Growing up, I was never a confident person and I was cripplingly shy. For the most part, though, my childhood was very stable. It wasn’t until I was 15 that things started to change. My eldest brother moved out of the family home and I broke up with a boyfriend that I’d been on and off with for a year or so.
Everything around me seemed to be changing and I didn’t like it. I’ve never been a fan of change and for it to happen all at once was just too much for me.
I decided it was time for me to lose a bit of weight.
I decreased the size of my meals until I was pretty much only eating fruit during the day. After about a year and a half of exercising and not eating enough, I woke up one morning and decided I didn’t want to be like this anymore.
I started to eat more but I was still eating “safe” foods and exercising in secret.
When I started going to university I got together with my first serious boyfriend and all that food guilt and exercise nonsense just went out the window. I was so in love with him that I would rather be with him and not worry about eating and exercise.
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Even though I was in love and having fun, I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror.
I felt as though I had lost control of my body and needed to take control of it before I “ballooned” even more…
I started spending more time at the gym than with my boyfriend and I became increasingly ill. It was because of this that we broke up and it was a relief because I could now devote all my time to the gym and exercise without feeling guilty about it.
My exercise became an obsession and I began isolating myself from friends and family.
After carrying on like this for about 6 months, I finally admitted to my doctor that I had an eating disorder.
She referred me to a counsellor and an eating disorders unit. It wasn’t until that appointment that I realized how unwell I was. They diagnosed me with Anorexia Nervosa and told me I needed to leave university and go inpatient in order to get better.
Of course, I cried at this news but it was a really good wake up call.
I told my family about it and they were so supportive and we decided I wouldn’t do inpatient, and instead I would stay at home through my recovery. My father ate with me and even gained weight as I did! Now that’s support alright!
My eating disorder left me with some digestive issues and food intolerances, but I don’t use it as an excuse to eat less. I’m always prepared with food. If I don’t eat, I get cranky!
As a result of my exercise compulsion, my joints get very sore, especially my wrists. Walking used to be painful but thankfully I can now walk without pain. Walking is now my favourite form of exercise. It gives me time to myself, and fresh air after a long day at work.
I don’t consider myself fully recovered from my eating disorder, but I definitely consider myself close. Recovery is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, but it’s been the most rewarding.
My struggles with eating disorders and food guilt have made me the strong and compassionate person I am today and I can actually say that I love myself.
I thank my body everyday for not giving up on me and enabling me to receive an honours degree in meteorology, which is probably the third hardest thing I’ve ever had to do!
Life is only going to improve from here on!
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Originally published April 12, 2013 on our old Tumblr blog
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