I have been wanting to write a post about my struggle with disordered eating for a while now, but needed to be in the right frame of mind. I wanted to share my experience because I’ve never really, truly opened up about it. I hope that it might help others that are going through the same thing realize they’re not alone, because I know I felt so alone in the world when I was going through my struggle. I also hope that it might give others the courage to seek help.
When I was in grade 10 I started to try to eat healthier. I cut out pop and ate less candy and fries. I felt the normal pressures of a girl in high school to be thin. When my family would go out to eat I started ordering a chicken burger or salad with diet pop instead of a burger, fries, and regular pop. I did lose a bit of weight and because of this I stopped getting my period in grade 11. I developed anorexia nervosa when I was in grade 12, which is 8 years ago now. I had a lot of losses in a short period of time. 3 of my grandparents passed away. My supposed best friend started dating my ex-boyfriend behind my back right after he broke up with me, which was right after my grandma passed away. I got cut from the volleyball team my last year, because get this, I didn’t have enough confidence in myself. I believe I felt a loss of control and eating was something I could control.
Growing up I was always shy and self-conscious. I was active and never overweight. My family did lot’s of outdoor activities together like cross-country skiing, rollerblading, hiking and backpacking. I was also involved in swim club, Jackrabbits (ski club), soccer, and volleyball. I believe both my mom and dad had some influence on how I felt about myself. Both spoke about some or all of the following: their weight, diets, negative fat people comments, being skinny, wanting to lose weight. I know their bringing up affected them and caused them to have the thoughts they did. I also know they didn’t realize they were affecting me or my sisters for that matter, nor did they want to. I love both my parents and they each did a great job raising us the best they could in their separate circumstances.
The year I got cut from the volleyball team my mom and stepdad took us to Cancun for a vacation. We ended up getting to go twice, once in December and once in February, because the accommodations had been infested with ants the first time. When we got back in February my mom, one sister and I started going to the gym. Eventually they quit going, but I kept with it. I began noticing I was losing weight and wondered how much quicker I could lose weight if I started eating less and skipping meals.
I went to the gym every morning and ran 30-60 minutes on the treadmill with intervals and hills. Then I would do 15-30 minutes on the elliptical followed by strength training. I alternated upper body and lower body every other day. I cut out foods I labelled as bad, like candy, fries, and ketchup. I didn’t know anything about nutrition. For breakfast every morning I ate oat bran with an apple chopped up and cinnamon. Compared to my breakfasts now, that is nothing. Lunch was either a peanut butter(Kraft peanut butter) and banana sandwich or a tuna sandwich. Sometimes I would eat an apple in the afternoon if I was really hungry. I worked at a grocery store after work and those nights I would either skip dinner altogether or just have cottage cheese and grapes. The nights I was home I ate dinner with the family, just not a lot. Back then I had not discovered counting calories yet, but I know they were very low. I won’t say how much because I know this can be a trigger for some people with eating disorders. I remember being hungry all the time, but I liked that knawing feeling in my stomach. I also remember being very tired all the time. I started falling asleep in my classes and my grades did suffer because of it. My grades weren’t terrible but I know I could have gotten better marks if I had been nourishing my body properly. I remember I used to get terrible charlie horses in my calves at night, because my body was screaming to feed it. I also remember crying a lot in privacy for what I felt was no good reason. But I was finally skinny and I thought that was going to make me happy. This of course didn’t help with the loss of my period, which I didn’t get back until a doctor prescribed me a low dose estrogen birth control pill when I was 19, but that’s a post for another time. After graduation I continued with my exercising regime and low food intake. In August I moved to Calgary with my family and that’s when my eating disorder took a turn from Anorexia to Bulimia.
I will write a separate post about my continuing struggles with ED from this point at another time. There is so much to say I just can’t fit it into one post. I want to be honest and open about my struggles. I always felt ashamed about having an eating disorder before and tried to hide it. When I was anorexic I didn’t feel like I had a problem, I just thought I was being super healthy. When I first started bingeing I just thought I didn’t have any self-control or will power. It wasn’t until years later that I realized I had a problem and needed help.