When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember stepping down on the scale and seeing the number "149" pop up.
I’m 5’10," so in actuality, that’s a decently healthy body weight.
I was on the volleyball team at the time, and I was taking care of myself with regular exercise and a normal diet.
Regardless, something inside of me clicked, and so began my journey with an eating disorder.
I could go on for days about how terrible eating disorders are, but I’ll save that for another time.
Instead, here are some things you’ll probably experience after you’ve overcome an eating disorder.
Ultimately, all I can say is it’s so important to learn to love your body regardless.
While you may be reminded on a daily basis of the battle you used to struggle with, what’s even better is looking back and seeing what you’ve been able to overcome.
Both positives and negatives combined, there’s a lot to be learned from going through something as life-changing as an eating disorder:
1. You’re going to find new ways to appreciate your body.
I struggled with anorexia.
I was down to 110 pounds at one point, and all you could see were bones: my hipbones, my ribs and my prominent collar bone.
Once I went through treatment and finally achieved a healthy weight, I began to appreciate parts of my body I had forgotten about.
Hello, hips and boobs. Nice to see you again.
I promise all clothes look better once you have a little body fat to fill them out with.
2. You’ll still find yourself counting calories.
It’s not done on purpose. It’s a habit.
My friends will casually ask how many calories are in something in a group setting, and I won’t be able to stop myself.
I like to call it "word vomit."
I still remember the most irrelevant numbers.
There are 70 calories in a hard-boiled egg, in case you were wondering.
3. You’ll look back at pictures and cringe.
There is no better feeling than being able to look back at pictures when you were extremely unhealthy and to finally see you didn’t look good.
Remember the times you avoided looking at those pictures when you were trying to get back to a healthy weight?
It’s crazy how our brains can trick us into thinking a certain way.
My advice? Untag and delete.
Because some days, you’re going to still listen to that little voice telling you how flat your stomach was.
4. You’ll probably go through periods of drastic changes in your weight.
Give yourself a break on this one. This is what the treadmill was invented for.
It’s really hard to go from eating nothing or throwing up all your food to learning how to eat normally again.
During my sophomore year of college, I gained 20 pounds.
There was a convenience store on the bottom floor of my dorm, and I didn’t seem to grasp the fact eating Swedish Fish and Reese’s every night was not a smart idea.
Accept you might gain a significant amount of weight, but try to remember the concept of balance.
Most importantly, forgive yourself. It’s hard adjusting.
5. You’ll eventually learn to love the gym again.
Another moment of bliss is when you decide to get back into a gym routine.
You'll go slowly and reluctantly, with one foot in front of the other.
Bad memories, am I right?
Anyway, there is something so accomplished about working out because you simply want to, not because you ate half a brownie and now have to go run it off.
6. You’ll push your body in ways you were never able to.
Working off the idea of getting back to the gym, you’ll find yourself doing things you never thought would be possible.
I’ll never forget how physically and emotionally drained I felt leaving volleyball practice after not having eaten all day.
In three weeks, I will be running my first half marathon.
It’s crazy what our bodies can do for us when we show them a little loving and good food.
7. You’ll try a lot of new foods.
While I can’t speak for everyone, my diet was pretty much the same when I had an eating disorder.
I never strayed from my basics of eggs, yogurt and green beans because I knew exactly how many calories I was consuming.
I also knew I wouldn’t gain weight if I stuck with those foods.
Once you overcome an eating disorder, you remember everything you were missing out on.
I swore I didn’t like sushi, but it’s easy to say that when you refuse to eat something.
Now, my friends pretty much ignore me in our group texts when I ask if we can go get sushi on a nightly basis.
8. You’ll learn it’s most important to love yourself.
I mentioned this earlier, but if there is one positive thing to having an eating disorder, I would have to say it teaches you to love yourself.
This is not just in the way of loving your body, but learning to love yourself as a whole.
In the end, you’re the only person who has made the conscious effort to power through the ups and the downs of an eating disorder, and I can say there is so much self-love involved in the process.
You learn to accept your flaws, you learn to appreciate the body you’ve been given and most importantly, you learn we are all beautiful people in one way or another.