My name is Brandon, and I am “The Healthy Advocate”, with a strong desire to simply help others educate themselves on the aspects of true nutrition through fact based science, completely free from industry ties and monetary agendas.
Here’s when my “About Me” page gets deep, as I generally do not share my story with others. When I created this blog in 2010, I had just gone through a turmoil of health issues associated with anorexia nervosa. Although there were many psychological contributors to my deadly disorder, I found that nutrition education (real nutrition, not what is spouted off by the USDA) was one of the biggest healing tools needed in my recovery.
The ending of high school I developed a strong desire to be thin, to lose weight, to make sure that each calorie in was being burned. My perfectionistic and obsessive personality finally caught up with me, and I started to lose weight, and sanity, rapidly. I was eating no more that 500 calories per day, and constantly moving to burn the calories I was consuming. Everything is about the calories, I thought, and fat is the devil. This resulted in the drastic elimination of the very macronutrient that my brain needed to think rationally.
Scales were my best friend, yet were also my worst enemies. Weighing several times a day is quite common for those suffering from anorexia, and I would weigh myself practically twice every hour. I remember being on the scale one moment and seeing my weight, horrified with the lowest number I’ve every seen and completely shook. I wanted to be me again, but I didn’t know what to do. Standing at the top of the stairs one day, looking down, I knew I didn’t have much time on this earth.
Just like many boys, being diagnosed with an eating disorder didn’t happen until the third or even fourth doctor visit, compared to girls who are diagnosed much earlier and are perceived to be the only gender to suffer from the disease. I was lucky. Although I wasn’t diagnosed until the third visit, I was still diagnosed, and sent into treatment.
Refeeding and weight restoration came about in treatment, as did proper education on nutrition by registered dietitians. It wasn’t until a couple of years after recovery that I discovered the wonder of nutrition, and every role it plays in the human body, right down to the mitochondria in our cells. That is when I knew I wanted to educate myself, as well as others, on the aspect of health and wellness.
While in treatment, I was prescribed an antidepressant, even though I was adamantly opposed. Since I was 5 years old I’ve been fighting against drugs of all kinds, unless when needed, and I knew that this wasn’t needed. I knew that drugs cannot cure the underlying cause of an issue, they can only cover up the symptoms. My public school environment was one of the contributing factors to my eating disorder, and when I was taken into treatment and out of the school environment, I was more willing to get better. A pill cannot cure an eating disorder.
This was more evident to me once I returned to school, after treatment, to finish senior year. Placed right back into the same environment, I started to relapse. I was depressed more than ever, and my happy drug wasn’t cutting it. After switching pharmaceuticals, it still didn’t help, and even caused adverse reactions to my body. Something has got to change.
And it did. I moved away from the public school model into an individualized approach and graduated quickly with flying colors. After leaving the same environment, my mood again lifted, and I was more motivated to staying well. I can safely tell you that I am now completely drug free, and I feel better than I have ever felt in a long time emotionally and physically.
A minor relapse did occur, as they are very common in those suffering from anorexia nervosa. My weight did plummet until I started to delve into my other passion, acting, where I was able to eat normally again because I was motivated to be well. Around this time, I was also reading more and more about health and nutrition. This is when my major changed from psychology to human nutrition and foods so that I too can become a dietitian (although, I would rather practice a more holistic approach than the conventional approaches set forth by many practicing dietitians).
After discovering the Paleo way of eating, I found that fat was no longer the enemy. In fact, calories were no longer the enemy. I was able to feel satisfied by consuming natural fats from coconut, nuts and seeds and grass-fed and free-range animal products. I am now able to listen to my body, as it is very efficient at telling me how much energy I need. I no longer have a burning desire to be the thinnest person in the room, and I no longer weight myself every 30 minutes, or count calories.
“It must be noted that eating disorders are NOT about just being skinny. Wanting to be thin is merely a symptom, a coping mechanism for other things that is happening in the person’s life. It isn’t a vanity disease, and is much more in depth than just the desire to be thin.”
Any health condition is a journey, and I can tell you that I am constantly finding myself and I am not perfect. I struggle, I triumph and I learn every day. I get healthier and stronger every day. I live my life according to the laws of nature, and no longer try to fit an ideal body type that doesn’t exist.
Eating close to what our ancestors ate: gluten-free, sugar-free, organic, whole and practically grain-free, I found comfort in knowing that my body can be healthy, fit and I never have to worry about eating too much or gaining weight. Natural fats help me feel satiated, fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables help out as well, as natural anti-inflammatory, gluten-free foods keep my digestion running smoothly and my body and mind in check.
It’s not all about the calories. Nutrition is SO much more, and it effects not only your body, but your mind. I’m proof of that. Without proper nutrition and healthy fats (of which I used to avoid like the plague), sanity and rational thinking cannot be achieved; however, I have now replenished my brain with nutrients from whole, unprocessed foods that allow me to live a drug free life, free from obsessive thoughts and actions. Our brains need healthy fats for the stabilization of our thoughts, and I’m healing every day. It’s no longer a constant struggle. If you are reading this, and you can relate to any part of my story, then hopefully you have, or will soon, find this too.
P.S. In addition to The Healthy Advocate, I also run a medical writing business. Please check out May Medical Communications (http://www.maymedcomm.com) if you are in need of a freelance medical writer.