As the top runner on ASP’s cross-country team, I was encouraged to practice hard to maintain my position. Having never really run before junior year of high school, once I started, my body toned up quickly. At the beginning, my mum commented I appeared to have lost a bit of weight, but since I was still eating like a horse and looked healthy, she didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until the pounds drastically started to fall off that the alarm bells sounded.
I remember the exact day that I started to restrict. It was January 31st, my mum’s birthday, and she and I had planned to go to Angelina’s, a tea room near our apartment that was famous for it’s as-thick-as-glue hot chocolate that you literally had to spoon into your mouth, for a celebratory treat after school. That day, I had decided to eat breakfast as normal (i.e., a simple bowl of bran flakes), but skip lunch to save room for Angelina’s. However, on the way home, my school bus got stuck in terrible traffic, and I soon realized it’d be too late to go to tea once I finally got home. I called mum who agreed we should skip it and go straight out for a fancy dinner instead, which meant that I ended up going from 7am to 7pm without food. Not recommended.
That night, I ate a three-course dinner, and although it was rich and filling, I didn’t feel guilty owing to my lack of lunch. In turn, I decided that this was a good way to go about my day: breakfast, no lunch, and dinner, sometimes followed by dessert. I embraced this meal plan straight away, but the idea of restricting had now rooted its ugly self in my vulnerable brain, and with each uneaten lunch, it gained power. Before I knew it, I swapped cereal for an apple at breakfast, meaning I functioned for twelve hours on just one small piece of fruit. Initially, and sickeningly so, restricting gave me a high because the act of controlling my food made me feel empowered, but after several months, my personality faded away; by the end of junior year, I was frail and lonely, lost and scared.
To be continued…