Self-Worth, Not Starvation

I sat in a Bennigans with my mom.

She was in town visiting, and we had just finished shopping. I’m not even sure what we talked about that evening. However, I remember that once we stopped talking, my plate was empty.

On that day I started eating again.

It was a baby step toward getting my life back, and banishing the voices in my head.

I never remember a day that the “skinny” voices weren’t there. From the time puberty hit and I grew boobs and smooshy thighs, they started chanting in my head.

“You’re fat.”

“You’re thighs are too big.”

“You’re ugly.”

“You’re worthless.”

Looking back now, I know those voices were liars, but at the time they were truth.

By sixth grade, I was dieting and exercising excessively. Each day after school, I’d pull on sweatpants and grapevine my way through a workout video, and then reward myself with carrot sticks. I lost myself in a world of imaginary flaws, believing something that wasn’t true. My body was a horror to be hidden, fat and ugly.  No one would want me. I was in a relentless tug-of-war, my body the rope.

This went on for decades until I hit bottom, and I finally saw the results of my abuse: 90 pounds, ribcage poking through translucent skin, hair falling out in clumps. People seeing me would think I had a serious illness. I did — poor body image. This was one illness, however, that only I could cure.

That was almost 15 years ago, and finally at the ripe age of 40 I can say I’m in remission from anorexia.

See, you are never really cured. People think you are, because you are eating and move through life like everything is fine, but there are days when it’s not.

self worth

On days when the stress of juggling all the balls of life makes me insane, or when I pick up a magazine and see emaciated airbrushed women, the switch is flipped and the voices return. I become a woman on the edge ready to dive back into a life of starvation.

But I can’t anymore.

I’ve come too far.

I’m not that insecure girl from 15 years ago.

Now I’m a mom and a triathlete.

Now living a healthy life is more important than smooshy thighs, cellulite or numbers on a scale.
Now it’s about self-worth.  NOT starvation.

I’m sharing my story in honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder there is help and hope. The voices don’t need to control your life anymore.

Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


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