When I began to lose the weight it was rather addicting. I would exercise and I would see visible results; it was immediate gratification. It started with exercise and as I began to physically move more I found my hunger intensifying. This scared me and for some backwards reason I compensated for this fear with restriction.
As I fell into this deadly cycle of starvation and exercise my body changed. My weight dropped and my clothes were suddenly baggy. Yet even at the height of my eating disorder, I knew that this lifestyle I had created was not sustainable. Every morning at the gym as I looked at my reflection I knew deep down this was not healthy, this body was not the one I was meant to have.
Yes, I had made it to a very low weight, but was I happy? The truth was I had never been so sad in my entire life. Exercise and restriction distracted me from my unhappiness. I was there. I had finally made it, but what for? To be miserable? To lead a long and unfulfilled life of restriction?
If I think about myself before and during the eating disorder there are many differences that stand out. The physical differences are numerous but perhaps most important is that before my eating disorder, I was truly and unbelievably happy. It was a real happiness, the kind you get from the little things in life: baking cookies with my little brother, summer trips to Minnesota with my family, heartfelt conversations with my mom, late night study sessions and ordering pizza to push through those last few hours. Everything after my eating disorder is tainted by the evils of anorexia. So if skinny doesn’t equal happy then why am I striving for it?