice bonus too!