“I remember looking at myself in the mirror with Matt and saying, ‘See this? I didn’t use to look like this! See this bulge? See this imperfection?'”
My journey with an eating disorder (ED) started with an innocent moment of boredom while I was waiting to eat dinner (an Italian feast none the less) with my family and my husband (then boyfriend) Matt.
Matt was in the shower, and as it was the middle of winter I started fantasising about summer (my favourite season) and decided to try on some of my summer clothes to lift my winter spirits. And this is where everything went dramatically down hill.
The clothes I was trying on felt tight, they looked bulgy to me and by the time Matt had got out of the shower I was a blubbering mess; my floor was covered in clothes and I was frantically trying on everything in sight.
I remember looking at myself in the mirror with Matt and saying, “See this? I didn’t use to look like this! See this bulge? See this imperfection?” (Basically tearing myself to shreds.)
Matt (being quite shocked at this point) was trying to settle me down, telling me he couldn’t see anything wrong and the clothes looked fine. It took over an hour of Matt’s patience before I stopped crying on the proviso that starting tomorrow I would review my exercise regime, change it up and reduce my portions at meal times.
(I want to note that to this day I have no idea if I had actually put on any weight at that point. Perhaps I had, perhaps I hadn’t. It really doesn’t matter because back then – before all of the ED crap – I was happy, healthy, fit and the easy going person that I loved being; it was the ED who was telling me otherwise.)
“Confusingly, a lot of people praised me for my weight loss, even though at this point I was in such an unhealthy, underweight state.”
From here on in shit got real, and shit got real real quick. What started out as simply cutting back on portions soon became cutting out carbs, most forms of protein and all sugars. I lost weight and continued to lose more over the next 18 months. Confusingly, a lot of people praised me for my weight loss, even though at this point I was in such an unhealthy, underweight state that I had lost my period, my ability to control my anger, and my social life.
After many sleepless nights I reached breaking point, laying in bed next to Matt only being able to think about foods that I wanted – the foods the ED decided were off limits. I was hungry and I started to cry. I woke Matt and finally accepted the idea I might need help. Matt and my parents had been begging me to go and see someone for weeks. It’s funny how the ones closest to me could see me disappearing into the ED but many outside my close circle of friends were impressed with how ‘together’ and ‘in control’ I was.
After seeking treatment from a qualified accredited dietitian/nutritionist and a psychologist things slowly started to get better. I was able to increase my food portions and step-by-step get back to eating those foods I’d been ignoring (pretty much everything besides veggies and fruit!).
“My story is still being written but every day I’m more determined to be rid of the ED forever.”
This process is still ongoing and I am definitely not 100% where I want to be. Lots of foods still scare me but I’m trying to eat them when I feel like it and not impose any restrictions on myself. Let’s be honest, what’s life without food?
Of course life’s not all about food, and your identity, self-worth or happiness should not be determined by it. But food is a big part of our existence and it exists not only to give your body the valuable nutrients it requires to function well (including carbs, proteins and fats!) but also to be enjoyed and savoured. And to be honest I don’t want to live a life where I can’t go out for dinner and enjoy a warm comforting bowl of pasta or a couple of mum’s famous cookies when I feel like it.
My story is still being written but every day I’m more determined to be rid of the ED forever, and live the life of freedom that was intended for me 🙂
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