The writer is a vice president at Best Fitness. March is National Nutrition Month, and the first week of March also marked National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
I am fitness professional. I am a certified personal trainer. I teach, train and certify personal trainers. I am the VP of sales for a chain of health clubs in the Northeast. I am a Spinning® instructor. I am a marathon runner. I am anorexic.
Though considered to be “recovered”, I will be the first to tell you that it never really goes away. I will never be “better”. I will never be “normal”. The whisper in the back of my head that tells me to check out my mid-section in the mirror is constant. The wave of panic that washes over me when I walk into a dinner party or a restaurant where I know I’m about to overeat still occurs occasionally. The scale still taunts me some mornings and the food in my refrigerator calls to me in the middle of the night like it once did.
But that whisper used to be a scream. That wave of panic wasn’t intermittent, it was relentless. The number on that scale would dictate my mood for the entire day or until the next time I stepped on it, an hour after the first, in hopes that something would’ve changed.
Every day I woke up in fear. I was afraid, not of the heart palpitations that were a regular occurrence nor of the fainting spells that were happening more and more frequently, but of the calories I was going to have to resist that day and more importantly, the ones I couldn’t.
I fantasized about being “normal”. In my mind, normal was eating a bowl of cereal without having a panic attack. Normal was showering with the lights on. Normal was wearing shorts when it was 100 degrees outside. Normal was thinking about anything other than food at any point during any day. I was not normal. I was a 20-year-old woman in a 12-year-old boys body.