My Struggle with the Freshman 15

BY RACHEL WONG

This semester, I exposed myself – quite literally – in one of the most personal pieces that I have ever written for my student paper. The paper is circulated widely throughout each of Simon Fraser University’s three campuses, and has a massive online presence as well. In the article, I came clean about my unhealthy struggles trying to avoid putting on weight in my first year of college. As post-secondary students, we always joke around about the infamous freshman 15 – pigging out to no end and having a terrible time managing our weight due to stress eating and a lack of time to cook or do adequate exercise. Though the term is often used lightly, in my case, the freshman 15 was ultimately what pushed me to developing an eating disorder. 400300p2999ednmain1840avoid-the-freshman-15.jpg

I was never really happy with my body at any point in my life. Looking at old photo albums would make me cringe at terrible fashion choices, chubby cheeks and a core section that I didn’t hide very well. Puberty was good to me I guess, as I had stretched out (and have since stopped at the ginormous height of 5’2″), gained some pretty reasonable sized breasts, and developed somewhat nice hips.

But I lamented day and night that I wasn’t skinny enough. This was my struggle all throughout high school – I wanted to be skinny, but I didn’t want to give up my eating habits or my relationship with the couch and the TV. My only real activity was gym class and running late to class.

Then senior year rolled around, and I reminded myself that at the end of it all, I had to be in front of all my peers in some sexy dress that made me look like a princess. So at the beginning of my senior year, I made it my goal to slim down by any means – even if it meant cutting back on some junk food, eating more healthy meals and actually taking physical activity seriously.

Throughout high school I had fluctuated between 110 and 120 pounds. By the night of my graduation, I was 105 pounds. 18 years old, 5’2″, and 105 pounds.

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What it means to be recovered

BY STEPHANIE BERTOLO

Yesterday kicked off Eating Disorder Awareness Week. With my last post already bringing awareness to why I, among others, came to suffer with eating disorders, I wanted to dedicate this one to what it means to be recovered. There is a lot of ambiguity around the topic, yet it is certainly one that needs to be discussed – keeping those who have recovered in the conversation.

I feel as though there is an idealized form of recovery, filled with sunshine, flower crowns, and no desire to look in the mirror because you know your inner beauty radiates to the rest of the world.

If, of course, that is you or the goal you wish to achieve, then I support you entirely.demi.jpg

But that is not my recovery. And I feel as though it may not be for many people.

For me, recovery is living with all its uncertainties: the good days and the bad ones, the progress and the setbacks, hating the illness then wishing it still consumed me.

There were days I spent heaving over a toilet bowl and skipping meals, begging my body to let me feel empty again. I realize I cannot starve myself as I used to be able to, which is the most dreadful feeling of weakness that you can imagine.

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7 Tips on Shopping with a Poor Body Image

BY STEPHANIE BERTOLO

Let me be completely honest here, there were a good number of years during which going to the mall felt like stepping onto an emotional battlefield. Bombarded by images of confident models with clothing that hugs them in all the right places. Struggling to find things that I liked and looked good on me. Sifting for what felt like an eternity through the sizes of clothing that are all too small for me. Sizes that not too long ago I could fit into. It was every trigger imaginable, all under one roof.

The majority of my change room experiences resulted in tears. In my mind, I looked hideous in everything. I was hopeless. I’d leave the mall empty-handed, losing the last few drops of self-confidence I had before I went in.

It took me a long time to gain a sense of self-love for my body. And it was not done through shopping. However, it is hard to completely forego buying clothes, especially since I needed a new size of jeans every season. Thankfully, I was able to find ways to turn shopping into an experience that often helped, rather than hindered, my body confidence. Continue reading

Is This Really What I Look Like?

By Nathalie Pye

Weight is a very sensitive issue for a lot of people. And as much as I try to believe that my appearance isn’t everything, and that I’m not influenced by the media, I am.

Last week I was getting ready to go to a show at my old high school, and no matter what I wore I absolutely hated myself. No amount of makeup or covering up could hide the fact that my thighs were too fat, my hips too wide and my stomach too big. It also didn’t help that I had to go shopping earlier and I didn’t think that anything looked good on me.

On my way to the show that night, here’s what was going through my head: I’m going to my high school and going to see people I haven’t seen in five years. Will they notice? Will they care? Does that say something bad about me? Why do I care so much? My. Size. Doesn’t. Mean. Anything.
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