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My Story

Thursday, November 19, 2015

There it was, this horrible paralyzing fear. My husband had just informed me that he would be traveling to Nepal to do relief work. As the day drew closer for him to leave my anxiety and panic grew worse. I kept asking myself, "Am I going to be able to do this?" To understand my fear you would have to know my story. It is an ugly story of self hatred and abuse.

For most of my life I have suffered from some form of eating disorder, starting my sophomore year in high school. It was that year that I was hospitalized due to anorexia. I had passed out at school after running 6 miles during a gym class. For the previous 8 weeks I had been living on a 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice and 1 saltine cracker a day. I had hidden my fat (skeleton of a body) under thick clothes. Thanks to a well informed gym teacher and a school nurse they convinced my family that I needed help. When I was weighed at the hospital I was 81 pounds. I had lost 39 pounds in 8 weeks. I was hospitalized two more times before I graduated. Each time I got a little smarter at hiding my disease from my family and friends and could now add bulimia to my profile.

My freshman year in college was pretty good until I began my second semester. I had just started dating my husband and I stepped on a bathroom scale at his mother's house. I weighed 126 pounds, the heaviest I had ever been. It put me into a tailspin. I spent the next 12 weeks going to aerobics classes 3 times a day, running for two hours each night and again, surviving on a saltine and 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice. My husband (then boyfriend) and his mother found me one night in my dorm room completely unconscious. I was rushed to the hospital and this time I barely weighed 72 pounds. I spent the next several months in the hospital and the next few years in major counseling.

I got married during that time and I joke that the counseling was too effective because I then spent the next 30+ years of my life battling a food addiction and overeating. Friends and family didn't pay attention to this type of abuse and they certainly weren't about to say something that might send be back to starvation. They didn't realize that what I was doing now was just as deadly as the anorexia. I was being allowed to punish myself. My counseling had not taught me how to have a healthy relationship with food. This was the early 80s and eating disorders were just now being researched.

This year I peaked at 315 pounds. I knew I had to stop this war with food. My husband wanted me to be healthy, but he wasn't ready to lose me to anorexia and bulimia again. I have this perfectionist personality and that had sabotaged me in the past when I tried to lose weight. I would find myself reverting back to my anorexic ways of dieting, it was a terrifying existence for all of us.

This time has been different, but sadly, Doug has carried the burden of monitoring my diet and exercise. I have stayed on the healthy track and so when he told me he was going on this trip, I was immediately gripped with the fear of "What If". What if I stop eating? What if I start making myself throw up? What if I go crazy with exercise? On the other side, what if I have no willpower and can't control my eating? What if I stop exercising? What if I slip back into the nightmare of an eating disorder? What if I can't do this on my own?

I have been on my own for a week and I am happy to shout, "I can do this!" I have stuck with my planned meals and have limited myself to 2 hours of exercise a day, except for one day, I did do 160 minutes. I have spent most of my adult life abusing my body with food, whether it be starvation or gorging. For the first time, I am treating my body with the respect it deserves. It isn't easy, everyday is a battle, but I finally have the right tools and the self love I need.

Posted throughout my house is a motivational quote that helps me win the war each day, "Your soul is rooting for you." It reminds me that I don't want to live a painful existence anymore. I want to do this for me because I am worthy of love and I don't have to be afraid anymore!

Each day I get one step closer to defeating the demons within. I am setting myself free! I am giving my story a happy ending!

This was the beginning of my anorexic journey. I will lose 20 more pounds before my secret is discovered.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Golly Lisa, your story sounds similar to mine. I am so glad you found a little balance and peace with food.
    You inspire me to tell my story one day. It sure is cleansing to do this kind of thing and very helpful to others.
    Thanks so much for sharing :)

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    1372 days ago
    Lisa, wow what a story and what incredible courage it took to tell it here. You have battled and suffered so much but you are still here which means you have won. Congratulations on doing so well during that time your husband was out of town. I hope it has been something you look back on and remind yourself that yes, you can do it.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles, your story, you never know who is reading and being encouraged and helped.


    1631 days ago
  • PCOH051610

    I'm not sure why I'm only seeing this now but thank you for sharing. I have really enjoyed getting to know you through our wonderful Teddy Bear team but I never knew the real struggles you faced.

    I'm so proud of you!

    xo Susan
    1681 days ago
    I had no idea what a brave girl you are. I can't even imagine what it took to tell us this story. I'm so glad you are my friend and now I love you even more! emoticon
    1685 days ago
  • DTHOR6
    Thank you for sharing your story. You are a brave lady. And you are now doing fabulous! The one thing I have learned through my journey is that all the people here are really here for me if I need them. I am so incredibly proud of you Lisa! You are amazing! And look at what you are doing not only for you but for your children. Way to go girlfriend way to go! emoticon emoticon
    1790 days ago
    You're brave for facing your eating disorders and continuing the journey! You're surrounded by family and friends who love you.

    1802 days ago
    I was sitting here reading your story, getting really anxious when you're talking about Hubby being gone, and all the fears you had, the what-if's. Then hurray! You got this! So happy for you. This was a true test for you and now you know absolutely that you can do this. Proud of you!
    1804 days ago
    Your soul and sparkpeople friends are rooting for you and ourselves! Thank you for sharing. You should be very proud of your progress and especially all of the care and love and encouragement and recipes and I can go on and on. You make a big difference to us and I am thrilled you are doing it for yourself now too!! Well done!! And a HUGE thank you!
    1804 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15408704
    Thanks so much for sharing some of your story ... and relationship with food over the years; it really helps hearing others talk about the element of punishing with food as well ... from the little bit i've seen you sharing you've been working really hard on building yourself up in terms of your relationship with yourself and that really does see to be a big part of that you can do this now and take care of yourself while your husband is away! You really are finding that happy ending emoticon
    1808 days ago
    Wow you are awesome. Life is great and you can now embrace it to it's fullest!
    1808 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14269091
    I knew you were an amazing woman! I am so proud of you!

    1808 days ago
    Thank you so much for telling us your story!! You are a fighter and I know you can do this. What an inspiration you are to others in that you are now working towards a healthy lifestyle and taking it one day at a time!! Your Soul is rooting for you as well as all of us here on Sparkpeople!!! Nice to meet you!! emoticon
    1808 days ago
    Your soul is rooting for you and so are your SparkFriends!! What a journey you have been on. You deserve to be healthy & happy!!
    emoticon emoticon
    1808 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14402600
    I can't imagine going through all you have and still being here! God bless you. Hope you will continue to do well. Take it slowly and be sure to ask God for help. He is there all the time for you!!
    1808 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your story. You've come a long way. And yes you CAN do it!!
    1808 days ago
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