Sunday, April 26, 2015

A World Consumed by Ana

There is something appealing about trying to keep up with society's "ideal" woman. But who's to say what defines the "ideal" woman.  I started becoming self-conscious about my body image during my elementary school years.  I wasn't like “everybody else” my age.  I was thick, matured earlier than most, and despite being younger than my sister, I was the big sister. It took years of name calling, chubby kid jokes, and tears for me to decide it was enough. Getting ready for the 7th grade, I decided I was going to do all I could to be like "everybody else", the "ideal" woman, and the little sister.  My clothes began falling off me, people noticed, and I loved every minute of it.  Food became a mind game.  It was a daily challenge (and if anyone knows me, they know I don't like to lose) to how little I could consume. 

I remember going bathing suit shopping and in disbelief that an XS swimsuit dangled from my bony frame.  I couldn't wait to show my mother.  It would be the first time in five months my mother saw my body not bundled up in layers of clothing.  Despite my excitement, my mother's face was struck with fear.  She cried outside the dressing room not knowing how she could let my diet go so far. In the seven previous months I dropped 55lbs.


Ana (aka anorexia) became my best friend and my worst enemy.  It’s my type A personality that causes me to push my limits.  I spent most of 7th grade in doctor offices and they all diagnosed me with anorexia.

My thoughts: "What's Anorexia and whatever it is there's no way I have it".

Kids now teased me for looking like a skeleton.  I couldn't please anyone so I learned to embrace Ana.  She told me I could reach PERFECTION if I listened to her.  She told me don't eat that or else you'll be FAT.  She told me to punish myself with EXERCISE.  She told me the number on the scale DEFINED me. 
Nothing could stop me and Ana, not even being hospitalized.  I did what the doctors wanted, played manipulative games, and nine days later was released home to return to my old ways. 

In high school I fell in love with cross country and track. I became the female track star and went off to run collegiately at a Division I university. Years of malnourishment eventually caught up to me.  Eight stress fractures later, the doctor read me the results of my bone density test.  At 18years old, I had the bones of a 70 year old.  I cried in disbelief that I had osteoporosis.  Running was (and still is) an escape for me, its competition against me and only me, it's punishment, it's fun.

Refusal to be hospitalized for a second time by the university, I transferred to the Lone Star state.  I was running from my problems and was in denial.  Hours of rehab at Baylor University couldn’t heal my bones.  The damage was already done and I could never get back to running on the elite level that I was accustomed to.  

God slowly prepared me to make changes in my life.  I found freedom from breaking my friendship with Ana. The path was not easy and to say I don't ever have negative body image issues, restrict food, over-exercise would be a stone cold lie. This is me. I'm human but I'm an eating disorder soldier.  I fight the battle every day to eat, to not abuse exercise, to teach women to love their bodies, help women reach their goals without going to extremes, and to win.  If I can help at least one person with this blog then it will be a successful venture.

More to come, stay tuned!

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