Welcome to the blog today!
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) is one of the largest non-profit organizations truly dedicated to helping support individuals, as well as families, who have been affected by some kind of eating disorder. They help with prevention, cure, and quality care.
This week I am sharing my own story with my struggle with two different eating disorders. Today will be all about my struggle with Anorexia, and part two will be my struggle with Orthorexia during college.
Back in 5th grade I met the girl that became my best friend all through junior high, high school, and still to this day…even though we don’t see each other all the time. When Staci and I first met it was “best friends forever” at first sight. We did everything together!
In 6th grade, as Junior High was quickly approaching, we made the decision that we wanted to start eating a little healthier and start to lose some of our baby chubbiness. Being on the volleyball team was in our sight and we wanted to get ready for that.
We would pick out the Baked Lays over the regular, and add our chicken nuggets to a salad. We drank more water. All the things you would normally start to swap out, or add, to a healthier lifestyle change. Now, being in 6th grade, we really should not have had to worry about this, but pressure to look good started to set in.
In comes the volleyball years! We both made the team, and by then both Staci and I had lost our baby chubbiness. Staci was looking great, but my mindset started to change. I didn’t think I had lost enough or looked good enough, even though I was just fine where I was.
Slowly but surely I was digging myself a deeper hole into the eating disorder world of Anorexia.
I started eating less and less, doing workout videos, trying to run a little…and I was not eating enough for what I was doing. In other words, I was starving myself and thinking if I ate I had to exercise more…like it was some form of punishment.
I distinctly remember one day I had brought one of those Campbell’s “Soup at Hand” things, where you could heat up the soup and basically just drink it.
The whole thing wasn’t even 100 calories and I was scared to death to drink the whole thing. So I took a few sips while talking to friends, and threw it away. If they asked me anything, I don’t remember my answer. I’m sure it was something like, “Oh, Im just not that hungry…”, “It wasn’t all that good.”, or, “Im not feeling well enough to eat.”
Over time, more and more people started noticing…including my mom and dad. They started realizing just how bad it was getting. People from school and even church had approached them about it too. In my mind, though, i was just not small enough.
I got down to about 86 pounds…and at 5’4″, that was NOT good. I am still currently 5’4″ and I could not imagine me being that small.
Once I got under 90 pounds, my parents said enough is enough, and took me to the doctor. Instead of admitting me (thank the Lord!), I went to see a therapist.
I did not enjoy my time at the therapist. Of course in the beginning, I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t see it was necessary. I thought to myself, I will just do this to get people to stop telling me to eat all the time.
As the sessions went on, I slowly built my weight back up. It was hard at first, because I felt like I was ballooning into this fat girl. I do remember one of the last sessions I had with the therapist. It was one I still recall to this day because it made me feel good. He told me he was happy with my progress and that I looked like Jennifer Garner.
Being told you look like an actress at that age…after all I saw and told myself every day was how ugly and fat I was…was a lifesaver.
Through the rest of high school I never did fall back into those bad habits. I still struggled with body image and was still fighting everyday.
An eating disorder is something you CAN recover from, but something (in my opinion) you can never truly heal from and just forget about. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I went through. I still have to fight every day to tell myself that I AM enough, I AM strong, and I AM worthy.
Going through this was one of the reasons I wanted to get into health, fitness, and nutrition as a career. Sure, I LOVE working out and eating healthy, but I also want to help people feel strong, confident, and know they are enough…wherever they are at in their journey.