Think back to your childhood. What are your memories of? Most likely you think of family vacations, sports teams, playing dress up or summer camps. But what about food? Is it a constant thought, memory, or reminder?
Imagine if it was. A constant thought that you didn't look good enough. That if you ate just 100 more calories you need to run at least a mile as quick as you can to burn those 100 calories off so it doesn't sit on your thighs. Or the fear that you have to go to that family reunion this weekend and make it look like you are eating just like everyone else, all the while counting each morsel of calories in your head and hating yourself for being so weak.
Throughout the next months we'll be following "Sarah," a client who has been dealing with Anorexia for over 20 years. We'll learn how it started, hear some highs and lows, and finally follow Sarah as she continues with recovery. I hope each and every one of you will learn from this interview and most importantly cheer Sarah on as she continues to win this battle.
Q: Looking back, what age do you think you started with anorexic tendencies?
A: I remember around the age of 8 I would sneak food.
Around 11 I became a vegetarian as to not gain weight. And as far back as I can remember I always ate my food in a certain order, one at a time, and it couldn't touch.
Q: How old are you now?
Q: Have you been in and out of anorexia or have you had times where it's been controlled?
A: I wouldn't say in and out. I would say I would have periods of time where the anorexia wasn't fully in control.
Q: What does anorexia feel like?
A: Anorexia to me feels like a ton of things. There are days I feel like I am wrapped in chains with no hopes of escaping. There are other days I like the control I have over my body and my decisions on what I can and can't do with it. There are days where I just don't what to feel or think because I am so torn and confused with fighting the voices in my head.
Q: Did you know something was wrong when you displayed early behaviors?
A: I did not know something was wrong early on. I really didn’t realize what I was doing until about the age of 16.
Q: When did you first get support?
A: I first got support from an actual eating disorder therapist 4 months ago.
Q: What made you get support?
A: I decided to get support when an event occurred in my life that I had absolutely no control. Anorexia came back with a vengeance and I knew I would end up in the hospital if I didn't ask for help.
Q: When did you first get a diagnosis?
A: I first got diagnosed 6 months ago when I finally decided to answer questions about my eating behaviors honestly.
Q: What are you doing now to work with your anorexia?
A: I am working on my anorexia by seeing an amazing therapist twice a week. I also see a dietitian that understands eating disorders and speak to a medical provider that is willing to listen. The most important part is all three of them know the importance of not forcing me into anything I am not ready for. I am not forced to gain weight but I am constantly reminded of the consequences if I can not stay with the plan and maintain my weight.
Q: Is living with Anorexia hard?
A: Hard is not the word to describe going through anorexia. Hell is more like it. There are days that are so bad you only wish you could die so you will finally be free of the voices. There are other days where you feel there is hope but it seems like it just out of reach. There are days when you remember what it feels like to be you and happy just to have the next day to have to start all over. It is an emotional rollercoaster that at times feels like the brakes are destroyed.
**All questions were asked by
Amy Goldsmith RD
, LDN and business owner of Kindred Nutrition. The clients name has been changed to protect indemnity.