I saw this video on Tumblr a couple of weeks ago and today, I found time to watch it.

As I was listening to what she had to say, I realized something.

This was exactly how my life was when I was anorexic and this is exactly how some people reacted to me losing weight.

I didn't realize that I needed to lose weight until I was cropped out of a picture because of the way that I looked or until my friend told me it was gross that I could feel my stomach jiggle when I walked to the front of the class.

When I first started loosing weight, no one said anything.
I mean, my family teased me that I measured everything that I ate according to the serving size on the box,
but that was it.
Then, once I dropped the first twenty pounds, the questions and compliments came like a flood.

"You look great!"
"You have curves in the right places!"
"What's your secret?"
"You're so skinny!"
"You're beautiful!"
"You look great!"
"Everything looks good on you!"
"You didn't need to loose the weight, but wow, you look even better now."
"I have to admit that I've been checking you out."
"I wish I looked like you!"
"You look great!"
"I wish I had your will power!"
"I want to lose weight too, can you give me some tips?"

"You should be a nutritionist or a dietitian."


"You look great!"
"You look great!"
"You look great!"
"You look great!"

Me: "...I do look great."

They all fed my ego and kept me going.
I even flattered myself enough to think that I should be a missionary of my higher cause,
Shed light on other people's "unhealthy" lives and teach them my gospel.

When I was skinny, I was powerful.
An example.

More boys liked me and more girls envied me.

No one sends a fat girl who looses weight to the hospital.
They put her on a pedestal.

I kept going and going.

I ate celery as if it were manna.
I drank crystal light instead of soda.
I brought my own snacks to parties and looked at restaurant nutrition guides.
I counted everything and ate nothing.

A relative of mine pulled me in front of some girls close to my age and told them to be like me.
To follow what I did.
To listen to what I had to say.
Because they were close to the size that I was before I lost weight.
And if I could do it, they could.

Now, one of them has a disorder of her own.

Once I hit my goal weight, I figured I could keep going.
So, I lowered my calorie limit and pressed on.

I felt strong for being resistant to the slices of cake at birthday parties.
I felt strong for eating salad without dressing.
I felt strong for withstanding the constant pang of hunger in my stomach,
the constant cold,
and how tired I always was.

I slowly started to realize that being skinny didn't necessarily equate to being happy.

I had a mental breakdown on a family vacation because my parents didn't buy any of my safe foods for me to eat.
I yelled at my mom when she told me I was too skinny.
I ran from my friends when they tried to force-feed me ice cream after a dance we went to.

I thought that I didn't have an eating disorder because I was still technically eating.
I thought this was how I was always supposed to look.

Counting everything and eating nothing.
I had the calories of any food memorized in my head.
I was a human calculator.
I knew how much everything was and how much I couldn't eat.
Food wasn't food.
It was a number,
A restriction,
An enemy.

I felt my prettiest when I was hungry.
When I could see the indents of my ribs against the thinness of my skin.
When I could see that even the smallest size was a little too big for me.
I loved feeling weak.

When I couldn't stop losing weight, I started to get scared.
I couldn't make myself eat more than I was eating.
I felt guilty when I ate an extra handful of pretzels or a full meal.
It was like a boulder that I couldn't stop from crushing me.

"If you are not recovering, you are dying."

Luckily, I was bullied at school around that time and I was pushed out of anorexia and into another disorder, binge eating.
Instead of hating food, I relied on it.
I needed it to make me forget how much I hated myself and how much others apparently hated me.
I needed the constant pain in my stomach from being too full to numb me from the words of others.

I gained back more weight than I lost.
I was disappointed with myself and I hated my body.
I was always hungry, but it was different this time.
I forgot how to be full.
I could never eat enough.
Instead of ignoring my hunger, I couldn't turn my hunger off.

From 15-18, I had experienced being "overweight, underweight, and obese."

I lost my high school experience within the calories, the scales, and the dieting.
I lost my innocence.
And for a while, I lost me.

If I wasn't my disorders, who was I?

With recovery, I learned that even if no one else did, I wanted me.
I wanted the real me.
The fat me.
The "ugly" me.
Me with all my baggage.

I wanted me to be happy.
I wanted me to eat.
I wanted me to stop crying at night.
I wanted me to like me.

Eating disorders are one of the hardest addictions to overcome.
Unlike cigarettes or alcohol, you can't just stop using it.
You have to eat to live.

You can't shut yourself off in a room, flush it down the toilet, avoid driving by places that have it, wear a patch on your arm, or quit cold turkey.

But it can be done.

However, I feel like a lot of eating disorders--like mine, go undetected for far too long.

Because it's rare that losing weight is considered unhealthy.

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