My Frenemy Ana
I just wanted to be healthy, I told myself. I was eating crap after crap, feeling bloated and gross, so it was time I got control of it. I wanted to feel better so I had to eat better.
It was the start of senior year of high school. I was seventeen and just decided to cut out all the junk food I ate. No more chips and sour cream, no more soda, no more candy, and definitely no more ice cream. I ate enough of that during the summer and I felt like crap. My stomach was bloated and I was breaking out. And, in my mind, it had everything to do with what I was eating.
I started drinking water…lots and lots of water. And tea, barely any sugar. I would wake up in the morning and, instead of eating my Eggo Waffle covered in syrup, I started making wholegrain toast and putting a little bit of cream cheese on it. I would drink water with it, filling myself up with so much water that it didn’t matter that I only ate one little toasted sandwich.
At the beginning of this whole “eating healthy” thing, I weighed myself: I was ninety pounds. I was a healthy weight, according to my doctors. But I didn’t feel healthy. I felt gross.
A week of my new healthy eating went by and I weighed myself: eighty-seven pounds. I managed to lose almost four pounds in a week! I was shocked and a little happy that this happened. It wasn’t my goal to lose weight but I was eating healthy. Clearly all the gross stuff was getting out of my body.
The loss of weight was the jump start I needed to really kick off the healthy eating. I took away one piece of toast and replaced my cream cheese with butter (very little) I got rid of the tea, drinking essure for the protein. At school I started eating healthy too.
I used to drink a thing of iced tea at school and eat either curly fries or a pretzel or something. But that wouldn’t work with what I was trying to do, so I cut all of those out, surviving on a bottle or two of flavored water. White Grape. It had flavor, but no sugar, and it was water. It didn’t hurt any that the carbonation tricked my stomach into feeling like it was full. And I didn’t have to worry about finding something for lunch.
I would still eat dinner, so it was all good.
I continued like this for another two or three weeks, each week I weight myself and saw the weight pouring off. The weekly weigh-ins turned to daily and I started eating less and less for dinner until I was barely eating anything. I drank water like a fish…or like it was my life line because, let’s face it, it was.
I was a picky eater when I was younger so for me not to “like” something wasn’t uncommon. I’m pretty sure that’s the only way I got away with not eating for so long. If anyone suspected anything, they might’ve not really thought about it.
Weeks turned into months and the weight dropped until I was a staggering eighty pounds. My collar bones were sticking out and you could see my ribcage.
I was starving…and I felt great.
I ignored the weird way my heart beat…I pretended it was just part of my heart condition and it had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn’t eating. I even went to the doctor and he said I was fine. I felt dizzy but, clearly that just meant I was dehydrated and I needed more water.
I even started to exercise…200 sit ups a day. My close were loosening on my body but it was okay because I was healthy. I just need more clothes…smaller clothes. It was just proof that my hard work was paying off.
Finally, towards December, my mother sat me down in an intervention. She said that if I didn’t start eating, she was going to admit me into the hospital where they would feed me through a tube. I tried to tell her that I was fine, that I was just being healthy, but she saw through my facade. She knew exactly what I was doing.
So she forced me to eat. She sat there, watching me as I ate pasta until the whole thing was gone. She did this for a few days until My weight was back up to ninety-three pounds.
I felt disgusting. Useless. Worthless. I felt like all my hard work went down the drain.
It took me another year to admit that I was anorexic. That I starved myself just to look pretty.
And it took me another year to realize…the feeling, the desire to be thin, would never go away.
I was changed for life. And not in a good way
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