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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This article has 204 comments. Post your own now!

Rainesy said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 9:31 am
As a fellow dancer, thank you. Bravo on a story well-told and a challenge defeated. 
mhmmalright said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 1:17 am
Thank you for sharing this story on the disorder many face but rarely speak about. As a fellow  teen struggling with eating disorders I know how hard it is to write, speak, or admit about anything dealing with your ED.
FOBluvr29 said...
Jul. 22, 2010 at 9:40 am
This story is absolutely amazing. I am currently getting too skinny, but not cos of skipping meals, but being active. I'm pissed at my current weight; 110 lbs, cos everyone i know is like, say about 80s, 90s something like that. Now, I dont really care anymore. Now, I stick to doing what I do best. Rocking out. And no one can stop me
lovetowriteandwatchTV said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm
i'm very sorry that happened to you, but seriously the most important beauty is the inside not the outside
stargirl said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm
Thank you for writing this.  In middle school, I started skipping lunch at school because I wanted to lose weight fast.  It never got any worse than that, due to my encouraging friends and family, and I'm thankful for it!  :)
zomgkellie said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm

this story was beautiful.

im a thin girl thats always struggled with eating & control issues (never as far as yours got) & reading this really helped me.


Thrush said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 10:55 am
Excellent. Simply excellent. It's absolutely perfect.
MercedesXO said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 12:44 am

I loved reading this. It was incredibly real, and serious. How you were on the verge of life or death, and how you CHOSE to be on that incredibly scary balance. I am soooooo proud of you and happy to hear that you are recovering and doing well. It makes me sad (and makes me sad) that when people are already really skinny, they feel the need to be skinnier..that it's never enough. Simply skinny to everyone else, is no longer your goal. starving, dying was what you wanted. and it's so empowerin... (more »)

emigini said...
Jul. 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm
i can relate to almost everything in this post (except for the hospitalization... after a little under a year, i realized i needed to stop)... the method, the emotions, all of it. you portrayed it wonderfully. i'm glad you're healthy again.
emigini replied...
Jul. 13, 2010 at 6:41 pm
sorry, i had read someone else's post about being hospitalized and sort of mixed up the stories. i suppose i can relate to all of yours, then, except maybe the friend thing- my family was the one who got mad about my weight. again, great story.
princess6 said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm
omg so inspirational, girls try so hard to be the picture-perfect girl that they wud go through gr8 lenghts to achieve it even if it ment becomin anorexic. Gr8 story its so touching!
Jun. 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm
I had/have this worse than you do. I was hospitalized for a week 2 years ago and I still fluctuate a lot. My parents always had a gut feeling of what was going on, but things spiraled outta hand when I hit 84 and I am very tall, 5'7". The doctor had me on IV and protein shakes. I gained 10 pounds so they let me out, but then I became vegetarian which is a good cover-up to be skinny. I'm in the 90s now and if my parents start to notice I try to gain a few then I relapse again. I know its a proble... (more »)
Sarbear This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm
this is so touching and i know that a lot of girls can relate to this. im glad you can share your story--keep writing.
banna42 said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 11:47 am
hey girl, this was touching, i went through the same thing. if you ever need to talk, let me know!! great work though, girl! kudos to you!
bigdreamer14 said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 9:24 am
I actually wrote a short story about this on a writing site called Model Skinnies (the story is on if u want to check it out). Im so sorry that this happened to u and I understand what u went through. However, u say that u were "chunky", not fat. What about the rest of us that are and we've tried everything? What about us? Ive done what u did and Im still not at my goal. What now, huh? What can anyone say about that?
_Elsy_ said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 8:22 am
wonderful, i haven't been through the same thing as you before but it really hit home and it made me thing about my friends that want to lose weight. And dang 94 that's how much i weigh.
iluvnacho said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 6:32 am
I love it. It's so inspiring because girls go through that and it's true. Wonderful job illustrating you story, just absolutlry wonderful. :D
Nightshade said...
May 31, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Hey doll,

I haven't been through exactly what you've been through... but it still hit home with me. I've been through a similar situation myself, and I believe you can make it work out.

This really made me cry, doll. I feel terrible when people go through this. I'm impressed that you've taken your story to this site, and that you've helped people actually save themselves.

Kudos, doll. :)

kcon411 said...
May 31, 2010 at 8:21 pm
I cried when i read this. My best friend battled with this and won- you can too. Best of luck to the fighters of the world.
banna42 said...
May 31, 2010 at 5:55 pm
Thank you:] I really appreciate the attention that eating disorders are getting..they are dangerous and life threatening and girls need to see that they are really bad:] thankss!
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