How To Overcome Anorexia: A Survivor's Guide
It's a constant fear of relapse. Watching weight is bittersweet; lower numbers bring contentment and panic. How much is too much? If people are so worried, why do others tell me I look good? It's a lack of control over the mind, body image out of whack.
I previously wrote a Hub about my experience with anorexia when I was a freshman in college. It was a confusing but life-changing event that affected the way I looked at myself, the strength of my relationships with others, and the way I would think about eating for the rest of my life. To say the least, my life wasn't the same afterwards, and I can see that now especially.
I think I had a brief relapse for a bit in the past month. For me, it's very easy because I'm disciplined, competitive, busy, and kind of poor. There were a lot of events that came together and led to that flitting condition.
For one, I am very busy with my current job. Eating well is difficult, and I would rather eat nothing than eat carb-filled junk all day. Certainly I don't mind some cake now and then, but I can't live a whole day on Cheez-Its and graham crackers. Additionally, my job doesn't pay much, and as I am a money-saver, I would prefer to save my money than spend it on expensive food, which is most of what there is around my workplace. Plus I'm going on my first big vacation this summer, and since it was pretty expensive, I'm trying to cut back on going out to eat.
Also, the Bay to Breakers race is coming up in San Francisco. It's one of the biggest races in the nation, with 22,000+ people in attendance. It's supposedly Sports Illustrated's top events for sportsy people to do before they die, and I'm looking forward to it! However, it requires a little bit of practice before just doing 8 miles, and so I've been running a little more than usual. It throws me out of whack because I hate eating at night, but I get really hungry when I exercise more. I don't know if I should eat or not. How pathetic to not know how to eat.
Additionally, my old fraternity is having a formal dance at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends - and wearing my favorite pink dress. However, I've found that the dress has gotten too big. In fact, when I go shopping for clothes, I find that I'm looking for XS shirts or teeny pants when I used to be Medium. That kind of freaks me out.
However, there's nothing worse for an anorexic than the prospect of having to gain weight.
With all of this said, I'm trying to do what I can to make sure there are no more doctor's visits or emergency eating sessions. It's kind of a weird thing to make a list of tips about, but if anyone out there is struggling, here's what I have to say from my experiences:
- Just eat. It can suck at times, but it's better to lose a little than to lose a little while you're already skinny.
- Speak with others. This doesn't mean listen to the people who tell you, "You're looking really good!" Talk with the people who know you the best - a parent, a best friend, a partner - and let them know how you're feeling. It's likely that they will tell you something that you don't want to hear, but really take the time to analyze where they're coming from and what their interests are. It's important to have another point of view.
- Get the facts. When I first became anorexic, I didn't know much about it - only that it's what people have when they don't want to eat. I didn't know the science behind food and eating, or the psychology around it, or symptoms, and neither did my family or friends. I just stopped eating, which in fact is not the best way to lose weight. I learned more about nutrition, eating, exercise, and more. For instance, it's good to eat a bigger breakfast, smaller lunch, and smallest dinner... eating late is not good. Balanced meals are best, not just fruit and vegetables (remember the food pyramid). Exercise is also best in the morning, not at night; it keeps you awake, and morning exercise allows for a boosted metabolism for the rest of the day.
- Don't compare yourself to others. Everyone is not you. Others have different constitutions and body types, metabolisms, etc. Just because someone else is skinny doesn't mean that's the way you should be.
- Don't resent help. Most likely, people are only trying to help. At first, I thought people were saying what they were saying because they were jealous. What a petty thought.
Thanks for dropping by this Hub, and if anyone has any questions, please comment or message me.
- Eating Disorders | Overview -- FamilyDoctor.org
Information about anorexia nervosa from the American Academy of Family Physicians.
- ANAD National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders
ANAD national association of anorexia nervosa and associated eating disorders. Provides anorexia and bulimia support. 260 support groups. hotline for eating disorder referrals. pro Anna, pro mia info
- ANRED: Information and Resources
- Anorexia nervosa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Anorexia: what is it, symptoms, what causes it, what are the medical risks, treatment, prevention
Anorexia: what is it, symptoms, what causes it, what are the medical risks, treatment, prevention