My relationship with food has been filled with ups and downs. I have gone from too heavy to too light and finally found a place right in the middle where I belong. Today I am happy and healthy. I have finally become comfortable in my own skin and I enjoy life to its fullest every day.
Whoever said High School was fun clearly had a different High School experience than I did. It didn’t start off badly; in fact, my Freshman and Sophomore year were fantastic. I was an incredibly awkward kid, but I had a good set of friends at my side. I was smart, motivated, and ready to take on the world. I was a swimmer through my first three years of school as well as being involved as a photographer for the yearbook and numerous other clubs. I was on top of my own little world.
I grew in San Diego, California with my wonderful parents and my younger sister, Celeste. I lived on jumbo sized California Burritos and huge portions of otherwise healthy food. I knew nothing about proper nutrition and I didn’t particularly care. I was completely out of touch with my body and I never truly learned how to feel full and stop eating. I had no idea that I was anything other than thin so until my Junior year of high school, I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t care about the consequences. I started putting on weight pretty rapidly during my Junior year, but it was hardly of any importance to me.
It was toward the end of Junior year that everything changed.
That year I was taking a Physiology class. It was the first time I had every heard that 3500 calories equal a pound. It was the first time I ever learned my BMI. It was the first time I ever attempted to lose weight. In fact, my weight loss was initially the result of a bet. I bet my friends that I could lose 8 pounds in a week. With the help of strict calorie counting I ended up losing 7 pounds that week, effectively losing the bet, but sparking something much more powerful in me. For the time being, I sank back in to my old eating habits, but the idea of weight loss always lingered in the back of my mind.
As I began my Senior year of high school, I was still on track to graduate in the top of my class and go off to a well respected college. Then, slowly, the people who I had considered to be my close friends starting pushing me away. I was confused, lost and felt like I had no control over my life. I started focusing all my energy on studying and calorie counting. I began cutting my calories down to a strict 800 per day and indeed, I did begin to lose weight.
It began as 3 pounds, which turned in to 5, which turned in to 10. By the time I graduated, I had lost about 10 pounds and, according to plan, I was headed off to college.
In the Fall of 2007, I began college at the University of San Francisco, one of my first choice schools. At first, I thrived on my new freedom. I was thriving academically and had made many friends. I also sank back in to my old, unhealthy eating habits. Unfortunately, this time there was alcohol. Before I went home for Winter break I had already gained my Freshman 15 thanks to dining hall food and weekends spent partying with friends. By the time I left school for break, I was up to my highest weight of 140 pounds.
When I came back to school from Winter Break, history started repeating itself. Suddenly my “best friends” weren’t speaking to me and I sank in to a depression. The difference between this time and High School was that in San Francisco, I was completely alone. I didn’t have my parents or my sister and I never felt more alone. I took on a full time job to consume my empty time and, though I was not diagnosed, I am sure I fit all the textbook requirements for depression. I completely stopped eating to try and have control over something, anything, in my life.
At the end of the year, I made the difficult decision to withdraw from USF and go back to San Diego. I thought that being home would fix everything. While it was a happier life than my life in San Francisco, my depression still had hold of me and my eating disorder walked hand in hand with it. I enrolled in a community college for the year to try and get my life back on track before returning to a four year university. Community college bored me and I wasn’t challenged. I stopped caring about school and left my grades slip. I never let them slip to the point of failure, but for an A and B student, my constant stream of C’s wasn’t normal.
During this time I completely stopped eating. I would regularly go 3-4 days without eating and then give in and “binge” on 800 calories. The guilt of eating was so overwhelming that I saw no other solution put to purge. I vividly remember one day where I woke up, ran three miles, came home and threw up, ran three more miles, threw up again, and repeated this pattern 3 or 4 times.
I rapidly dropped down to a very thin 109 pounds, classifying me as underweight and quite sick.
I was so hungry and so sad, but in my mind I was positively obese. My size 0 pants needed to be belted, but it wasn’t enough. I was constantly tired and would regularly go to bed at 7:30pm because I was too tired and hungry to go on any longer. By my 19th birthday in November of 2008, I was too weak to socialize with my family and friends on Thanksgiving. I ate a salad and then sat in the corner watching everyone celebrate my birthday for me.
Around New Years of 2009, I decided I was tired of being tired. I was hungry for more than food, I was hungry for happiness. I started dating Steve in March of 2009 after being introduced by our mutual friend.
I fell hard and fast and I was so incredibly happy for the first time in years. During this time, I also enrolled at San Diego State University and began putting effort in to school again. Slowly, my happiness starting pushing my eating disorder out of the picture. I wanted to enjoy food and I wanted to enjoy life. My eating disorder didn’t cure itself, though, it took a lot of hard work and, essentially, mental abuse. I had to completely disrupt my way of thinking, which often left me upset and confused. By the time Steve and I moved in together in October of 2009, I was better, not completely healed, but better. We celebrated our first Christmas together and I turned 20. We were both blissfully happy and comfortable.
We rang in 2010 with a visit to Steve’s family in Colorado and some shocking news. In early 2010, SDSU informed me that since I was a transfer student, they wouldn’t change my major. At this point, I knew that Nutrition was my passion and there was nothing else I wanted to pursue. I fought with SDSU tooth and nail, but they wouldn’t give in. We weighed our options and decided to do what we thought we wouldn’t be able to do until I graduated: move! We spent the next few months looking at schools and finally decided that we wanted to move to Oregon. We both wanted somewhere with seasons and a more laid back lifestyle. Oregon was perfect for us.
In May of 2010 I ran my first ever race, the Rock and Roll San Diego Marathon. I finished under 5 hours and experienced a sense of accomplishment that I thought I could never duplicate.
I spent the rest of the summer running countless other races and gearing up for our big move.
In late August of 2010, we drove from San Diego to Oregon with our puppy and kitten in tow. Little Harley Quinn is my little baby and we have a very codependent relationship. She enjoys biting and cuddling, often at the same time. She also likes attacking the dog.
Oy is a bit of a Daddy’s boy. He is a beagle/lab mix and probably the biggest baby on the planet.
We moved in to our new apartment in Corvallis, Oregon on September 1 and after a three week adjustment period, I began school at Oregon State University with a double major in Dietetics/Nutrition and Fitness. It is going to take me a bit longer than anticipated to graduate, but I have decided I am okay with it. I plan to graduate with my two Bachelor’s degrees and go on to pursue a dual Master’s/RD program. My hope is to use my degrees to help eating disorder victims in their recovery.
Since being in Oregon, I have ran my second marathon, the Portland Marathon. I didn’t manage to set a PR, but I finished, which is a great accomplishment in itself. I was cheered on by Steve, my Dad and my Stepmom, Twila, the greatest support team a person could ask for!
So far, Oregon has been perfect. We are completely happy and healthy and don’t have plans to leave any time soon.
My story is still being written. I write it in pencil and leave room for changes. I have stopped worrying about everything being perfect because I know that it already is. I am now a happy and healthy 125 pound athlete and I have my sights set on two marathons and two half marathons for 2011.
Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy!