Wife No. 3 in Abu Dhabi - Bulimia and Broken Dreams


                                                  Photo taken by Maha Khan in Abu Dhabi.

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

I had a very strange childhood. I was born in Belarus and raised in the UK by my father’s mother, and learned many life lessons in very hard ways. I was raised by a grandmother who lived on benefits(British welfare) and enjoyed watching EastEnders (a British sitcom) all the time. She was an addict. My father eventually remarried and was absent from my life. 

The Silent Shame of Bulimia


                                                                  Image Credit

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

Unlike anorexia, which is characterized by discipline, restraint, self-sacrifice—traits that society upholds as virtuous—bulimia traffics in a consuming, corrosive sense of shame. After all, there is nothing respectable about gorging yourself past the point of physical discomfort. There is nothing dignified about jamming your fist in your mouth to induce vomiting. Habitually wrapping lies around your self-destructive behavior is far from honorable.

Mental Health is for Everyone

We hear the statistics: one in five people have a mental illness but what does that say about the mental well-being of the other four? Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being. Mental health is something we all can benefit from working towards.  

What If Body Acceptance Doesn't Work? How About Body Neutrality?

I see a life coach.

The funny thing is, I call her my life coach when I’m doing well. I call her my therapist when I’m doing not-so-well. Because really, she’s one in the same.

According to her — and the firm for which she works — the difference between a therapist and a life coach is just that: where you are in life. If we were looking at a scale that goes from -10 to 10, a therapist would be there for you if you were on the negative side of zero, helping you to reach a healthier, more neutral place. If you’re already there, though, a life coach helps you improve that position, moving you up the scale into more happiness and life satisfaction.

A Worthwhile Journey


It didn’t start out as an eating disorder. If you had asked me back then, I would have never admitted to having one. I was a collegiate athlete, studying health…there was no way I would allow something so terrible to ravage my body. I needed my body, and so did my teammates.

EDAW Reflections: Thinking Beyond the Stereotypes

So often we discuss body image, weight preoccupation, and eating disorders as issues that affect girls and women. However, when you take a closer look, through research, clinical cases, or through discussion with boys and men, it’s very clear that these issues are not exclusive to one particular gender. Throughout my pregnancy, I often thought about how I would promote a positive body image and healthy eating attitudes in my son. I never thought of difficulties in these areas as “girl problems.” As a new mom, I continue to reflect on the topics of body image, self-esteem, and eating related issues, and I’m already trying to put some positive practices into place. Thus, as this EDAW has come to an end, I’d like to share a letter I wrote for my son, with the hope that others will be inspired to share similar messages with the boys and men in their lives.

The Importance of Taking Risks in Recovery


Even for individuals who have not been affected by eating disorders, there is an impulse to stay with what is comfortable and familiar. A comfort zone is a safe place to be; but no major growth ever happens there. In order to truly grow and strengthen your recovery, it is critical to continue to challenge yourself on a regular basis, whether it’s trying new restaurants, facing “fear or trigger foods”, being more flexible with exercise, taking rest-days, or resisting the urge to engage in food rituals.

I DID NOT Wake Up Like This: A Dose of Social Media Literacy

Long gone are the days where editing your photos simply means applying an Instagram filter to them (and until recently I thought of this as being pretty advanced). The use of Photoshop has always seemed like some kind of magic reserved for professional use on models, actresses, and singers. Anyone who has ever received any media literacy education knows of the dangers that can come from comparing ourselves to these fabricated images.

I'm A Fat Anti-Assimilationist (& No I'm Not Sorry)

For so long I saw myself as a failure. 

Even though there were so many signs that I was already rebelling against the diet culture, I denied them. Each time I ate cake or decided to watch Dynasty instead of exercise, my inner badass was saying "girl, this sucks." The badass inside my head won a lot, but I couldn't see those choices as being CHOICES. I saw them only as failures.