Hello and welcome to the 3rd stop on The Dollop Book of Frosting Blog Tour!
I’m beyond honored to be guest blogging on Brian Cuban’s website today. With his moving new book, Shattered Image and his dedication to authenticity, Brian is delving into a topic that is so rarely touched upon these days, especially by men. And the honesty with which Brian speaks is not only inspiring to me, but to millions.
For the sake of honesty I want you to know that Brian is the one who inspired me to tell my own story; one that I had kept hidden for so many years. (I don’t think even he knows this.)
I wasn’t good at anything growing up. I’ve written before about how I was always trying to find my thing. After getting cut from every school sport and school play, getting fired from numerous jobs, and not going to college I began to fear that I would never find that thing that I was good at.
And then I found my eating disorder.
Nine years ago I fought a lengthy battle with anorexia. I had gone from outpatient treatment to partial hospitalization, back to outpatient, back to partial, eventually winding up in inpatient treatment at New York Presbyterian Hospital. I was extremely lucky to be accepted into the test program there because my insurance didn’t cover eating disorder treatment and the costs were outrageous.
Before treatment my days were spent counting calories, powering the elliptical machine, and praising myself for avoiding food. Sugar was taboo, fat was taboo, and happiness was taboo.
I was angry, depressed, and cold all of the time. I was trying to remain in control but I was suffering.
I kept a daily food journal and obsessively counted calories. There wasn’t room in my brain for other thoughts with all of the constant calorie counting. It was like a ticker tape—counting the same calories over and over to make sure I was counting correctly. I was terrible at math but I was good at counting calories.
The day I found out that I was accepted into the exclusive eating disorder test program at New York Presbyterian Hospital I remember feeling this sense of pride that I finally found something I was good at—losing weight. Not many people are good at losing weight; that was clear by the amount of diet books, articles, and dinner table talk that was part of our society. And after all those years of seeking something I was good at, I was desperate to hold on to my eating disorder.
The problem? You can’t live and hold on to your eating disorder.
My desperation to hold onto what I was good at was killing me.
Now I know there were many other factors involved in contributing to the manifestation of my eating disorder—my mom was an obsessive dieter and regularly proclaimed that she was fat, I was depressed, I didn’t have a close network of friends, I had a chubby phase in high school, I had an undiagnosed gluten intolerance, and so on.
But the fact of the matter was that I was lacking self-esteem and a sense of pride.
After years of treatment and discovering a skill I was good, in this case baking, as counterintuitive to anorexia as that is, I began to slowly feel like I was recovering.
An eating disorder doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It is possible to recover.
It’s even possible to go from an eating disorder to a cupcake bakery owner, to a Cupcake Wars winner, to a frosting cookbook writer.
Although if you had told me that I would be immersed in a world of sugar while maintaining a healthy and fit body today while I sat in that white ward staring out the window and force-feeding myself Pop Tarts nine years ago, I would have told you that you’re nutso.
I still have my moments of regression. I still feel a rush to control my food intake when I feel like I can’t control anything else in my world. I still feel like maybe if I lose weight I’ll feel a sense of pride, especially when I feel like I’m failing at my business or not getting enough sales for The Dollop Book of Frosting, or completely unsure of what comes next.
But then I remember that whatever comes next will give me more of a chance at a future of happiness than starving myself ever could.
I want to thank Brian again so much for having me as a guest on his blog today as a part of The Dollop Book of Frosting Blog Tour.
Swing on over to my website, heathersaffer.com for details on the remainder of the tour and to find out what comes next with me. J
Heather “Cupcakes” Saffer