Eating Disorder Stories of Hope
“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Watch and read about outstanding women and men and their stories of hope, who exemplify substance, character, and are shining examples of using their unique gifts and talents to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to a better world. All have battled eating disorders and are doing well in their recovery.
Want to share your Story of Hope and Inspiration? Email your story in 700 words or less (word doc format) and also a picture of yourself (jpeg or gif) to: Jacquelyn@EatingDisorderHope.com. We will review your story and be in touch with you shortly thereafter!
Dr. Jennifer Ashton interviews Liana Rosenman of Project HEAL and discusses the organization’s mission and Liana’s personal story of hope. As posted by CBS.
My name is Amy Waddle. I am an eating disorder, sexual abuse, suicide survivor who lives with Bipolar II disorder, and I’ve lived with bipolar since adolescence.
I adopted the ups and downs and emotional darkness as “it’s just me” for almost ten years before being diagnosed at age 24. My eating disorder recovery process began in 2001 and lasted 18 years. I am currently healing from the Read more about her Story of Hope…
Alicia’s Story of Hope
Hi my name is Alicia Fenner, and I have struggled with an eating disorder for 16+ years, and the message that I want to share with all of you is that recovery is possible!
I never thought it was possible because I had given up on myself and those around me were losing hope.
I have struggled with many addictions from Read more about her Story of Hope…
Amie’s Story of Hope
It was a cold, wet Monday in Tallahassee, Florida. I stood trembling at the end of the long hallway of a residential eating disorder treatment facility called Canopy Cove; clothes damp from the light rain, cheeks streaked with black mascara and drenched with tears.
I found myself surrounded by women who were just like me – broken and hurting, unsafe to Read more about her Story of Hope…
Linda’s Story of Hope
I never thought recovery was possible for me. In fact, I honestly believed it was just a make-believe word that truly never existed. But that was far from the truth.
At 13 I began struggling with eating disorder behaviors. I would go through periods of restricting then binging and purging, but never at the same time.
I quickly learned that by alternating Read more about her Story of Hope…
Abby’s Story of Hope
Hi! My name is Abby. I’m so blessed and thankful to be sharing my story with you today! So… where do I start?
I guess from the beginning. I was a normal kid, who loved life and Jesus. Anyway, I attended a really nice school and had some “friends”.
They weren’t true friends because they picked on me for my weight and Read more about her Story of Hope…
My name is Cody Gauthier, and the story of my recovery from a significant Eating Disorder, NOS (chew/spit) began long before thoughts pervaded, the behaviors dictated, and hope for a normal life was lost.
My story began in early childhood, five or six years old, and maybe the only time Read more about his Story of Hope…
I once heard on a podcast a woman describing her life with an eating disorder as like being a passenger on the Titanic. She described the helplessness and frustration of her relentless effort to find out why the ship was sinking.
It was only in her recovery that she found out it didn’t matter. She just needed to get off the ship. I couldn’t describe my recovery efforts better.
I had no history of Read more about her Story of Hope…
People often ask me why I left sunny San Diego, my home of eighteen years, to move to Fresno for college. I usually tell them that I got a scholarship, which is true.
But there’s more to my anorexia eating disorder recovery story. Truthfully, I wanted to get as far away as possible from all the places and people that reminded me of anorexia and everything it had taken away from me. Read more about her Story of Hope…
I am so grateful to no longer struggle with bulimia or anorexia. I rely on the support of my family and friends. They are available to me when I need someone to talk to. This really helps me. Read more about his Story of Hope…
At age 13, I decided I wanted to eat less at parties, which turned into a diet, and that spiraled quickly and dangerously into anorexia. For much of the next decade, I shunned my anorexia diagnosis and the idea of “recovery.”
Due to undiagnosed OCD and an invalidating environment, I had spent my entire life feeling shame for who I was and how I acted. My new eating disorder label felt like a scarlet A. It felt like a visible, shameful sign of my inadequacy. Despite accessibility to treatment during the years that followed, I did not find lasting recovery. Read more about her Story of Hope…
I was in 4th grade, and I didn’t have anyone to sit next to on the bus. It was a long ride to Nebraska City when I had no one to sit next to on the bus. It was a long ride when the whispers of classmates floated back to my insecure ears.
What is wrong with me, I asked myself, that no one wants to sit by me? What is wrong with me that they whisper like so? Read more about her Story of Hope…
It took a decade but at the age of 22, I can say that I am truly recovering from anorexia. 10 years of missed memories and opportunities and leaving my family distraught and frustrated.
10 years that left me completely miserable but also with insight into life and who I am as a person that some people do not get to experience in a lifetime. Anorexia is a truly awful disorder that I would not wish upon anyone, yet I thank it because it led me to my mat. Read more about her Story of Hope…
When people used to ask me about my eating disorder recovery, I would tell them it was the hardest thing I had ever done. I would share with them all the challenges, setbacks and hardships I faced as I struggled to find a way back to my original “normal,” which is what I used to believe recovery was all about. Read more about her Story of Hope…
After months in the hospital, months of recovering at home, months in a Day Program which changed my life and years of therapy, I am alive. This is my greatest achievement, because so many times, I could have given up, or my body could have given up for me.
I’m glad that all the times I just wanted to leave, I hung on. Because the life that you earn through recovery is a million times better than anything you could have expected, or dreamt of, or imagined for yourself. Read more about her Story of Hope…
Recovery…such a complex word that can look very different for each of us recovering from eating disorders, yet is the hope for all of us suffering from eating disorders. However, hope, and thus, recovery, can be hard to find.
For me, my recovery from anorexia would not have looked as hopeful if it wasn’t for one word…, faith. My faith became my cornerstone that I built my recovery on, and what pulled me from the pit into the light. Read more about her Story of Hope…
My eating issues started back when I was ten. I always had trouble with bullying, since I was in primary school, and the worst was at age ten. I never considered myself a happy teenager. However, I am much happier now compared to my life with an eating disorder.
There was one incident at school that led me to be suspended for three months. I was depressed and suicidal, I decided that by losing weight people would like me and accept me. Read more about her Story of Hope…
As I begin writing this, it is something that I have kept within me for many years, and I finally feel ready to share my story. If my story can help one other person struggling with the same feelings I felt my story was worth sharing.
As social media begins to become an impact in our society, girls and women with “selfies” are on every Instagram post or Facebook feed that we scroll through each day. I feel stronger than ever to share my story with the world. Read more about her Story of Hope…
I read somewhere that you can survive without food for three weeks.
That’s almost a lie. I know from experience that you can survive for months on nothing but iceberg lettuce, low-fat yogurts, and endless reruns of The Food Network.
But that’s all you’ll be doing: surviving. The existence you’ll be reduced to will be marked by routine and obsession. By scars and self-hatred. Read more about her Story of Hope…
The first 18 years of my life I worked to maintain a daily facade, afraid to let anyone see my fragile self. Indeed, it was not until the summer of 2013 that I began to understand I am not broken or defected—I am a warrior, and I am worth it.
The initial foundation of shame, pain, and self-loathing upon which I constructed my sense of self is the product of my childhood, leading to my development of anorexia nervosa at a very young age.
My name is Kimberly and I am a survivor. I am no longer a victim of ED and refuse to let him back into my life. My life has been controlled by my eating disorder (ED) for the past twenty years. It wasn’t until just recently that I started living again. I feel like my life has said: “Welcome Back Kimberly!”
I have put in many years of hard work in individual therapy, group therapy, working with a nutritionist and even inpatient therapy. Read more about her Story of Hope…
Jacquelyn Ekern, EDH Founder
Our brains are not fully developed until about age 25, so imagine the potential for error as I sorted through these painful experiences and tried to make sense of it all. I had not had any counseling at this point, and conventional wisdom at the time was you just “suck it up, get through it, and make the best of it”.
So, this is what I did while also drawing some fundamentally erroneous conclusions about myself and life. Read More about her Story of Hope…
Speaking out about anything you’ve struggled with is not easy. There’s the risk of judgment, the fear you’ll be misunderstood, or that people just won’t care. Being vulnerable is hard, but often, openness, honesty, and self-disclosure can lead to strength and empowerment – not only your own but others’ as well.
That is the lesson I learned from sharing my story of recovery from an eating disorder. Read More about her Story of Hope…
Recovering from an eating disorder is no easy task. No matter how hard and no matter how long your battle, however, it is worth it.
My name is Sparklle Rainne and I am a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles, California. I have suffered from an eating disorder for twelve years. Read More about her Story of Hope…
Waking up isn’t an obstacle for me to face every morning- it’s sleeping that’s my problem. As if my nights count as sleeping. Tossing, turning, shivering, and slipping in and out of dreams. Not even five blankets and a heating pad can warm my body into a comfortable state.
I slip into my old gymnastics sweatshirt and jeans my mom bought me last month. The waistband is at least two inches too large. Read More about her Story of Hope…
Dr. Kim Dennis
I started my college career in 1992. As a freshman at the University of Chicago, I was full of fear. I felt like a fraud like I did not deserve to be there because of where I came from.
My peers came from families where their mothers and fathers went to college and were professors, business people, lawyers, and doctors. My mom finished high school. My dad did not, he was a welder, an alcoholic and died when I was 11. None of my five siblings completed college. Read More about her Story of Hope…
Hope once seemed bleak and distant- a word so impossible that the name wounded my soul. Hope seemed like something so out of reach. Hope was the light at the end of the tunnel, but I felt trapped in the darkness with no way out.
Hope became masked in years of every variation of the eating disorder realm: starving, bingeing, purging, swallowing laxatives and diet pills in hopes that the pain would go away. My hope was focused on and about me. My hope was in myself, and I was drowning. Read More about her Story of Hope…
My name is Callie C. and my eating disorder started when I was 12. I grew up in Orange County, feeling constantly surrounded by beautiful, thin women on the beach. My mother was always on a diet and she instilled in me from an early age that fat was the enemy and not something that you should show off.
She was always trying to hide what she called fat, even though I thought she looked great. She refused to take me to the beach on days where she felt bloated due to her embarrassment and shame. Read More about her Story of Hope…
I was just a normal college student filled with the stress of tests, homework, relationships, and expectations. I was away from home living in the unknown trying to find myself. A sports management major, I was very dedicated to my field of work.
Healthy, persistent, and always ready for a workout. Better do them all so I can teach others to love their body and treat it right.
Life gets in the way of itself and sets you on the path you need to follow to become the person you truly are. Read More about her Story of Hope…
Will I ever get better? Who am I without the eating disorder? How did you get to where you are today?
These and similar questions are commonly asked by those I mentor, clients I work with, and friends struggling with eating disorders and body image concerns. The beauty of recovery is that everyone’s journey is their own.
What worked for me might not work for you. But I do know that recovery is possible: in fact, I believe that full restoration and healing is possible. I also believe that we are all in a lifelong process of recovery from something – from compulsions, distorted thinking, emotional dysfunction, addiction, pride, selfishness, codependency. Read More about her Story of Hope…
My name is Jennifer Gonzalez and I am a recovering compulsive, emotional, and binge eater. I am a work in progress and these days, I am happy to just be that. I have learned that the best thing I can do is to just BE. I have been dealing with my eating disorder since the age of ten.
More recently, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) three years ago and my diagnosis has played a new role in my eating disorder. A desire to get a handle on my eating disorder led me to explore an online program called The Be Program, designed to guide and assist women with eating disorders. Read More about her Story of Hope…
There are a wide variety of experiences that you hear about when people describe their life with an eating disorder (ED). For some, they describe the shame, for others they describe the sense of losing control and yet others describe befriending the isolation that comes along with the secrecy of having an ED.
Another difference you’ll hear is whether a person says they are in recovery or recovered. There is a lot of conflict surrounding the use of these words and yet there are so many reasons why one would choose either of them. Read More about her Story of Hope…
Those of us in the behavioral health field specializing in the treatment of eating disorders are very aware that eating disorders are lethal. We know that engaging in the behaviors of restricting; binging and or purging along with other compensatory behaviors wreak havoc on one’s body.
The emotional anguish that accompanies these pervasive disorders I believe is the worst part. How many of you reading this right now can relate to never being able to see yourself the way your friends and family see you? Read More about her Story of Hope…
It was a beautiful fall morning as an incoming freshman at Penn State University; that day, my thought process, health and chances of my very survival would take a turn for the worse. As I stared out the window of my dorm at other students beginning their journey into the future, I made eye contact with a pretty browned hair girl talking to friends in the parking lot facing my dorm window. She smiled. So I thought. It was actually a smirk. She turned to her two friends and said in what seemed like a sonic boom from god, “UGLY! UGLY!”…Read More about his Story of Hope…
Brian Cuban’s Recovery Story & Keynote Speech at the 3rd Annual Media And Mental Health Awards in Pittsburgh. As Posted By Brian Cuban
My life has not been anything extraordinary. I have not done anything worthy of achievement in the eyes of the world. I have, however, loved deeply, experienced grief and loss that has buried me in the depths of despair, and known hope that has transformed me from the brinks of death to life renewed. I have experienced the unraveling of an eating disorder. I have picked up the pieces…Read More about her Story of Hope…
When I was around 12 years old, however, something shifted in this enthusiasm. Rather than being encouraged that when a young woman goes through puberty, her body fat needs to increase by a dramatic percentage in order that she can begin menstruating, as a young girl entering puberty, I was encouraged not to get fat. Up until that time, I had never thought anything negative about my body. I loved my body because it was me –I was symbiotic with it and it with me; my body and I were one. Up until that time, I never realized how much the grownups in my life liked my body, not because it was beautifully and uniquely made, not that it allowed me to be alive, not that it allowed me to play piano, swim, play tennis, thrive in school, go to church …Read More about her Story of Hope…
“Have you ever considered trying out for the cross-country team?” my physical education teacher asked me one day after gym class. As a junior-high student who wanted to be good at something but had tried and failed at every other sport, I gave his advice a shot. He saw potential in me, so I gave myself to become the best runner. By my sophomore year of high school, I became strong and successful as a cross-country and track runner. I enjoyed the attention that I received, so I continued to work toward being the fittest, the strongest, and the leanest. I exercised more and more and ate less and less. What I considered being healthy was actually triggering an eating disorder.
Eating disorders. I did not know anyone who had one, and to me, they just seemed a little strange. I would wonder “Well if they do not like doing it, why do they not just stop?”.Little did I know. My name is Jack, and I suffered from Bulimia Nervosa for over 3 years. Today, I am happy to say, I am fully recovered, and I want to give hope and encouragement to other men out there that recovery really is possible. It goes without saying, living with an eating disorder is tough. Although being a man with an eating disorder, I believe adds an extra layer of shame and embarrassment on top. Society’s image of the typical male is someone who is strong, tough, is not prone to mood swings, does not cry, and I am pretty certain, does not stress over the fat content of a rice cake.
When I was a child, I thought that thirty was extremely old. When I was a teenager I thought that I would have life sorted by the time I was thirty. When I was in my early twenties I didn’t believe that I would ever live to see thirty. Now that I am thirty, I don’t feel extremely old, I don’t have life sorted, but I can say that I am incredibly happy and fortunate to be alive. In my thirty years, I have had all kinds of life experiences. At thirteen, I spent a summer working in a vet’s office. I mixed bright red worming powder into the liquid, I cleaned out the cattery, and I helped out in the doggy grooming parlor. I knew then I was going to work with animals. By fifteen, I was less sure. I spent a summer working on the production line in a factory which made faucets. By the end of that, I was certain I was going to get a college education. At eighteen I worked in the newspaper shop at my local hospital and also in McDonald’s.
It was like a scene out of a medical television show. A smiling, happy, 32-year-old woman was driving her young daughter home on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. Suddenly sharp pains start to shoot in her chest and down her arm. She is so weak she has to lie on the steering wheel to hold herself up. Somehow she manages to pull off the road, stumble out of her car and proceeds to pass out on the side of the road. The scene that flashes is all about monitors beeping, doctors shouting and bright lights. The eating disorder she had worked so hard to hide for years had found a way to be the star of the show. It was now a matter of life or death. The eating disorder (ED) had got a taste of fame, attention and was now at a new level of control. Sadly that glimpse of medical drama is not a television show, it was my reality show. It was my life. It was time to change the channel, fire the director and cancel the program. It was time to get well or die.
Eating disorders are hard work. They take discipline, energy, and willpower. Looking back, I don’t know how, at my lowest weight, I was able to find the energy to maintain the illness. You have a strong constitution, one doctor told me. I guess that’s what has kept me alive for the past 19 years because I did not think I’d live to see 30. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the age of 15. Spread out some pictures from various stages of my life, and you can see the illness evolve right before your eyes. I go from a chubby, happy baby; to a smiling, outgoing child; to a pale adolescent with a sadness in her eyes that has never left. There are very few pictures from the height of my anorexia.
Denise Folcik is in recovery from bulimia, anorexia, and OCD. She has done many television, newspaper, blog and magazine interviews, as well as speaking at the Wisconsin state capitol advocating for health insurance changes. She also speaks at libraries, women’s groups, and colleges. She started her own publishing company, Metafly Books, LLC, and published her first book, In ED’s Path, her story of recovering from a midlife eating disorder. Today, Denise spends her days in a healthy balance of work, family, friends and me time. This is her story. My name is Denise. I am 50 years old. I have a supportive husband, four wonderful children, and four beautiful grandchildren. I had been struggling with anorexia and bulimia for nearly 20 years.
Jenni Schaefer works internationally as a speaker and writer to educate about eating disorders and to provide hope that recovery is possible. After struggling for more than twenty years with food and body image issues, Jenni is fully recovered from anorexia and bulimia. Her life is now devoted to helping all individuals touched by the illness. Her groundbreaking book, Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too (McGraw-Hill), introduces a therapeutic technique that has changed the way people view eating disorders: In the introduction of Life Without Ed, Jenni writes:“I have never been married, but I am happily divorced. Ed and I lived together for more than twenty years. He was abusive, controlling and never hesitated to tell me what he thought, how I was doing it wrong, and what I should be doing instead… Ed is not a high school sweetheart. Ed is not some creep that I started dating in college… Ed’s name comes from the initials E.D.-as in eating disorder. Ed is my eating disorder. “
Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt & Vicki Kroviak
Former college roommates Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt and Vicki Kroviak are the co-founders of Oliver-Pyatt Centers, comprehensive programs for the treatment of eating disorders. Wendy, a board-certified psychiatrist, founder of Center for Hope of the Sierras, and author of Fed Up! (McGraw-Hill) and Vicki, a television executive, both suffered from bulimia throughout their teen and young adult years.
How did you meet?
Vicki: We met in college. We were both volunteering at a student-run self-help center. Kind of ironic, when you figure that at the time that we were each completely consumed with our eating disorder. Yet, we were immediate soul-mates.
Wendy: Sometimes friends with food issues compete…You know, who can be the thinnest, the sickest, whatever. Fortunately, we were never like that. We tried to help each other get thin because we actually believed that thinness led to happiness. We really thought we were doing the right thing for ourselves and for each other.
Laurie Glass has a Masters degree in Christian Counseling, runs Freedom from Eating Disorders at www.freedomfromed.com, and is the author of Journey to Freedom from Eating Disorders. Through her book and her website, she offers personal and practical advice to males and females, teens and adults, who have eating disorders. She also offers online Christian counseling services to adult women in eating disorder recovery. Reaching out to those with eating disorders is her heart work. Laurie is a recovered anorexic, so she understands how difficult the recovery process is. Here are some of the things she learned through her own journey.
My Eating Disorder StoryI started my first diet almost a decade ago after seeing a popular singer lose a lot of weight by following the same diet. The good news was that the diet initially worked, the bad news was that I ended up with two problems; trying to maintain the weight loss as well as dealing with the mental obsession and hell that the diet brought me.I became obsessed with losing weight, eating close to nothing and isolating myself completely from the world. I did not want anyone to see what was happening and most importantly I didn’t want anyone to interfere with this new relationship that I had developed with the eating disorder. The years that followed saw me lose the ability to stay on the various strict diets and weight loss techniques that I was attempting.
My Eating Disorder Story “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I remember the fascination I felt when food labels started being posted on many different items in grocery stores. It was the precipitating point of interest in a world that was soon to spiral out of control. As an only child who was extremely sheltered from the basic happenings of childhood and adolescence, looking back, it is no wonder that something larger-than-life would eventually consume me. Around age 12, I began limiting sugars and fatty foods. It was easy for me, made me feel like I had accomplished something out of the norm, and I received much attention from these behaviors and changes. At the private school I attended, I was considered odd by my peers’ standards so this newfound interest didn’t change that perception much. I was a late bloomer but by 15 I was starting to really hit puberty.
My story isn’t anything glamorous, sensational, or extreme. I didn’t almost die. My family didn’t have to perform an intervention. I didn’t even have to be hospitalized. In fact, like many people with eating disorders, I don’t think anyone would have known I had an eating disorder just by looking at me. I did well in school; I had a lot of friends; I had a boyfriend and a supportive family. On the surface, I didn’t seem to “have a reason” to have an eating disorder, which actually made me feel more guilty for my secret. I was bulimic. I was empty and fragmented. I was concerned more with what people thought about me than who I really was. I was a charlatan I lied to my friends and family, stole money from my roommates, and lost my “self” to the eating disorder.
Aimee Liu is the author of Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders (Grand Central Publishing, 2007). This sequel to Liu’s acclaimed memoir Solitaire (Harper & Row, 1979), America’s first personal narrative of anorexia nervosa, draws on her own experience as well as interviews with leading researchers and more than forty other women and men with histories of anorexia and bulimia. Liu picks up her exploration of eating disorders where she left it at age twenty-five. Back then, she thought recovery meant eating well. Gaining proves that healthy nutrition is only a first step.
“Leigh and Lindsey received the Lori Irving Award for Excellence in Prevention and Awareness at NEDA conference, 2008. “Lindsey Hall Cohn had bulimia for nine years. This was in the 1970s when no one talked about eating disorders and the word bulimia was practically unknown. Like many other women, she believed she was suffering alone.”I really had no idea anyone else in the world had the problem. It wasn’t publicized at that time,” she says. Then, a dream changed her life. In it was a woman named Gurze.”I felt compelled to make a doll out of that woman from my dream. Don’t ask me why! She was very funny looking, with long legs and bright red lips, and her hands were enormous! But there was something about the creative process that touched something very deep inside me. That something became the foundation of my recovery.
Carolyn Costin, MFT, recovered herself from anorexia, has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders and exercise addiction for thirty years. Carolyn is founder and director of The Eating Disorder Center of California and Monte Nido and Affiliates, which now has three unique residential centers in natural, home-like settings. Carolyn is a sought-after speaker at national conferences and is known for engaging her audiences and giving hands-on skills. Carolyn’s books, The Eating Disorder Source Book (2007), 100 Questions and Answers, About Eating Disorders (2007), and Your Dieting Daughter (1997), have helped professionals and the lay public in understanding, treating and preventing eating disorders.Carolyn’s struggle with an eating disorder started in the summer between her junior and senior years of high-school. A weight loss bet with her friend’s father started her intense dieting process and then triggered her tendencies toward perfectionism and compulsiveness. She won the bet but kept on dieting.
Christine Hartline, MA is a recovering anorexic and bulimic who has been working in the field of eating disorder treatment for over 12 years. She is dedicated to educating others about the consequences, treatment, and prevention of eating disorders. She is the founder of the Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center at Edreferral.com. She is also an ANAD Resource person who can help assist in locating FREE support groups in your area. Christine is an advocate for mental health parity and increasing research to help understand the etiology of eating disorders. Eating disorders are complex and involved complex interactions of psychological, biological, sociological, and interpersonal factors and do require professional assistance.
My name is Melanie Aldis, and I am one of the Regional Directors of Business Development at Center for Change. Are you wondering why someone who works in Marketing is writing an article? Am I qualified? Well, I am also recovered from an eating disorder. I had an eating disorder for ten years, from the age of thirteen to twenty-three. I am now twenty-nine years old. Unfortunately, I don’t have much memory of those ten years, only bits, and pieces. What I do remember is that I felt inadequate at a very young age. I never felt like I was the skinniest, prettiest, smartest or most popular, I thought I was just plain old average or less than and that wasn’t good enough for me. I don’t remember how or when my eating disorder started, but I know that underneath it all I had pure self-hatred.
Ask Shannon Cutts what helped her recover from her fifteen-year battle with anorexia and bulimia, and you won’t have to wait long for her answer: Relationships replace eating disorders. When Shannon first developed anorexia at age eleven, little was known about recognizing and treating eating disorders. Her few early attempts to ask for help were misunderstood and rebuffed, and because of this, she struggled in secrecy and silence for seven years against an illness she could not name. But she refused to give up. When Shannon was nineteen she met her mentor. Together, they joined forces against the eating disorder.
Finding My True Self and Inner Beauty…. By Andrea Roe
My name is Andrea. I am twenty-seven years old and a recovered anorexic and bulimic. I am Austrian, married to a wonderful Canadian and currently living in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I struggled with eating disorders for six long years and have finally overcome these deadly diseases, and this is my story…While I was growing up, food and weight were not a problem for me. I came from a very active and health-oriented family and never had to worry about my weight. Almost every weekend my parents would take my siblings and me walking, hiking, biking, or skiing or on a sightseeing trip to a gorgeous place somewhere in Austria. I like thinking about my childhood; it was a wonderful time, and thinking about it creates a warm feeling inside of me. Even now, while I am writing this, I have a smile on my face and a tear of joy in my eyes.
My name is Kathy Roberts and I’m a lifetime drugfree world champion powerlifter/motivational speaker/personal trainer. I hold several different World, National, Regional and State records in various different weight classes. I’ve ranked in the top 20 in the world in Powerlifting. My heaviest lifts are as follows: 400-pound squat, 270-pound bench press, and a 450-pound deadlift–all lifetime drug-free. I earned my degree in Administration of Justice, cum laude and I’m certified in various different areas. I am an Academic and Presidential Scholar and I received an Outstanding Achievement Honors Award for Academic Work in Sociology, a Division of Liberal Arts. Throughout the years I’ve spent most of my time reaching out to others, sharing my life experience and how to overcome obstacles with those I speak to.
I walked the beach every day, praying for help. I knew something was wrong when my own mom approached me and gently asked me, “when are you going to do something?” My mom never says much to me about changing myself as that is what made me strong up till this point and now would make me that much stronger! My mom was my angel finding me a great counselor and nutritionist. She quietly read everything she could about anorexia and prayed for me. She still let me find my ‘new’ self and grow wings again. As a poetess, I found writing helped heal me. It was like therapy writing out my feelings… always has been! I had hidden it well, or so I thought… my “illness.” I didn’t want to believe I, “perfect Paula” could be sick. That was a big part of my problem, trying so hard to be “perfect.”
Food, Glorious Food! It has been my best friend and my worst enemy all my life. I believed that I only used food to comfort me, and who doesn’t need that once in a while? I thought that if I just tried harder, or was stronger, or went to another diet program, that eventually my weight would be “normal.” I prayed that someday, somehow, my body would be pretty enough, or sexy enough or small enough.
Well, my eyes have been opened. My perception of how I see myself and food is changing. It is not about the food. It was never about the food. It was about spending so much time obsessing about the food, the diet, the shame, the weight loss, the weight gain, my pant size, my waist measurement, that I didn’t have time or energy to face what was really going on in my heart.
It all started with an innocent run. It was a light jog through the neighborhood one spring evening. The sky was a dusty peach hue, and the streets were decorated with cherry blossom trees. Little did I know that this run would lead to a downward spiral of self-destruction and pain. I loved running, and I still do. It gave me an escape from reality and the problems that I was going through at the time. My then boyfriend and I were having relationship issues, and my strict Chinese mom and I were constantly arguing.
I felt out of control. I needed control, and running was one way to secure that control. I loved the feeling of being in control of my own body. I began to run further distances, more extended periods of time, and more frequently (every day). However, this wasn’t enough. I began obsessing over what I ate to make myself faster and more agile. I also began to notice how thin I was becoming, and this reinforced the positive feeling of being in control.