When I was suffering from my eating disorder, I noticed a lot of people would tell their story about their disorder. People would often talk about how it started and how they suffered, but no one talked about what life was like years after recovering from an eating disorder.

I began my recovery from anorexia near the end of my senior year of high school, and considered myself to be mostly recovered by second year, when I wrote an article about my story. I'm in fourth year now, and I feel I have enough perspective on my experience to talk about what life is like now that I'm out of the woods

Victoria Stevens

1. Sometimes I forget it happened.

Victoria Stevens

My life is so different now. I don't view food as the enemy and I have a healthy relationship with exercise. I go out with my friends more and I drink alcohol without worrying about being bloated. I often forget that I ever had an eating disorder. It feels like a different version of me. 

2. I finally realize how unhealthy I was.

Through recovery and even after, I never thought I was that skinny. I thought everyone was lying to me and over-exaggerating. I remember starting treatment and thinking everyone was being dramatic. I was a little skinny, but it wasn't that bad. It was only recently I saw a photo of myself when I was ill, and I couldn't believe how skinny I was and how much my mind played tricks on me

3. I get self-conscious sometimes.

Most of the time I'm pretty comfortable with my body, but sometimes I do worry that I look a little bloated or larger. Of course I'm larger compared to where I used to be, so I just have to remind myself that I wasn't healthy, and now I am. 

4. Buying new clothes was both fun and sad.

It was awesome buying six new pairs of jeans when I put on weight. What wasn't fun was trying on the old pairs and realizing they no longer fit over my hips. It definitely caused a moment of anxiety about my weight gain, but then I went back to focusing on new clothes! 

5. I still have food guilt sometimes.

Victoria Stevens

Usually, I am very okay with what and how much I eat. But I definitely have days where I haven't eaten very healthy and I feel guilty about it. The old me would have just stopped eating, but the me now knows that it's okay to have treats and bad food once in a while! Life is too short not to.

6. My relationships are a lot stronger.

Victoria Stevens

My relationship with my family is so much stronger than it was before. When I was ill, it ruined a lot of family moments, like holidays and vacations. I felt distant from my parents and also felt so upset for hurting them through hurting myself. Now, our relationship is so much better! We enjoy indulging in wine and pizza and vacation food together. It's also improved with my friends. I now love to partake in dinner and drinks out, or dessert or poutine at 2 am. 

7. My relationship with myself is better.

It's very exhausting hating yourself so much that you want to just be smaller and smaller until there's nothing left. I love myself now more than I ever have, and I'm so much kinder to me

8. There haven't been long term health issues.

One thing I was very worried about when I was recovering was my heart. It had suffered a lot due to the disorder, and I was worried it would always suffer. Thankfully, I've had no long term physical repercussions. It's sort of like it never happened. 

9. Everything is back to normal.

Victoria Stevens

Sometimes, I hesitate telling anyone about my eating disorder, and I completely avoid talking about it with anyone who knew me when it happened. I eat and exercise like the average (vegetarian) person now, and am one of the lucky ones who managed to recover from this illness. I can go on fun adventures without worrying about what I'll eat or worrying about passing out from not eating.

 I wish more people would speak about what life is like after recovering from an eating disorder. I know it would have helped me in my darkest days when I thought I'd never get better. My life is so much more fulfilling without this disorder. I thank my lucky stars that I was able to find the strength to overcome it and truly enjoy my life.