Sit-up after sit-up, mile after mile, that harsh workout will never be enough to settle your worried thoughts. The thoughts that size two will never be small enough or that eating a snack will ruin your figure. It’s a cruel and cold reality, but it’s something that can’t be forgotten. I can remember the countless time I would judge a girl for even thinking about purging or letting anorexia take over her life. Little did I know, I’d be that girl. I’d be the girl who would literally make any little excuse to not eat a dessert or lock myself in my room to do enough crunches to work off my dinner. I was completely brain washed. My mind would literally race from one thought to the next about the number that would later appear on the scale and ways it could be reduced. Seems pathetic doesn’t it? It’s pretty simple. Actually, it becomes such a normal, hard-breaking cycle to beat and it becomes scary, almost like a frightening nightmare you can’t seem to kick. Day after day, food becomes your worst enemy and exercise now is like an addictive drug. You need it, and must have it as soon as a “danger” food somehow finds its way into your sickly body. Isolation plays a key role in which you become. You begin to push everyone away, especially the ones who care about you the most. They become worried about you and their ignorant comments and concerns become annoying, to the point where you wish to shut them out. It may seem completely impossible as to how this could happen, but once you’ve been there, you’ll do whatever it takes to have the petite, perfect body you want even if it means losing life lines. It sounds like a ridiculous thought I know, but once you’re in that place it becomes so easy to become independent. I will never forget the countless lies I would feed to my mom. I would tell her I weighed more than I did and little did I realize that big lie would catch up with me and eventually, I would hate myself for it. I felt like I couldn’t escape. Everything began to fall into place and come so easily. Lying rolled off my tongue so naturally. My mindset had totally transformed. No longer did I have confidence or love who I was, somehow I no longer even knew who I was. I hated who I had become and the way I worried about something so pointless, but I seemed at my wit’s end. I can still hear myself shouting the hateful words to my mom for making me go on a weekly visit to what I thought of as a shrink. Every Wednesday made me dread the day. I remember sitting in her office, “The devil lady,” I called her, would sit there and ridicule me in her form of what she thought was help made me hate her even more. Layer upon layer I wore, although she didn’t know this, to watch the number on the scale go up, which made it seem like I was improving. Sadly, I had the game all figured out. I knew how to make it seem as if I wanted to gain weight, but oddly I continued to maintain. And for a while, she believed me until a year had passed and the toying around had to be terminated. If I couldn’t make a change now, she deeply expressed how I would never overcome it and that I was doing major damage to my body. A story she told me of a young lady, a little older than myself somehow started to transform my thinking. The girl was just like me, skinny, smart and athletic, had a wonderful family, and had everything going for her. After seeing a shrink for quite some time with little results, the girl was admitted to the hospital where she would be watched and would be fed off a feeding tube without choice. However, this didn’t trigger the girls mind to make a change. She had lost her hair, her bodily functions began shutting down, and her mind was empty because of her brittle nutrition less body. Shortly after being admitted and refusing to accept the kind help of those around her, the life of a once beautiful and confident girl was gone. Her body could no longer take the harsh treatment and it was only a matter of time. Immediately I began to picture myself in place of that girl. Was I really headed down that road? Maybe not to that extreme, but my eyes began to see I had a potential life threatening promise. I’ll never forget the following Wednesday, my mom allowed me to schedule my appointment at a different time and go to youth group. On the second worship song, my eyes felt so heavy, I wept harder than I think I ever have before. I had prayed about my eating disorder on many occasions, but never like this. I had felt a sort of peace come over me like God telling me it would be alright and I was reminded of how beautiful I am. From that point, I knew things had and finally could be different for me, and they were. I continued visiting that lady, but not in layers. I was honest with myself and realized if I wanted to love myself like I used to, I was going to do it the right way. Sure, I still had the thoughts of wanting to be super skinny and not gain an ounce, but having an incredible support system and an awesome God helped me overcome that. I was reminded of one of my favorite bible verses in 1 Psalm 139:14, that “I am God’s creation,” and I should be content with who he made me to be. Another verse in 1 Peter 3:3-4 really made me become confident, that beauty had nothing to do with my outward appearance, but the inner being of who I am. So many times when I struggled I tried to pretend that God’s love would never be fulfilling enough or help me overcome what made me so distraught. I cannot believe I ever thought that, but frankly, I think everyone doubts God and especially themselves when a struggle seems as big as a mountain. About four months after I began to change, my appointments became less frequent and I began to build confidence again. I would look in the mirror every morning and tell myself how much I was really loved and that I was beautiful no matter what. I would never walk into that painful and yet memorable place again. My uncertainty began to change; I was starting to love myself like I once had. I didn’t want to live to be another example of anorexia or another girl who failed to make it through life with self-confidence. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t trade my two-year struggle for no struggle at all. Having an eating disorder can be extremely difficult and can turn your world upside down. However, it’s the outcome of your story that really counts. Every day that goes by since then, makes me appreciate who I am, the people that are always there for me, and the God who has given me so many blessings and immeasurable care. Still, I wake up every morning and thank God for whom he has made me. There are far more things in life than a great body, mesmerizing looks, and a whopping size two jean size. Kind of sounds ideal doesn’t it? Well it’s not; it’s very from perfection in fact. Looking back at how I was when I was incredibly unhealthy and skeletal-looking made me beautiful in the world’s standards. That wasn’t me though, and even though it took me almost two years to figure that out, I finally did. No matter how many wrong turns I took, I found out it isn’t totally impossible to take that tiny detour back to the right one. I never want to see any of my friends, family, or teenage girl in general ever suffer like I did. I’m finally ready to tell and live my story. Going through all of this has made me see so many possibilities and real-life difficulties hands-on. Whether we realize it, most of us choose our struggles that we deal with in life. We choose the small things in life that weren’t originally in “our” plan, but in God’s. And in the scheme of things, it may look rough from our stand point, but in God’s bigger and overall picture, it all works out. I never would’ve thought that believing that I am beautiful just as I am, no matter what the scale read, would not only be my struggle and fear, but the most incredible feeling of reward of my life. Don’t ever forget that you’re beautiful. Size two or size twenty, God has put you in the place that you are for a reason. You’re incredibly important and different from everyone else around you. Believing in yourself in all that you do and having confidence will leave you far happier than living an unsatisfying life that wasn’t meant for you.