It Takes More Than Money
In order to save someone who is struggling with an eating disorder, or even prevent the onset of one, we must change our own beliefs and understandings. You must acknowledge a few things.
- An Eating Disorder is a mental illness. The most deadly one.
- Diet culture is real, harmful, and a money hungry 72 billion dollar industry
- Eating Disorders come in all shapes and sizes.
- Health and body size is misleading. You can be healthy at any size. (HAES)
My eating disorder began around 12 years old in 7th grade. It was a year of change, firsts, and wanting to be healthy.
- The first year my brother and sister were both out of house and in college, resulting in the first time I was an only child.
- The first year I was enrolled in a private school, instead of being homeschooled full time.
- All the attention was on me, yet I felt something missing in my home, even with the most loving parents.
- My friends were few and far between. My best friend remained that, but she too was changing and becoming an amazing athlete. I always compared myself to her. It was the first year I also compared my body to hers.
- The first year I realized what a calorie was
- The first year Special-K commercials had me thinking, “I need to eat healthier.”
- The first year I stopped eating breakfast…and it spiraled from there.
- The first year I was “too busy” to eat.
I am sure there were many more things, but I can’t remember. What I am demonstrating is no one thing started my eating disorder. It was truly hard being the only child, feeling like I had no control over what was happening in my life as I was losing my siblings and entering a school I “hated.” I never wanted to lose weight. I do remember that. Not every eating disorder starts with the desire to lose weight or change their body, yet it ends that way. What’s important to notices, is my decline was slippery and slow. I started cutting out breakfast and making excuses for not being able to eat.
Mid-way through 7th grade year, I was checked into an eating disorder treatment center. At 13 years old my period stopped, my BMI fell to a 13, and I wouldn’t eat. I did not know why I did not want to eat, and my parents were scared. The Dr. told me to eat some cookies, but not gain too much weight! I mean how confusing is that right? Next thing I knew I was in groups learning about the horrors of eating disorders and the behaviors people had. I was so scared…again. I did all the right things to get out of there. I gained weight, smiled, and followed every rule. I LOOKED healthy to everyone, but I was hurt. No one was seeing me for anything but a case. So year after year, the cycle started again, and always falling back to my eating disorder weight from 7th grade. I have so many reasons why I think this happened, and I can tell you food rules, diet culture, and talk about my weight were not the cause. However, they were 100% one of the reasons I stayed sick for so long.
My freshmen year in college was when things really hit rock bottom. I look back and know the reason I am still alive is because God was not finished with me yet. Anorexia was not my end, just part of my story. I will be sharing all about freshmen year to now in upcoming entries, so stay tuned to learn how I went from knocking on death’s door for 9 years to being recovered, free from the binds of anorexia and diet culture!
Call To Action
I am asking you to help me fundraise for the NEDA walk on March 28th. You can donate here,on my personal page. If you don’t feel called to give, I urge you to learn about eating disorders and contribute by helping with prevention. The first call to action is listening to the below podcasts by Christy Harrison before February 1st.
- Preventing Disordered Eating in the Next Generation with Lauren Muhlheim, Psychologist and Eating Disorder Specialist.
- The Truth About Digestion & Gut Health
- Diet Culture & Hidden Anorexia
- Preventing Eating Disorders in Children
Christy Harrison and Jessie Haggerty, are the reason I got help and wanted to recover. These women helped me understand what was really happening in my body and brain. Before I do anything I want to know the why. Why it’s right. What will be the result, and is the journey worth the agonizing process. They gave me hope, not fear. They help so many people just like you! Not just those with an eating disorder. What I have come to learn is everyone has a food problem, but it does not have to be that way.
Picture of me and Kajal at the NEDA Walk last year.
Are you in?
I would love to know if you are joining me in my call to action! Please comment below if you are going to participate in my fundraiser and/or answer the first call to action.