Thank you to “Summer” for writing this guest blog about her experiences.

Then: Pounding on the sand, my feet sink further to the bottom of the beach. My head throbbing as I notice the dryness on my lips. Water, I need water! Though I can’t stop. I have to run faster further than the woman who is thinner and lighter than me.

My body is chilled though it is 90 degrees outside. Only a couple more miles until I can stop. I have to drown this fat into the depths of this ocean. My back aches, my feet are red from the hot sand, and my calves are starting to cramp.

I barely heard a child’s voice calling out for her mom to help as I fell down on the hot, hard sand, fading into the blackness of nothingness.

Luckily this was not my child, as I did not have a son during the years the anorexia monopolized my existence. Even though I wanted children in the midst of anorexia, my whole existence was consumed with exercise, counting calories, losing weight, and weighing myself. Also, children did not fit into my routine of surrounding myself with recipes, cooking gadgets, grocery shopping, planning how to hide food, and reading anything on eating disorders I could get my hands on.

Now: My son’s voice is music to my ears as he exclaims how he jumped over the wave independently without me holding his hand. Smiling, I exclaim how proud I am of him.

The scent of the ocean fills my nostrils with cleansing salt mist. The seagulls above are flying over to eat leftover crumbs from someone’s sandwich. The waves hit the beach like a soft purr. The salty taste reminds me it is time to sit down with my son and enjoy our lunch.

I am grateful for the time with my son. I am even more grateful that I am able to take in every single moment of his life without the haunting voice of anorexia. Going to the beach when the eating disorder had more control of me than I had of myself was all about comparing, competing, and slowly killing myself. I compared everyone else’s body to mine. Even at my lowest anorexic weight everyone else was thinner than I was, according to the distorted body image plaguing my mind, body, and spirit.

This in turn made the beach about competing to have the skinniest body although this would never come to fruition because I was never thin enough.

In recovery my son is my focal point. Not my weight. Enjoying our lunch together is our time to take in the beauty of the ocean. We talk about all the things he saw on the beach. The seaweed, the crabs, the fish, the seagulls, and kids splashing in the waves are a few of his new found loves of the beach.

This is living! This is his reality. This is my reality. These are moments forever remembered!! None of these moments would have occurred if I were selfishly in the eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and compulsions.