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My Body & Me

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I used to have a mild eating disorder. I saw myself as fat and ugly, despite being told by other people than my parents that I wasn't.

I think it all started out when I was around nine and I was playing with two friends.

They were both younger than me, one by a year and one by nearly two years. And let me tell you this: weight difference between an average nine-year-old and an average seven-year-old is pretty big. The girl who was in the middle was one of those short and thin people, so those two girls wieghed less than me. By quite a lot actually, or it was a lot to me when they pointed it out.

I can't remember exactly what happened, but their weight was within a kilo of each other. But once we were playing in the youngest girl's -- let's call her G -- play house. Her father had built her this tiny one-room cottage that we'd play in.

They said that only people weighing the same could play there, and I didn't weigh as little as them.

The summer before I truned ten, I was on a school trip to a city a few hours train-ride away and there was a pair of scales in the bathroom there. I was curious, so I checked to see how much I weighed. I was twenty-nine kilos. I nearly freaked out! That was SO MUCH in my eyes, when in reality it is as average as it gets. I refused dinner that night, the first time of many I did that.

Over the years, I'd grow more and more obsessed with my weight. Everytime I was approaching a a new first number (like 40 or then 50 kilos) I'd stop eating for a while. I was horrified over weighing that much. The only time I'd set foot on a pair of scales was on my annual health check up, quickly forgetting my weight. But I did try to eat as I should, trying not to skip meals on purpose and to have proper helpings.

Then I turned thirteen, my best friend moved to England and I was stuck with a pair of girls that hated me. I still don't know why they hated me, since we'd grown up together. I'd known them for years and one day they suddenly just decided they didn't like me any more.

I withdrew into myself and became gradually more quiet. The local library was my haven. There, I could borrow as many books as I could carry, which I often did and ruined two bags by trying to fit too many books into them. When I read, I don't notice time passing, so I'd miss meals this way. I thought this was good. Maybe I'd get to a more normal weight then. This was how I canceled my body's abillity to tell me when it needed food. I'd eat at meal times because everyone else did.

Between when I was fourteen and seventeen I lost three kilos but grew several centimetres and went from an A-cup to a D-cup.

I was hungry maybe ten times in all those years.

Apart from my issues with my weight I'd been bullied. My self esteem was somewhere between zero and minus ten on a scale from 1-100. I didn't just see myself as fat, I saw myself as ugly too.

I'd do a hundred sit-ups a day when I was fourteen. My abs were stone hard for a year or so. This was because I didn't see anything but fat on my body.

My turning point was when I went to "Gymnasiet" (Swedish equivalent to High School) when I was sixteen. I ended up in a great class where we all had our issues. I think 90% of us hurt ourselves at least once.

I did realise that I wasn't alone. There were other people with low self esteem and distorted body images.

My classmates insistance that I was pretty and slender and had a nice body was what helped me take the first step to recovering.

Another friend made sure I ate anough if he so had to pay for the food and shove it down my throat.

With the help of my friends and later on my boyfriend I've been gradually getting better over the past three years. I can now know how much I weight and not skip a meal. I can go to a night club wearing a miniskirt. I can actually see myself as non-fat.

Someday, I hope I will recover completely.

written 26 Sep 2007 . updated 03 Jan 2010

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