Overcoming An Eating Disorder

Diet and exercise. Proclaimed by doctors, well, pretty much everywhere, as two essential pillars of living a healthy life. Blog posts, health books, and countless other podcasts are all saying the same things: if you want to get in shape and maintain a healthy body, you need to pay attention to your diet and you need to exercise. 

But for some women, it’s not that simple. In some cases, those tools that are supposed to be not only helpful but essential, become harmful and destructive. 

Melissa Fabiano was a junior in high school when she developed anorexia and an exercise disorder. Although (like most high school girls) she did have some body image insecurity, her primary motivation that led to her excessive food restriction and exercise was not a lack of self-esteem, but a desire to get in better shape to get more playing time on her volleyball team. 

That seems like a good and natural desire right? Unfortunately, for Melissa and countless other women, it’s easy for good desires for healthy living to turn into unhealthy habits. 

Melissa began restricting her diet to 800 calories a day. At the same time, she had daily volleyball practice followed by at home workouts that included running several miles per day. 

These habits that she began as a 17 year old, began a ten year cycle of rehabbing and relapsing. Some years were good and Melissa was able to maintain a healthy relationship with eating and exercise, but as soon as something difficult or stressful would happen, she would relapse into these old but familiar habits of unhealthy eating and exercise. 

Melissa’s experience is not unique. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, “it’s common for people to return to eating disordered behaviors, especially during times of stress.” The NEDA lists stressful life events such as moving, starting a new job, having a child, or infertility as possible triggers for a relapse. 

Melissa’s journey to permanent recovery began after what she describes as her “final AHA moment.” Within the course of two weeks, Melissa’s coworkers expressed concern that she didn’t look well, she fainted in her boss’s office at work, and what should have been an enjoyable beach vacation with her boyfriend, was ruined by her fear of food at every restaurant they visited and her rail thin body being too cold to enjoy any water activities. 

Melissa knew she had a problem. She also knew through experience, that trying to recover on her own was not likely to be successful. She needed help. 

Melissa enrolled herself in a rehabilitation program and began the work of changing both her daily habits and her mindset towards herself and her body. Through learning to reject the lies she had believed about herself and her body, Melissa was able to embrace a more positive self image and ultimately break the cycle of disordered eating and exercise, once and for all. 

Her dedication to working on her own personal development and growth grew into a passion for helping others. Melissa’s recovery journey led her to launch her Mindset and Confidence Coaching business, where she helps other women to overcome their own struggles and reshape their mindsets in order to live their best and most fulfilling life. 

If you are struggling with breaking your own unhealthy habits, eating related or otherwise, you don’t need to journey on your own. Enlist the help and support of a friend, family member, or mindset coach like Melissa, to support you on your journey. Also, take some time to look into programs and support groups in your community. Everyone needs accountability! Everyone needs support! 

If you are dealing specifically with disordered eating habits and need someone to talk to, call the National Eating Disorder Helpline at 800-931-2237. 

To hear the rest of Melissa’s life changing story, check out my latest podcast episode. Melissa’s story is inspiring and FULL of wisdom and insight about how to change your mindset and embrace a positive and healthier you!