My Experience: Anorexia is a problem among many people, most notably teen aged girls. It is easy to get caught up in losing weight to such an extent that you become dependent on being extremely thin. Part of it is a need for control. Part of it is a desire to stand out from the crowd. Partly it’s wanting to live up to an image we have of “the beautiful people.”
I was not anorexic. Though I did suffer through a period of starvation at one point in my life. When I started at University, I weighed in the region of 190 lbs. This was after having lost about 60 lbs the previous year by being too nervous to eat due to my forays into the dating scene. In my first semester of college, I lost a whopping 55 lbs by eating less than five meals per week. When signing up for school, I had to choose an eating plan as part of my fees. Knowing that I didn’t have much money, I decided not to sign up for a set number of meals per week, but instead to sign up for a certain amount of money. I figured I’d eat cheaply and make the money stretch.
Unfortunately no one told me that college food is expensive! A simple chicken salad sandwich was upward of $5! As a result, I had to budget my money in a big way. I wound up spending half my meal plan in the first month, and for the next 16 weeks, I ate like a bird. The weight flew off of me, and I looked great. I got a new boyfriend, and I had guys lining up down the block to take me out. I could have easily succumbed to the pressure to stay thin and stop eating all together, but the next semester, I upped my eating plan and began putting on weight again.
The funny thing is, in my whole life, I’d never been sick or unwell before. But at the beginning of my second semester, after I’d lost so much weight, I began getting ill all the time, winding up in hospital many times. This was 15 years ago, and even today I battle with constant illness. Whether it has anything to do with my earlier eating habits, I’ll never know. But it certainly is a coincidence.