My Eating Disorder
I want to share a story with you all. I was a 19 year old girl who was confident and happy. I had a fast metabolism and could eat anything and as much as I wanted. I was an elite athlete who was constantly being told how lucky I was to be 'skinny'.
Walking through the city after university one day, I was scouted by a modelling agency. Having always been convinced that I had a 'good' body, I was fairly naïve before my meeting. I remember sitting there as she sat me down and critiqued me, she pointed out what she liked and then she started on what she didn't. She told me I was too athletic and that my legs were too large. She looked me up and down continuously - until she stopped. She said to me that for girls my height (177cm) they would select girls much thinner, and proceeded to tell me that I must have been a large size eight...that's right, a LARGE size eight. I didn't even know that clothing sizes came in large or small? I was very much under the impression that a size eight was a healthy size and this was the first time in my life that I had ever felt inadequate because of my body.
Not long after this, I went through an unhealthy "breakup" that left me feeling insignificant and worthless. I was left with my heartbroken and completely unsure why. Instead of providing me with closure I was left to assume why he didn't want to be with me and immediately thought it was because of the way I looked.
My sister went through surgery at this time as well and mum and dad bought a set of scales to ensure that she maintained her body weight. One night as we were brushing our teeth before bed she weighed herself like she was supposed to. I asked her what her reading was - '58 kilos' she said. I jumped on the scales and was slightly horrified to see '63kg'. We both had an almost similar body structure besides me having more muscle due to my sports (hence the higher reading). I didn't know this though and I thought that maybe I was too heavy. I set myself a goal of 60 kilos and was pretty determined to achieve this.
I'd never looked at images of other girls and compared myself until now. I came across an image of a girl on the beach and so desperately wanted to be her. Her tiny body with her perfect shoulder blades and skinny ankles. I know it sounds bizarre, who compares ankles? My mind was slowly finding things about myself that I didn't like anymore and immediately my perception of myself changed. Yes, my ANKLES were too big! I set this photo as my screensaver on my phone, so it was always there to remind me.
I found myself looking in mirrors or windows, wherever I went. Just finding ways to pick out negative things about myself. Uneducated about weight loss, I started to count calories and keep a food diary. Night times were consumed with planning the next day's meals, ensuring that my carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and protein levels were at a minimum and that I was eating under 400 calories a day. I began running further, pushing it to ten kilometres a night and weighing myself over 30 times a day. When I woke up, before a shower, after a shower, before I went to the toilet, after I went to the toilet, before a meal, after a meal, on and on it went. Losing 100 grams at a time was a tick off the list. I eventually far surpassed that 60-kilogram mark and made it to 45 kilograms in the blink of an eye! This young, once confident, healthy girl had developed an eating disorder, and spent nights crying and hungry but so utterly satisfied that the weight was coming off. It makes me feel sick thinking about it now.
I'd become so frail that I was blacking out when I stood up, and I couldn't even pick up an empty coffee mug. My period came only sometimes and the thought of not being able to have kids one day was the only thing that kept me putting food in my mouth.
My life began to change the night that I hit my mum for begging me to eat. I broke her glasses and it made me feel sick. I came to the very strong realisation that not only was I hurting myself, but I was hurting the ones that I loved. I didn't recognise who I was anymore. This fixation on fixing the issues that I had with myself had made me a worse person. My body and my mind was more broken than ever. I made a very strong and conscious effort to pinpoint the issues and to change my thoughts. If I wanted to stop losing weight and change my life before I spent my days in hospital chained to a drip, I had to learn to love myself again and I had to accept help.
While this story isn't specifically about eating disorders, it's a very large realisation that something as minor as picking at a small flaw that you see in yourself can be so damaging both mentally and physically.
It was such a long road, and at 26 years old I have only learned to love every inch of me. I stand on the scales now and they read 63 kilograms again and it makes me proud. I love my strong muscles because they have returned from nothing! I love my bum. Oh my god do I love my bum and how it jiggles! I love the way my tummy pokes out a little because it means that I'm healthy and I'll be able to carry a healthy and happy baby there one day! I love my stretch marks more than anything because they remind me of how I've grown. And deep down I love the process that I went through because I have learned to wholeheartedly love myself and every day that I am here.
I've realised that the girls that I looked up to most likely found flaws in themselves as well. I can guarantee that what you may not love about your body, someone is wishing they had! Be grateful for your health and love what you have been given because you are YOU! Imagine how boring our world would be if everybody looked the same.
I still struggle through days, where I look in the mirror and maybe I'm not happy with something. I don't believe that I will ever be entirely free of what I have gone through, but those little lapses that I struggle with are a constant reminder that life is far too precious to pick out insignificant flaws in yourself. I have somebody in my life that constantly makes me feel sexy, and loves every inch of me. and this has translated so strongly into the self-love that I have and the reassurance that nobody else sees those little flaws like you do. It's not worth it!