Confessions of a Recovering Anorexic

Yes, I used to starve myself. I loved the feeling of being hungry. It was light, empty. I thought I was doing great if I could lay down and feel my hip bones dig into the ground. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a fat girl; a girl who was never thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, or talented enough. 

I was never overweight. My parents were overweight. It was a life long struggle for my mom. My dad's weight gain came on when he was an adult. 

Every adult I knew was on the diet cycle: dieting, falling off, dieting again. I thought this was what adult life was about, gaining weight then dieting. But I didn't want to be fat like my parents.

At the age of 13, I began doing aerobics every day and thinking about what I ate. By 14, I was full blown dieting, which quickly turned into starving myself. My mom spoke about her lack of willpower when it came to snack foods, pretzels in particular. I began thinking that if I could avoid all food then I had GREAT willpower! The only meal I would eat was dinner, and that was because it was family time. I couldn't hide. I'd pick at dinner, eating only enough to appease my parents. An hour after dinner I would either head down into the basement for some aerobics or hit the pavement to run. I had to work off the food I just ate.

Every so often I would bake brownies or cookies to test my willpower. As long as I could smell it, that was fine. Sometimes I would take a bite then quickly spit it out in the trash can, just so I could have a taste. I didn't really want the calories, just the taste. It made sense to me. If you don't want the calories, but want the taste, take a bite and spit it out! Perfect sense, right?

At times I would lose my willpower and binge on cookies, pretzels, cheese, or whatever food as around. I never purged, though. I would exercise. Like a crazy person. I would go run or do aerobics in the basement. Then I'd immediately go back to "testing my willpower" and starve.

This cycle of starvation-binge/over-exercise-binge went on for many years, fueled by very low self-esteem and feeling as though there was something wrong with me.  It's funny how I was trying to fill the emptiness inside with feeling empty from hunger. I figured that if I could just be skinnier, I would be better, people would like me more. Instead of really figuring out who I was, I was putting my self-worth into body image.

Today I am doing much better. I eat healthy, but enjoy snacks and desserts, without spitting them out in the trash can! I do have to admit that I don't always eat enough. If I had too much junk one day or over the course of a weekend, my first instinct is to skip meals. I still have to remind myself that eating healthy comes first. I can't be healthy by starving myself and depriving my body of the nutrients it needs to function. I also have to remind myself that I don't want my daughter to repeat the behaviors I had. I watched the adults around me have an unhealthy relationship with food. I want my daughter to have a healthy relationship with food and to have a healthy body image, and to do that I had to create a healthy relationship with food and make amends with my own body. 

If you are feeling a bit lost or confused, come join us StrongGirl Revolution! We provide the guidance and support to make you stronger, healthier, and help you move better. Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions about our program.

;) Nancy

Nancy SherComment