Controlled by anorexia, ‘I became obsessed with calorie restricting’

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(Dominik Martin / Unsplash)

Every night was the same. I’d crack an egg, sneakily separate the yolk from the white and only poach the white before my parents or sister caught on to what I was doing.

I wouldn’t allow myself to indulge in the 70 calories a regular whole egg had, so I would eat only the 17 calories the egg white contained. Every night was the same for almost a year. Until the night I didn’t separate the yolk from the white fast enough. The bright yellow yolk ended up all over me.

Normally, I would have just tossed the whole egg and started again, but this time was different. I didn’t care if I ate those 17
calories anymore. I didn’t care if food was in my system anymore. I didn’t care about anything. I slumped to the floor, brought down by my
uncontrollable tears and heaves of pain. How had I gotten to this point?

At 18 years old I was  diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

I became obsessed with calorie restricting and purging those calories through exercise. Soon, I couldn’t focus on anything other than my preoccupation with weight and shape.

I found it difficult, almost impossible, to pay attention in class. I couldn’t remember anything we were learning. I knew that if I wanted to win my battle with anorexia, I had to put my dreams of being a journalist on hold and check into treatment.

Before my life was turned upside down from my eating disorder, I thought I had it all figured out. My friends always called me the lucky one for being so set on my dreams of becoming a fashion journalist.

They admired me for knowing what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I just thought it was my persistence and my ambition. Once my mind is set on something there’s no changing it.

Which could also explain how once I let anorexia sneak in, she overcame my world. I’ve always had OCD tendencies with trying to make everything perfect, get the best grades possible, be the best friend that I can possibly be; and then they switched to my body.

University was new territory. It was unfamiliar territory. After living in the same house my whole life, having the same friends and doing the same things, moving away and doing everything completely differently felt earth-shattering. I needed some way to have control over the situation, so I used my body and focused on that instead of all of the other changes.

I didn’t allow myself to feel or let go of control until my first day of treatment at Toronto General Hospital. They called it “menu marking” and it was the first thing I did at TGH. I picked out my meals for the week and instead of being afraid to eat, I was excited. Excited to become the girl I used to be before my life was controlled by anorexia.

Sitting in my hospital bed I knew it was time to start fighting the deception that had taken over my life. I silenced her then, and I’m continuing to fight her controlling tendencies. To those fighting any type of eating disorder, know that you’re not alone. I hope that you find the strength to fight for your health.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

This article was published in the print edition of The Ryersonian on Nov. 11, 2015.

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