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.
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