Perfection: The Quality That Almost Killed
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Guest post by Erica N. (one of the brave clients we saw for eating disorder recovery)

I remember the first time I ever walked into Health Stand, shuffling up the stairs and feeling my chest tighten as I approached the waiting area. My mom sat on one of the hard wooden chairs provided and started flipping through a food magazine, her lips pursed in a thinly pinched line. I stared at the big apple pie on the front cover and I was automatically uncomfortable. Food, it was everywhere, taunting me to give in. There was so much tension between my mom and I, and for a moment I thought maybe she was more nervous than me to walk into Health Stand. Guilt is a funny thing, and I could tell my mom felt so terrible for her involvement in my eating disordered behavior that she chose to hide under her thick armor of bitterness and “tough love” instead. I do not blame her for anything that she did because no one really knows how to act when faced with the realization that you are a part of someone else’s addiction. Regardless of whatever feelings we had about my struggle with bulimia, she showed up with me to that meeting and stood strong even if she had no idea what she was doing. One of the reasons I love my mom so much; she has never given up on me.  

At first, Health Stand became my second greatest personal hell next to my own mind. I felt like I was being stripped of all of my habits and coping mechanisms. It was invasive and uncomfortable talking about my eating patterns and having someone call me out on everything that I thought was “healthy” when in fact everything I learned about food was completely wrong. I found myself constantly having to bite my tongue in front of Andrea because there were a million things I wanted to say to her that basically would let her know to F*ck off. I never did say that, but she did teach me to be honest, brave and bold. The previously mousey, softly spoken girl turned into a vibrant, well-spoken lioness that knew her own voice and was not afraid to use it. Believe me, many arguments and head-butting moments ensued in that room at Health Stand, but isn’t that the point? I learned to take a stand and fight for my health in a way that I never thought I had the energy to before. My double zero jeans had to be packed up and given up, because I finally decided to fight for my life.

The journey to recovery is long, cold, and can be completely defeating at times. Saving my own life is also one of the most important things I have ever done. Without Health Stand and my amazing group of cheerleaders at Juno House, I probably would not be here today. Suicide was always an option, a very easy way out of my painful struggle with bulimia, but it would have only caused more pain for the one’s I love. The point is, seeking the help you know you need is a gift and when you feel ready enough to fight through the tears and the terrible moments of defeat, you become so much stronger. I have a life now that was not possible 3 years ago. I have an amazing family that I never knew for years because of how consumed I was by my obsession with perfecting my own body. Finally, I can value friendships and romantic relationships because I have the head space and the full capacity to give back and love passionately.

For the first time in a long time, I am not afraid of the box of Fruit Loops in my pantry. I work in a bakery with lavish desserts and pastries under my nose every day, and although sometimes I get excruciating cravings to eat everything around me, I am not scared by my feelings. I talk it out with myself and resolve the real issue that lingers beneath the cakes and cookies. I nurture myself rather than ignore what I need and stuff calories down my throat to plug the empty hole, and then puke it up to release the tension. I cannot tell anyone that one day you will be sick and the next you will be free from your addiction. The traveling requires patience and self-love, because although I am stronger today, there are still bad days when I don’t remember how to breathe. But the progress that is made comes in waves, and after every huge failure rises and even bigger surge of success. Weeks and even months pass by completely binge and purge free, and that is why every day is worth the fight for me. I think I may be even starting to like my body and hopefully one day I will be able to love it.

Find the warriorI truly hope that whoever reads this can hear how there is hope for you too. Giving up on your dreams of being healthy and feeling beautiful, loved, and accepted is never the answer. Coming from someone who was so sick I could not last a day without purging at least three times, anything is possible if you are willing to do the work. Be patient with yourself and remember to let go. Perfection does not exist and the longer you hold onto trying to control everything in your life, the harder it will be to appreciate the little things because everything will be a failure. Thinness absolutely does not make you happy or whole. It makes you a hollow skeleton; a gender neutral zombie without sexual appeal or feminine strength. What you need to hear is to use your voice, express yourself, and stand up to those who have brought you pain. Be your own hero, because this is the only life you have and it is worth so much more than you think. My heart goes out to everyone out there who is suffering from an eating disorder and I truly hope that you can find the warrior inside of you, the bad-ass chick who eats burgers and takes on the world like you were born to be brave. Be kind to yourself, and find the courage to be uniquely you.

~ Erica

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This