Maria’s struggle with an eating disorder and her journey to recovery are relatable to many other women. She was a victim of sexual abuse that began at age 12 and lasted throughout her adolescence. The abuse left her feeling she had little control in life. She searched to find ways to regain that control. At first, it was control over her body and then it was control over food.
A student-athlete, she strived to be the fastest and to be the best – she was hard on herself and her body. She watched what she ate, worked out excessively, and wouldn’t eat lunch. As her trauma continued, she blamed her body and found a way, a dangerous way, to numb the pain – restricting, compulsively exercising, purging, and self-harm.
The vicious cycle went on for years and to further complicate matters she struggled with a thyroid condition. As with so many who struggle with an eating disorder, Maria didn’t look sick. Her thyroid condition allowed her to maintain weight, giving her the ability to hide her eating disorder from everyone. She also began taking higher doses of her thyroid medication to increase her metabolism, which is incredibly dangerous and led to damaging thyroid levels.
“I needed help.”
She began therapy to help her work through her childhood trauma, and even though it helped it would be later before she realized the connection between the trauma and her body. She then suffered additional hurdles when she was diagnosed with physical complications, leading her down a suicidal path. She was sick, broken, and she knew at this point she needed help, and that’s when she found Magnolia Creek. It was recommended to her by another treatment center and she felt it might be a step in the right direction.
“I was triggered all the time. I knew I was sick, and I was ready for help. I didn’t have any care left in my body. When I got to Magnolia Creek I realized people do care and there is hope for the future.”
Magnolia Creek Offers Freedom
At Magnolia Creek, Maria found the freedom she had been looking for. For the first time, she began to develop a respect for her body and for food, and she found compassion from those around her.
“I quickly found trust with Leigh-Ann, trust that doesn’t just happen. I built a relationship with her as I learned her story and what she had been through. I knew she was genuinely there for me and cared about me. She taught me about intuitive eating and how to care about myself again.”
Clients meet with their registered dietitian for a nutrition assessment within 48 hours of arriving at Magnolia Creek. During this first 48 hours, clients are placed on a standard meal plan and following the meeting with their dietitian, an individual meal plan is designed to meet their specific needs and weight restoration goals. Part of the Nutrition Group at Magnolia Creek is the ten principles of Intuitive Eating, which helps clients in forming a healthy relationship with food, movement, and body image.
Breaking down barriers around food is one of the main goals in nutrition therapy at Magnolia Creek. For Maria, this meant breaking down barriers around the food she had denied herself for most of her life. “I had never let myself have Nutella. Before coming to Magnolia Creek, if I had to have a snack I would only eat peanut butter. I had such fear around certain food. One day Leigh-Ann asked me to try Nutella, and I loved it. She then taught me how to have something I enjoyed without the cravings and how to have food freedom.”
Another important part of Maria’s therapy at Magnolia Creek was reconnecting to her spirituality. Working on her spiritual life helped her find the truth that she had been looking for. We know that spirituality plays an important role in the recovery process. We welcome women of all faiths and background and for those who desire it, we have a Christian Pathway as part of our program. Grounded in the belief that one’s faith is the central force in the healing process, the Christian Pathway gives clients the platform at the beginning and the end of each day to discuss issues of a spiritual nature with their therapist. Dr. Danielle Cornia, Clinical Director at Magnolia Creek, calls this the “bookends to begin and end your day of personal and spiritual growth.”
Magnolia Creek gave Maria a safe, healing environment she needed to heal from her childhood trauma and her eating disorder. Through dedicated and caring staff, she was able to deeply explore the contributing factors related to her eating disorder and challenge the thoughts and behaviors that had prevented her from living her life freely.
“The team at Magnolia Creek really listened to me. Each person was always willing to be there. I knew they cared for me and they made me feel like an individual,” shared Maria.
Today, Maria is in a good place. She is seeing a dietitian and a therapist close to home and is continuing to have a healthy relationship with food and her body. At Magnolia Creek, Maria developed coping skills to manage her triggers and urges. She is allowing herself to heal and grow. She has developed a healthier relationship with food free from restrictions and rules.
“I now have more compassion for my body and what it has been through. I can communicate with my body more and listen to it. Magnolia Creek made me want to get better, and that it was actually a possibility. I have learned that there are hard days, and I can get through them without hurting myself. My life is worth living again.”
If you or a loved one is looking for help for an eating disorder, call us today at 866-318-2329 or complete our contact form for more information. Magnolia Creek helps to empower you to find freedom from your eating disorder.