Did your family and friends notice your anorexia and bulimia?
I was always thin growing up. So, because my weight-loss was gradual, it was not that noticeable to my friends at school. However, my mother noticed changes in both my behaviors and weight. She always had an idea something was going on even before I admitted it to her. I dropped to around 102 pounds at one point in my sophomore year in high school. There was no hiding that.
When did you realize that you needed help?
I had an episode in high school when I was shopping with my mom: I fainted after not eating for days. My mom had known about my problem and was very supportive in helping me eat. However, she told me I had to want to get help, and that no one could force it on me. At that point, I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep hiding my eating disorders as easily. The summer after I graduated high school, I noticed I had a lot of blood coming from my throat when I spit. I noticed it more when I brushed my teeth. I knew I needed to stop. I had damaged my esophagus badly. I needed to change.
What kind of treatment did you go through?
Until the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I never sought professional treatment for my eating disorders. My family supported me dealing with anorexia and bulimia through high school and college, but the stress and new challenges of being at a university were eventually too much to handle. I knew I needed to make a decision. I needed help to stop me from going back down the unhealthy path I had known in high school. I sought help from the student health center on my college campus. I learned how common eating disorders are from my doctor. We made a plan for me to talk to a counselor and reevaluate the way I see my weight on a scale. I got rid of my scale for a year while I learned to not equate my weight to my self-worth. I learned to see that number on the scale in a healthy way. I got counseling and improved my self image and body image.
How is your recovery coming along?
My treatment has been successful so far. A patient is thought to be in recovery for two years after treatment is started. Talking about my experience with anorexia and bulimia has helped me to better understand the diseases themselves and heal. I have a better understanding of my past behaviors. But I do still think about my eating disorders in the back of my mind.
What advice do you have for other young women and men who are facing eating disorders?
Don't feel ashamed of what you are going through! So many more people go through this than are willing to talk about it. Many times we only see severe cases in the media or on television. A lot of the time, that's the problem. Some people can't identify with the serious cases of eating disorders they see on TV and they don't get help as a result. Eating disorders don't have a face. They affect so many different kinds of people from all walks of life. Many times, eating disorders are happening right in front of us. No one should feel afraid to reach out for help.
What kinds of things do you like to do to stay healthy?
I have always been active from being a cheerleader. After high school, I stayed active too. I like to snowboard with friends and go to the gym by my house. I also like to eat healthy while still enjoying foods I love with my family.
ultrasound]," says Bevers. Those tests aren't perfect either, but they do have a track record of helping to save lives.