Read the answers from Part 1 here.
Are you underweight or at a normal weight?
Although I do not exhibit many of the physical signs and symptoms of anorexia like abnormal blood counts, thinning hair, and loss of menstruation (I get my blood tested fairly often and have perfect levels of everything, my hair is actually growing in thicker now than it had in the past few months, and I get my menses monthly and regularly because I’m on the Pill), based on my height I am currently considered underweight but am working on getting myself (healthily and steadily) back up to my happy, normal weight.
What’s your favorite snack?
My favorite snacks come and go in cycles. Lately, it has been either apples, bananas, or carrots and peanut butter. It really just depends on what I’m craving, how hungry I am, and for how long it has to hold me over for. Sometimes I’ll make mini pizzerts or eat a bowl of granola, but more often than not snacks are fruit. Have to get in my 5-a-day somehow!
Why are you allowed to be so underweight? My docs force me to gain.
I’m not “allowed” to be the weight that I currently am. I am working with my doctors and counselors to increase my weight back up into the normal, healthy range for me. I am still well above being low enough in weight to justify hospitalization or other extreme intervention. They all know, as well as my mother with whom I live, that I am working on increasing my intake and weight after months of struggling with my IBS and lack of proper medication with which to control it. I hope that my planned upcoming What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) posts will dispel any doubts that readers may have that I restrict in any way or am not getting enough calories to at least maintain my current weight as my body adjusts to increased food intake and medication schedules. My doctors have been tracking my weight and, believe it or not, I am gaining.
Do you find it difficult to be balancing recovery with college life?
I am fortunate in that I came into college with lots of Advanced Placement credit, meaning that many of my required classes were completed before I even set foot on campus. Couple this with being able to take summer classes and I’m able to maintain taking only 12-14 credits a semester in addition to the 10 hours a week that I work as an assistant in an office. I make myself a priority and so have probably missed out on many opportunities because of it (club meetings, intramural sports, frat parties).
However, I do not regret any of it, because I’ve made lifelong changes that I want to continue past graduation and I truly believe that those behaviors begin before you get a diploma. Having a strong support system in my mother, boyfriend, father, friends, and this awesome online community has helped tremendously as well. I did not have any of this when I was 13 and first going through recovery and it really has made all the difference the second time around.
Did you ever live in a dorm, and if so how did the experience affect your ED?
I lived in a dorm during freshman year, as was required of my college major at the time (a residential program in Biochemistry/Biotechnology). I arranged to live with a girl I knew from high school who had also gone through an eating disorder (though not anorexia like me). To be honest, my ED was not a factor at all during my freshman year. I was more interested in partying and not failing my high-level science courses.
Although my ED was not in the forefront that year in the dorm, I adopted bad eating and health behaviors while I was there and was one of the major reasons that I did not want to repeat living in the dorms. I wanted to be able to have access to a kitchen and make all of my own meals because vegetarian (and especially vegan) options are extremely limited (basically, salad). I was part of the typical “get delivery at 2am because I can” crowd and had my fair share of Pop-Tarts and Red Bull energy drinks during that time period. I hardly worked out or did anything active outside of walking to my classes and parties and taking the stairs whenever possible.
I unknowingly also adopted the common habit among college females known as “drunkorexia”. Drunkorexia is not an actual word or accepted condition, but it refers to when college women eat less so that they can drink more alcohol when they go out and conserve calories. This was all so that I could become more drunk by drinking less. For the record, I know that underage drinking is against the law and I no longer drink. Actually, even small amounts of alcohol now make me feel very sick and, now that I’m learning more about nutrition, I am more careful as to what I put into my body.
If anything, it was this past year living in a highly stressful apartment with people that I did not know that lead to me regressing into old ED habits. It was because of this that I went through the lengthy and frustrating process of getting my lease broken and moving back home to live with my mother. I am a little nervous about next year, during which I will be moving into a different apartment with a different roommate, but I’m hopeful that the steps that I take in the next 4 months will prepare me better for that situation so that there is not a repeat performance of the past year. I am currently planning on living at home senior year so that I can save money to buy a car, which I will need after graduation for my internship.
What do you want your career to be?
I want to become a Registered Dietician (RD). What exactly I want to do as an RD is another question. I think that I want to work in clinical in a hospital or other form of doctor’s office, at least to begin. If I could ultimately go in to private practice, that would be amazing, but I know that that is risky. I think that it goes without saying that I still have a lot to think about and plan for. I really don’t know what the future holds for me, and I know that no matter how much I plan, some things I can’t control and will happen no matter how many lists and plans I make.
I’m now on Formspring! I plan on doing a Q&A post once I get enough responses. Seriously, ASK ME ANYTHING. My running, family, school, ED, nothing is off limits. And it’s completely anonymous, so don’t hold back. I hope to have even more of these Q + A posts when I get even more questions! Perhaps these (above) have given you a few ideas?