Coping with eating disorders


By Bri Hayes

Weight. Weight loss. How many times a day do you think about it? If you’re confident and comfortable in your body, perhaps the subject only crosses your mind when you see an ad on television for the latest and greatest weight loss supplement or diet regime. Maybe you struggle with your weight so you invest energy in meal planning, carving out time for exercise and the occasional few minutes examining yourself in front of the mirror. Maybe you struggle with weight and spend your energy worrying about how you to change your diet and exercise routine to lose the most amount of weight in the shortest amount of time.

If you’re like me and you feel your own body leaves something to be desired, or many somethings to be desired, you may think about your weight from the moment you wake up in the morning til the moment you go to sleep at night.

Like many of us, my struggle with weight and poor body image began at a young age. I developed an eating disorder as a Freshman in high school and this journey with bulimia I still walk today. It has taken me in and out of therapy in multiple cities, including hospitalization. The journey has led me into poor and abusive relationships with substances and people. Bulimia has had the power in my life to utterly destroy my relationship with my body and my self-worth.

But it does not get to win. My eating disorder does not get to define me or to take the best of me or allow me to see myself as only a sum of the mistakes I have made and the regrets I carry close to my heart. This is my daily struggle. How do I experience myself today: with healthy tools that make me feel good in my body regardless of what it looks like? Or, do I follow a beckoning from unhealthy habits and engage in old ways that cause me shame and guilt and to retreat from loved ones, in old ways that make me completely forget I know of any healthy ways to cope?

If I succumb to unhealthy habits of binging and purging, I tell myself the old story that I’m not worthy unless I am thin. Then I begin to think I’m not worthy unless I am intelligent enough, or pretty enough, or accomplished enough. And the list goes on and on. I fall into the mindset of taking myself, my beautiful, whole, flawed self, completely for granted. Then inevitably that mindset bleeds out into other areas of my life and I begin to take others for granted, and soon, I’m a shell of the person I know lives within me.

And, it all starts in a moment. In a moment of need, what do I turn to? Some days, all I want is a gallon of each of my three favorite Baskin Robbins flavors (mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate if you were curious). And, sometimes, I still give in. Lately, I have had far fewer days of relying on food to cope. I have deep relationships; I have a beloved dog named Stewie; I have yoga; I have walks in Red Rock Canyon; I have essential oils. Yet, I still think about weight day in and day out. Some days I invest my energy in positive ways. Other days I spend it fretting about my belly or worrying about what my hips will look like in my wedding dress in October. I know my fiancée will find me beautiful regardless.

In addition to yoga, which makes me feel vital and strong and alive in my body, one of my favorite healthy tools to utilize every day to empower myself through self-care and self-love and appreciation is Slim and Sassy Essential Oil from DoTerra. Ten to 15 drops of this blend of grapefruit, cinnamon, ginger, peppermint and lemon mixed with 15 to 20 drops of fractionated coconut oil (fractionated meaning the oil remains in liquid form regardless of the temperature) makes for a beautiful few moments of self care to start and end my day. I like to pour the fractionated coconut oil into one hand, followed by the Slim and Sassy, and then mix them together with both hands before gently massaging the oils onto my belly and hips. The practice leaves me feeling nurtured; I enjoy taking a few minutes to apply my hands to my own body with a loving touch, knowing that the practice is also supporting a healthy metabolism and targeting fat cells.

Weight is a sensitive topic for me. It is for a lot of us. In this gentle daily practice, I show myself that I care enough about myself to be good to myself, regardless of any judgements I hold about my body. For more information on Bre’s essential oils, visit