Hello friends! I am currently running 15 miles (gulp) but I wanted to leave you with a bit of inspiration. For my Healthy Tipping Point series, I profile people who have changed their lives and found a healthy balance. I occasionally profile people who have overcome an eating disorder. EDs and issues such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, etc. are nothing to be ashamed of and I believe awareness and openness are good things. Obviously, sometimes these stories can be triggering so if you are in recovery and are easily triggered, please don’t read! (Also, please contact NEDA for information regarding treatment options.)
I was really impressed with Erin’s story because she is so young and self-aware. She is so strong, and I hope you find her as inspiring as I did. Read on…
My name is Erin and I am 15 years old, living in Ontario Canada. I was only 13 years old when my life was taken over by serious anorexia nervosa. At just 13, I felt my body was embarrassing, I was ugly and unattractive, and that I wasn’t good enough. I had always wished I was thinner, especially since I was by far the largest out of my two other sisters and would be reminded that constantly. But it had never really bothered me that much before.
But more and more, I started to feel extremely self-conscious and depressed. I wanted to lose weight. I felt like I needed to lose weight. I started by eating really healthy foods and getting in exercise every day, which would be the right thing to do, if only I hadn’t taken it to the extreme. For about half a year, I ate absolutely nothing I wasn’t certain was healthy. My mom always said she wished she had my willpower, but I was taking it too far. I was so deprived and unsatisfied, but wouldn’t give in.
So began my obsession with calorie counting and drastic cutting back. My meals kept getting smaller and smaller. I tried to hide it all from my family- I’ve always wanted to make them happy and please them, so I decided I didn’t want them to worry and I didn’t want them to feel concerned for me. And I didn’t want them to stop me.
I was admitted into McMaster’s Children’s Hospital after my 14th birthday and was stuck in there for 2 months. The doctors and nurses feared my heart would stop and I couldn’t even step out of bed. The hospital was the most miserable, horrible experience in my entire life. At one point, I even contemplated suicide. Even when I was out of the hospital, I struggled. I went through so much treatment, and everything seemed to add up to one thing – gain more weight and the feelings will go away.
I couldn’t take that answer. It didn’t seem like enough. My mom didn’t agree with the way the eating disorder team was working with me, either, so she took me to a naturopath.
That appointment changed me completely. I heard what my current weight was and… I wasn’t upset. I was so emotionally and mentally exhausted from always being upset and feeling not good enough, I didn’t really even care. I told the naturopath about my interest in running again and she wanted me to go for it and helped me figure out what my body would need to refuel afterward. It felt good to be taught to be concerned about things like stress relief and eating wholesome foods with all the nutrients instead of relying on drugs to make me happy and banning any type of activity to gain weight back. That was what worked for me. I loved the new look on life. I started thinking more about the foods that could give me more calcium and protein, etc. rather than which foods would give me the least amount of calories. Before, I wasn’t sure about running because I didn’t want to have to eat extra. I felt like if I even sped walked to make it to the bathroom I would be forced to eat another snack.
Now, I feel excited to plan out the meals that will give me good energy and I look forward to running and even eating afterward because I know that’s what will make me stronger. I’m still far far away from where my mind and body needs to be, but I’m getting closer and I’m not turning back. I don’t want to lose weight because that will mean losing the health and the work that I’ve gained. I still struggle sometimes, but I know that this feeling won’t last forever and that someday, I will be truly happy and love myself like I should have all along – if I keep working at it.
I haven’t exactly reached my healthy tipping point, and I don’t think I ever will “reach” it. I think that my healthy tipping point is an ongoing process and journey where I will be challenged and sometimes successful, but always creating a stronger me. I want to dance, run, bike, bake. I want to be an athlete, actress, writer. I want to have strong bones when I’m 60 and be good and healthy for my family and future family. I can only accomplish these things if I give my body what it needs and think of it as a gift.
This body of mine has surprised people by how well it dances, it has carried me for over 30 minutes of running, hours of walking and has never let me down. My mind tells me what I hope to do and my body carries it out. So, I think it deserves a little bit o’ R.E.S.P.E.C.T, don’t you!?
Makes me think of how some people say ‘life is a game’, but I don’t think it is like a game at all. Unlike a game, in real life you get to choose whether you win or lose. Don’t give up; you can turn your life around. Mine did a complete 180 and now I’m changing it again- this time for the better. Before, I was just surviving, then I was living. Now I’m not merely surviving or living. I’m blossoming. And I’m winning.
I really hope my post has helped some people see what more there is to life than skipping all the sweet stuff and zipping up those petite jeans. LOVE YOURSELF, because you and I, we are all worth it. We are so, so worth it.
Want to read other inspiring Healthy Tipping Point stories?
- Tina: Two Pink Lines Motivated Her to Get Healthy
- Bo: A Man’s Healthy Tipping Point Journey
- Emily: A Slow Switch Helped Her Lose Nearly 100 Pounds
- Kayla: The Fear of Going Blind Motivated Her to Get Healthy
- Maria: A Gallbladder Stone Scare Showed Her The Importance of Real Food
- Dani: Learning to Run Through the Couch to 5K Program
- Maissa: Finding a New Outlet for Negative Emotions
- Freya: A Journey Out of Anorexia
- Carrie: Ditched Distorted Thinking and Ran a Marathon
- Amy: A Mom Who Lost Baby Weight and Became a Triathlete
- Jenny: Saw Lance Armstrong on Oprah and Decided to Ride a Century
- Lauren: Stays Active Despite Being a Busy Associate at a Financial Firm
- Beth: A Friend’s Serious Illness Inspired Her to Focus on Her Own Health
If you could go back in time and tell your 13 year old self something, what would it be?