Anorexia – I Almost Exercised Myself To Death

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Anorexia, particularly Sports Anorexia is an eating disorder that started in her teens. Robyn Baker describes her journey to recovery and what was happening before she started an unhealthy relationship with her body, food and exercise. She was feeling intense pressure scholastically and her home life was unpredictable as her father was an alcoholic. She was overwhelmed and didn’t know how to handle the stress in her life. At an attempt to make herself feel better, she cut back on what she was eating because she noticed that girls feel better about themselves when they lost weight. What started as an innocent attempt to boost her happiness, snowballed into an obsessive mental illness and costly eating disorder. She was consumed by controlling her weight, eventually hindering her school work and taking over her life.

A therapist put it best when she told Robyn, “Genetics will load the gun but your environment will pull the trigger.”

Eventually, Robyn’s weight dropped to 96 lbs at 5’7″ and that’s when she was hospitalized. She was in inpatient care for 3 months and almost missed her graduation from high school.

After the first time in treatment, she never fully reached her goal weight and continued to struggle. She counted every single calorie and was very rigid in how many calories she ate. Robyn began to exercise with the notion that if she worked out while she was gaining weight she would gain muscle and not fat. Her thinking was that at least she would look better and also have a higher resting metabolic rate. She became addicted to exercise and used it as a way to purge her calories like a bulimic does when they throw up their food. She didn’t take a day off from exercise for at least 4 years if not longer.

As a result of the abuse to her body, she didn’t have her period for 7 years and developed osteoporosis. Robyn suffered from a stress fracture in her hip due to training for a half marathon and weak bone density, an injury that is only common in the elderly.

Realizing that Robyn was still not recovering, her parents and my medical team (dietician, therapist and general practitioner) all intervened and gave her the ultimatum to go back into treatment or they would not help out financially with her medical care and her therapist and dietician would stop seeing her as their patient. She went back into treatment 10 years after my first time in treatment and was in for another 3-4 months. She took full advantage of the process and was able to maintain recovery.

If you are suffering from an eating disorder and are taking steps to recovery, Robyn suggests getting help because doing it by yourself is nearly impossible. You need someone to sit with you while you eat to make sure you finish everything.

Robyn is now married, has a 16 month old son and is starting her own business. She is also on the board of the non profit, Rewrite Beautiful, which teaches girls that beauty is not physical or based on appearance, but rather it is an action and it is being kind, creative and strong. She is able to eat what she likes because she has learned to follow her instincts as to what she wants to eat which is called, intuitive eating.

If Robyn could talk to her 17 year old self, 2 days before she started that diet, she would tell her…

“You are enough. You are beautiful. You are great exactly as you are. There is nothing more you need to do to prove yourself.” #KirstyTV

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