Looking back now, I can see that I was an eating disorder waiting to happen. I was always very self-conscious about my weight, not because I was fat, but because I have very muscular genetics, and was always active. I survived highschool never feeling content with my body, but never giving it too much thought. I resolved to just be unhappy about it. No one would have guessed that I was unhappy in that area, I was handling life very well from an outside perspective. Being a perfectionist, I achieved straight A's, was involved in lots of extracurricular activities, worked a job, and pretty much stayed busy all the time, which kept me away from disordered eating.
Once I graduated life slowed down and was normal for a bit, until my parents announced they were getting a divorce. I felt a huge source of stability being yanked out from underneath me and I began to question everything in my life. I wasn't sure where to turn. I looked to God, and do not regret the faith I gained during this hard time of my life, but I didn't know how to put all of my trust in Him in order to fill the hole my parent's marriage used to fill. I still needed some sense of control and something to relieve my stress.
So I started running. I started running a lot. It felt good at first, I began losing weight and people started noticing, and complimenting me. After this positive reinforcement, I began to restrict my food more and more, and ran a couple half-marathons. One time I remember I even fasted for 4 days and still tried to run, though I nearly collapsed. At this point people started saying I looked too thin. I just ignored their comments, thinking they were jealous of me and my self-control. I used my marathon training as an excuse for my size, but it was really my need for control and a means of validation.
Before my second race, the initial high of running and losing weight began to wear off, and I remember it was during this time when I started eating more and feeling guilty. As a result I would run more. This was the beginning of several months of exercise bulimia. They were miserable and I became exhausted. Eventually I couldn't keep up the physical strain of so much running. I lessened my running but found I couldn't lessen my eating. I began gaining weight again and I panicked! I started trying to restrict but was never successful in the long run. Every time, even after days of fasting, I would always binge.
I thank God that I never started vomiting. I hate throwing up to begin with so I used exercise and fasting as my main means of purging. Yet these still took their toll, and after a year and a half since I started running, I realized I needed help.
I tried an Overeaters Anonymous group, which helped some, but I was much younger than anyone there. I stopped going and the behavior continued. I didn't realize it was bulimia until recently, and for the first time, I feel like there is hope to get out of this binge/purge prison.
I am so thankful that I found this site, and I am currently working through the ten steps to bulimia recovery. I am looking forward to recovering and finally beginning to love myself for who I am.
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