When I went public in March 2004 with my first book “Stolen Innocence” I was a senior in high school just about to graduate and stepping out of darkness and into the spotlight. Little did I know the battle I was about to be fighting 6 months later when I went off to college. I was never interested in working out, the only time I knew how much I weighed was when I went to the doctor for a physical or my yearly fitness test in high school PE. That number on the scale would go in one year and out the other and I never cared how many calories I was consuming. That would all change in September of 2004 when what started as getting in shape and using my college rec-center turned into obsessing over my body image. I could not stand to look in the mirror, my face bothered me the most. All I saw was fat and found comfort and control in a new daily routine of working out and eating the same food. I began counting calories on the food in the college cafeteria and when I went to the store. I began to increase how much time I spent working out what began with 30 minutes my freshmen year soon increased to an hour within a few months. Before long I was working out 2 hours a day and continuing to cut back how many calories I allowed myself to consume. I loved the control and power I felt I had in my life over my own body. A body that for so long I felt I had no control over and was used garbage.
I clearly remember learning all the different machines to use and what began as stopping after 300 calories burned soon increased to 500 calories, 800, before long I would not let myself stop until I reached 1800-2000 calories. Often I would get off the machine and feel like I was about to pass out. Living on the 9th floor my freshmen year I would only allow myself to take the stairs everywhere. I felt the best when I would do laundry because it forced me to go up and down stairs numerous times which meant I was burning more calories. By my junior year I had increased my workouts to 4 hours a day. By now I was living in my own apartment and the nice thing about the apartment was it came with an included private small fitness center. So after several hours at the college rec-center I would come home do some homework and then head to the private one. Trying to hide what I did not want anyone to know. Taking the bus around campus was never an option I always walked.
During my 3 1/2 years down at college I ate the same thing every day.
Measure out 100 calories of special K
100 calorie grilled chicken breast
side of veggies or frozen grapes
10 calorie jello
or I would make a salad for dinner.
When I returned home for the holidays I would try not to draw attention to what I was eating and did my best to eat whatever was cooked however I often had a hard time eating it or even would get sick because my body was not used to that type of food. I refused to eat anything fried, the only meat would be grilled chicken, I avoided bread. I would add up the calories of what I did eat on my breaks home and add that much more to my workouts when I returned to school to burn off. When friends from high school would get together with me many would comment about my extremely healthy eating and how I would substitute veggies for french fries.
I would think I was being fair to myself by giving myself 1 day off a year from working out on my birthday but the truth was I would toss and turn all night because I had not burned all those calories that were now turning into fat so I would just make up for it the day after my birthday by adding on to my workout. So even when I tried to reason with myself I always fell back into my anorexic patterns.
I attempted so many times in the summer to overcome this disease but it was far too difficult and I would constantly go back to old patterns of starving myself. In the beginning hunger pains bothered me but I eventually got used to them. The physical pain was far more bearable then the emotional pain I was holding onto. Something far too common with those who have been sexually abused. I was in denial for a very long time about it. When family or friends got on my case I would tell them to lay off and that I did not have a problem and just enjoyed being in shape. I would reason with myself that someone who was anorexic did not eat at all. I made excuses with myself that the reason I had not had my menstrual cycle in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years was because I was working out and I heard many athletes stopped there menstrual cycle from working out. I always had an excuse or reason but could not admit I had a problem. I left for college in August 2004 a healthy 122lbs. By November of 2007 I was 92lbs. Once only being weighed by a doctor or in high school PE, I was now weighing myself 2-4 times a day morning, night, and after working out. When I had dropped down to the low 90’s my doctor was pushing to put me in a treatment center. I was refusing and was still making excuses…people who are anorexic don’t eat anything I consumed 300 calories a day.
So where did things go? In December of 2007 I moved home to begin my internship for college. I was still battling anorexia and addressing the issue. That is until January 2008 when in an instant my life like it has in so many other events changed. The day I had a full blown grand mal seizure while driving and did not wake up until I was in the back of an ambulance. The day I describe I began to learn to let go of wanting control and giving control to God. I went on quiet a roller coaster of emotions for several months afterwords because there was so much unknown which brought me to a place of being vulnerable and relying on so many others. If I did not have that seizure I do not know what would of pulled me out of my eating disorder. I went from working out every single day for nearly 4 straight years to now where I can say I have not stepped foot in a gym to workout for 2 years. I love the feeling of working out and so badly want to get back in the routine but I fear falling back into that place I was before and am afraid to take that chance because I know how difficult it is to overcome. I know there will come a point when I will be ready but I am still at a place where I am hesitant and do not want to take any chances.
As for eating….I eat completely normal now….well I will not eat Brownies or Chocolate cake but I was like that way before I fell into anorexia. My cousin Brian ruined the enjoyment of eating chocolate for me and it seriously makes me gag or feel sick because he is the only thing that comes to my mind when I taste that. Which I explained in my 2nd book. I tried chocolate cake once in the past ten years when friends from my small group at church got me chocolate cake for my birthday nearly two years ago. I could not let there nice deed go to waste so I forced myself to eat it and I will not lie I felt sick eating it and said to myself never again.
Below is just a transformation a few years from the end of high school through college that anorexia had on me.
Before ED Senior Year of High School May 2004 Prom
High School Graduation June 2004