Victoria’s “A-Ha” Moment

I wanted to share my story with you about my “a-ha” moment.

My name is Victoria. I am 29 years old, and I live in Austin. TX. I am 1.5 years sober and recovered from anorexia, and harmful eating disorder behaviors. I have been WFPB SOS free during these past 1 and 1/2 years. I feel so incredible, happy, energetic, and FREE!

At age 14 (entering high school), I restricted calories heavily. I was only consuming about 1,000 calories a day. I would only eat packaged foods with labels so I could count calories. I called myself vegan at this time too. I ate a lot of vegan junk food protein bars, frozen prepared meals, and packaged popcorn/ chips, etc. I was very OCD with this routine. I would come home after school and go on very long walks/ runs until my muscles hurt. At dinner time, I would tell my family I already ate. I would skip social gatherings in fear that food would be present.

I continued this dangerous behavior and started restricting calories down to 800 per day, then to 500 per day. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat anything all day. People reached out to me in fear and saw how much weight I was losing, and how sickly I looked. I came up with excuse, after excuse. I did this for years.

When I reached college, I would only eat on weekends. This was to “reward myself” with a meal out, or to eat dinner with my family, etc. I felt terrible throughout the week without any nourishment, but I kept myself motivated knowing that I would eat on the weekends. This rewarding behavior resulted in binge eating until I was sick to my stomach and bloated. The following Monday, I would work out all day and told myself I wouldn’t eat until the following weekend. It was a vicious cycle.

At age 25- I moved into my own place. This is when the alcohol kicked in. I used alcohol as a way to make me hungry. I felt less anxious about food when I was under the influence. The binge drinking and binge drinking was fun until the next day. This was my pattern- anxiety, motivation, reward, self hatred.

I had my “a-ha” moment at 27. I quit drinking because my mom told me that I wasn’t fun to be around anymore. This was the honest truth I needed to hear. After all, she is my best friend. Hearing this broke my heart. I quit that day. As for the food- I heard about the WFPB movement on youtube from Jane Esselstyn 🙂 Dillon Holmes from Well your World, Chuck Carol from Physicians Committee, and the Plant Strong Podcast! I learned about calorie density, and the importance of whole food.

I started buying fruits and veggies in abundance. I threw away everything in my freezer and fridge with labels! I wanted the obsessive calorie counting to just end. I wanted to just nourish my body with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and healthy starches. I felt more and more amazing everyday. I started building muscle, my skin was glowing, my hair and nails were growing, and my mood was always stable and HAPPY!

Covid really was a “gift” to me in the sense that I had the time to focus on my health, and build back my relationship with my family. I will continue this lifestyle for the rest of my life, and try to spread the word as much as possible (I know it’s tricky).

My next goals are to get a 2nd degree in plant based nutrition or lifestyle medicine. I would love to work with families and elderly, and to guide them so they can see the light.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank the entire WFPB community. You have kept me alive.

Sincerely,
Victoria Hartmann

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