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How I Overcame Exercise Bulimia And Calmed My Mind

As told by Angel Ide

As a kid, I had pretty healthy habits. I spent a lot of time walking outside and playing sports with my friends, and I ate all of my veggies. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I began to worry about my weight.

By 21, I’d had two children and my weight had crept up to 170 pounds. My doctor told me that my iron levels were low and that my blood sugar was unstable. I knew I had to make a change for my children’s sake.

photo credit: Angel Ide

I bought a cardio machine and some resistance bands, and started working out at home for a half-hour each day. I reigned in my portion sizes—I was no longer eating for two, after all!—and the weight started to come off.  I even got into doing some modeling.

From there, however, my healthy habits took a dark turn. I became obsessive with my exercise routine, working out after every meal. I felt like I needed to get rid of all the calories I ate. My blood sugar levels were so low and I was so malnourished that I almost fainted while out with my daughter one day.

I knew I had to make a change for my children’s sake.

I eventually learned that my purging by exercise was called exercise bulimia. I quit exercising cold turkey, and leaned heavily on my family to keep me from relapsing. Dieting and working out fell completely off my radar for the next six years—until my mom found out she had high blood pressure and diabetes. Seeing her struggle eventually propelled me to start focusing on my own health again.

I knew I needed to be careful this time. A friend of mine walked me through the importance of nutrition and I started off slow and steady. I ditched white bread for multi-grain and pasta for veggie noodles. Making these simple changes to my diet helped me start losing weight without feeling deprived or like I needed to over-exercise. I started going for walks a few days a week to ease back into working out.

photo credit: Angel Ide

Slowly but surely, I made progress. I lost weight, learned to meal prep on the weekends, and fell in love with Jillian Michaels workout DVDs.

After four years of consistency, I’ve lost 30 pounds, gained strength, and calmed my mind. Keeping a food journal and going for walks with my dog have helped me stay grounded and away from my old, unhealthy patterns.

photo credit: Angel Ide

These days I eat yummy breakfasts like yogurt with granola or banana slices on top, and meal prep lunches like spaghetti squash with ground turkey and pasta sauce. I exercise four or five days a week, following one of Jillian’s strength training or cardio videos, or doing yoga. I even started sharing my story on Instagram, and love connecting with other women who are working on their own health and fitness.

Seeing her struggle eventually propelled me to start focusing on my own health again.

The Greatest Reward

I enjoy life so much more now than I used to. Any time I went out with my family for a get-together or meal, I used to stress about getting home immediately to work off the calories. Now I can focus on enjoying moments with my children. I have the energy to make memories with them.

Advice For Others

You have to accept that this process is day by day. We want quick results and get so obsessed with the end goal, when we should focus on the little changes, like swapping a certain food for a healthier one in our next meal. When you take your time, each little change adds up to those big results.

photo credit: Angel Ide

Angel’s Go-To Picks From The Vitamin Shoppe

I have a huge sweet tooth, but I still eat snacks that pack some good nutrition! I love Lenny & Larry’s peanut butter and chocolate chip coconut cookies after dinner. On busy mornings, I grab the waffle-flavored Quest Beyond Cereal bar on my way out the door.

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