This is by far the hardest topic I will ever write about. I have never admitted this to anyone, other than my husband. I know how to hide my deepest secrets from not only friends by family as well. I have been wanting to write this post for quit some time now, however, I am lost with where I should begin. So here it goes.
I guess let’s begin with 2010, when I was 20 years old. I was a sophomore in college studying health science working towards becoming a physical therapist. I was motivated , focused and determined to achieve all my goals I created for myself. One of these goals was to achieve a body type I was proud of. My goal was to be “skinny”, simple right. I wanted a thin frame with no fat, nothing that jiggled, a body I was comfortable wearing a bikini in. Who doesn’t want to reach that “goal body” right? This is when I became familiar with Instagram and thats when this deep, dark, endless hole began for me. I don’t want to blame social media but, I do feel as though this contributed to many of my feelings and my dark ways of thinking. I had an endless amount of fitness models, bikini shots, #bodygoals all at the tips of my fingers. This is what I need to look like, this is what will make me attractive. I need to look like these women! These were my daily thoughts every time I opened the Instagram app. I began following all these people I have no connections with, I just wanted to keep up to date with their body progress and use their images as motivation for myself. Oh how I was so wrong to think this.
After finding the perfect body (in my eyes) I began to make a plan. I searched the internet top to bottom looking for a meal plan I could follow, that was easy and simple for me to understand I didn’t even care if the food tasted good, I was only thinking the end result, my dream body. I also started to go to the gym, but I wasn’t doing anything other than cardio. I would do huge sessions of 45 minutes, sometimes more, of cardio a day. Sometimes even twice a day. This was my gym time. I started to see results but, they weren’t coming fast enough for me. I started to slowly restrict my food intake a little at a time. Again, I saw results. Not quick results but enough to keep me motivated to continue. I started being frustrated whenever I would scroll through my Instagram and see all these women living their lives with perfect bodies. I wanted this! This is when things got dangerous for me.
This is when I stopped eating completely. I was desperate. I wanted this more than anything at this point. I became obsessed. I actually remember googling “ways to be anorexic.” This breaks my heart even typing this out. I would look up ways, tricks, tips on how women taught themselves to be anorexic. I jumped off the ledge, I went deep into this dark hole and would go 2-3 days at a time eating nothing and only sipping on hot tea all day. I started to feel fatigued, weak, and irritable. I lied to people, friends, and family when they asked why I wasn’t eat. I would say, ” Oh I already ate, I’m full, or I’m not hungry right now.” I was becoming a liar, someone I never wanted to be. But I was blind, I didn’t care what I did, I wanted to reach my goal. So with not eating such long periods of time and exercising excessively your body starts to hurt. My stomach was a knot, a hollow core that was crumbling and aching for something to keep me going. I would go such like periods without food, my body was no longer sending hungry pains to my brain. I wasn’t feeling hungry anymore, just sick. I found the longer I went without food the less hungry I would feel. Until the 4th or 5th day.
By the 4th or 5th day without eating, I can only describe this feeling as an out of body experience. I lost control. I would binge eat large, disgusting amounts of food to the point of making myself sick. While eating my body was the happiest its ever been, it wasn’t until I was done eating that the guilt set in. When I say guilt, I mean the strongest most painful guilt I have ever experienced. Guilt that led me to punishing myself. I would do longer sessions at the gym, hours of cardio. This isn’t even the worst punishment. I have never admitted this part to a single person except 3 people in my life. I would take laxatives to help speed up the digestion process in hopes my body would not store this food as fat in anyway. I chose laxatives due to my mom working at a dental facility an she is aware of the signs of bulimia. I was aware of this and did not want her to know any of these behaviors I was doing. This took a huge toll on my body. I experienced severe stomach pains, nausea, dehydration, and a dependence on laxatives. I continued these habits for 3-4 years following that my body was unable to use the bathroom without the assistance of laxatives. I had damaged my body so greatly that my body could not function properly. This damage is still rearing its terrible face to this day.
This was my college career. An endless battle with food. This unhealthy relationship carried forward for a long period of time it started to feel normal. I started getting compliments from my friends saying how I’ve lost so much weight and how great I looked, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep this up. I wanted to continue receiving these comments. I was OK with continuing this behavior.
I continued this behavior on and off for the next few years. My husband was the one who recognized these unhealthy behaviors and has been my number one supporter in helping me through my body image issues. He has truly been my rock with this whole process. He identified the triggers for me such as social media, and the internet and suggested (and still does) that I take a break from my socials to truly get back to being myself. He even suggested I delete all the fitness athletes I followed so my feed wouldn’t be so flooded with images of what I believed to be, the women with perfect bodies. This has helped greatly. Out of sight out of mind.
I am not sharing you this story to tell you I am completely healed, because that would be a lie. There are still days I let my thoughts consume me and sometimes take over. My husband is very aware of my moods when this happens and he talks me through my darkness. He is truly a blessing to me and I know God placed him in my life to show me there is more to life than “the perfect body”. He makes me a better person. He saves me.
I hope this shines some light on others who may also have an eating disorder. It’s helpful to read other peoples stories and see that you are not the only one who is going through similar situations. For me personal, finally admitting this to my family, friends and the whole internet will keep me accountable to not fall backwards or slip back into old routines. I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’ve never shared this honestly with anyone and its truly freeing. I can let go of this darkness and start fresh. This is a beginning for me and I am truly glad I finally told my story.
Cheers to a fresh beginning!
P.S Just a couple photos below of how “thin” I got, I don’t have many photos because I honestly didn’t feel comfortable with myself. I still felt “big”. The top photo was my thinnest and the bottom was when this all began.