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Confessions- College

November 10, 2009

College… well, my bulimia subsided for a while in college. I was eating well, working out, enjoying the scenery in Seattle, etc. All was fine and dandy until the cult crisis – ask me if you want to know, but I’ll spare you the details for now. Lets just say that these two people and all their friends didn’t make things very easy for me. I had severe anxiety and I failed classes, and fell into a big, dark depression for two months. Thankfully, I had some amazing friends to help me. Also, toward the end of the year I went through a terrible breakup with my boyfriend of 4 years. All of these things lead me to needing some control in my life, and i started binging and purging again. I noticed during my freshman year that when I was in a high stress environment, or feeling like I was spiraling out of control, the one thing I could hold on to was my bulimia.

I took a year off from college, and worked for my dad. During this time, I started eating my feelings, as I almost always do, and gained quite a bit of weight. My dad signed me up to work with a trainer, and also do a sprint training program. I traveled to Tanzania in the summer of 2005 to volunteer in HIV/AIDS clinics. While there I was infected with Malaria and a bacterial infection in my intestines. Since then I’ve had some not so fun issues with food and my GI track.

I started my sophomore year at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2005. I found my roommates through a random roommate search through University Housing. That first year I was living on beer, no sleep and too much pizza. I dont know what it was about that first year at school, but I was incredibly lonely, and looking for something to hold on to. My roommates were great and have become some of my best friends, however I still felt lost. I spent 3 nights a week drinking and going out with friends, and spent the majority of my free time sleeping, doing homework or watching TV. I worked at a mexican restaurant that had delicious and very high-calorie food that I couldn’t say no to, and basically fell off the deep end, health-wise. The rec center was too far from my house and I always came up with an excuse to stay in when other people were working out.

What started out as the only thing that I could control, ended up being one of the main things I couldn’t control. During that time, my life was a little out of control, I was going out too often, drinking too much, staying up too late and eating poorly. I don’t think I exercised more than once every two weeks. I was not in a good place. I was binging and purging a lot. I told my roommates, but I don’t think they really took me seriously, and when I needed to talk, they didn’t really want to listen. The idea of someone throwing up frequently in the shared bathroom was gross. One roommate would offer help, when I felt tempted to throw up, I’d just go hang out with her to keep myself busy until the temptation went away. Sometimes I’d eat just so I could throw up. My roommates all had boyfriends, and I did not. I felt so alone and not good enough.

Fad diets are the worst. I’ve tried all sorts, South Beach, no carb, no sugar, high protein, and vegetarian. None have worked, I don’t like the idea of diet restrictions. They don’t work for me. I have no self-control because I’ve taught myself that it’s okay to eat something because I can throw up later. Before the bulimia, I could say no to almost anything. With bulimia, it’s tough.

At a Christmas party that winter, I ran into a guy under the mistletoe.  We’d met a couple times at football games, but never really talked. Of all the people I’d been introduced to that fall, he was the only guy who ever remember my name. After some encouragement from friends standing by, we shared a little kiss. He left a few days later to study abroad in Singapore, but we chatted a little via facebook (as much as I hate it, I can’t help but love it.) He sent me a message when he got back, asking if I wanted to get together, which of course I did. There was just something about that kiss. And, the rest is history. That guy under the mistletoe was Ben, my husband.

Thank goodness I met Ben. I’ve never needed to be dolled up all the time in front of him, I’d never felt like he thinks negatively of me. I think that’s one of the reasons I love him so much. Regardless of how much I’d like to change about myself, I don’t need to do for him. The only thing I need to change for him, is my attitude about life. When I’m feeling bad about myself, I take it out on him and that’s not fair.

College is still going on for me, though it has come to a close for all of my friends.  I still work 40 hours at week and go to class at night. The coinciding schedule and lifestyle is very, very old. I don’t have the energy to work out and I barely have the time to eat right. But, I can say I haven’t made myself throw up in two months, and that’s a big deal for me. Sometimes I think I use my bulimia as a crutch, as a reason behind my weight gain. I haven’t thrown up in months, and I’ve defintely gained weight. Did I gain weight because I stopped throwing up, or because classes started again and I don’t have enough time to workout? I dont know. I think it’s because I haven’t been working out.

The months before our wedding last year I was a workout freak. I was running a lot, lifting weights, doing core workouts. I was feeling good. My goal was to be able to look back at our wedding photos and not think I looked fat. Which, thank heavens, I’d never felt that beautiful in my entire life! I know there was part of me that was thinking “250 people are going to be staring at me in a white dress, I have to look good!” I hate that I need an actual event, or fear of people judging my belly to motivate me.

Since the wedding, I’ve experienced the equivalent to the “freshman 15.” I’ve kind of let myself go. In the past year I’ve gained all the weight back, 11 lbs, and I know I’ve lost muscle mass. None of my pants fit right, and my shirts are all just a little too snug around the waist. Unfortunately, for years I’ve based my health and happines on appearance and less on physical and emotional health.

If I need to change anything, I need to change my opinion of myself.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 10, 2009 12:10 pm

    I think all of us get a little out of control at times, but the ones who finally manage to take charge of their bad selves and succeed are, always, an inspiration for those who are still struggling. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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