A few weeks ago, I was invited to write a sample blog post in order to be considered for an opportunity to write on a volunteer basis for the LDS blog, Sugardoodle.

With this in mind, I thought that I could share with all of you what I submitted:

Eating disorders, like a lot of things in life, aren't exactly predictable.

During my sophomore year of high school, I decided that I was done with feeling embarrassed by my body and the extra pounds it carried. As a result, I started a strict diet that only allowed me to eat about 1,700 calories a day. Within two months I had lost 40 pounds and reached, what I thought to be, my ideal body weight. For the first time in my life I felt comfortable in my own skin. No matter how much weight I lost, I wasn’t satisfied; I could always lose five more pounds. Eventually, I reached a point where the compliments I had been receiving from friends and family became tinged with worry; but no one could stop me. I realize now that I had become a victim of an eating disorder due to my own warped perceptions of beauty and self-worth. My “diet” controlled every action, thought, and emotion I had; it consumed me, and became my identity.

Pre-eating disorders.
 I still can't believe I thought this was fat.

 A few months later, I became depressed due some drama at school within my circle of friends. Almost immediately I turned to food as my medication of choice, and shortly thereafter, I developed what would become another eating disorder. The sadder I became, the more I ate. The weight that I had worked so hard to lose (plus a little extra), came back within a month’s time and the depression that followed resulted in even more eating. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t stop myself--food was my escape from reality.

For the longest time I felt that it was my fault that I couldn’t control my eating because I was weak and too miserable to change. Luckily, I met with a doctor who helped me realize that an eating disorder is a mental disease with physical implications. It isn’t just a matter of not eating or eating more; it’s an addiction, a state of being.  He once compared an eating disorder to a person with Diabetes (which I have) by explaining that just as you can’t tell a Diabetic to make insulin on their own, you can’t talk someone out of an eating disorder. It takes time, therapy, medication, meditation, and patience for change to occur.

Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about how and why I came to have an eating disorder in the first place. I've come to the conclusion that it didn’t come from a single source, but many. In both instances, I felt inadequate. I was angry that no matter what I did, I would never be good enough. I guess I believed what society told me: that my value lay in the number on a scale, the calories on a box, or the size on a clothing tag.  Even though it’s been two years since my last relapse, I know that my eating disorder is an intrinsic part of who I am, shaping my thoughts, opinions of myself and, at times, how I interact with others. However, through the support of my loved ones, the blessings of the Atonement, and the love of my Father in Heaven, I know that we're never really alone during the trials placed before us.

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