I am 27 yrs old, 5′ 7″ and weigh ** lbs. I became a vegetarian when I was 14 after my grandmother died of Congestive Heart Failure. I wanted to be healthy and I ended up – although I had not planned to – losing about 50 pounds. Since then I have been completely obsessed with never letting the scale reach triple digits. I have been as low as ** pounds and had several kidney stones (which I guess are from this disordered eating? Although the doctor never even blinked at my weight). Anyway I abuse laxatives, chew-spit my food (I’m assuming digestion begins in the mouth or else I would REALLY weigh less due to no calories at all) and exercise 1 to 2 1/2 hours daily. I have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, gone to therapy or anything but I am SO tired of trying to live a life like this….. My issues with food take up my whole life, how can I break free? Especially at my age…I have no idea where to begin or what to do, I am scared of who I will be without this disordered eating pattern (if that makes any sense) because it seems to be all I know. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. – CSM
Of course, you are tired of this exhausting cycle…it can hardly be called life. No one can diagnose you without meeting you. However, if all you wrote is true, you definitely need professional treatment. Sometimes physicians are so concerned about preventing obesity that they may overlook underweight concerns. Nobody’s perfect, right?
I’m glad you realize that there is fear about life without the rituals you’ve come to rely on. The truth is YOU are responsible for all you’ve made it through in life. You have survived and coped in SPITE of the disordered eating patterns NOT because of them. This is a fact that you will discover as you allow yourself to face the fear.
By working with an eating disorder nutrition therapist and psychotherapist you can begin to handle changes one small step at a time. Later, you can explore issues like your grandmother’s death and what that meant to you. Events that trigger our extreme behavior usually have a lot of clues to our healing. The healing journey is a warm, wonderful experience. When we have the courage to take the first few steps, we tend to wonder why we didn’t start sooner. Our best to you, CSM. Write us back to share your progress if you will.