How Traveling Took Away Everything That Was Enabling My Eating Disorder

luke + mallory leasure

I got your attention with that title, didn't I? Now you're just dying to know the end-all, be-all secret of how to end the awful struggle that is living with an eating disorder. Well, here you go: The answer is you.

You are the only thing that is going to fix this problem. No one but yourself can do this. All it takes is a change in mindset, an acceptance of something you might not be able to change. Every person has a different body shape and build. There is no right or wrong type of body.

Somewhere along the way, our generation has forgotten that concept and created a new one. Being skinny should not be the only desired body type. Also, skinny and healthy should not be confused as the same thing.

The thing about eating disorders that most people don't realize is it all comes down to having control. That is essentially what this entire disease is about, the power to take control over something in our lives. It rarely has to do with food itself.

Sometimes we find ourselves lost, without control over anything. There are very few things in this world we have complete and utter control off. But an eating disorder can provide just that. We can control what eat and when we do it. We regulated how long and hard we work out for. When we hand over control from ourselves to our disorders, we allow an unhealthy power within ourselves to overpower all the work we do to keep ourselves healthy. We cling onto this power, and let it get the best of us.

It was traveling that cured me. I found myself in a position where I couldn't count calories and workout for hours every day. Out on the road, I had little control over my body. I found myself slowly putting on weight, but surprisingly, I didn't seem to care.

Food is a part of the overall travel experience. I love to submerge myself into a new culture and try new foods. I want to completely enjoy myself while out on the road. I slowly learned how to be present in a moment, and take it for everything it has to offer.

When I traveled, I let myself let go of the worry of gaining weight and somehow stopped obsessing over when I would exercise next. I wasn't going to go to Italy and not eat an entire fresh, delicious Italian pizza by myself. In fact, I took a bottle of red wine and some gelato for dessert along with it.

Somehow, the new experience of traveling the world opened my eyes to all the possibilities life has to offer. And as a result, my eating disorder began to have less and less power over me. I regained the power of controlling myself, instead of letting my eating disorder have the power over me.

Traveling helped me overcome my terrible eating disorder. It took away my control and forced me to let go of that power. I'm not trying to say that traveling is the only thing that can cure you — it's not. It's just what helped me finally get clean.

Honestly, I just hope that one day soon, you can too have your own success story. I hope you find the strength to win this battle. At the end of the day, who cares if you're a size 8 or 6? There are more important things that define you than your weight. I'm not trying to say you should completely let yourself go. Sitting around eating excessive amounts of food and not exercising is clearly unhealthy, but neither is over-exercising and starving yourself. It all comes down to finding a healthy balance between the two.

The truth is, if you don't love your body at a larger size, you probably will not love it at a smaller one. Learn to accept and love your figure for what it is. Quit comparing yourself to others. It's not helping you in any way. Take care of yourself and your body. Stop letting it consume your every thought and decision.

Life is too short to spend time being unhappy with yourself. Skip the gym, eat that extra slice of pizza and start truly loving yourself for all that you are.

You are beautiful and perfect the way you are. Don't tell yourself any differently.