Ever since I can remember, I was classified as the "big girl." Being 5'11" in my grade eight class, I towered over the majority of my classmates. I had always been a health-conscious person, but the stress of being big got to me. It reached the point where I was eating close to nothing and exercising excessively. It didn't hit me at the time that this was the opposite of normal healthy behavior. In fact, I was proud of myself for being so committed to my healthy lifestyle change. My mom booked a doctor's appointment for me when she had discovered that I had not had a period in over four months. This established the beginning of my journey through anorexia nervosa.
The night before, my mom and I had been casually conversing in her bed when she expressed her worry in my drastic weight loss. "It's not right, you don't deserve to be living like this," she insisted. "I've researched this, you have the majority of the symptoms of an eating disorder, of a disease." I bawled, I screamed, I yelled. I didn't want to believe it. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in a doctor's office to begin treatment for my eating disorder.
"When do you suppose this all started? Have you ever used laxatives? What's your opinion on all of this?" My doctor suffocated me with questions. I was still trying to process the reality of actually having an eating disorder. My doctor threatened me by saying that I couldn't play soccer if I had not reached a specific weight by the time the season started. She mentioned that with all of the harm I had done to myself, my heart had grown significantly weak, and it could literally stop at any second. I was not only battling a disease, I was fighting for my life. I was hurting more than just myself; I was hurting my friends and family. A part of me knew that there was room for change, but deep down there was still a part of me that was hesitant. I can recall holding a boy's hand that I liked at the time and feeling the warmth of his hands against my icy, cold palms. I was disgusted because I knew that meant that he ate.
Nonetheless, within six months, I was physically recovered having successfully reached my ultimate goal weight. Deep down, I didn't want it to be over. Anorexia was a comforting lifestyle for me. I liked feeling vulnerable, yet, so in control in my own skin. Little did I realize, the life in me was fading before my eyes.
One thing I learned is anorexia is not an option. You don't just wake up one day and say, "I think I'm going to be anorexic today!" It is far beyond a desire to lose weight. Growing up is hard; I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Our bodies are in constant change. Suddenly, mounds are forming on your chest and we're growing hair in places we never thought possible. Reality is everyone is going through it. If you thought you were a freak for growing hair on your legs, then I guess we're all freaks.
Over the past four years, I have carried tendencies from my eating disorder. However, all I was doing was setting myself up for failure. It's important to be conscious of what you are putting into your body, but not to the point of obsession. Treat yourself to that chocolate sundae. You'll find that once you've satisfied your craving, you will lose your desire for it entirely. I learned that the hard way after having battled many binges, occasionally resulting in purging.
There isn't a day that passes by that I don't think about my weight. There isn't a day I won't wish I could be my slender self again. There isn't a day when I am not thankful that my mother caught me soon enough. I believe my struggles have helped me to become the person I am today. I have never felt more at ease and confident in the growing woman that I am. I still have my "fat days" and get down on myself periodically, but that's only normal. We, as humans, are critical creatures. Use it as constructive criticism with the right intentions. Set your mind on goals and passions instead of calories and deceiving images. Blossom into the powerful woman you were placed on this earth to be.
Read eating disorder stories and get helpful tips and advice at BeingGirl.com.