New Year’s Day, 2018: My first thoughts of the year are consumed by guilt and regret. How could I have eaten so unhealthily yesterday? I shouldn’t have eaten breakfast, and I should’ve asked to go to a restaurant with healthier food. While I had been receiving treatment for anorexia for months and was increasing my weight, food was always on my mind.
New Year’s Day, 2020: Another new year, this time a new decade, and a new mindset I am motivated to pursue. Despite the perpetuated demands of diet culture to eat healthier, exercise and lose weight, it is instead my resolution to gain. I hope to gain weight, strength and contentment with my body the way it is, rather than trying to conform or change.
Since my freshman year, I have continually fluctuated between recovery and relapse with anorexia and orthorexia and am not alone in this constant battle. As I’ve slowly opened up about my eating disorder in the last few years, I am astounded by how many people are also affected, though their stories are usually kept quiet out of fear.
In order to open up these conversations, I hope to provide the opportunity for stories to be told, means for help and support and overall education in how to address, learn about and overcome eating disorders.
To start this project, I spoke with senior Caroline Judd, who has been transparent and eager to help educate others in regards to her own eating disorder. We discussed a variety of topics I hope to delve into more in this column: social media, confidence, the meaning of “healthy” and contentment as she recalled her own experiences and shared pieces of advice that ultimately led to her recovery.
I am so proud of how Caroline has grown throughout her journey and find it amazing she has pursued a deepened sense of self and overall confidence since seeking therapy. However, others, including myself, have greater difficulty in the recovery process and are more vulnerable to instances of relapse.
As we will continue to discover, each individual and each individual eating disorder differs, but I believe a common goal we all can unite under is to silence the voices of eating disorders in the minds of ourselves, others and our society, and the first step to doing so is speaking out.
Disclaimer: I am a senior in high school and am not a medical professional. For serious concerns, please seek help from a trusted adult, doctor or call the eating disorder hotline at 1-800-931-2237.
This story was originally published on Pathfinder on January 21, 2020.