My eating disorder started when I was a junior in high school. I don’t like to blame it on anything, but I think it was the result of my first break up and letting food be something I could control. Before that I never really paid attention to my weight – my mom cooked balanced meals and I danced and played sports so I was always pretty healthy.
Anyway, I started eating very healthy and upping my time on the elliptical. I liked the compliments I began to receive, so my meals got continuously smaller. Anorexia truly is a psychological disease because it quickly took over, and despite the fact that I knew I was harming my body, I couldn’t bring myself to make changes. I convinced myself that my body didn’t need that much fuel, that there was no reason to eat more than every seven hours, and that I could survive off of diet coke. I remember a day when I had half of a green pepper for lunch and a night that I broke down in tears when my mom made tortellini with cream sauce for dinner.
With busy summer work schedules (and lots of “I’m eating out” excuses) my family kind of ignored my weight loss. Finally at my yearly physical, I weighed in at 100 pounds (I’m 5’6 1/2″). My mom put her foot down and I started seeing a nutritionist. We made meal plans and I put on weight, but I was still anxious and regimented about eating. I briefly relapsed the spring of my senior year during a hiatus with the nutritionist, but was still stable enough to go away to college in the Fall.
Freshman year sucked. I rarely let myself have fun and my eating disorder prevented me from making true friends. I was a pain to be around and completely unhappy. I actually hated the way I looked and tried to eat pretty big meals, but it takes a lot to gain weight when you’re down that low. I had been seeing a therapist at school and finally in the early spring she suggested I start medication for depression and anxiety. I had secretly been wanting this but was too afraid to ask. The meds made me more relaxed and I started eating more normally. Around this same time I started hanging out with my best friend LB. I attribute a lot of my recovery to her. She introduced me to a group of girls that I clicked with, she understood my issues, and she kept me in check if I started to slip up. I love her:)
Now this may seem like a happy ending, but it’s not over yet. I gained all my weight back sophomore year (large in part due to tailgates!) but I never stopped. I was so used to telling myself “just eat it” that I did just that. A lot. Another break up followed by a semester abroad in Dublin exacerbated the problem, and an unhappy summer internship in Chicago sealed the deal. I was thirty pounds heavier than I wanted to be.
The beginning of my senior year was very difficult. I had six classes and two jobs, was embarrassed about my appearance, and tried to fix it through eating terrible diet foods (dannon lite n fit anyone??) I wasn’t fueling properly and would end up binging at night, and my half-hearted elliptical work outs were not doing much.
Finally around Christmas break, something clicked. I was reading more blogs and realized that you can eat good food and still lose weight! I started eating REAL FOOD – big oatmeal breakfasts, almond butter (fats!), baked sweet potatoes (carbs!) and more. I also went pescatarian, started Bikram Yoga, and decided to train for a half marathon. Weight FELL off of me – to the point that people were worried I wasn’t eating again. But really I had just fallen in love with creating healthy meals and challenging my body with new forms of exercise. I was finally HEALTHY.
Now I am at a healthy weight, but still fight eating disorder thought regularly. I am no longer on anti-depressants. I get excited about food, and I know that living a healthy life style makes me feel my best. And it works!
Here are some pictures – during my eating disorder, at my heaviest, and now!