Learning to Choose Yourself Through Recovery
**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
Katie Tercek is a TV reporter in Cleveland, Ohio. She wants to share her eating disorder recovery journey to help others. After not eating enough to spin into a binge cycle, she now shares how she is recovered from her eating disorder. She is still learning about and healing her relationship with food. Join Katie as she breaks down her journey. You can follow Katie on Instagram (@katietercek).
When I was in fifth grade, I was diagnosed with ADD and put on medication for it. A side effect of the medicine was a loss of appetite. At that time, I was growing and developing just like every kid does. So, when my weight changed because of the medicine, I believe it made me see my body image in a different light. Looking back, I don’t think I personally cared or thought deeply about the weight changes, but I remember people telling me how great I looked when I was 11 years old.
I believe that is when I started to look at body image differently. I continued with my life, not experiencing an eating disorder in elementary or high school. I remember having an underlying goal of a certain image I wanted to uphold, but never once did it make me go overboard—at least not until I went to college.
My freshman year of college was exactly what you could expect: making new friends, going to parties, eating at the dining halls, and navigating what major I officially wanted to pursue. Somewhere in all of that, I formed an eating disorder. When I came home for break, I remember feeling pressure from my surroundings to lose the small amount I had gained while at school. Because I was 18 years old and didn’t have the educational tools I have now, an eating disorder took hold.
After my body had been suffering physically and mentally, I realized I had to eat. I had to start putting more food into my body
One summer in college I thought I had recovered. I was eating and snacking like normal. I was listening to my body and fueling myself for runs. It was amazing. Unfortunately, I still had this mindset of punishing myself for having certain foods, which eventually led to bingeing again.
Senior year of college, I had figured out who I wanted to become and was set on a determined path to become a TV reporter. Before I knew it, college was coming to an end, and I was headed 1,700 miles away to Montana for my first reporting job. At first, I was doing okay with my binge eating disorder, but eventually, the overwhelming loneliness, exhaustion, and pressure to constantly improve took over; I began to binge again, but eventually I got back up, started training for a half marathon, got therapy, and was moving to my next TV job in Indiana. Things were fine for a while, but I eventually went back into my binge pattern. I knew I needed more than just therapy; I needed a dietitian to help me through my journey. I also started a food journal and wrote down my triggers, feelings, and thoughts.
Little by little, I gained trust in myself. I started eating a wider variety of foods, including ice cream and pasta. I also don’t make rules for myself about when I can and cannot eat.
I didn’t just wake up and feel recovered; it was a gradual process. To this day, I’m still working on my relationship with food. Now, when I go out to eat, I enjoy myself. But trust me, there’s every bit of that inner voice that tells me what I should and should not eat.
Recently, someone brought up that eating fries wasn’t healthy. Again, people don’t understand that you’re choosing to eat those fries because you’re enjoying food freedom. You can feed your cravings and move on with them, so you don’t end up having a binge. And guess what? I don’t binge now.
If someone doesn’t understand your personal food journey, that’s fine. It’s none of their business.
I am now binge-free, something I thought was impossible to overcome. I thought in 10 years I would still be hiding in my car having a binge so my future significant other, family members, and friends wouldn’t see. But I can say that won’t be the case. I am now a reporter here in Cleveland, my hometown, where I hope this story finds many of you.
I want everyone going through this to know that you’re not alone. Recovery is possible. It can happen whenever you’re ready. I never thought it was possible, but it is.
You are so worth it. Your body is beautiful inside and out. You are so loved. Choose you every day; even when it feels nearly impossible to do, do it.