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Lake Effect Series: Five Years Lost

Note from Hollie:  This post is extremely heartbreaking.  Often times eating disorders are associated with being very thin but there are so many people suffering that are not underweight or do not looking they are having inner battles.  

There are exactly two weeks to go before the race.  I’m very very excited to see how far this campaign is going.  I am surprised, excited and overwhelmed by the support from donations and sharing stories.  I cannot believe together we have reached over 2000 dollars!  Thank you friends and family for being so supportive.  

I need 4 more stories for the final week before the race.  If you are interested in sharing your story please do no need hesitate to email me! 
———————
Bertha

That’s what my 8th grade teacher called me one day. Middle school kids can be harsh and sadly things like that stick around for far too long.

When you like eating disorders what comes to mind? Let me guess, the “thinspo” or pro-ana websites that are sadly all too prevalent thanks to the internet? Skin, bones, hair falling out? Probably not 200+lbs right? But in my case, that’s where the disordered habits began. I was never dangerously underweight or the “stereotypical” specimen, yet there I was in High School eating a few bites of chicken and baby carrots for lunch to make my sudden weight loss look relevant then going home and binging on whatever I could find at night. It didn’t start out this way, and the downward spiral began without me even realizing it.

In my first year of High School I took up rowing and went from well over 200lbs to a healthy and very active 150-ish lbs. I was eating better, I was exercising and competing in both rowing and Dressage. I was happy, much healthier and life was good. I took a year off rowing to focus on my horseback riding and suddenly my activity level went from extreme to…. non-existent. Needless to say, the weight came back on and it came back on fast. I’d go back and forth joining gyms, trying to “diet” and generally just getting nowhere. I got back into rowing and my weight evened out.

In my last year of high school I was aiming to finish my year competing at the Canadian High School Rowing Championships. My coach sent in the entries the week of Christmas and he casually mentioned he entered my teammate and I as lightweight, which was 138.6lbs and under (Yes, a number that will forever be burned in my brain). At the time I was going to a small women’s only gym and remember going into the locker room that week and stepping on the scale. 216lbs and my race was 4.5 months away.
And so began the bites of chicken and baby carrots.

No breakfast.

Cardio.

Twice a day training.

May came and I stepped on the scale in front of the race officials, my weight class was sharpie’d onto my arm, and this is where life should have gone back to normal. Work on my eating habits and continue working out, the beginning of my new healthy lifestyle, only this is where I started eating even less, training more, and binging at night. I hated myself, my body, my inability to quit binging.

Eventually the restricting led to a doctors appointment. I was frequently lightheaded and on the verge of passing out, but on the outside I looked like an average weight high school kid. I remember the doctor asking very vague questions, after all I didn’t LOOK sick. The outcome was no tests, no concern. Low iron probably, pick up a supplement and get on with it.

I wish someone had seen something in that time and expressed concern or that there was more resources available. I spent years of my life yo-yo dieting, hating myself and my body, starving, binging, taking part in a never ending vicious cycle that maybe could have been cut much shorter with proper education and help. Someone to listen, a place to feel safe to share my struggles, the knowledge that I wasn’t alone. Reading the stories that Hollie has posted have broken my heart and while I know my story is nothing in comparison I think supporting this cause and bringing eating disorder awareness and resources to more people is so very important.

Maybe being diagnosed would have changed my life, had I got help sooner I often wonder what would have changed in my life. I wasted 5 years of my life to stressing over my body and eating. Five years of ignoring real life and just existing in my disordered habits. Those are 5 years I’ll never have back and want no one else to lose.

14 replies »

  1. This story makes me want to give the author a big big hug.
    It’s so unfortunate that the tiniest little comments have the power to entrench themselves into our brains and stay there for YEARS after, if not permanently.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this heartbreaking story. My best friend since childhood at this point has lost 10 years of her life, consumed by diets and losing weight, tied into a binge cycle. Missing out on activities, travel, and relationships. It’s heart wrenching to watch. If you have any advice, as a friend who loves and wants to support my friend, as well as what changed you – how have you gotten to this point where you’re now focused on living – it would be much appreciated.

  3. Such a scary story – it’s amazing how looking normal stone how avoids comments – but “looking abnormal” like the BL comment inspires positive and negative attention immediately. This reinforces so much for me that we need to focus on what’s inside instead on our appearance!

  4. :cry: It’s heartbreaking to think about how many people are silently suffering from eating disorders but don’t meet the criteria for a diagnosis of anorexia or bulimia. Thankfully, the newest version of the DSM relaxed the criteria a bit, but a lot of people still slip through the cracks just because they don’t “look the part.” Eating disorders are never solely caused by issues relating to looks and weight — they’re a symptom of something a whole lot deeper.

  5. What a brave person to put their story out there like that. I think a lot more woman relate to this than will ever be known. I remember comments from people, starting as young as 6th grade, that made me feel inadequate because of my weight. I am now a personal traininer and a few months ago I had a 12 year old as a client. 12.years.old! She told me about her disordered eating (calorie counting, starving, binging, etc.) that started when she was 9. Heart breaking.

  6. That is so sad :( And I’m sure this is much more common than people realize. It’s sad that eating disorders have a certain “Sterotype” making it hard for others to seek help. Thanks for sharing this story!

  7. Thank you for sharing and helping others to understand that someone who “looks normal” on the outside can still be dealing with serious struggles on the inside.

  8. I feel like some people just don’t understand the effect their words have on others. While I can’t relate to the eating issues completely, I do understand the stress of putting on a face in front of others. I Struggled a lot with that in high school (and to some extent still do), I thought other people needed to see a different side of me and when I finally got time alone- I could finally stop putting that face on.

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