When I was 16, I dealt with anorexia. You are probably asking yourself, “Why is she talking about this??” This is one of many struggles that make up my story and I am sharing this in hopes that if you are dealing with it you won’t feel alone. When I was 16 I was in cheerleading, I was a gymnast and involved in kickboxing. I was SOLID MUSCLE and probably in the best shape I had ever been. At some point I got this lie in my head that I was fat, and too heavy for the cheerleaders to lift (I was a flyer). That little lie escalated until I was skin and bones. I have always been a smaller person so skin and bones is NOT FLATTERING ON ME AT ALL nor is it on anyone. There were other tough situations going on in my life that didn’t help and I truly believe this gave me a sense of control in some aspect of my life. I started counting calories, & chewing gum to suppress my appetite. I would drink Slim Fast that I would hide in my closet. When I came face to face with food my anxiety level would shoot through the roof and I would internally freak out. That full feeling in my stomach would literally make me sick and I would rush to the bathroom in hopes of getting rid of it. Yes, I slowly began to throw up my food. I worked as a waitress and one evening I remember thinking how I felt like I was just going through the days. Starving yourself literally sucks the life and joy out of you. I felt like a zombie and craved food 24/7. People would tell me, “Wow, you’ve lost weight” and I would secretly jump for joy but little did I know this WASN’T a compliment. They thought I looked sick and I was. I was skin and bones. It wasn’t until one day that I came home that my mom told me she was going to take a picture of me so I could remember how I looked ( this was her trying to get me to see how I needed help). At the time I was furious with her (you can see it in the pictures) but now I am so glad she did it. It is a place that I will never go back to. It got worse and my mom and brother sat me down and told me that I had a problem. Heck, I knew I had a problem I had just gotten so deep in it that I didn’t know how to get out. Starving myself was normal, and my mindset was to avoid food 24/7. I had moments throughout the battle where I would cry. I would lay in my bed and cry because I was so cold. My mind would spin out of control because I knew my heart could stop. There WAS a turning point and it was at dinner. I remember watching my mom sauté some shrimp. I saw her put a tad of butter in there, and in my mind I saw a heaping mountain of butter. She left the kitchen for a second and I freaked out. I dumped that shrimp out and padded it all off with a paper towel. I wiped the pan clean of butter. It was in that moment that I saw myself for how others saw me. Someone who had a disorder and was in need of some help. From there it was up. I acknowledged I had a problem and met with a counselor and kept a food log. Apparently a lot of recovering people with eating disorders will eat a certain food during recovery – – I ate peanut butter and banana sandwiches ( still one of my favs!). My counselor required me to start drinking protein shakes to gain the weigh back. I was a beautiful, solid, muscular 100 Ibs and at my lowest got down to 80 some pounds. I eventually gained the weight back + more and learned how to properly take care of myself. No one finds skin and bones attractive and I wish I could have seen that then. I know from throwing up food I wore down the enamel on my teeth and slowed down my metabolism. What did I learn from all of this?? If I am taking care of myself the best I can (nutrition and working out) then my body is going to be where it wants to be. Weight is just a number. If I ever go to the doctor for a checkup I will always have them weigh me backwards. I don’t want to know my weight and I don’t care. I feel like my body will let me know if its not healthy. It breaks my heart that so many people deal with this and feel alone. When I go to the gym I see women who are where I was – skin and bones. They are running their lives away on the treadmill and honestly, I just want to go up to them and hold them ( I really do). I want to tell them they don’t have to do this. When you are in an eating disorder you don’t see what you truly look like. How you see yourself is a distortion. I’m sure you want to know if these thoughts ever go away. I feel like yes and no. I was born a small person. I’m 4’11’ and couldn’t tell you how much I weigh. I work out, lift weights and try to eat healthy. We all struggle with comparison and weight, lets face it – the society and media isn’t helping us women at all. I see will see women with their beach bodies and six – pack abs and desire that. I have to stop, check myself, and remember that we are all built different. As far as eating goes I eat what I want. I still hate that full feeling but realize I don’t have to eat till I am full. I eat until my body is satisfied. I will admit though I am obsessed with junky ol’ Starbucks. Yes the unhealthy of it all but who cares. We all deserve a little treat. Most importantly I have learned to love my body that I was given. If I am doing all I can to stay healthy then THAT is what is important. I was MISERABLE as an anorexic; tired, cold, starving and alone. Now, one of my favorite things to do is go out to eat. With all my heart I hope this has helped someone and to the girl running her life away at the gym – You are beautiful just the way you are.
These are the images my mom took of me (I’m extremely grateful). –Thanks mom.
At the time , I was so angry at her but now I seriously treasure these. Why?? Because I have pictures of a struggle I overcame and it has made me who I am today.
This post was inspired by several people in my life that I know are dealing with this battle. I hope one day you can learn to love yourself the way God loves you – UNCONDITIONALLY and KNOW that you were made PERFECT in HIS IMAGE. Thanks mom & Joey, I wouldn’t be where I am without you two sitting me down and giving me tough love.