I’ve always been a skinny kid, as well as a big eater. I had no idea how many calories were in anything. I would eat about half of a whole pizza for dinner, and I would have up to ten regular Cokes a day. Everyone in my family is pretty thin, so I just figured I had a fast metabolism and considered myself lucky. At age fifteen, I finally hit puberty and got my period. I definitely had a harder time with it than most. It was so painful and irregular that I decided to go on birth control to keep it consistent.
One of the side effects of birth control is weight gain, something I wasn’t too worried about. However, this side effect, combined with the normal effects of puberty, did lead to me gaining some weight— considering my eating habits, it was bound to happen. At five foot eight, I noticed I had gained a bit of weight and was now at 115 pounds. At first I didn’t really mind; I had never really had any reason to worry about my body before, so why would I start?
Well, little things began to add up. One of my friends commented that I was at a healthy weight. She didn’t even say it in a negative way but I tend to take everything personally, and all I perceived from that comment was “big.” Also, my friends always talked about my hourglass shape. But, from that, I began to see “big hips” and “curvy.” I got up to 118 pounds later in the year and decided I needed do something about it.
It started as exercising a bit more and eating a bit less. I was finally aware of calories and fat grams and BMI. Those numbers began to control my life. That summer, I was at around 110 pounds and maintaining that pretty easily. The next year, at sixteen, I fell into bulimia and got down to ninety-five pounds. I also got stuck in the binge-purge cycle. Thanks to the help of therapists and my parents, I slightly recovered. But that was short-lived after seeing that I was back at 115 this summer. This year, I have been binging, purging and restricting a LOT.
I’m five foot eight and I currently weigh ninety-one pounds. I feel really fat. I want to be seventy-eight pounds. I hate how I look, and when I think logically, I can see how horribly this has affected my life. Somehow I have managed to maintain my grades and I hope to attend Cornell or Dartmouth next year. However, I have isolated myself a lot from friends. I almost don’t have time for anything but this disease. I have so many obligations in school and school clubs that this is a huge burden. I don’t understand why I am trying to protect the disease at all costs rather than myself. I want to recover, but at the same time, I’m too scared to gain back that weight.
If I had never started restricting and throwing up, I would be so much happier now. My only focus at the moment is my weight. The numbers on the scale dictate my ability to be happy. This is not a fun existence—in fact, it’s pathetic. My message to anyone who is worried about his or her weight: DON’T! It may just consume you.