Monday, March 1, 2010


Amy B

"Exercise Addiction

I am a 23 year old woman with anorexia athletica which, to put it bluntly, means I am a gym junkie. I have suffered with anorexia nervosa with bouts of bulimia for about 6 years. I consider myself lucky that I wasn’t captured by this illness as a young child because living with any kind of eating disorder is complete misery. I have discovered on my journey those that are pro anorexia and others that have little or no understanding of the seriousness of this life-ruining sickness. I have to state that it is not something to be proud of nor is it any way of life as with any kind of obsession it’s incredibly unhealthy and WILL take its toll on your mental and physical health.

my B, anorexia athletica

I got captured in eating-disorder thoughts when I decided to lose a few pounds. I was around the low end of healthy but wanted to lose just a little bit of weight. This soon escalated and became ‘just a little more’ and determination to push it that little bit further. Before I knew it I was obsessing over every inch of my body, counting calories, weighing food, over exercising, purging food, hiding food… I had become hooked.

I started by purging food and was under the belief that it was okay to do it occasionally. I know now it was just the beginning of a very slippery slope, which has caused a lot of heartache and upset everyone around me.

my B, anorexia athletica

I began restricting food and over exercising in a desperate bid to lose weight. I always felt bigger than my friends and disliked my body from a very young age. No matter what I weighed it was never low enough and I despised what I saw in the mirror or when I looked at my body. As the weight dropped I received compliments that only fueled me to lose even more weight.

my B, anorexia athletica

The more I starved the hungrier and more deprived I became, leading to full-scale binge episodes and hours of vomiting. I have scarred my knuckles, ruined my teeth and burst blood vessels because of bulimic tendencies. I have oestopenia because of anorexia and my depression has spiraled out of control because of the eating-disordered behaviors.

Throughout the past few years I have been hospitalised 3 times due to the mental and physical toll that anorexia and bulimia has taken on my body. I have had moments of clarity where I have made improvements and started to get well only to fall from a great height into another trap. It can literally take a small comment from someone to having a bad day and I will start to attack myself.

Amy B, anorexia athletica

I am currently consumed by my exercise addiction, which has taken over my life leaving me barely any time to even tidy my house let alone socialise with others. I thrive on the exercise high whether it is from aerobic classes, gym circuits, swimming, cycling or running. Anything will do so long as I burn the small amounts of food I eat and I get the exercise high. I love the feeling I get from exercise but would like to have a healthier approach to one of my passions in life. I am aware that I am not the only one that has a gym addiction as throughout my time spent working out I have recognized the regular people but also the excessive pushing themselves to the limit about to collapse citizens.

People joke about it and think I should just get a grip but sadly it isn't as easy as that otherwise I wouldn't be in the situation I find myself. I often find myself just wanting to go that little bit further and feel compelled to stay in the gym. If I leave earlier than anticipated or god forbid take a rest day I feel insanely guilty, distressed and angry with myself which then leads me to turn to other eating-disorder behaviors. It’s a vicious cycle and I have no idea how I will escape.

my B, anorexia athletica, beforeAmy, before her eating disorders

Many males and females are suffering and the eating disorder 'specialist' services treat you like an adolescent child and make you feel like you have brought this horrible disease on yourself. The approaches taken are ridiculous with way too much focus on weight and giving you trouble for having thoughts and feelings that you have little or no control over.

Amy B, anorexia athletica

The illness is not about being thin and beautiful; it’s just the only way I know how to cope with my feelings of deep dislike for myself. Having been left so long to deal with this illness alone it has left me very resentful towards people that want to change me, taking away what has essentially and very sadly became part of my identity. I would hate for this to happen to anyone else and hope that somewhere there is more help for people with this illness. I wish that a light bulb would turn on and I could wake up and leave this hell behind me but for that to happen I feel like I would need a small miracle.

However I do consider myself in recovery and I am going to try and fight this illness, and fingers crossed I can look back one day and feel elated to have overcome this mind-consuming disorder.

Amy B"

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Megs said...

Just wanted to say thank you for having the courage to post your story.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing. respect for the courage to show pics.

i know this probably really stupid of me, but why not focus on getting toned. put on some muscle, as a goal? you can still hit the gym but you need to really up your protein intake?

i dunno, just a thought.

Katie said...

Hey, just wanted to say thankyou for your story, i was once addicted to the gym, i would work out for 3 hours on the same machine just to feel better but ultimately it made me despise going to the gym beacause i no longer enjoyed it, eventually i was banned from the gym and no i enjoy what i call "natural" exercise like shopping or just walking to the shop i hope one day you can be like this too, i guess it will take some time but you know those days of resting may save your life. good luck and i wish you strength xxx

Anonymous said...

She was so beautiful...
Thank you for sharing your story - you're helping others to recover immensely.