-ED- and not the kind you think..

This was originally a separate page, but I was a little overambitious. I still would like someone to be able to benefit from my mistakes, if at all possible.


In everything I do in life, my goal is ‘to help people help themselves’. One way of doing this is to not only acknowledge the problems I have experienced, but let people know about it and let it be known that my door is open regarding any such topic.

So, you can probably guess that I haven’t experienced the usual ED (erectile dysfunction), being a female, but I have suffered from Eating Disorders since I was 16. I am going to tell my “story”, then add more information at the end.

Now, I feel like I am at an AA meeting, but if it helps someone else, here goes:

Hi, my name is Amy, and I have been both anorexic and bulimic at different points in my life.  My weight was down to 95lbs at one point at about 5’4″. That’s barely 3% body fat, the amount needed to cushion your organs and prevent your body from digesting it’s muscle..and the brain. I hated my body, and I mostly still do. I am now 34, so I have had eating disorders for more than half of my life.

How it started

I was a ballet dancer, living alone in California with my family here in New Mexico. I had moved away from home to dance, broke my foot 10 days after arriving, and needless to say gained a bit of weight. I was up from 113 to 123 at 5’3″. Even 113 was *heavy* for a ballet dancer of that height. I noticed when sitting in the back of dance class, watching and learning and doing endless exercises to try and keep my dancer muscles active, that the skinniest girls got the best parts. Granted, they were good…. but if it came down to 2 dancers of equal ability, the skinnier one got the part. I vowed to lose weight, which was perfect, because I had noone monitoring me, and I could eat (or not) whatever I chose. I forgot to mention that I lived alone in the ballet school, in a small room with a sink that had been an office. The bathrooms/showers were down the hall, and the kitchen was downstairs. I had a gay male *roommate* eventually whom I developed a very strong bond with, but not for a long while. In other words, I was alone and lonely, with virtually noone to “monitor” me.

Enter the monster of Anorexia Nervosa.

In retrospect, there was a lot more going on than just wanting to lose weight.

1) I associated skinniness with success

2) In a lonely time where I was not only trying to live on my own, but succeeding in school (4.35 GPA out of 4.0), coming back from an injury, and trying to stave off puberty, I needed control, and I found it through food. I also, by keeping myself amenorrheic, even though not on purpose, prevented myself from having to grow up. It was scary growing up so fast.

3) I had noone to assure me that my self worth was not correlated with my weight.

4) I received tons of positive reinforcement for losing weight.

5) I *thought* I was in control. Everything revolving around food became a ritual, and my whole life became extremely organized. The processes of buying, preparating, and eating were ritualized. I woke up at exactly the same time every day (6am), showered, was down in the kitchen and prepping cereal by the same time everyday, etc, and I left the building at 7:13 every school day to catch the city bus. I ate the same breakfast and lunch every day. Breakfast was simple cereal (measured) and skim milk. Lunch was a blueberry bagel and an apple. I would tear the bagel into even-sized pieces, small ones, so as to make it last as long as possible. The apple I ate in a pattern as well. I would snack on carrots while making dinner. In fact, and here is a Bunny Tidbit, I ate 5 pounds of carrots a week!

Even Bugs can get orange hands from eating too many carrots!
Even Bugs can get orange hands from eating too many carrots!

Yes, my hands were orange. So, that is one way I got my nickname. I still snack on carrots, but not so many.

NOTE: Some of you, if you read this far, may think it silly to obsess over something so trivial as a few pounds, for someone who is bone thin to truly see themselves as FAT. Anorexia nervosa is a disease, and they are finding a genetic component to it. It takes over one’s life just like drug addiction.

The allure of skinniness is like the allure of heroin to an addict, or alcohol to an addict. The problem is that we always have our bodies around to tempt us, to find minute amounts of fat to try and melt away. The rail thin body is the ultimate walking trophy of a professional *control freak*. It’s so alluring that some would even try heroin if it meant weight loss. Many people I have known started doing methamphetamine solely to lose weight, despite the legal and physical ramifications.

I was able to come out of my first bout of anorexia nervosa myself, and I got up to a whopping 105 pounds. I performed the part of Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker at that weight and remember feeling like I had thunder thighs. I have only liked my body a couple times in my life, and the lowest I have gone is 112 since stopping dance.


I feel there is a lot more to put here, but I am not sure yet what direction to take this page…. any questions from the audience?


One thought on “-ED- and not the kind you think..

  1. Pingback: 51- Losing My Identity | Daily Dharma

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