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. you never know what you have… .

June 18, 2011

… until you’ve lost it.

I’m pretty sure that most, if not all, of us are familiar with this well known phrase – perhaps even having been unfortunate enough to experience it’s truth first hand. It brings to light the fact that there are so many things in our lives that we take for granted. Our possessions. Our loved ones. Our health. Things that we don’t truly come to appreciate until they’ve been taken away from us, and we’re forced to go on through life without them.

No, I didn’t lose Kaiah – don’t worry.
She’s just mopey because it’s been raining all day and she’s cooped up inside.

Probably one of the most common questions that I get asked is how I manage to stay so strong and motivated in my recovery; how I manage to keep from giving in to bad habits whenever times get rough.

My answer?

Because I never want to go back to that place again… I never want to lay down for the night and wonder if I’ll wake up in the morning. I never want to feel so physically exhausted that I can’t even muster up enough energy to turn over in bed when I feel uncomfortable. I never want to waste my days watching the clock and obsessing about when/what my next meal will be. I never want to feel so depressed and hopeless that I consider taking my own life because I can’t deal with living it any longer.

That was my life in the depths of my eating disorder, and I never want to go back to it again. I’m so incredibly grateful for everything that I’ve gained in recovery, that I’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to it… which, thankfully, isn’t all that hard because so much good food is involved…

Peaches & Cream Oats – Eggy bananafied steel cut base, frozen peaches, melted coconut butter.


A bowl of Puffins (Hi Nicky! :D), Kashi Honey Sunshine, and puffed wheat with vanilla almond milk and a dollop of strawberry  Greek yogurt.

Baked sweet potato with maple syrup, cinnamon, cottage cheese, and roasted almond butter.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I had totally forgotten about this recipe, but after seeing them on Freya’s blog, I knew I needed to make them quick… perfect for a rainy day.

Pumpkin Hummus Tortilla Pizza

. – . –  . – .

I mean, would you trade any of that for a plate that looked more like this?

If your answer is yes, then I’m afraid we can no longer be friends.
But I wish you well [and hope that you come to your senses].

I had to completely lose my health, and almost my life, before I was able to appreciate just how much a healthy body is worth. I’m not kidding when I say that I’m almost crying tears of joy after every mile I run, or after every weight session I finish, because I still remember a time when I could barely drag myself up the stairs without having to stop in the middle, and when lifting my arms to wash my hair in the shower was almost more than I could handle. Without health, there is nothing. Period.

No happiness. No spark. No life.

An ED, or any sort of disordered belief, tries to convince us that life will be so much better if we just lose those 5 lbs, those 10 lbs, those 20 lbs. Bullshitpoop. I remember what life was like, and it sure as hell wasn’t any better. That’s why it breaks my heart to see so many girls willingly torture themselves because of this kind of mentality. They slave away at the gym while denying the simple pleasures that good food brings. And for what? To buy jeans that are one or two sizes smaller? Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take health, happiness, and freedom any day, even if they do come with a bigger pair of pants.

If your body is healthy, appreciate it… because you never know what you have until you’ve lost it…
… and getting it back isn’t always that easy…

. – . – . – .

Show your body some gratitude… I love my body because it _______ .

66 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2011 5:37 pm

    There was a day when I would rather have a plate of carrots and broccoli over dense foods. So much so that my skin turned orange from too many carrots, not cool. Thank goodness I’ve come to my senses and can eat that foods that give me energy to be healthy AND happy! Sure there are challenges and struggles, but at least I have the energy now to deal with them, and the happiness to hold on to!

    Thanks for this post, it was really a great reminder 🙂 I love my body because it…can be forgiving!

  2. June 18, 2011 5:39 pm

    I love my body because it… RAN ELEVEN MILES FOR ME TODAY! 🙂

  3. June 18, 2011 5:43 pm

    I love my body because it is strong. You are such a beautiful person inside and out and this post was so emotional to me. It truly is sad that we must lose everything before realizing what we have. My body is my temple and I treat it with love and respect. I was never an anorexic but I had serious food issues that I battled with. I use to get up from sitting down and was so dizzy and weak I had to lie down. I couldn’t pick the barbell off the rack…It wasn’t pretty yet I strived to be the thinnest I could be because thin is sexy right? It was dangerous and I’m never putting my body through that torture again. It deserves better. A bowl of oats in the morning with a slab of pb is exactly what it needs 😉

    • June 18, 2011 9:19 pm

      YOU are such a beautiful person, Jenny, and I’m glad to hear that you’re treating your body well these days, because you deserve nothing but the best 😀

      • June 19, 2011 8:56 am

        LOVE YOU BOTH!!!!

        Beautifally written. Just looking at the sweet potato picture is worth every step in recovery 🙂

  4. June 18, 2011 5:55 pm

    Love this post Amanda. It’s those awful, awful memories that keep me on track as well. Even though I did slip up a couple of weeks ago, the thought that came into my mind was, “screw this! This isn’t going to solve anything.” Because it just doesn’t! It just makes everything so much worse. I am now so grateful that I am able to go out with friends for a meal, have some wine and go dancing without any guilt attached. I never take the laughs I have with my family for granted because I remember a time where I just physically couldn’t laugh. Ugh. I don’t even like to think about a life without laughter…

    I love my body because it has always loved me even when I hated it.


  5. June 18, 2011 5:59 pm

    I love my body because it powered me through a challenging 90 min yoga class today & is getting stronger each and every day! 🙂
    Lovely post, Amanda, you are an inspiration for health, happiness & embracing LIFE.

  6. June 18, 2011 6:18 pm

    When you wrote this: “Because I never want to go back to that place again… I never want to lay down for the night and wonder if I’ll wake up in the morning. I never want to feel so physically exhausted that I can’t even muster up enough energy to turn over in bed when I feel uncomfortable. I never want to waste my days watching the clock and obsessing about when/what my next meal will be. I never want to feel so depressed and hopeless that I consider taking my own life because I can’t deal with living it any longer.”

    oh my god…ijust wrote post myself that mirrors some of those exact. same. things. That is kind of …scary…
    like maybe i’ have’t been as honest with myself.

    did u ever feel guilty for eating muffins and “junk” while not exercising? I feel different becuz unlike most people I have not and cannot exercise for a longlong time…and I literally spend all my time sitting…no moving or circlation 😦

    My god,Amanda…that is me NOW….right now.
    But how…like I never went on those crazy low-cal diets or overexercised.

    Amanda, i really struggle now becuz my goal is literally months away (forever)…right now (for months) i can only muster enuf energy to shuffle on a short walk. One of my dotors thinks its my depression instead and that forcing cls etc without hugner is nt necessary….so now i’m all confused.
    Because I keep making myself et. And alot…
    alot alot more than the blogger i rcently read did this workout and only ate juic and salad…honest …the guilt and confusion strain me. I tell myself to be more cofident and resilient…but i keep feelig guilty and wondrous instead.

    • June 18, 2011 6:21 pm

      sorry 4 typos…my computer not working right.

    • June 18, 2011 9:34 pm

      I didn’t exercise throughout my recovery, and I know that it seems far away, but there’s an endpoint and as long as you’re making small steps, you’ll get there eventually. If you want to exercise, you have to be healthy. If you want to be healthy, you have to gain weight. If you want to gain weight, you have to eat. So don’t feel guilty for doing something that you need to do.

  7. June 18, 2011 6:33 pm

    this is such a beautiful post. it’s too easy to take what we have for granted, but i try to appreciate every single day what i am grateful for. basically; life!
    i love my body because it lets me do what i love most – ride and enjoy my horse 🙂

  8. June 18, 2011 6:36 pm

    Amazing post. 🙂 It’s really great you’re at a place where pizza’s much more appealing than a plate of carrots. 😉 Seriously, been there before with choose carrots over something I’d actually enjoy (even though I still eat a lot of carrots. A lot.)…but it’s much better actually going with what we want. Seriously, we were missing out!!

  9. June 18, 2011 6:45 pm

    every day ur posts bring a smile to so thankful for that! i love my body for being able to hug others 🙂 eeek i think if i see another salad, dressing on the side ill be sick. life is too short! soo true my luv

  10. June 18, 2011 6:45 pm

    I love my body, because it is my channel to every moment of this glorious life.

  11. June 18, 2011 6:49 pm

    Lovely post! I love my body because it tans greatly and lets me cuddle my ratties every day 🙂

  12. Lilly permalink
    June 18, 2011 7:05 pm

    Every time I see that pizza I drool, seriously every time. I think I need some of that for dinner! I love your honesty and amazing posts, thanks so much! One reason I love my body is because without it I wouldn’t be able to hug, and I really LOVE hugs 🙂

  13. June 18, 2011 7:09 pm

    This is the perfect post for me right now. I’m in a hard place where I’m just about to let go of my ED but it’s painful and scary and real. Every moment is a fine line between sickness and health. It scares me sometimes how much I accept my stronger body. The body that can let me run a 5k (I cried after the first mile, having never thought I’d make it), and will probably run more as I continue to feed it macronutrients. While I cannot say I love my body unconditionally, I am working towards loving it and every day I am amazed at the way my feet feel as they hit the floor and the amount of muscle that can push me forward while I step instead of being dragged. I no longer lay awake fearing sleep because I’m unsure if I will wake up or die.
    I hope you won’t hate me when I tell you that some days, yes, my plate looks like that veggie plate. It is HARD as you know but I can tell you that I am honest with myself and I know that I DO indeed prefer a sweet potato with nut butter or a nice bowl of oatmeal. As I open myself to others, I need to realize that I need to love myself first before the rest will follow.
    I wish you were my good conscience that told me everything would be alright when I was up against something frightening. Perhaps this is why I found your blog. Like you write just for me, because you’ve been here. I someday soon hope to be where you are.
    Sorry for the novel, this struck a chord 🙂
    Hannah ❤

    • June 18, 2011 10:10 pm

      You WILL be here someday, Hannah. I know it seems impossible at times, and there are tonnes of bumps along the way, but soon you’ll be realizing “Hey, I don’t do X anymore”…. “Hey, I’m not afraid of Y anymore”… It’s such a gradual process that we often don’t realize how much progress we’re making, but you’ve already done so many amazing things, and I’ve no doubt that you’ll keep doing so many amazing more 😀

  14. June 18, 2011 7:25 pm

    A-FREAKNG-MEN girl! I could not have said it any better than you.

    I love my body because it was able to bounce back from all those years of deprivation, and it’s now as strong and as healthy as ever!

  15. June 18, 2011 7:29 pm

    I love this, I love you and I LOVE your foods. Amanda, you are such an inspiration, thank you SO much for all of your amazing, encouraging posts! I know I can always come to your blog for strength if I’m having a bad recovery day 🙂

  16. June 18, 2011 7:58 pm

    I love every word of this post.
    I am just so despaired everyday when I see my fellow friends, including those I really care about, falling into the deepness of this disorder.
    “You never know what you have until you’ve lost it” – yes. You never know how grateful it is to have a healthy body and healthy motives in your mind.
    I just hope not only bloggers, but so many more people read, and knew about this.
    Just like Carrie’s post few days ago about osteoporosis, this post is great, and terribly sad at the same time for me.

  17. June 18, 2011 8:14 pm

    I’m honestly really struggling with my body right now for… wel, I don’t really know what reason except it doesn’t look how I want it too and I’m so sick of making myself exercise & eat right that I’ve kin dof gone farther the other direction than I’d like. So I really do like this post.
    I’m having more trouble than I’d care to admit finishing that sentence though because I want to love my body for running but my shins may or may not have fractures (I’ll find out monday) and I”m just frustrated in so many ways.

    But you are beautiful, your message is beautiful, & thank you for reminding me what I should love about my body & my life


  18. June 18, 2011 8:23 pm

    I love my body because it allows me to live everyday to the fullest.

    I love this post Amanda….very powerful. And that sweet tater looks down right amazing!

  19. Emily permalink
    June 18, 2011 8:30 pm

    Really? ANOTHER amazing post?! Girl, you are on a roll!

  20. June 18, 2011 8:44 pm

    Wow! these posts are great, I love reading them every day 🙂
    I love my body because it works harder than I ever could 🙂

  21. sunshinevegan permalink
    June 18, 2011 8:47 pm

    Thank you so much for this amazing post Amanda. I literally started tearing up while reading it because it resonates with me so much about my past and my own struggles. You always seem to be able to find just the right words for it and bring light and inspiration to anyone still living in that dark place.

  22. June 18, 2011 8:53 pm

    This is so beautiful and thank you!! It is one of the main things in my recovery that keeps me motivated…the recollection and memories.
    (Your examples of the tired arms shampooing in the shower and the stairs was VERY poignant for me).

    It got me thinking how sad it is — when we were in such a “fog” or “a state” we couldn’t even help ourselves. Our minds were so dilapidated. It became normal in a way. It just makes my heart ache for the many out there sitting down in the shower — barely able to lift the razor to shave their legs and wincing at the cold porcelain tub on their bones. It’s like you go blank.

    We never want to go blank again.
    Plus food is good.

  23. June 18, 2011 9:33 pm

    Oh gosh, Amanda. I totally teared up reading this. I’m SO glad you came back from everything because even though I’ve only known you a short time, you have made my life infinitely happier. Your pictures are beautiful and your attitude and zest for life is truly inspirational 🙂

    I love my body because it has carried me through a half marathon, it tells me what it needs and it’s forgiving of my mistakes. And because it’s NOT perfect. I’d way rather be real than perfect 🙂

  24. June 18, 2011 9:40 pm

    I used to go to bed thinking the same thing… what if I don’t wake up in the morning… sometimes I still think that 😦 Mostly because I’m paranoid and a hypochondriac, haha.

    I love my body because it dances like crazy.

  25. June 18, 2011 9:56 pm

    Love this post!
    I love my body because it carries me through each day and gives me the ability to explore the world.

  26. June 18, 2011 10:19 pm

    I love my body because… Well, to be honest, I don’t. Most of the time I am disgusted with it when I look in the mirror. And maybe exactly for this reason I should love it – because, in spite of all the hatred, it keeps carrying my little cruel soul and obeying my crazy orders. I love its stubbornness 🙂 . But even though my meal plan needs some change to become healthier, I don’t think a plate of broccoli and carrots can be called a meal.

  27. June 18, 2011 11:13 pm

    All I can say is, AMEN!
    I love my body because it taught me a lesson, that you can’t treat it like crap and expect not to be punished. If you treat your body well, it WILL reward you!

  28. Teniesha @ Vegan on the Go-Go permalink
    June 18, 2011 11:25 pm

    I love my body because, now, it is strong. At my lowest weight, when I was still struggling with disordered eating, holding myself in certain Yoga asanas was impossible because I was so weak and didn’t fuel my body properly. Then, after gaining weight and, in turn, muscle, suddenly I found myself able to do difficult poses that I assumed I’d never be able to do, and I was so proud of my progress, both with Yoga and with overcoming my struggles. 🙂

  29. June 19, 2011 12:39 am

    Relieved your beautiful dog is still around, don’t scare us like that! 😉

    Amanda, again I love your words. There are so many things I would not take for granted again, but that I didn’t think twice about both before and during the years of anorexia. The ability to feel, whether it be joy or sadness, to breathe without pain, to have legs that can carry me without threatening to break… to simply live in a body that is not close to death, but a living, passionate creature.
    Thank you for providing your readers with motivation to keep on going, also on the hardest of days in recovery. They feel like hell, but they are not hell. Anorexia is.

    I love my body because it is unique. It is a kind, wonderful creature who forgives a mind who has tortured it. I love my body because it shows me that food is a gift, and with enough nourishment it enables me to discover the world. I couldn’t ask for more, it is beautiful.

  30. June 19, 2011 3:59 am

    Beautiful post Amanda!
    Its not like Im perfect at it (at all!!), but when I “want” to eat all raw again, I try to remember how aweful it always makes me feel. And how restricted it makes me, and lonely!
    I cant describe how wonderful that sweet potao looks! YUM!!

  31. June 19, 2011 4:51 am

    WOOH PUFFINS! And I have Kashi Sunshine coming so I can so totally copy your combo ;P
    Amanda, words cannot describe how much this post means to me and will do to others. I literally could have written this post word for word myself, it actually brought me to tears. I never never want to go back to the depths of my ED and go through all I went through ever again in my life. Not only do I not want to put myself through those painful days again, but also the pain that my family went through. I am forever sorry for what I put them through and eternally grateful that I still have them. But at the same time, I have such a powerfully strong relationship with them now which is very special. And I totally agree that without health, there is nothing. It’s just so sad that it took both of us to nearly lose our lives to realise that. But sometimes it takes that much to really really appreciate life and for that – I am almost thankful that I had an ED because it’s made life seem so much more special.
    Honestly, you are a true inspiration to me and I know you are to to others. And as for me, I love my body because despite everything I’ve put it through, it is still here, allowing me to live each day and allow me to be free to do what I want.

  32. June 19, 2011 5:15 am

    You SERIOUSLY scared me there with your dog!! I thought Kaiah was gone!! Phew so relieved!! DON’T scare me like that again Amanda or I will fly to Canada and steal her anyway 😛

    This post ROCKS!! You’re such an amazing writer and such an inspiration! Too right that is Bullpoop, and being healthy is the way to GO!! I love my body because it is STRONG. And it likes hugs 🙂

  33. June 19, 2011 5:31 am

    I love your blog. It’s especially helpful today, because I just posted my quiet “cry for help” post. I know just what you mean when you say that losing weight doesn’t make you any happier.

  34. June 19, 2011 6:28 am

    I loved this post – and I love my body for being able to keep up with me!

  35. June 19, 2011 6:52 am

    I feel the same way about my past eating disorder. I never want to go back. Sometimes it’s nice to hear it from someone else. I forget sometimes that so many other women have been through the same experiences.

  36. June 19, 2011 8:02 am

    You are so beautiful and this is such a beautiful post ❤ Thank you for the reminder to love and be grateful for what I have. I love my body because it is the home of my soul:-)
    P.S. All of your food always looks SO good. Your food pics are some of my favorites EVER 🙂

  37. June 19, 2011 9:20 am

    I love love love this post.. I read this post last night actually made me get up (out of my comfy cozy bed) and have that extra bowl of cereal at night even though I wasn’t hungry. I went to eat it just because I wanted it and it sounded good and because I knew I would need that extra dessert cereal for my morning fuel. and I have to thank you for the encouragement because last night I had a great night sleep AND i had an awesome workout and I owe it all to that bowl of cereal 🙂 andddd maybe the froyo

    I love my body because it’s mine and I only get one body so I need to stop beating it up and give it what it deserves!

  38. June 19, 2011 9:54 am

    im SO with u- once uv discovered what LIFE is really like after an ED.. u NEVEr want to go back.. when ur in ur ED things seem great but boy… it sure can be a HELLUVA lot better!! i love my body becuz i SERIOUSLY LOVE MY BUTT- yes i cud use some more still hopeful!

  39. June 19, 2011 10:51 am

    Hey Amanda! I don’t know if you remember me but I used to read your blog. I just realized you’d moved – good thing too cause I often wondered what happened to you and whether you were okay. Glad to hear you’re happy and healthy 🙂

    I’m glad you didn’t lose Kaiah…you worried me!

  40. Mandy permalink
    June 19, 2011 10:57 am

    Hey, it’s the Mandy who e-mailed you before. Thanks for writing these encouraging posts, reminding me to give my body what it deserves. I love my body because it hasn’t given up on me, even when I was ready to. 🙂

  41. June 19, 2011 12:01 pm

    I love my carrots and broccoli, but I am not about to give my oatmeal up for it 🙂

  42. June 19, 2011 12:35 pm

    Great post!! I love my body because it’s strong and can withstand more than I give it credit for usually!

  43. June 19, 2011 1:11 pm

    Powerful post!
    I remember the days where I had to lie down on the floor after a shower cos I didn’t have the energy to get up, even though the floor hurt my bones SO bad. Or the days when the calories in SALAD leaves were counted..such a shit place, and I will NEVER go back there.
    I love my body because it can run take my shopping for ages, ride my horse, run a marathon, and wear killer heels – mutli tasking at its’ finest!
    ps – thanks for the shout out 🙂

  44. Lenna (veganlenna) permalink
    June 19, 2011 1:12 pm

    I really cannot even say how much I appreciate your post! People always regret things when it is already too late and we are so bad at appreciating and praising thins we have! We should handle our body as a temple for our souls – would we like an unstable, energy-less, “grey”, live-less temple? No! We would like a temple that sends out energy, postiveness, life, fun, happiness, love, strength, power! Because onley then our souls can be strong, positive, energetic and happy as well!:)

  45. June 19, 2011 2:50 pm

    So i’m totally in love with you and your blog. I love honest you are. I love my body because it’s such a wonderful piece of machinery. All I have to do is listen to it and it takes care of itself 🙂

  46. June 19, 2011 4:49 pm

    I love my body because it is strong! Instead of despising certain areas, like my stomach, when I used to look in the mirror, I now look and see strong, muscular legs–I make a point to see the things I love!

  47. June 19, 2011 4:57 pm

    this is so random but do you heat up your almond butter before you eat it? it always looks so yummy! i keep my homemade AB in the fridge s im wondering how yours is so creamy lol random i know.
    I love my body because it is finally getting back in sync with my brain! awesome post 🙂

    • June 19, 2011 5:36 pm

      Haha no I don’t heat it up, but mine isn’t homemade and I don’t keep it in the fridge. You could probably add some oil to the almonds to make it a bit creamier.

  48. June 20, 2011 5:15 am

    I love my body because even after all the ill treatment I’ve given it in times past it still hasn’t given up on me – and that’s is truly a fact worth celebrating.

    Great post!

  49. June 20, 2011 9:04 am

    I love my body because it does everything for me! I used to only focus on my “fat stomach” (WTF?) or I’d avoid foods that I loved (Just plain stupid) but I’m so far away from that place now! I love my body because it’s fully functioning and healthy. What more could I POSSIBLY ask for? When I think of how critical I used to be, I feel ashamed. There are so many people who can’t walk because their legs don’t work. People who can’t go out and have fun with friends because they’re seriously ill. What a fool I was to take such a perfect body for granted. Thanks for writing this! xoxo

  50. June 20, 2011 11:34 am

    I am addicted to sweet potato, nut butter and cottage cheese! Yummers!

  51. July 27, 2011 12:38 pm

    I love my body because it responds to nutrients quickly and good food makes me feel good – FAST! ❤ thanks bod! =)

    great post love! this def deserves more attention… but then again all of yours do! =) go write a book mmk? ❤ i'll buy it

  52. July 27, 2011 2:42 pm

    Wow, I love this post.
    Thank you for reminding me that life *or whatever it is* is horrible with ED, and in fact not living at all!
    Love you!


  1. . daddy’s little girl . « . running with spoons .
  2. A look of desperation and some luck | pumpedforpumpkin
  3. . looking back and looking ahead . « . running with spoons .
  4. . daddy’s little girl .

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