Fasten your seat belts…it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
This is my story of how I developed and am currently going through an eating disorder and struggling with body image dis-morphia. It will not have any pictures or numbers. I do not want to trigger anyone. I only wish to inspire, inform, and help others. If you think you may be triggered, I would advise you not to read.
It all started when I entered my first year in high school. Well…not really. When I was in the seventh grade there was this guy. To make a long story short I got called the “U” word a lot…and in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s “Ugly”. Saying that it effected me is putting things way too lightly. Looking back on it, it was actually a small layering of foundation that would lead to a wall of eating disordered thoughts and seeing a body in the mirror that’s, actually not, my own. The negative image I put down on myself grew and grew, and when I entered high school, things got a little hairy.
I’ve never been the healthiest eater. I ate whatever I wanted. So if that meant going to to town on a whole bag of my favorite chips, I sure as hell did it. I ate a lot, I had second servings, and I sat on my ass all day. But guess what?? More or less…I was happy. Sure I wasn’t happy with the way I looked, my jean size or anything of the sort, but I was happy. I could go out for ice-cream or froyo with my friends and family without feeling guilty, I had desserts out the wazoo, I had frappuccinos from Starbucks, and I enjoyed my favorite sweets with ease. Now? Forget it. And let me tell you how I got to that point.
It started with a simple diet for the better. I was unhappy and maybe a little exercise here and there and eating better would be the the thing I needed to bring complete happiness too me. So dieting began, toning/Pilates/a little bit of dare-I-say running and eating a restricted amount of calories. To me, the calories were the be all and end all. If I could have a fun size package of candy and the caloric value fit in, sure as hell I’d eat it. This went on for the whole summer. Then, mother nature skipped out on me in August…meaning I didn’t get my period. I haven’t had it since.
September, in the beginning of my sophomore year, was when I reached my goal for the summer. I thought once I lost this certain amount of weight, I’d be happy. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, but I wasn’t. I didn’t think that I looked anywhere near what I wanted to look like and it just made me so angry. I had tried so hard, counted every calorie, and exercised for three months straight and I just didn’t see the results I wanted to see. The conclusion I came up with? Restrict more. I started doing more Pilates than cardio and I had a few 5k’s coming up to run with my sisters. During this time my mother and eldest sister were starting to catch on. I thought I was normal, that nothing I was doing was wrong. But, boy was I wrong.
During the third week of October my sisters, my cousin, and I took a weekend trip to Sleepy Hallow in Upstate New York. My sisters were running a 10k and we wanted to make a weekend out of it. I had been panicking over it for weeks and asking my sister to look up the menus for everywhere we were going to eat. I was panicking. That is when my sister really noticed. When suddenly, not having control of what I was putting in my mouth, petrified me. She told me when my other sister and cousin were out of the room that this was my time to prove to her and my mom that nothing is wrong with me. That I wasn’t developing an Eating Disorder. The trip went on and I ate. I ate what I wanted. Maybe too much. And when I came home I got right on the scale. The restriction came back the next day, stronger than ever.
Halloween came and I had my first binge. Not a fun time. It was the first year that I didn’t go trick or treating, and I wanted to so bad, but I ate so much candy that day and I felt terrible and I was so guilty…getting even more candy was simply out of the question.
After Halloween I had realized something was wrong. I’d rather run on the treadmill then socialize with my friends during gym class. My best friend started making comments about how some things I was doing were a little compulsive or not right. I came to to terms that I was developing an eating disorder. I remember when it happened too. it was the day before Thanksgiving break, and with the upcoming holiday I was more anxious than ever. That day, my best friend wasn’t in school, so I went to my two other friends, and I told them everything. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I needed to say it. My friends told me that I needed to tell my family. But how? When? What if they were mad at me? I came up with all the excuses I could not to tell them.
On Thanksgiving, I ran a 5k called “The Turkey Trot”. I had so much fun that day…until I came home. Until I saw my mother cooking. I grew anxious as i ate off of the veggie platter out in the living room, chewing my worries away on asparagus. When dinner time came around I blamed eating too many veggies and feeling sick on the reason why I didn’t want dinner.
So, I sat there. I watched my family eat some of my favorite foods on one of my favorite holidays. The pressure was too much, so I told them i was going to change and I walked to my room. Only, I sat on my bed, and broke into tears. Who doesn’t eat Thanksgiving dinner? Who freaks out because they ate too many vegetables. I didn’t want this. I’m not sure how long it was until my sister came in. I told her how I lied to her about how much I was eating. I told her how I wasn’t actually bringing what she thought I was bringing for lunch at school. Then my mom came in, and thankfully my sister told her because I couldn’t say it again, especially to my mom.
The day after thanksgiving my mom, sister, and I were going to try to make it better. We were going to try to fix this ourselves. However, after two months of trying and still having tears and anxieties almost every meal time, it was obvious I needed professional help.
I started seeing a therapist, nutritionist, and going to group therapy in February. I got mad. I was mad because I felt like I didn’t fit in under my diagnosis of “anorexic”. I wasn’t even underweight! These feelings still stay with me now…but that’s for another post, another day.
Today, I realize that I have grown so much from November, I will continue to grow out of this one day, I hope. So will all of you. One day, somehow, some way, we will all realize that happiness isn’t a jean size, it’s not how many calories you eat. It’s not how much you weigh. It’s not how many hours a week you spend excising, and it is most certainly not the size of your tummy.
We are our own definition of beauty.
The problem with that is, some people, like myself or even you, don’t know the definition quite yet. We’re still trying to put together the pieces to the puzzle that makes up who we are. But, like a puzzle, we have to begin some where, and at first it’s really hard with all of the spare pieces lying around and trying to figure out which piece connects with which piece. Not to mention going through trial and error to figure out what exactly does fit. We may even contemplate quitting at some point. Ultimately, we do finish. It gets easier as we go, and soon we will know who we are. We will know we are beautiful. We just have to do it one puzzle piece at a time.
~ Tori xx