Mental illness and body image are two topics of extreme relevance to me, and I feel as though it is extremely important to be open and vulnerable in order to communicate the reality of both topics.
The development of my eating disorder began when I was in grade 11. I have always been active and interested in nutrition and healthy eating, but over time food and exercise became a means for me to exhibit rigid control over my mind and body. I refused to consume over 700 calories a day at my lowest point (the daily recommendation is minimum 1200) and was running for at least 60 minutes every day after school, on top of attending rugby practice four days a week. I am 5’9, and prior to developing an eating disorder, I weighed approximately 160 pounds. I weighed approximately 115 pounds at my lowest.
I want to share my experiences with mental illness and body image issues. A 2002 survey revealed 1.5% of Canadian women aged 15–24 years struggle with an eating disorder, therefore I do not believe it is something to be ashamed of or to live in fear of. It is something that many individuals can relate to, and I think being able to converse with someone who has gone through a similar experience is one of the best ways to come to terms with the fact that resolution needs to be sought.
Eating disorder discussion can be difficult, but it does not have to be done alone. This blog aims to provide a helpful resource to any person struggling, and to further demonstrate that communication and education regarding mental illness are key.