Today, I want to share the story of a lovely young woman, Kruti Shah. I stumbled upon her Instagram and I was instantly hooked to her beautiful pictures and recipes. After scrolling through her feed, I saw she shared a few personal details: she is recovering from an eating disorder. I thought it was really brave of her to share intimate details about her personal life, and I wanted to know a bit more.
By opening up, Kruti hopes to break the stigma around mental health that exists especially in the South Asian community.
KS: Hi everyone! My name is Kruti Shah and I was born and raised in Southern California. Currently, I’m a preschool teacher and volunteer on the side with children with early developmental delays. My goal is to work in healthcare as an Occupational Therapist. Recently, I’ve tapped into my passion of cooking with my food blog, which can be found on Instagram, where I share recipes and healthy eats. It’s become one of my favorite hobbies to be able to connect and inspire so many individuals.
+Why did you start your food instagram?
KS: I started my food blog on my personal account to share recipes and healthy eats with my friends and family, however it has grown way more than I anticipated. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I would not have stumbled upon an amazing company called Wear Your Label, where their goal is to end the stigma around mental health. I’m so thankful for the connections I’ve made through Instagram, it’s opened up so many new friendships for me, and it’s been amazing to know that I have such a strong support system especially throughout recovery.
+Do you mind sharing a bit more about your struggles with ED?
KS: I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for quite some time now, although I’ve gotten much better, I still don’t know what full recovery means, I just know that I’m headed in the right direction. I was 14 when I first looked in the mirror and thought I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t pretty enough, and I hated the way I looked. I began to cut calories, exercise more, and almost always went to sleep hungry.
I’ve come a long way since my initial days, and I know the journey for me is still in progress, but I could not be more proud of where I am today. I’m learning to not fear food, find a balance, and most of all cultivate self-love.
+How was it like sharing what you were going through with friends & family? I imagine it must have been hard.
KS: Sharing my story with family and friends initially gave me great anxiety, and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable discussing. However throughout the years, I’ve learned to own my story, and not allow my struggle to define who I am. I’ve always felt judged for the way I look and the way I eat, but I’m learning to ignore those judgments, and just do me.
+Did you end up getting professional health?
KS: I did receive professional help with the encouragement of my brother. I always thought that I could recover on my own, and I did not need help from anyone, but I hit a point in my life where I realized that I can’t do it alone anymore, it was exhausting. Also, I was discouraged to seek help again because of the judgment/stigma around seeing a psychologist, but I moved past that it has been one of the best decisions.
+Ok, turning to a fun question now! What’s your favorite nourishing (or healthy) meal?
KS: Avocado toast, no doubt! I used to be so afraid of eating “fats,” nut butters, oils, avocado, but now I can’t live without any of them! I love how creative you can get with such a simple combination of smashed avocado on toast and the toppings are endless!
+Do you have any advice for women struggling with an eating disorder?
KS: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One of my biggest struggles was opening up and sharing my story with family and friends, but it is so important to find a strong support system. It can be scary, but the constant support and encouragement I’ve received has helped me tremendously. It is easy to hide behind a wall and feel alone, but remember that you never are.
There are so many others who are struggling as well, and there are a number of resources to help you find a way out. I don’t know what full recovery looks like, but I know that I’m working towards it, and I’ve made so much progress. For anyone struggling, always look at how far you’ve come, and remember that you’re not alone.
+Last question! What’s a motto/mantra you live by?
KS: As cliché as it may seem, I tell myself everyday that “everything happens for a reason.” I am trying to see my eating disorder in a positive light, and I know without ED I would not be where I am today. I’ve been fortunate to connect with so many wonderful individuals, and most importantly I’ve grown and learned so much about myself. Our vulnerabilities are our greatest strengths, and ED has helped me understand that.
I know this topic isn’t as light-hearted as my previous posts but being health is a lot more than just your physical state, your mental state is equally if not more important. I’m so thankful that Kruti took some time to share her story.
*photo credit: Kelsey Schroeder