Eating disorders are more common than you might think. Like any mental health issue, they can affect all ages, genders, races and body types.
I struggled with eating disorders in my younger days, and believe it or not, my recovery was the catalyst for Graydon Skincare. I'd like to take this opportunity to share a little bit of my story with you.
Having spent some years growing up in France, my love and obsession for food came quite naturally to me, but healthy eating habits did not.
As a young woman, I pursued a job in packaged goods marketing for the cookie industry. It helped pay my bills and allowed me to work part-time as a pastry chef. It also fed my unhealthy binge/starve food habit.
One day, I fainted and an ensuing trip to the hospital resulted in me being placed in the mental health ward for a couple of weeks.
In an effort to put some pounds on my body, I was forced to consume a diet of "fake food" (think milkshakes from a tin, overcooked pork chops with reconstituted gravy and cherry pie filling served over Jello with Cool Whip). I didn’t really receive much nourishment for my body or my mind. When I finally left, I was determined never to return.
My stay in the mental health ward gave me the resolve to get better and create a new me!
I left my marketing gig, took my power suits to the consignment store and cut my hair super short. I signed up for an intensive yoga program and, in between anxiety attacks, started making skin concoctions.
I got heavily into the vegan, whole food world and my fascination with food became very health oriented. Foods like the humble avocado began replacing my cravings for sugar, alcohol and dairy. Slowly but surely, I started cultivating healthy eating habits rather than allowing a poor diet to ruin my lifestyle.
It didn’t happen overnight, but combined with more therapy than anyone would ever want, I started to feel and look better too.
My yoga and mindful meditation practice helped me connect to my body and I found that I had an undiscovered gift for nurturing others. I started cooking for people on the side to help them heal too.
Recipe development came naturally, which lent itself to making yoga related products like healing oils, Ayurvedic creams for redness and calming mists for anxiety. Soon enough I had women knocking at my door to teach them about the sacred act of restorative yoga and self-care.
This community of women loved buying my handcrafted products because they had already experienced their profound results in my classes. I loved that they affectionately referred to my creams as "salad for your skin."
As a budding entrepreneur, I didn’t know the endgame, but I was on my way to where we are today.
What helped me? Hard knocks. Listening to my body rather than ignoring what it was trying to tell me. Finding peace about a less than perfect childhood. And starting over again and again. Just starting. Honestly, I can't tell you how many times I've had to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again.
Little did I know that my unhealthy connection to food would actually lead me to create a superfood skincare line that is very much inspired by having to make good choices for myself, not to just survive but to thrive.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, please know that there is help and there is hope.
Nourish your body with Laura Wright's Shaved Fennel + Root Vegetable Salad. Click here for the recipe.