I’ve always believed the best way we can learn is through the stories of others. After committing to eating disorder recovery, the number one thing to kickstart my journey was hearing how women near and far from me had learned to see themselves in a new way and break free from their disordered behaviors.
This week, I’m featuring one of my online friends, Madeline Miles, because she has been such a light to me and is doing some truly amazing work to help and inspire others.
On Instagram (@madelines_cookbook) she’s known as the Mantra Queen, sharing motivational and comforting words of wisdom and delicious plant-based recipes, all of which you can find on her website here.
Instagram is where Madeline and I first met and what drew me to her account most was the story of how she went from living a life caged by disordered eating, to a life of freedom and joy.
When I asked her why she started Madeline’s Cookbook she said this:
“I have such a love and passion, and so much knowledge when it comes to health and wellness. And everyone always thinks, “Oh, that means food and how you work out” and yes—that’s a huge part—but it’s not everything. It’s also about the relationships and friendships you have in your life and the way you talk to yourself. Your emotions, your feelings. You know, it’s so much and I’ve learned so much about this all because I suffered from an eating disorder…from anorexia. So, most of my adolescent years were spent seeing different specialists and going through something really traumatic in my life that taught me so much about myself and health and wellness.”
Hearing these words was so refreshing. Madeline’s right when she says we don’t always take into account the other dimensions, apart from food and exercise, that make up our health and wellness.
Although there are various types of eating disorders, Madeline fought Anorexia Nervosa and was diagnosed in the seventh grade. She described her relationship with disordered eating as on-and-off. There were times she was hospitalized, partially hospitalized, and given outpatient care to get the treatment she needed. In addition, she tried several methods of therapy.
After deciding for herself that she didn’t want to be controlled by her eating disorder anymore, she finally recovered. Yet, it wasn’t an easy road and took six years.
Madeline refers to her eating disorder as Ed, and in our conversation said to him, “Booyakasha!”
The other two reasons she began creating content to put out into the world is because:
- She loves cooking and it’s fun for her to cook and eat the way she does now since for so long she deprived herself of certain foods.
- She wants to inspire other women because she knows she’s not the only one who struggles with body image and anxiety.
“We all—to some degree—have very similar struggles and weaknesses.”
The topics Madeline focuses her work on include: Eating disorder recovery, anxiety, and hormonal health. It wasn’t until this year that she started diving into research on female health, anatomy, and hormones. One of the things to pull her in this direction was the fact that we aren’t always taught as females how our body or hormones work.
“I just want to help women and girls, and I hope that when people visit my page they can leave knowing something new, feeling more supported, and…they can always be my friend too. I love that.”
I asked Madeline what 3 main things propelled her toward recovery, and this was her response:
“I was actually sent home from studying abroad because I wasn’t digesting my food and I wasn’t having bowel movements because I wasn’t eating enough, and had lost a ton of weight. So, I got sent home for about a month…which I ended up going back and studying abroad, but just sitting in that hospital bed hooked up to IV’s and a feeding tube I was like, ‘I am done with this. This cannot rob me of anything more in my life. I’m so done with this.’ So, it had to come from me realizing I had a problem, realizing everything it had taken away from me, and wanting to change and wanting to get better and not feel so crappy anymore.”
Because I was interviewing the mantra queen I, of course, had to ask her for a mantra; Specifically, I wanted to know what mantra she would give to someone who is currently facing an eating disorder. I loved her answer…
“Keep on fighting.”
What hit me hard was when Madeline opened up about the lost memories and broken friendships her eating disorder caused. I think many of us who have battled an eating disorder can relate. I know I can.
“I wasn’t happy when I was anorexic…I missed out on so much.”
I wanted to know what Madeline would tell her struggling self if she could go back in time, and I couldn’t agree more with the truth she shared.
“It’s okay. You are not going to be stuck in this forever and something amazing is going to come out of this.”
Ugh. Isn’t that good? I just want to pause and say that if you’re fighting an eating disorder and the way to recovery seems hard and impossible, you will see a brighter day, you will make it out the other side, and you will reap blessings from it.
There’s not a lot of room for self-love inside an eating disorder, yet one of the practices I believe can help spark this fire is affirmations. The truth is, we can choose to love and accept ourselves even when we don’t like ourselves.
Madeline made a comment in our conversation on what she loves about herself.
“That’s what I love about myself now, is how much more mature and strong I am because of all the struggles I went through.”
I can attest to both of these things you guys. This girl is a powerhouse and has changed my perspective in so many positive ways. She makes me want to be more educated, more in tune with my body, and happier.
When I asked her how she finds joy in the difficult day’s life throws at her, she gave these ideas:
- Walking my dog
- Hanging out with my boyfriend
- Hanging out with my friends
- FaceTiming my family
- Listening to good music
Madeline has been plant-based for six years and chose to alter her lifestyle because of her love for animals, as well as health and environmental reasons. Her favorite meal right now is anything curry, and I suggest checking out the Curry Red Pepper Sauce & Roasted Eggplant with Lemon Kale Quinoa recipe she just put on her website.
Madeline currently lives in Columbia, Missouri and goes to the University of Missouri. In May she will officially graduate and then she’s on her way to Austin, Texas to start a career with a full-service social media marketing agency.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together. More than anything, I hope you learned something. Even if you are unfamiliar with eating disorders and haven’t ever dealt with one yourself, the reality is that there are people all over (30 million in the United States alone) suffering from an eating disorder.
Increasing our awareness on how to recognize and help those struggling is crucial for not only decreasing deaths (eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate out of all mental health disorders) but for showing those struggling that they are worthy and capable of life recovered.
For more eating disorder help and information, visit these sites:
Lastly, I want to thank you for reading this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or on Instagram (@believingbeautiful) and I’m sure Madeline would love that too (@madelines_cookbook!)