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How My Eating Disorder Changed Me

Until last year, I have always kept my eating disorder a secret; I never wanted to tell anyone about my past in fear of judgement and worry. Last year was when I wrote my first article about my eating disorder for Eating Disorder Awareness Month was the first time I opened up to friends about my past. I never talked about my eating disorder because I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself for it. During my eating disorder, I was very closed about it, and did not want anyone to know what I was going through. Even though at the time of my eating disorder you could clearly tell I was not healthy, I pretended that everything was normal.

My eating disorder started in high school; I have always been self-conscious of my body and always focused on weighing a certain amount. Even though at 108 pounds; I never thought I was skinny enough. I began running cross-country and track my senior year of high school where I began to lose weight. With running six days a week, that can cause weight loss for anyone. I began focusing on “healthy” eating for running and I kept losing more and more weight. I became obsessed with eating a strict 1,200-calorie diet and running track workouts six days a week along with lifting at the gym. After graduating, I became a colegiate runner training twice as much and still eating extremely healthy. I became TOO skinny but I liked the way I looked.

When I came to Winthrop after the summer, I was beginning to have many health problems; I was 18 years old and weighed 84 pounds, clearly unhealthy. Still I did not think that was an issue, even though my sister and mom did everything, they could to help me. It did not matter how much help or support I had from my nutritionists and family, I did not want to change. Until September of 2014, I was no longer allowed to run because of how skinny I was. I also had to attend a program for women with eating disorders in Charlotte three days a week, and at the program I was diagnosed with Anorexia-nervosa. I continued to lose weight and the final option for me was withdrawing from school and going to a program in Florida for six weeks, away from my friends and family.  I felt as though my life was falling apart and nothing could help me from this awful disease, I was so unhappy because all I cared about was being “skinny”. In the process, all I did was cause my mom and sister worry and pain.

One day, I honestly just woke up and said I need to change for myself. I found inner strength to decide I needed a change in my life if I wanted to live. I still to this day, do not know where it came from–but it did. While recovering from my eating disorder I gained a few more pounds than I should have for already having a small body frame. I still have effects from my eating disorder to this day, I have a low bone density and can no longer run without becoming injured and I have anxiety.

The only difference from then and now is I AM HEALTHY AND HAPPIER in my life. I naturally lost the weight and since then I have changed only for the better. My eating disorder changed me in so many ways because it taught me valuable lessons about myself. In my worst days when I thought things could not get better and I could not find the strength to change; I thought I could not make it, but I DID. I learned how strong of a person I truly am, every eating disorder is serious, and I overcame mine that almost took my life. I learned that my mother and sister are truly family and the sacrifices they made for me while battling my eating disorder is something not many people could or would have been able to do. I also learned what a “healthy” lifestyle means for me, and I try to help others when in need, because I was helped when I needed it most. Lastly, I LEARNED TO LOVE MY BODY, because it is perfect the way it is!

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder call, (212)-575-6200, or visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for more information.

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