OPINION: What it’s like to have an eating disorder in college

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As I entered college, I was warned about the “Freshman 15” and even the “Sophomore 20.” Your weight goes up by double digits, they say. I kept telling people, “That’s not going to be me.”

Well, I was wrong.

Winter break came around and it had been some time since I’d seen my parents, so I headed home to Dallas. My parents noticed I gained a little weight, but not a lot.

I didn’t believe them. I thought I was the same weight as when I started college.

The break came to an end, and it was time to head back to school in Kansas. I moved into my first college apartment where I lived with three other girls. I knew two of them very well, and the other I was just getting to know.

Some of us decided to start working out. I would look at my roommates in comparison to me. They were skinny and fit, but when I looked at myself in the mirror, all I saw was fat.

This was when I began to notice how out of shape I really was, so I started to work out a little more. I started by running miles and miles on end.

Then, I started to restrict my food intake. Some days I would eat a few snacks or just have one meal. It was very little.

I then wanted to get into weight lifting, so the summer going into my junior year, I started seeing a personal trainer. I would do core, arm and leg exercises every time I went to the gym, as well as cardio.

When junior year came around, I started to eat even less — and when I did eat, I would purge afterward.

It got to the point where my family and friends saw my weight loss. I took a leave of absence from school and got help.

I’m now in recovery, and I still struggle everyday, but I tell myself to not give up, to not let my eating disorder define me.

My eating disorder made it hard for me to concentrate in school. Now that I’m in recovery, I’ve regained my focus. I’m on track to graduate when I want to, and I’m doing the best I can in my classes.

Having an eating disorder in college isn’t easy, but when you get the help you need, you will be successful. If you are struggling in some way or another, reach out for help. I know it may seem scary, but trust me — it’s worth it in the end.

Gabrielle Albertson is a senior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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