V = Victory Over Anorexia #SpanksA2Z 18

V = Victory Over Anorexia

I have struggled with food my whole life.  The first two years of my life, we were hungry most of the time.  There was a two week period where we survived on one pot of soup.  Although not as often, I was still hungry most days until I was seven years old when my grandmother moved in with us and we started having roasts, stews, soups and homemade pies, cakes and cookies daily.   It was common to wake up to homemade donuts from the fryer.  She had run a boarding house for years and we definitely reaped the benefits. 

I started college and gained forty pounds and started dieting.  I started smoking so I could lose weight.   I lost ten pounds immediately.  Then I got on the pill, hoping to lose more weight.  Yahtzee!  Ten more pounds.  Then I got a job in a psychiatric wing of the local hospital and sat across the hall from the Eating Disorders Clinic.  I learned all the tricks of anorexia and bulemia and dove into it with both feet.   For four years my daily intake was two Dexatrim (remember those??), several or more  laxatives, a six pack of Tab (remember that?), an apple and ten saltine crackers a day.  I am 5’9″ and have been told (several times by doctors) I should never weigh less than 150 pounds for my bone structure.  After four years of this diet regimen, I weighed 117 pounds and routinely had people asking me if I had leukemia.  I had two hospitalizations for two weeks both times for stomach issues.  I had successfully caused Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS.

I met my husband and he diligently spent the next year helping me overcome this and I gained 20 pounds and was not a practicing anorexic.   However,  I fought it mentally every minute I was awake for another 10 years.  I can probably still tell you the calorie count for most foods.  I counted everything.  Finally one day I realized that I wasn’t struggling with it anymore.  I could go for days without thinking about calories and how much I weighed on the scale.

However, then I started gaining weight.  I am still told that I am not as large as I think I am, but my perception of my body is distorted.  I literally have said to my husband or daughter, “Am I the same size as her?”  Or “Am I that large when you look at me?”  Usually they are both shocked and just stare at me and say, “Do you see yourself like that?” Yes, yes, I do.

I have victory over anorexia.   Now to have victory over food and the perception of my body are the next goals.

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18 thoughts on “V = Victory Over Anorexia #SpanksA2Z

  • Natasha Knight

    That post made me a little sad. I think it's amazing how much suffering we can cause ourselves and the pic with treating the mind brings it home – it's always something more than the physical. I'm glad you have our husband who loved you enough to help you.

  • katherinedeane

    This was such an intimate post, Megan. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us. I can honestly say I empathize with you completely.
    After many failed attempts at beating anorexia and bulimia, I finally found something that helped. Becoming pregnant with my daughter (after a very painful first miscarriage), and then knowing I had to do whatever it took to keep her safe, helped push me to accept the help offered.

    But, like you, I understand the whole perception thing. Depending on my stress levels, I can backpedal pretty quickly.
    Phew, I had written more, but am deleting.
    Another time. 🙂
    Just know that I am so thankful that you won that challenge, and are recovering. I will pray for you for continued strength.

    • Megan Michaels

      It's a struggle few understand. It is much more a mental struggle than physical Mentally I think I will struggle with good until I die. I don't struggle with the disease anymore but the perceptions and counting are always there! Thanks for responding. We definitely understand each other!

  • Stevie MacFarlane

    Wow Megan, I so understand where you've been and where you are now. Bless you for sharing your experiences. When you've been from one end of the spectrum to the other in your life, I think it's natural to have a skewered body image. Someday I want to lay on the floor and have someone draw my outline so I can see the truth. I also think of myself as much taller than I am lol.

  • Megan Michaels

    Haha. I also think I'm talker. I used to be almost 5'9" but 3 skipped disks have made me shorter now I'm 5'7" Having a chalk outline is a great idea–mmmm. I want yo be alive though so don't get any ideas!! Lol

  • Carrie M

    When I was a teen, whenever I gout angry, frustrated or anxious, I used to eat all I could find at home and then spend several hours feeling sick and throwing up. To this day, I still feel the urge to do it whenever I know I'm consumming something more caloric than a glass of water. It is very hard to cope with self image issues.

    • Megan Michaels

      It's a very difficult disease. I have truly been free for a while but it lurks in the background and has scarred my ability to see clearly. It's hard to overcome the internal voice and enjoy a meal with friends and family. I hope you can find peace and healing at some point. It's exhausting. Take care…

  • Joelle Casteel

    Ah yes, the tricks you learn- I had a girlfriend who was bulimic and I picked up "safe binging" tips from her- that's just a painful notion ack. I always wonder though, the notion of victory over, being a recovered anorexic. You are so right; it's in our heads. I'm currently over my recommended by BMI, although my doctor doesn't even agree with the tables. My anorexic eating habits triggered hypoglycemia. Between that and my veganism, yeah, I can't go more than 3 or so hours without eating. Hard to lose weight with that. And yeah, my body perception is still all off.

    • Megan Michaels

      It's so hard on the body! I think my stomach and intestines are finally healed but the mental is always harder to heal. And I don't think I have ever seen myself correctly. Even when I was a size 4 I was still wishing I was thin–it never makes sense. I hope you beat it too–at least on some level. But more than that happy!!

  • Renee Rose

    I wonder if there are a large number of former/current eating disordered submissives/spankos. I am a dancer, which pretty much means, eating disorder guarantee. I'm not sure I know any dancers who didn't have one at some point in their career. Also, all the cutters I've known have been dancers, although maybe I just know that because we change together in the dressing rooms. I'm sure there's a relationship between body and self, punishment and desire. I also know that getting into a power dynamic with someone else over eating is unhealthy. I did better when I moved out and no longer had my mom looking over my shoulder asking what I'd eaten that day. They have also found eating disorders create auto-immune conditions, which makes sense, right? Your mind has turned against your body, so naturally your cells obey the mind. I could go on and on… I'm glad you brought this topic up, because I feel certain it is relevant to our community. Congratulations on learning to love yourself and your body for all its perfection. 🙂

    • Megan Michaels

      Interesting that you brought up cutting. I just found out that eating disorders and cutting are in the same grouping psychiatrically. I never knew they were related. As for auto immune that makes sense. About the time ny husband helped ne through this I got chronic fatigue and Epstein Barr. Very interesting. I am thinking there may be a few of us!

  • PK

    I've never had this struggle. I am over weight – by normal doctor's standards and I wish I was smaller, but I can imagine the difficulty this presents people. I know a reasonable diet and regular exercise is what I should look into. Again this makes so much sense in my head, not so much it actions.

    • Megan Michaels

      I am overweight now too. I have been overweight since the obsession was "cured". There is a woman I work with who is truly dying of anorexia and people say why don't you talk to her? I have told them, there is no anorexic who wants to see me and hear "See you can be cured too?" I used to say, I would rather die than be heavy. Put me in a casket skinny please. I have lived both sides of the spectrum, both have their issues. But I truly enjoy life now and love family gatherings again.

    • Megan Michaels

      Thanks, Cara. Definitely doing better and my husband is truly amazing. I wasn't sure about sharing and almost deleted it last night. Had it highlighted and ready to hit delete. I'm glad I kept it up. I think people needed to hear it and know it's okay–we aren't alone. Thanks for coming by!