Contributor: Jules Marie, Guest Contributor for Eating Disorder Hope
When I look back on my journey I’m in awe of how my eating disorder changed my life. For 18 years I never once thought about what I was eating, my clothing size, my weight on the scale and certainly not calories.
I was carefree and happy, I was constantly surrounded by friends, laughing until I cried and eating whenever and whatever I wanted. I couldn’t tell you how many calories I ate or what I weighed because that was something that never crossed my mind.
One comment. One comment about my weight changed my life forever.
A Comment Sent Me Spiraling
I went from being outgoing, to the girl who hid herself from the world. My life was consumed by my eating disorder. I measured my self-worth by the number of calories I consumed and the number on my scale. I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough; I didn’t want it enough, if I didn’t work out for countless hours every day.
The scale kept dropping and I was losing weight at an alarming rate. Yes, I was getting smaller but so did the size of my heart and my will to live.
I lost weight, sure, but along the way I also lost all of my friends. I missed out on family events and spending time with my loved ones because I was afraid of being tempted with food, afraid of my secret being exposed.
My hair fell out, I was always dizzy, and clothes from the children’s department fell off. My eyes were dark holes. I cried when I thought of food and berated myself for eating.
I was a shell of who I once was. Every day I thought to myself that I couldn’t live this way forever but the alternative was me gaining weight, and at the time, that was even worse than being consumed by the monster inside me that was my eating disorder.
The Irony of Complements
Ironically, the more weight I lost the more compliments I received. Even at times when I knew I looked sick, they still praised my weight loss. I think this is a huge reason why people fail to get the help they need. When your peers are condoning your habits, you think your fine. Sometimes you start thinking you could lose more weight because no one isn’t going to stop you, they’re encouraging you.
People would stop me at the gym and tell me I “was a machine” and “how did I lose the weight… you look so good, what’s your secret.” And that pushed me to lose more weight because no one stopped to say, “Are you okay?”. My secret was I was consumed by my eating disorder and I was not okay, I couldn’t remember the last time I was.
That’s was who I was for years. It took me almost losing everything to realize how I had destroyed my life. I was barely hanging, seconds away from giving up. An eating disorder is a slow death, an unspoken suicide.
My New View of Me
Now, I see life differently. Yes I gained weight but that’s because I would have died had I not. I go out with my friends and no longer skip out on family events. I can laugh without it sounding foreign to my ears. My hair is long and healthy, my skin glows…I smile. I eat to fuel my body.
I exercise a healthy amount and if I’m not up to working out then I choose not to. I find happiness in the smallest things that I was blind to before. I think what’s most important is that I don’t feel guilty for being happy, for making mistakes and being human.
Sure I’ve had setbacks, I’ve had achievements and I’ve had low moments. But when I look back on it, I am grateful for all of the highs and lows because now they are merely memories of who I was, not who I am – they don’t define me. Recovery isn’t something that is easy and it isn’t something that happens overnight.
It takes determination and hard work. At every meal you have to make the choice to choose recovery over your disordered eating thoughts. Recovery enabled me to find strength within myself and to find my voice that my eating disorder silenced. Recovery gave me back a chance to live, it showed me hope and a future. Recovery gave me back my life.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 30, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com