I always wanted to be a pretty little girl. I had aspirations of being delicate and fragile and tiny because in my young mind that’s how women were supposed to look. However never would anyone ever confuse me with a delicate ballerina-esque girl. Nope, I had the same body as my father and grandfather (apple shape with large shoulders) and had the grace of a bull in a china shop. One year of ballet failed miserably as I barely managed to dance in the recital while watching the instructor. I excelled at sports like soccer and swimming because my strength allowed me to swim harder, run faster, and kick harder than other girls my same age.
Age 9: last time I think I felt comfortable in a bathing suit
In elementary school, I didn’t really struggle with body images. I just mainly played soccer, swam, had fun with friends, etc. However the body image issues began in middle school. For the first time I realized that I looked different than other girls my age. I started developing sooner (by 8th grade I had D cups) and 12-13 year old girls are often cruel. In 7th grade one particularly mean girl actually cut a huge chunk of my hair without me noticing until one of my friends told me at lunch after class. My mother had to take me to get my hair cut (6-7 inches) and she called the school to complain (the former cheerleader received four weeks of after school detention, had to pay for my haircut, apologize). However, the incident only continued to haunt me as her friends tourmented me for the rest of middle school about getting her in trouble.
High school only got worse. I still felt insecure about how I looked and how much I weighed. Even though I had friends and no one cut my hair I fell into a depression and eventually gained massive amounts of weight. Food became my comfort and my crutch. Nobody loved me but food provided that temporary love, that temporary moment of release. The heavier I got, the more depressed I became, the slower I swam until I finally graduated from high school hoping for a new start in college (Virginia Tech).
After my first semester in college, my friends had finally had enough of me whining about my weight and told me that no one wanted to hear me bitch until I actually did something about my weight. I don’t know what changed but I started working out that semester (didn’t change my eating habits) and I lost around 15lbs. That summer my mother and I joined Weight Watchers. Throughout college I followed a similar pattern of losing 30ish pounds during the summer and maintaining my weight unhealthily while at school. I fell into a pattern of drunkarexia where I wouldn’t eat on days I’d drink with friends (which averaged 3-5 days a week). When I graduated in 2008 I weighed around 135lbs which at 5’4 is a perfectly healthy weight but I still had that vision of the tiny, petite, feminine woman who I wanted to be.
2005 (sophmore year of college) 170-180lbs
2006 (junior year of college) 150-160lbs
2007 (senior year of college) 135-104lbs
I moved out of my parent’s house two weeks after I graduated from college and began a new life and a new diet. Soon I began dropping weight until I averaged a 105lbs. Still I didn’t feel perfect, though I knew I was skinny I still felt fat and unattractive. I had loose skin all over my body and I could stand in front of my mirror and analyze every inch of my body. I felt incredibly jealous of my friends who could eat what they wanted while maintaining their weight and their success in romance. I did a better job hiding my unhappiness but on the inside I was miserable spending hours in the gym and starving my body to the point where I constantly had hunger headaches. I went to the doctor and cardiologist and had an ultrasound but I still wouldn’t gain weight. My weight and what I ate were two things in my life I could control. I might be unhappy and lonely but I could be thin. At the lowest, I dropped down to 100lbs in Texas on a business trip because there’s little an anorexic vegetarian would eat in San Antonio but I typically maintained 105-107lbs.
The majority of those years I ate fairly clean but I’d have random days where I’d binge mainly on fatty foods like peanut butter, nuts, and hummus because my body screamed for fat and nutrients. Around Halloween 2010, I had a particularly massive binge which I felt so sick afterwards that I bailed on plans with friends to sit around my parent’s house feeling sorry for myself. The next night I decided that I would get this “binging” out of my system once and for all, so I gave myself permission to eat WHATEVER I wanted. However once you pop the fun don’t stop. I’ve doubled my weight and have struggled to not hate myself (I don't have a picture of my current body).
Halloween 2010: 110ish lbs
December 2010: 145lbs
But I've realized in the past year, that I am worth more than my weight. Regardless of my physical appearance, I'm a kind, loving, and hardworking woman who wants to be happy just like everyone else. I'm trying to rediscover my healthy balance and lose weight without redeveloping anorexia. I've become a stronger woman. I've fallen apart so many times yet I've still managed to pick up the pieces. I'm not the pretty little girl I had starved myself to be for several years. But I'm a strong, confident woman who is rediscovering life outstide an eating disorder.