It’s so easy to miss the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. I know, because I had one for over seventeen years, and I was a master at not only hiding it from my family and friends, but deceiving myself into thinking that I didn’t have one.
Thankfully, with the help of God and my support team, I was able to get into a healthy place in my life and learn that it is possible to recover. And just as easy as it is to miss an eating disorder, it’s easy to miss loving yourself in recovery. I am a hard worker, and I love helping others, in fact, it’s one of the things that has helped me to recover. So in this VLOG for the Eating Recovery Roundup, I’ve decided to focus on #DontMiss loving yourself in recovery. Enjoy, and if you have any self love or self care tips you’d like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With love and gratitude,
“Nikki DuBose’s eating disorder that began in childhood was exacerbated by her high-profile modeling career, but the tragic death of her mother sparked a life transformation. She quit the modeling industry and has since served as a driving force behind proposed legislation to ban underweight models and regulate the industry in California. DuBose is telling this powerful story in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, which was released on Aug. 25.”
Read the full interview on Recovery.org.
Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, psychosis, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.
Her journey began as a young, introverted child with a florid imagination growing up in Charleston, South Carolina. By the age of eight, she had been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and had developed an eating disorder. The abuse warped Nikki’s self-perception and sparked patterns of psychosis, depression and destructive behavior that stayed with her into adulthood. In her early twenties, she began working as a television host and started a career in modeling. Eventually, Nikki attained success, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Maxim, shooting for editorials like Vanity Fair, Glamour and FHM, and appearing in campaigns for Perry Ellis.
Read more at Pretty-Hot.com.
“On Friday, May 27th, 2016, California Assembly Bill 2539 was held in the suspense file and killed for the rest of the year. The bill would have awarded models workplace protections and health standards, granting them employee status, similar to actors who are employees of the brands they represent. As well, California modeling agencies would have been licensed as talent agencies. Although we fought hard to see this bill through, the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) and specific modeling agencies lobbied violently against it, which ultimately led to the bill’s death. As an executive board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation and Project HEAL SoCal Chapter, two organizations dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and eating disorders, I am passionate about pushing forth legislation which will protect vulnerable workers from being exploited in the fashion industry. Furthermore, as a survivor of a more than seventeen-year battle with eating disorders, trauma, other mental health issues, and as someone who experienced the darker side of the modeling industry, I want to clarify the arguments that have continuously come up over the past few months concerning the legislation.”
Read more on The Huffington Post.
UPDATE! On April 6th, 2016, Assembly Bill 2539 passed the Labor Committee!! We are so excited and are looking for more Letters of Support. Please see below for instructions on how to submit yours.
I am honored to be working as an advocate on AB 2539. Harvard STRIPED, the National Eating Disorders Association, the Model Alliance and Assemblymember Marc Levine have been working hard to introduce the Bill, which may be the first in the United States to see that the health standards in the modeling industry are changed and that the labor rights of models are finally exercised. From my own experiences as a former model, I can attest to the poor regulations in the modeling industry, and therefore this Bill is something that is greatly needed. Below is my official Letter of Support addressed to Assemblymember Marc Levine.
Here are more resources for AB 2539: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/policy-translation/california-ab-2539/
Tips for writing letters of support for AB 2539: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/how-to-write-a-letter-of-support-for-ca-ab-2539/
Resources for Advocates AB 2539: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/resources-for-advocates-california-ab-2539/
“I knew that look on my brother’s face one Christmas Eve several years ago as I walked out of the bathroom. I had seen it too many times. It was one not of anger or disgust, but rather, of disappointment mixed with sadness. His silence spoke volumes, but I was certain what he would have said. ‘You’re not doing that again, are you?’
In fact, it wasn’t just my brother’s trust I had broken during the course of seventeen years of eating disorders, addictions and battles with various mental health issues. Almost everyone in my family and anyone I had had a relationship with had been whipped into the Nikki hurricane, only to be spit out again and left for dead. I had a habit of using people for what they could do for me, and then leaving them when emotions became too intense to handle. It was painful for me to form loving, trusting bonds with my family members, let alone anyone in a truly intimate capacity, which went back to the original trauma of being sexually, physically and emotionally abused as a child.”
Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.
On this episode I sat down with Laura Porter who is a student at George Washington University majoring in political communication with a minor in psychology. After taking three semesters off of school for her own mental health struggles, Laura became passionate about advocating for increased awareness of mental illness among college students, specifically eating disorder awareness. Laura served as president of Students Promoting Eating Disorder Awareness and Knowledge at GW (SPEAK GW) as well as a communications intern at Active Minds Inc.
This recipe is a bit time consuming but SO worth it!
(Note: Please make the Almond butter cups ahead of time and refrigerate them until they harden. Then break them apart organically into crumbles to add into the ice cream just before the ice cream is done mixing in the machine.)
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cup Ice Cream
Almond Butter Cups
You will need:
7 oz. 100% dark chocolate (70% or above is ok, depending on your preference)
1/2 cup natural almond butter
2 TBS. Torani sugar-free vanilla syrup
1 TBS. Stevia/monk fruit
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
First, separate the dark chocolate into smaller pieces and then melt on a double boiler, stirring continuously until perfectly smooth. Line the muffin pan with paper cups and pour a teaspoon of the chocolate into each cup. Blend the almond butter and remaining ingredients, then roll into teaspoon-sized balls before pressing into each chocolate filling.
Cover every cup with the remaining dark chocolate and refrigerate them until completely hard. After they have hardened, break them into chunks and use them for later in the recipe.
Next, for the ice cream!
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
You will need:
13.5 oz Coconut Almond Milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup equivalent Stevia
Chocolate Sauce (Recipe is below)
Half the batch of the Almond Butter cups, hardened and crumbled
Add the coconut almond milk to a saucepan over medium heat, and stir for about seven minutes. During that time add the vanilla extract and sweetener, stirring to combine well. Cover in a container with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until the mixture is cool.
While the mixture is cooling down, make the chocolate sauce:
Dark Chocolate Sauce
You will need:
3 TBS. coconut almond milk
1 TBS. cacao powder
1/2 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate (100%)
2 TBS. Stevia/monk fruit extract
1 TBS. melted coconut oil
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Combine all of the ingredients while waiting for the ice cream to set.
Once the coconut milk mixture is ready, add it to your ice cream maker and make it according to your machine’s directions. My ice cream maker takes around 30 minutes to produce one batch, however different styles call for different times. Just before the ice cream is done churning, add the almond butter cups and drizzle in the chocolate sauce.
You can serve this immediatley or freeze it for another couple of hours, whatever you prefer!
After taking a year and a half off work from modeling to recover, I feel so freaking happy to say that I am getting my booty back, my boobs back. I feel things jiggle when I walk. I have arm muscle now. I can eat to my hearts content and have a big, curvy body that is sexy.
Do I regret coming out about having an eating disorder? NO!
Do I regret sharing photoshoots that show myself at a low weight? NO!
Why? Because I am proud to help others who are also suffering from anorexia and bulimia and I am not afraid to show how recovery looks like, the good, the bad and the scary.
I am so happy that my body is growing to whatever size God made it to be. Let it grow baby!!
How am I preparing for NYC? Eating to my hearts content and letting go of all fears that used to consume me!
We are all already perfectly made!
Let the journey continue!
When I entered into recovery in 2010, I was in for the shock of my life. I was blindly going where I had never been before and I was accepting all of the bells and whistles that were to come.
Fast forward four years later and here we have January 2014. Where am I now in recovery? I am very grateful to say that God has seen me through some (for lack of better words) hell-hole days, weeks, and years, and He has Blessed me with pot holes of light that have kept me going. I have had months of steady recovery and then BAM!, I have fallen into relapse so fast that I thought I wouldn’t make it out alive.
*I have seen my body go up and down and up and down and I have felt myself have the emotional capacity many times of a 5 year old.
*I have had to re-learn to eat and have had to learn pretty much the library on nutrition and how to apply it to my daily eating habits.
*I have had some MAJOR physical side effects as a result of hurting my body for 20 years, and have had to accept and take care of myself in a whole new light, and not complain.
*I have had to relearn how to percieve myself and how to relate to the world and to others.
*I threw out the scale. I do not know how much I weigh, nor do I care! I am a firm believer that my worth and value are not rooted in my weight, size, or physical appearance. I believe it is the inner person that is important and this is what I have been working on.
*I have been working with the National Eating Disorders Association for the past year and I am so grateful to God that on March 8, 2014, we will be holding our Los Angeles Walk in Santa Monica, California. NEDA formed the Artist Initiative Team and they asked me to captain it for LA! The Initiative is for people working in the entertainment and artisitc industries who want to stand up for divirsity and fight against eating disorders. I am very honored and proud to be apart of this developing program with NEDA!
If I could tell my 8 year old self to never lean over the toilet again, I would scream as loud as I could, “STOP!”
Please do not ever ever hurt yourself! There is SO much more to life than ourselves, and our weight, and what we look like. We can think beyond ourselves and help other people who are hurting, for starters. Addicitons are so self-centered, and once they start, they are almost impossible to stop.
Now I just eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. If I feel like I ate too much, oh well! It is just a feeling, and like everything with time, that feeling will go away. I don’t need to do some crazy hurtful thing to myself. It is just nuts. My body deserves so much love and delicious, healthy food is love. I work out, but I do not over exercise. I just focus on living a healthy lifestyle. I focus on health, and not on a size or a shape. I want to be happy! Don’t you?