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.

Join the Discussion

This article has 204 comments. Post your own now!

Eke0505 said...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 5:03 am
Wow... thank you so much. Because in some sick way, I can relate to this. Of course not this extreme, but at times I feel fat and disgusting and I feel just like the way you desribed. And then for brief moments I feel normal again, but it's got me so scared. Thanks so much though. Thank you. Beautiful. 5/5
MichaelsGirl25 said...
Jun. 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm
coming from personal experience, i have been going through almost exactly that. at the beginning of my freshman year, i weighed 140 pounds, well, one day my boyfriend made a comment about my "chunky" cheeks and that did it. i told my self i would get down to 120 and be happy. But when i got there, I wasnt happy. I kept going. 4 months later(January 2010) i was down to 105. I looked sideways in the mirror and felt huge still. March rolled around and i weighed 94 pounds. Everyone was saying my fac... (more »)
Zavery_ said...
Jun. 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm

"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."


Couldn't have said it better!   =)

Ironandme said...
Jun. 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Very touching. Yet, true- this is what happens. I am glad that you are recovering.


RanaHewezi1998 said...
Jun. 9, 2011 at 9:47 am
this is a very deep poem and i'm very happy u got over starving yourself :)
xxMWAHxx said...
May 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm
I find this very touching, and inspiring too. Indeed, it has been said previously, but I feel such a connection with your story; I, too, was uncomfortable with my appearance as I pranced about in ballet and on stages. The pressure and insecurity was too much; I took drastic measures, avoiding food at all times. I'm so grateful that I had wonderful people to help and guide me on the right path before I was led astray by my own actions. Thank-you for sharing! =)
Phantomlover95 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm
Wow, your story is so touching. I've often thought about food and dieting. You write so well! I'm so glad you overcame this disease. I'm proud of you, since it is not easy. Please keep writing, I'm a big fan.
toschoolforcool said...
Apr. 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm
I have a friend just like this. she went to the hospital for it. when she came back she talked about how the only bad thing about losing weight was that it came from your chest first. it scared me that she still thought about losing weight. good for you trying to get better.
Becca17 said...
Apr. 26, 2011 at 7:00 am
one word, inspiring :)
musiqqlvr31 said...
Apr. 26, 2011 at 1:36 am
Sometimes weighing less isnt the best thing..There's a girl in my classs who's stick thin..she's 164 cm(5.3 feet) and only 35kg(77lbs). I used to wish I was like her..but one day I held her hand and it gave me the I'm about the same height and weigh about 105 pounds and I'm happy about that!
Fate98 said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm
wow this has hit me hard because me and my friend had decided we wanted to lose weight. We were doing the same as you. I am not skin and bones nor is she but you have saved me from becoming it. Thank you and i hope you keep getting better. God bless :-)
Paranormal4Ever said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm
I can relate to being the worried friend in this case, my friend was obsessed with losing weight. She was healthy too, that's what got me, said she wanted to be like me so she slowed down and almost quit eating before i talked her out of it. Sometimes a friend is all it takes to change ones mind.
bigdaddy said...
Mar. 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

I think its sad what happened to the girl


Imaginationforever replied...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm
It's sad that she choose that path yes, but you should be happy that she choose to stop.
pandabear said...
Mar. 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm
Wow!  This is a really great story, but it's sad how the girl is so inconfident.  It really takes friends to change someone's behavior.
evergreen232 replied...
May 18, 2011 at 6:00 pm
i agree- its sad to kno that she needed her friends to tell her to stop.  but im really glad she listened!!!!!
amzazinLily said...
Mar. 13, 2011 at 3:08 pm
actually i just wrote a report on anorexia, alot of people at my school are having problems with anorexia. it's sad really... thanks for putting this up, it's touching
WriterGeek<3 said...
Mar. 13, 2011 at 11:27 am
This was very inspiring. I suffered through a very mild eating disorder and serious depression. I know exactly how you feel and how hard it is to recover. And i know from personal experience that a part of you never really recovers but keep trying! Never give up on yourself. 
Duckie430 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 22, 2011 at 8:39 am
This piece is very inspirational. I've been anorexic myself for years, & I still struggle, been through so much treatment & counseling & hospitalization...stories like this are truly inspring. Check out some of my work if you'd like-"Anorexia" or "I Love Me, I Love Me Not"
balletgirl21 said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm
this was very moving and it is very brave of you to go throught this, fix it, then write about it! very touching!
Site Feedback