I gave birth to my daughter six months ago, and, a few sleep-deprived weeks later, I realized it was right around the 10th "anniversary" of when I was admitted to a hospital for an eating disorders inpatient program.
When I try to reconcile the memory of my scared, enervated teen self with myself today, as a (somewhat) confident mother of two with visibly muscled biceps from lugging around a giant purse, a diaper bag, a breast pump, a baby, and sometimes a 38-pound 3-year-old, it's difficult. But I still vividly remember the feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, and physical weakness. As it turns out, you can be too thin after all.
There were other factors involved, of course, but I first fixated on being skinny because I knew it would make me "someone" in a world where I wasn't quite sure yet how I, as a nice Jewish girl, could make any kind of significant mark. What began as a diet veered into rigidity, ruling out hangouts with friends because food was usually involved and an early return from summer camp because, overwhelmed without my typical menu, I just decided to eat an apple and a cereal bar and call it a day. What turned into rigidity became a dangerous obsession when every new, lower number on the scale was a success and anything below that number was my new personal challenge. Intellectually, I knew I was harming myself, but I couldn't stop.
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