Here is my story:
It’s the end of 2014. Eighteen year old Holly has just finished her first year of university, is 10 months into a relationship with a lovely boy and her future looks bright.
October in Australia is the middle of spring and looking forward to summer, I began striving for that summer body. Moreover I began looking into healthier lifestyles and diets, because throughout high school and especially VCE (Victoria’s Year 12) I had lived unhealthily. I didn’t exercise much and ate a lot of junk food. My younger sister has Cystic Fibrosis which requires a high sugar, high fat, high salt diet in order to maintain weight and even then she gets fed overnight from a PEG tube in her stomach. As a result of her condition, we tended to have quite a lot of high fat and high sugar food in the house. The trouble was that my family did a really good job of eating the leftover food that was my sister’s.
I didn’t think I had the willpower to be healthy. I didn’t think I could achieve anything.
Anyway, I bought a set of scales, adopting the excuse that the whole family could use them. I decided to look into healthy food. I followed people on Instagram and Youtube, like people that were vegan or vegetarian and posted what they would cook and eat. I began trying to cut out junk food, though I didn’t do a very good job. Instead I just started eating less food. I was never really that hungry and I focused on the portions as apposed to what I was eating.
I tried eating vegan and sugar-free foods, but it was expensive, and not as yummy as normal food.
Christmas came and my family went camping to Wilpena Pound in Central Australia. I thought, yes. This is the perfect time to diet, exercise lots and get plenty of sun. We’d done the same trip a couple of years earlier and I remember coming home feeling like my clothes were a little bit looser. Because camping in 40+ degree heat, having to walk 100 metres for the bathroom and entertainment of bush walks and bike riding tends to shock the body a little bit. So that was my plan. I made sure I rode around the campsite on my bike multiple times a day, and did lots of hikes and walks. Due to the 40+ degree heat, time was often spent in the backyard-style pool that the resort had and so I did lots of swimming to keep exercised in hope I would return to Melbourne that little bit thinner.
The trip, in my ED’s eyes, was a success. My weight dropped a bit and that lead the way to the extreme ED behaviours. I remember the first time I made myself throw up, on the 8th January 2015 to be exact. I ate very little, some days only a coffee and a few Rice Thins. My friends and colleagues started to notice my weight-loss and I was congratulated on all my hard work.
I thought I was doing a good job of hiding it from family and friends, but turns out they knew. They could read me like a book. But I kept going along with it, only eating when I couldn’t get away with restricting. It continued all through summer and plagued the interstate holiday with my boyfriend. Upon return, when I realised I’d lost even more weight, I was relieved which then encouraged more drastic restriction. My family made it clear to me that something wasn’t right. And I began to realise it too. I tried to eat so little and would punish myself when I did eat. I was tired and depressed.
We began to realise that maybe something was seriously wrong.
Stay tuned for more…