TW: Eating disorders.
Click here to Read Part 1
Eat less. Exercise more.
I kept telling myself this was the key to happiness. The void my toxic relationship left in my life was filled with the bliss and satisfaction of thinness. I would fit into size 24 jeans and any item from Brandy Melville that I dreamed to wear. Being anorexic was so tiring. Nothing mattered to me anymore except the fight to be skinny. It took control of what should have been the most memorable year of my life: senior year in high school.
I discovered the world of calorie counting and I downloaded an app on my phone to help me privately keep track. My days were planned around eating under a certain number of calories. At school, instead of doing statistics in math class, I was distracted by adding up my calories for that day in my head. I refused to go to the dining hall with my friends because I did not want them to notice my restriction. I would grab an apple and starve until dinnertime. Everyday, I arrived home from school exhausted and anxious due to the lack of food in my system. It was difficult to do my homework and study.
One time, while I was waiting for my nail appointment, I heard my stomach growling so I walked to the grocery store next door. My usual trips to the grocery store would take about an hour because I needed to check every label and see if it fit into my restrictive diet. This time, I chose a low calorie fruit bar. I was at the checkout counter and the cashier asked me if that was all I wanted. Of course, I said yes and told her it was just a snack while I waited for my nail appointment...but I lied, it was my lunch for that day. I paid and left the store. But I had no idea who the girl was talking to the cashier. I felt like I had an out of body experience; it was my body moving, my lips speaking, my hands swiping the credit card, but I was not fully present. It was my eating disorder.
I developed an intense routine to lose weight gain for as long as I could. Once, I was chilling in my room, and I told my mom to bring me a snack. I refused to eat the Cheez-its she brought me and demanded she get me cereal instead as it was in the category of food that was safe for me to consume.
I can tell you how many calories are in six strawberries, 20 goldfish, and two marshmallows. This restrictive disorder sucked the good things out of my life. I missed out on plans with my friends because I was too scared of food. As the weeks went on, it became more arduous for me to stick to my restrictions; tracking everything I ate on my phone was extremely toxic and mentally draining. I started to become more “lenient” with myself. I gained a pound or two every month.
Springtime came and I thought I was “safe” and normal again. Even though I was healthy and normal looking again, I still thought I was too big. I kept telling myself that camp was coming up and that I would lose the weight I had gained back throughout the year. What happened, or did not happen, at camp triggered another eating disorder.
Are you struggling with an eating disorder? Do you know someone struggling? Visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for more information.
Click here to read part 3!Written By: Jessica Norris