Thank you for stopping by today on the blog.
Today is going to be a more serious post, but one I have been wanting to do for quite some time now.
For most of those reading who know me, you may know I went through an eating disorder around my middle school years, but many don’t know the details of the story or what I have had to deal or struggle with since then.
February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month, and it is near and dear to my heart.
Let’s rewind back to my childhood years for a quick summary.
As a child, I dabbled in sports here and there, but I loved to do things outside: ride my bike, jump on my trampoline, and even ride my horse that I once had. My dad and I would shoot a basketball around or throw a softball around.
The years of elementary school where I was on the chubbier side was attributed more to what I ate. I didn’t like many vegetables (only if it was the green beans my Granny and Papa grew in their garden), and I remember a lot of Kid Cuisine frozen meals and pasta with butter on it. What I don’t remember is a variety of nutritious foods.
Around the end of my 6th grade year, my best friend and I decided we would start making some healthier choices to lose some of our baby weight. We had both made the junior high volleyball team and transitioning to a sports team and going into 7th grade was a BIG thing to us.
We slowly started having salad with our school chicken nuggets, drank more water, and chose baked chips over regular ones. Between that and the start of volleyball, we ended up losing some of that baby weight we talked about wanting to lose.
The only thing was, while my best friend stayed at a good place, I didn’t. I kept going because I wasn’t happy or satisfied with what I saw in the mirror.
(The speck on my arm is a dust speck from wher I scanned the pictures in)
We start 7th grade…different class schedule, new building, and volleyball practices after school each day. Everything was great, but in my mind I was going to do everything I could to look my best, and in those days, “best” was if I could be as skinny as I could possibly be.
(My 13th birthday party)
I know people knew I had lost weight and really slimmed up, and for anyone who told me I looked good, I saw it as my sign to keep going. I began to eat less and less foods. For me at that point, it was more about how much can I NOT eat, as opposed to healthier food choices or having enough food to fuel me.
I wasn’t fueling my body properly, and I was definitely not fueling it enough. I begin to feel tired and exhausted the whole day at school, I refused to eat much at lunch…if I even ate anything, and most days I would end up throwing out/away what I may have brought so it would look like I ate it or nobody suspected much.
I wasn’t fooling anyone though. Even though most people didn’t come up to me and say anything, I know (and could tell) people were starting to get worried. Mom and Dad could tell what was happening and I had to do weekly weigh ins in front of my Dad. They told me that If I dropped below 90 I would be going to a doctor/therapist.
(Look at my arms!! It saddens me)
(This was after a piano recital. I look very skeletal.)
Even though I didn’t want to go to a doctor, I still kept doing what I was doing. Exercising lots and barely eating.
(Both of these are from an Easter Sunday. At my lowest point here.)
At 5’4”, I had hit my lowest weight of 87 pounds, and mom and dad said enough is enough. I was at risk for admission into a hospital with fear of a feeding tube down my throat.
That was my ultimate wake up call for how I was becoming. The last thing I wanted was someone forcing me to eat. When you have Anorexia and you hear that voice in your head telling you day in and day out to not eat because you’re ugly and fat (even though I wasn’t), the last thing you want is being force fed.
I went to see a doctor and ended up going to see a therapist after that. I will be honest and say I wasn’t a fan of it. I didn’t want to be there and I still had a hard time accepting the fact that what I was doing was unhealthy…both physically and mentally, but I went through with it for a couple of reasons:
1.I was made to and I just wanted it over.
2.Deep down I knew what I was doing was wrong.
After going through therapy sessions and starting on my recovery journey, I started high school at a higher and healthier weight. I was still unhappy with how I looked and the Anorexia thoughts were still there nice and strong. I fell back into a lot of the same habits/mindsets, but slowly started learning what foods were good to fuel me.
I had also found my love for tennis at this time, and after taking lessons and getting on the high school team, I was starting to get at a better place when it came to my body. I knew I had to eat enough to fuel my body for this sport that I fell in love with.
Most of my high school years were great, because I had gotten at a healthier place, and even though I had serious body image issues, I never starved myself like I did in junior high. I knew that was what I didn’t need in my life. I had friends, a great sport I did fairly well in, and a good youth group I was in too.
An eating disorder, no matter which one someone has, takes a toll on your body…and not just physically, but mentally.
Imagine thinking about what you were going to not eat, how you could trick people into thinking you had eaten, and when your next workout was…ALL. DAY. LONG.
That was me. I could turn my focus on my school work, but for 95% of my day, I was thinking about what to eat, what to not eat, how I could tell certain people that I wasn’t hungry or had already eaten. I particularly remember thinking that if I had over 100 calories at lunch, I would skip a snack or skip breakfast the next day.
Isn’t that ridiculous?? That’s what it was like for me. I am so blessed and thankful I never got into that pit as deep as I did in junior high.
Little did I know how I would still struggle with the after effects for years to come….