Eating disorders present harmful health damage
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Eating disorders present harmful health damage

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Hannah Haworth, Co-Web Editor

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Freshman year I overheard a girl in my grade admit to someone she weighed 120 pounds.

The next day, I decided to eat less.

Within three months I dropped twenty pounds, telling myself the whole time that this was the healthier option. For the first few weeks I skipped breakfast, ate a healthier lunch and a smaller dinner. As I saw my weight decline, I decided it was not fast enough. I continued to skip breakfast, took a small snack for lunch and maybe had some dinner. I lost my appetite for all dessert soon after.

At my worst, I weighed myself before school, after school, before dinner and after dinner. My goal was to gain only one pound during the school day and one pound after dinner. From there, my metabolism would shed me three to four pounds overnight, thus losing a pound or two every day. If I had gained too much weight during dinner, I wouldn’t eat lunch the next day. Soon this became regular routine.

I skipped breakfast, lunch and usually had some dinner. When I had cravings, I would chew the food and spit it back out, getting all the taste and none of the calories. I danced most days, and when I didn’t, I worked out in my living room. I measured my stomach by putting the edge of my hand on my side and making sure my middle finger could touch my belly button. I downloaded an app to track the food I ate everyday, eventually seeking to eat 200 to 300 calories a day.

At that point, I weighed 118 pounds.

I overheard one small comment that drove me to question my own weight, my own self worth and I lost twenty five pounds.

I came to like feeling my stomach feel empty. It gave me reassurance. I loved weighing myself and seeing how far I’d come.

A family friend even told me, “Hannah, you’re all bones,” and all I said was thank you.

I never thought I was unhealthy. I thought that since I wasn’t throwing up whatever I ate that what I was doing was good for me.

Eventually, I gave up. I ate too much one day and then the next until I weighed 127 pounds. I cried that night. I gained almost ten pounds from my “best” day, but I also decided to stop.

I didn’t realize that I had an eating disorder until I admitted my struggles to my friends a year later. It’s still hard for me to admit I had anorexia.  

Now it is my senior year and I eat whatever I want. I still have body image problems and remembering my freshman year still takes me back to a bad mental state, but I’m happier and healthier.

Eating disorders are a huge problem in society, and especially in teenage girls who are conditioned to compare themselves to our peers or the models we see on Instagram, but this isn’t an illness for only women. Men can struggle with body image and can be susceptible as well.  

According to Eating Disorder Hope, in order to identify someone with an eating disorder look for chronic dieting, obsession with calorie intake, depression and engaging in ritualistic eating like hiding food, eating alone or cutting food into tiny pieces.

A few causes of eating disorders is negative body image, poor self esteem, genetics, dysfunctional family dynamic, family traumas and stressful transitions. Especially be keen for anyone involved in sports that deal with lean muscles like dance, rowing, modeling, wrestling or gymnastics.

It took me years to realize that not everybody’s body should weigh the same. My ideal body weight is not 120 pounds, nor will it ever be close to that. But I can confidently tell anyone dealing with low self esteem or hating their body that everyone is different and no one is perfect. Freshman year I was in a unhealthy place of self loathing, but now, three years and twenty five pounds later, I am happy, healthy and confident.

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