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I became so used to vomiting that I never had to try...

by Rebecca

Hello... My name is Rebecca.

I had never been a girl with high self-esteem. I grew up being called lard ass and blubber whale by my family... even though I wasn't overweight. My dad would get me up at 5 am when I was in 5th and 6th grade to run, so that I wouldn't get fat. I always felt ashamed that I didn't look like all the popular girls. I was muscular and athletic. I was mostly able to handle this depression and disgust for my body by rationalizing that I played soccer and basketball and I couldn't be twig-like. That was until after my freshman year of college. I learned that my boyfriend at the time had cheated on me and ended up breaking up with me for that same girl and in the same weekend my good friend told me that I wasn't a good person and she didn't want to be around me anymore. I left to go home for the summer and decided that something had to change. It was all too much to handle and I felt helpless and alone. I figured that if I couldn't change who I was then I had to change how I looked so I would be accepted.

So that summer (2003) I became obsessed with my weight. I became anorexic... I would only eat as many calories as I burned when I worked out. If I ran 4 miles... then I ate 400 calories. I would work out 2 to 3 times a day. When I went back to college that fall I had lost 30 pounds. I was able to keep up this strict eating regiment and was able to lose another 5-10 pounds through out the year. At my lowest weight I was under 115 at 5'7''. My family and friend voiced their concerns, but in my mind the skinner I was the more accepted I would be.

This way of life was not one I could sustain though. I continued to run and work out, but I found that I would begin to eat more than I was allowed to eat. That's when I discovered purging. I would cycle between anorexia and bulimia for the remainder of my college education. It's not that I was binging either... I would eat normal amounts of food.. but the feeling of being even remotely full freaked me out and I would throw up.

I finally stopped throwing up and attempted to eat healthy when I met a guy at the end of my senior year. He seemed to love me and gave me confidence about my body. When I graduated we moved to Florida together and everything was going great. However, that didn't last... my boyfriend ended up quitting his job and left all the financial responsibilities to me for the remainder of our time down there. Then one night I found out that he had cheated on me and my whole world came crashing down... the one person that made me feel beautiful and accepted just crushed me. I felt that feeling of loneliness and helplessness gripping me again. I let myself slip back into bulimia. It got to the point that whatever I ate I would purge. I got so good at purging that I wouldn't even have to force myself to vomit. My body had become accustomed to the act that all I would have to do was lean over the toilet and the food came rushing up. I finally moved back up to Pennsylvania but things were never the same. I would go through brief (and by brief I mean like 1-2 weeks) of attempting to recover from this disease. When I started feeling my life getting out of control I would turn to bulimia to help me feel in control.

I'm now 26.. going on 27 and I am finally ready to stop letting this disease control me. I've been batting eating disorders for almost 8 years... thinking that people would love me more if I was skinnier. What I've come to realize is that the people that like more more when I'm super skinny were not the people that were there for me when I needed them. I also learned that when I felt more in control by throwing up or restricting my food intake was when I was actually had the least amount of control of over anything. I have wonderful friends and a boyfriend of almost 2 years that are honest with me and are encouraging me with this battle. My family and I are on better terms than we have ever been. I was able to be completely honest with them about the suffering they caused me growing up. I know that I have the support around me now to help me with this recovery and I'm ready to not let my weight nor this disease define me anymore.

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program