I grew up in a home where calories were counted, fat grams were always considered and carbohydrates were the enemy. I do not believe that my Mother was aware of the negative lessons she was instilling in me. Rather, I believe with all my heart she was attempting to show me how to live a healthy life style. Unfortunately, as it goes, being obsessed with constant counting does not support living healthy. As time went on, I started high school and body image became more of an issue, so did my unhealthy eating habits. I suppose it didn't help matters that the sports I chose to participate in were focused on "the body". Wrestlers always had to cut weight and cheerleaders needed to be small. The more life spun out of control, as it often does when you're a teenager, the more I tried to restrict my food. Thankfully I kept myself together and graduated in 1997.
Now that I was out of high school, I thought I was on my way to the better things life had to offer! What could that be? From a 17 year old girl's perspective...a college cheerleader, of course! I chose to go to a small college JUST so I could cheer for the Citadel Bulldogs. Yes...you read that right. Shortly after making my very first co-ed team, we started our rigorous training. There was much more cardio and strength training exercises than I had ever done before. It wasn't very long before I realized why. We began having regular "weight checks" with our coach. It was the most dreaded and most humiliating moments of the week. Your height didn't matter. Your build didn't really matter. The only thing that mattered were the 2 or 3 digits that decided your fate on that team. It's quite obvious, when you're dealing with a co-ed team, the smaller the girl, the more she'll fly. I continued cheering for 2 1/2 years. My poor body. Once I made the team that first year, I never took care of it the same again.
Yo-yo dieting became my thing. I would starve myself one week, then eat and vomit the next. I would eat no carbs one week then abuse laxatives the next. Diet pills and ipecac syrup became my best friends. During workouts it would take every bit of energy to just make it through. I would get so light headed. I was tired and weak and jittery. Never did I think that perhaps my lack of nutrition was what was causing all of these other side effects. I just thought I wasn't strong enough to push through the pain. Because painful it was. There were times that my body would just hurt. This has gone on for a number of years.
Here I am, 32 years old. I have 5 beautiful children; a husband that adores me; wonderful family and friends that I will keep for a lifetime. I have now been dealing with my eating disorder for 16 years. I have gotten help for it time and time again. However, it has just recently become my reality that this is one part of my life I will never be "over". This is something I will deal with forever on some type of level. During those times, when I feel low and weak I can turn my eyes to God. I know I am precious in His sight.
"The LORD does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7