Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Epiphany This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Unknown
   Dr. Bansil lifted my tank top and ran his cold fingers down my spine. "Did yourschool ever check for scoliosis?" he asked. "Yes," I remembered, "in seventhgrade."

"Well, you have a mild case which I would like to examine further with somex-rays," he said in a monotone. My back is crooked, I thought. How could this happen? That evening Irealized that perhaps this was the first sign of the aftermath of my eating disorder.

On GoodFriday in fifth grade, my mom decided my brother, sister and I could have the day off. We were thrilled,and spent the day swimming. When we got home, I called my friend to get my homework. All I remember isher telling me how my friend Ericka described me as "fat" to a bunch of girls during recess. Howcould she say that? I thought. She was my best friend, and she thought I was fat? I'd never thought ofmyself as anything but normal. Maybe I am fat, I thought next. But how could I be, if I had never eventhought of myself as fat to begin with? Many questions danced through my head that night as I evaluated mybody. By morning I had come to the conclusion I needed to do something about being fat.

For thenext three years, I managed to consume a maximum of 10 grams of fat a day, if that. I ate a rice cake forbreakfast, a fat-free cookie and fruit for lunch, and some vegetables or noodles for dinner. I made sureeverything was low-fat, and did not contain butter. My mom packed me a sandwich for lunch that I threwaway. I was consumed by being thin. Eating very little seemed to be the only way I could control myappearance, and guarantee that people not perceive me as "fat." I remember going out to lunchone day and ordering a tortilla. My mom asked, "Is that all you are going to order?"

"Yes," I replied softly, "I am not very hungry."

"Katie," she said, " you are going to make yourself sick if you do not eatmore." As I sat there while my family munched on chips and salsa, I reminded myself that eating likethis was the only way to ensure I did not become fat again.

During the last semester of eighthgrade, I signed up for a class which taught cooking and nutrition. The teacher reminded us how important itwas to eat from all the food groups. She even said our bodies require small amounts of fat to stay healthy.How could this be, I wondered. Fat makes our bodies fat, which is ultimately not a good thing. Oh well, Iconcluded, my body obviously does not process fat well, which means I can't consume any.

Duringninth grade, I worked hard to make the cheer squad. I tumbled and danced three times a week and thisexercise, plus the energy required for games, made me hungrier. To my surprise, the girls on my squadalso seemed hungry, consuming large quantities of food. And yet they stayed thin. It baffled me that girls inmy same situation were so unconcerned with what they ate. Could this mean it is not necessary to countevery gram of fat? Yet this observation was not what made me realize my eating habits were destructive.

I noticed how other girls my age were developing. My body was completely shapeless comparedwith theirs. Shortly after this epiphany, I started researching maintaining a healthy body. Sure enough,everything I read said a healthy body requires regular exercise and a healthy diet, which includes low-fatfoods. Slowly but surely, I changed to a healthier way of eating. There are still some foods I will never eat,but for the most part I eat almost anything in moderation.

Looking back at the years I allowed whatone person thought to corrupt my well-being, I wonder how different I would be if I had never known whatEricka said. I cannot change the past, only learn from it. Even today I occasionally wonder whether I mightlook better if lost five pounds, or feel guilty for eating that delicious piece of chocolate cake. Yet,thankfully, I have learned from experience that it is not what is on the outside that counts, but what isinside.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

Bethani said...
May 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm:
Good job on changing your habits! I'm sorry that you even started these destructive habits. I'm glad you learned from this experience. 
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback