There is nothing more rewarding than to travel with a patient down the road to recovery from an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or bulimarexia. The road to recovery can be a bumpy road, but the results are well worth the hard work. Today we received a heart-warming testimony from one individual that received outpatient treatment at my treatment center in Cincinnati.
Check this out….
“If you had told me how much my life would change over the past year and a half, I would not have believed you.
A year and a half ago I was trapped; wedged between the controlling anorexic voice and a longing to be myself. I was falling, drowning, diminishing into an infinite dark abyss from which I could not escape. Literally. Right before my eyes and the eyes of my family and friends.
Two years prior to that, in October 2010, I was admitted against my will to the hospital for treatment for anorexia nervosa. I was taken out of college and for two weeks I was confined to bed, banned from showering, and forced to eat every single meal and snack that was placed in front of me. I was compliant, mainly because I felt like I had no other option, and I wanted nothing but to return to school. Having my family see me in such a helpless and horrific condition was the most humiliating experience of my life.
Once I was out of the hospital I was compliant with the outpatient treatment because I needed to reach a certain weight if I wanted to return to school. I eventually made the weight goal, mainly by consuming sweets and processed foods. I was not happy with what I was putting into my body but I convinced myself that I could do it long enough to return to school.
Back at school, a huge wave of relief washed over me. I thought to myself, “I can finally go back to eating healthy and working out so I can lose this fat I’ve put on.” I wanted to eat healthy and take care of my body, but my only knowledge of ‘healthful’ eating was based on the skewed eating habits that drove my anorexia. I strongly believed in eating organic, non-GMO food and animals that did not have any added hormones and that were raised respectfully. While these options were available to me at home, my school provided none of them. Consequently, I went back to the eating habits that landed me in the hospital: restricting myself to fruit and vegetables in the cafeteria and absolutely no meat. I did not want to ingest any harmful chemicals. If I could not eat clean and organic, then I simply wouldn’t eat. While it was incredibly difficult to eat this way, I didn’t know what else to do. I regarded gaining weight as a sin. I remember thinking, “How am I ever going to be able to keep restricting myself like this for the rest of my life?” I felt like I had no choice.
With no one keeping a close eye on me, I began losing weight again. The weight continued to come off until I reached about the same weight I was when I was admitted to the hospital.
In June of 2012 I broke down. I knew that the anorexia had gotten the best of me once again. I didn’t know where to go or who to turn to for help. I was not about to return to the hospital, but I knew that I needed some kind of assistance. My parents did some research online and found Dr. Norton, a psychologist offering outpatient treatment of eating disorders in Cincinnati. I was hesitant for her aid, but I knew I couldn’t recover alone. She advertised organic, clean, and wholesome eating in her eating disorder recovery program and that seemed like an optimal fit for me. I called her and scheduled my first appointment.
Before I met Dr. Norton, I was very much aware of “clean eating” however, Dr. Norton provided me with the tools to apply it to my life. At home, my parents always had complete control over the cooking and at school I had no say in what foods the cafeteria prepared. I knew that clean eating was what I truly desired for my body but I was unaware of how to incorporate it into my life.
Dr. Norton saved my life. I cannot express in words how much she has done for me. She has given me the tools to overcome my anorexic thoughts and an incredible amount of knowledge on clean eating.
Clean eating has completely changed my relationship with food. It has enabled me to feel confident in the fact that I am not ingesting harmful chemicals, GMOs, or hormone fed animals. I know that I am putting true nourishment and lovingness into my body. I can eat a meal and know exactly where everything came from. I no longer have ‘reward foods’ – unhealthy foods that I craved but that I would only allow myself to eat after a strenuous workout. I now consider clean eating a reward in itself every day. Clean eating has allowed me to feel confident about gaining weight in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight for the first time in my life.
As a type one diabetic, clean eating has also enabled me to have better control of my blood sugars. This is an incredible feeling, as my blood sugars and insulin dosage are a daily battle.
My anorexic behaviors and thoughts were driven by a desire for strength and control. I exhibited that by restricting and tearing my body down. Now I know that gaining strength is accomplished by building my body up and by nourishing myself with wonderful and wholesome foods. Now I see myself becoming stronger by caring for myself to the best of my ability. I have not only grown stronger in mind, but body as well. I am physically capable of lifting more and heavier weights than ever before. I also have the stamina to run for longer distances. Coming home from a run or walk I am no longer incredibly fatigued. Instead, I feel re-energized and revitalized.
As a part of loving myself, I don’t have to restrict anymore. I don’t want to restrict anymore. My sense of control comes from the knowledge that I am doing the absolute best for myself in any given situation. I am trusting and loving myself – the real me.
I never thought I would be able to enjoy eating. I thought the mean, toxic, and judgmental anorexic voice in my head was something that would be constantly present for the rest of my life. I never thought I would be able to look in the mirror and love my body. I am more proud and confident in my mind, body, and spirit than I ever imagined possible.
I owe an incredible amount of thanks to not only Dr. Norton, but my parents. They have supported me my entire life. They have remained by my side through the worst of days and the best of days. They have given me nothing but kindness, empowerment, and unconditional love. I would not be where I am today without them. Thank you Mom and Dad, from the bottom of my heart. I love you both so darn much.
“At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Read more testimonials HERE.
Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.
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