I do not think I have ever said out loud that I struggle with eating. I think it may be because I never got treatment, saw a therapist, or even spoke to my mom about it. I feel like I do not deserve to call what I am dealing with an “Eating Disorder.” But it is. And I have to deal with it.
To give a little bit of background, this is how the story of how I developed disordered eating. In my junior year of high school, roughly around September of 2019, I decided I wanted to lose weight. Volleyball season had arrived, and it felt like the perfect time to start. I did end up losing weight. I went from 160 to 130 in less than 3 months. Once I got to 130, though, I could not lose any more weight. I was eating about 700 calories a day and working out for 2-4 hours a day. My body could not burn off anything else because it had gotten used to the tiny amount of food I was giving it. This meant that if I decided to eat more than usual one weekend, I would quickly gain back the weight. This, in turn, would make me eat less and less, which again would dig me into a deeper hole.
Today, I am almost back to the weight I originally started at before the start of Junior year. Of course, I miss how skinny my legs got and how my arms were so tiny.
But I do not miss constantly thinking about food and when I would allow myself to have it. I do not miss ignoring my stomach growling in the middle of my afternoon math class because I had only had a small coffee all day. I do not miss crying when stepping on the scale after school because I had gained .1 of a pound. I do not miss deciding if I could have carbs at dinner based on how much weight I had lost that day. I do not miss any of those things.
Today, I am still trying to figure out what works for me. Right now, I follow a Pescatarian diet and have been following it for a few years. I try to limit my dairy intake because I know not having it makes me feel better. I eat gluten-free bread and lots of fruits and vegetables. I am happy now. Not fully happy, but I am getting better.
I do struggle some days more than others. On Tik Tok recently, I saw that Elon was ranked as having a campus with the most “attractive students.” When I saw that video, I went to the gym and started to think about the salad I would have for dinner. College is stressful alone, but going into freshman year with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia puts a little extra stress on top of it all.
It is now the start of November, and although I do continue to have good days and bad days, I think I am genuinely healing. I make sure to get the amount of fuel I need while still eating foods that make me feel healthy. I exercise when I can, and I try to not get down if I do not have time to work out every day. The “Freshman 15” is much more daunting when dealing with bad eating habits. I am proud, though, that in this crazy time of my life, I can put my mental well-being as a top priority while still succeeding in school. I hope to continue this journey to a more sustainable and happy lifestyle, and I encourage you all to join me.
In 50 years from now, no one will remember the size of your waist. No one will care that you did not have a six-pack. People will care about how you positively affect their lives. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can start your journey to happiness.