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Making Peace with my Eating Disorder

I’ve been at war with my body for as long as I can remember.

Memories of my younger years are clouded with scales, calories, and tears. I can still picture it all so clearly, dating back to the first few months of middle school. Growing up, I always looked different from my peers. Being a head taller than them (at the time) with a rapidly changing body, I quickly developed a deep resentment for my figure. I never expected that years later, I would fall into a self-destructive cycle of starving, binging, and purging.

As I got older, comparing myself to other girls became an obsession. I’d pay attention to what they ate, what they wore, and how they exercised. I didn’t like myself, but I hoped that with five or ten or twenty pounds lost, I would finally be good enough.

This self-hatred became so severe that my poor relationship with food transcended my body image, and relied on the pursuit of perfection in every aspect of my life. Controlling my intake was a form of self-punishment.

If I didn’t do well on a test or had an argument with a friend, I’d keep myself from eating. If I thought I ate more than I deserved, I would purge.

I can’t describe the horrible effects these behaviors had on my mental health. While my friends and family didn’t see it on the surface, I wasn’t myself. I’ve never been a “skinny” person, so it took me years to ask for help. Who would believe me? I didn’t fit the cookie-cutter stereotype of someone with an eating disorder; I wasn’t thin or visibly malnourished. However, I was deeply suffering. When I finally told my mom, she was more helpful than I could have imagined. She helped me find counseling (which I still attend) and has supported me as I am steadily learning to love myself.

Things are still far from perfect, but I have since come to accept the complicated relationship I have with food and my body. I’m learning to cook and experiment with new foods, and am developing healthy coping mechanisms to use instead of self-punishment.

The reality of my eating disorder is that there will always be a place for it in my brain. I still fight urges to restrict calories, binge eat, or purge, and there are certainly times where I repeat old behaviors. Even so, I am proud of myself for the progress I’ve made. I have finally made peace with my eating disorder.

If I could give one piece of advice to someone struggling with a similar experience, it would be that you are worthy of living the most peaceful life possible. You deserve to live each day without suffering in silence.

Reaching out for help takes a lot of bravery, but I believe that it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. You are loved, you are strong, and you don’t need to go through this battle alone.

By Anastasia Colagreco

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