Shrewd Foodie Story : Erin Brooks

Hey Shrewd Food Crew!

I wanted to thank you all so much for the amazing community and support I’ve found, oh and also the awesome snacks, I love those chocolate protein dippers.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a mom of 2 crazy hyper kids, my 9-year-old daughter I gifted with my ADHD, Dyslexia, and art talent. My 3-year-old son, is my lil bud and loves to Paw Patrol. I am a fan of all things geeky, sci-fi, fantasy, Disney, and superheroes. I have passion for art, crochet, and black cats, I have 2. I am also someone who is committed to my health and fitness.

That commitment was something I didn’t always have. As a kid I grew up with my two disabled and divorced parents. My mother was hermit, who suffered with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Bulimia. She would abuse her pain medication to help her escape from her reality, she was also a master manipulator. I remember her also binging on large quantities of food only to puke it up later in the day. My Grandmother and Pop Pop would do the best they could to help me and my mom while still trying to hide her condition from their social circles.

My father was legally blind. He had herniated discs in his neck and back, and was a type 1 diabetic. He also spoke what was on his mind and at times that would come out as verbal abuse. Unlike my mother my father was independent and would refuse help as much as he could, unless it was from me. I was his eyes and aid, even if he did abuse my freedom at times. I now realize that he also suffered from an eating disorder. He would weigh himself every day, workout like a fiend and would restrict food if he noticed his weight fluctuate too much.

Growing up was very stressful for me. So much so that by the time I got to high school I found salvation in food. I would overeat to hide my emotions of the uncontrollable situation I was in. Over the first two years of high school I went from 115lbs to 136lbs. The weight on my body was evident even to my father who let me know I would never be a super model and I was fat.

Those words broke me. Instantly my mind went to thinking of food as comfort to now being the enemy. I started to workout almost every day and restrict my food. I would use the scale as a tool that also filled me with anxiety. After all its numbers would tell me how much I was going to eat that day. My anorexia started out as skipping a meal here and there. In my senior year I felt like I wasn’t losing enough weight so I went to fasting for whole days and then would binge the day after.

At my graduation from high school I was a proud 93lbs and I am only 5’3”. I saw the bones sticking out of my body as trophies rather than a sign of sickness. I would spend as little time with my family as possible, trying to hide the disease that everyone knew I was suffering from. I would count every calorie that went into my mouth. If it was a binge day, I would embrace the huge meal before me, only to be sick 1 hour later. Verbally abusing myself and vowing never to binge again, knowing that I would. I started to measure how much bone was sticking out and if I deemed not enough, I would withhold more food from myself.

A few months after my graduation my Grandmother past of lung cancer. Reality set in after her death that I had missed so much time with my Grammy in her last few months of life. From that moment I started to try and have a better relationship with food. But I used over exercising as a way to eat more food. I would workout for hours on end justifying the need to eat real food. Between the under eating and over exercising my hair started to fall out and I started to get dizzy spells. It wasn’t until I met my husband to be, that I started to try and get healthy instead of jump from one disorder to another.

It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I had major setbacks because of my Mom’s passing, and my father disowning me. You see he was making me choose between him and my husband (Randy wasn’t rich or Jewish). But I kept on trying to gain a healthy mindset. I had my daughter in 2010 and that was another major factor in changing my relationship with fitness and food. I did not want her to experience any pressure in the way she looked as I had as a child.

Over the years I started to develop a comfort level with food. But it wasn’t just eating I had to feel good about, it was the person I was inside. I had grown up despising myself. Seeing the person in the reflection as a damaged victim for a knight in shining armor to come and save her. When really, I had to learn that I was my own savior and take action to change my own life.

So here I am now 37, with a beautiful family, a small business creating art in pencil and in yarn and getting to share all my passions on social media. I share my story today hoping those who can relate know that there is hope. Remember you have to learn to love who you are in this very minute in order to know you are worth having an amazing future for.