It was the first time in years that I was actually skinny and proportional. My once strong, muscular quad muscles dwindled down to skin and bones. I felt toned and cut, especially my abdomen, as it appeared I even had a six-pack. I loved trying on clothes, and seeing that even extra smalls were too big on me. But, mostly, I loved wearing a bathing suit.
As illogical and completely unhealthy as these thoughts may be, even thirteen years after having an eating disorder, I still sometimes think about how I miss some aspects of that time period. I am completely aware that, though, I may have appeared thin and skinny on the outside, that I was being self-destructive to my insides and my mind. But, on days like this one, the opening day of pool season for the summer, I can’t help but think how it would be to put that bathing suit on, not have my inner thighs touch, and feel skinny and cut. Yes, I know, I am nineteen weeks pregnant, so that probably doesn’t help these thoughts race through my mind either, but, still, I must admit, they exist.
Then, I think about how my appearance back then was perceived by others. I may have thought I looked great, skinny, and healthy; but, let’s be honest, I didn’t. My lips were a permanent blue shade from being so cold; my bones were protruding out of my chest; my hair was thinning; and I never had a smile on my face. It was evident that my body was not meant to be skinny and skeletal. Some bodies are thin naturally, and that may be their healthy state. But, me striving to attain that slender build damaged my appearance, mental state, and physical form.
Not only did I do a disservice to my appearance, despite how I believed I looked, I severely injured myself, as a result of food deprivation and a significant loss in body weight. I was lucky not to have torn my Achilles’ tendons, but I developed tendinitis to the point where I wasn’t able to walk with shoes on. Unfortunately, I restricted myself of calories for so long that my body wasn’t able to produce enough estrogen to absorb calcium. Therefore, I was at risk for stress fractures, muscle strains, and poor development of bones. This issue put me in physical therapy, where they placed a heel lift in my gym shoes, and instructed me to wear my flip flops as much as possible.
Even through treatment and recovery, I knew that living with an eating disorder was no way to live. But, sometimes, still, I think back and wonder,
“How did I have that fierce self-control when it came to food and eating?”
“If I just had a little bit of that control, I would be in good shape.”
“Is it deep inside me if I ever tried to pull it out?
As a result of feeling so depressed, energy less, and fatigued, I was traumatized from the way I felt during my eating disorder. Not to mention, I couldn’t stand the difficulty of being so obsessed with food, my weight, and my calorie count, to where I wasn’t able to think about anything else. And, finally, the fact that I was compulsive and inflexible in what I did because I didn’t want to deviate from my rigid schedule. For these reasons, I know I would never want to experience or suffer through an eating disorder again. Despite the fact that I have recurring thoughts about having a desire to be thin, skinny, tall, and lean, the memories of suffering and just surviving through my significant eating disorder will forever outweigh the wish to attain thinness.
I was blessed with a body that needed to have strong upper legs that enabled me to play soccer at a high level. I needed to be short to have a low level of gravity to defend myself on the soccer field. And, I needed to have an ass to use as protection when shielding defenders from the ball. These are all reasons related to soccer, but, let’s be honest, it is soccer after all that created such incredible, memorable, and special life experiences for me that I will forever be grateful.