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


“You can sit there. The ­doctor will be right with you.” The nurse gestured me to the waiting room. Come on, do I really need to be here? I'm not sick enough to be here.

“Jane! The doctor will see you now.”

Great … The office door closed behind me.

Let me explain how I got here. I'm a dancer. I've always had problems with my weight. I was never fat, just chunky. I always felt self-conscious in my leotard. I think that's what triggered it. One day, at the end of freshman year, I told myself I was going to stop eating and get skinny. So that night I skipped dinner. And that's how it started. I would skip meals or throw them away. I drank a lot of water and ran on the track at school during lunch.

It felt so good to see the pounds melt away from my body. I was invincible. But in reality, I was ignoring the symptoms I was feeling. I was light-headed, dizzy, cold, and tired. By now it was May, and I was always absolutely freezing in school. I wore two sweatshirts and was still chilled. But I was losing weight and that was all that mattered to me. People were noticing too. All of my friends told me how great I looked. It was such positive ­reinforcement. Only they didn't know that I wasn't just exercising – I was starving myself.

My parents started noticing when I was at the point of no return – the point where I couldn't go back to regular eating. They said I was getting too skinny and needed to stop. They took away my gym membership, like that would make me stop. In fact, I started eating even less because I couldn't work it off. I was so preoccupied with my weight and calories that I avoided my friends. I would never go out to dinner with anyone. The friends I still talked to were annoyed with me ­because all I would talk about was dieting.

School ended, and I went to summer camp. It was perfect. I didn't have my mother monitoring how much I ate, so I did what I wanted. I didn't eat much, and when I did eat, I had salads. No dressing. When the two weeks were up and my mom came to get me, she was shocked at my appearance. I was skin and bones. You could see my back bones through my skin. I was so proud of myself, but this was the last straw for my mom. She made an appointment with a doctor.

At that first appointment, I weighed 104. My mom was shocked and angry with me. I had lost 21 pounds in a month and a half. My doctor went on and on about how my weight was too low for my height – like I cared. I loved to hear that. By this time I was sick. I had anorexia.

I spent the next few weeks doing exactly what I had been doing – not eating and lying about food. Then it was my first day of summer dance classes. I hadn't danced for about two months. The first thing my teacher said was, “Jane, you're looking very thin. Are you eating enough?” It was a serious question, but I smiled and nodded yes. I was so proud of myself. A week into dance class, my teachers asked to talk to my mom and me. They told me I looked very unhealthy and that they didn't want anything to happen to me. This meeting made my mom cry. I hated that. My mom made another doctor's appointment for me.

At the appointment, I weighed 99 pounds. I had lost another five pounds. I tried to hide the smile on my face. But this time, they took my vitals. My temperature and blood pressure were both low. My heart rate was low. My body was starting to shut down. I knew this too. Now I had to have weekly doctor's appointments to make sure I wasn't dying.

I lost more weight. I was 94 pounds, and I had never been happier with myself. My mom set up weekly counseling sessions with the school social worker. The counseling did help. We found out why I was doing this. It ­really had nothing to do with food; I needed control.

What really hit me, though, was when one of my friends said she didn't want to be my friend anymore. That way, she explained, when I die, it won't hurt her as much because it wouldn't be her best friend who had died. That got to me. Then another friend said, “You will die if you keep going.”

Hearing my friends say this changed me. Slowly but surely I started to gain some weight back. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I hated stepping onto the scale and seeing 100 again, and then 105. All that hard work was being ruined. My favorite feeling used to be my stomach growling. But I had to let it go. I didn't want to lose everything I had.

I started gaining weight and people starting telling me how beautiful I looked. So I became healthy again, and my vital signs improved. This made everyone happy. My mom was happier, my friends, my doctors. I'm still recovering, but now I know I need to stay healthy for everyone who loves me. But most importantly, I need to stay healthy for myself.

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





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vtmmmmm said...
May 31, 2010 at 2:34 pm:
this is great. i went thru the same exact thing, u described it perfectly. i always pray for people struggling with that cuz its so hard to snap out of it.
well done.
 
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brendadawn said...
May 31, 2010 at 11:37 am:
I have never had a problem with food, but your story made me tear up.  It was a good thing.  I am so glad you had people who cared about you enough to take action.  You probaly didn't like it when they made you go to the doctor.  I am glad you had a real friend who was willing to tell you the truth.  Best of Everthing
 
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DanceAwayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 31, 2010 at 11:03 am:

Amazing, touching article. good luck :) truly. I know what your going through, and its tough. 

-rowan

 
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LadyLuck said...
May 31, 2010 at 8:50 am:
wow, this is an amazing story. I've battled with anorexia and i know its hard to pull yourself out of the death spiral. good job and thanks for sharing your story
 
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charzard said...
May 20, 2010 at 11:47 am:
this is a great article that is good to hear. anorexia is eating america and people are starting to be inspired by people who are too skinny. it isn't healthy. i'm not always the most comfortable with my body, and i do try to eat healthy and exercise, but i am not anorexic. this is inspiring for many people, not only me. many, many, many people. please keep writing articles like that! and i'm glad the weight is coming back. you weigh only a little more than me and i'm 13 and 5'3.5''. good luck i... (more »)
 
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krzykrys said...
May 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm:
its great to hear this story because my friend has anorexia and she keeps pulling away fro me and i think its because im one of the few who knows how it all began. she was doing well then slowly began to lose weight again. i know shes scared but i am too.
 
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Rachael P. said...
May 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm:
omg girls at my skool need to hear this story. all they eat is salad and nothing much else. THEYRE ALL CRAZY SKINNY! its discusting! im in the middle of skinny and chunky and im proud of that. im in the middle
 
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shelbywashere21 said...
May 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm:
that was amazing, i've also struggled with anorexia, it's great that you're getting over it.
 
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mandmarie said...
Apr. 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm:
Thank you for writing this article. The topic of eating disorders really needs to be discussed more often.  My daughter suffers from anorexia so thank you again.
 
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DfinitelyMe said...
Apr. 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm:
Very poqwerful story. Thank you for sharing it with us.
 
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firstsnowfalls This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm:
wow. very powerful. thank you so much for sharing your story.
 
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Katrina L. said...
Mar. 26, 2010 at 8:21 pm:
I think it's amazing that you've inspired so many people to come out with their problem. It's a wonderful story and congratz! I think to all those girls out there who are in this situation, be strong ladies there's always someone to talk to that will listen and stay by your side. What really helped me through my eating disorder was knowing that not only the people who love me care but that random people care because everyone brings some kind or amazement to this world. Be healthy, be strong and ... (more »)
 
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.rauha said...
Mar. 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm:

That comment about your friend made me cry.

Your story is really inspiring, and I am so proud of you. I wish more girls who had eating disorders were as strong as you.

 
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vegerain said...
Mar. 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm:
l love how in the sixth or seventh paragraph you come right out and you admit how you have a problem, because one of the hardest things about having a problem is admiting you have a problem.
 
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morgnessx3 said...
Mar. 26, 2010 at 11:21 am:
i know what your going through and its hard to listen to people when you really feel like you are okay and not doing anything wrong, itts like if you are happy why would you think anything is wrong i know what your feeling and you cant give up
 
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meow1 said...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm:
people need to have more self cofidence. you dont want to be anorexic or belimic or whatever. im skin and bones but i eat more than most of my friends. i have an extremely high matabilism. and trust me, you dont want to be this skinny you have no idea how many cruel remarks i get from people everyday that think im anorexic. im a dancer too but im healthy and i eat alot and i still am skinny. its not about how much you eat but what you eat. your diet has to be balanced and you do need some sugar ... (more »)
 
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omgcharlie222 said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm:
I am also a Dancer and I have very low self estem in myself I always have.... Please help me? Is skipping meals all that bad!?!
 
amtpinkpandaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 17, 2010 at 10:35 am :
yes it is i am a well overweght girl and  I am someone who needs to lose weight it always makes me feel worse when friends who are fine just the way they are call themselves fat. does that make me enormous? no skipping meals is like starving yourself of nutrition and noboy wants to see u die of malnutrition
 
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omgcharlie222 said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm:
I am not sure if I have a problem either I don't eat at breakfast or sometimes and lunch but, I eat when I get home I always have head problems but I have had head achs for years But I am starting to notice I can't eat as much I feel to sick Can anyone help me understand whats going on?
 
MarieAntoinette2012 replied...
Oct. 5, 2012 at 10:10 am :
You might not have a serious problem, if your not skipping them just because you feel like you want to lose weight. Anorexia is basically a fixation with losing weight by not eating.
 
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