Skinny does not mean beautiful

by Krsana Asnani

I was sixteen when my eating issues started. I was studying away from home at this time at a boarding school known as TASIS. Part of it started because a boy called me fat and it continued with comparison to my friends. For the first time ever I started avoiding the dining hall. During meal times in boarding school I would sit in my room and choose not to leave. If I did eat, that meant throwing up. I would willingly stick two fingers down my throat, and make myself throw up. That was the way I made myself believe I was healthier. 

 

After that year I moved back to London to live with my parents and attend the American School in London (ASL), the school I attended from 11-16. At ASL I was alright for the most part. I was reconnecting with old friends and although ASL wasn’t my strongest time I stayed healthy and I felt more at home. There’s something about being in a school one went to at such a young age.

 

The following year I started university. I attended Elon University in North Carolina. I wanted an experience like no other and had such high hopes. Unfortunately, Elon was not what I expected and my depression kicked back in.  My depression and anorexia worked alongside one another. This was another year of me never entering a dining hall. I remember waking up and maybe having a bowl of cereal. Other days meant I would get a frozen yoghurt later in the afternoon. With no full meals what so ever, all my energy came from the tiny little bit of cereal/yoghurt sugar my body was taking in. 

 

This was the year the scale became my obsession. Every day was like another competition. If I weighed 48kg I knew I could weigh less than that. I was in so much control. I would weigh myself four times a day and I would compete with the number. The scale was my competition. But the real competition was between myself and I. 

 

Summers at home meant my parents were in charge. However, I could still choose to have a small bowl of yoghurt for lunch and very few bites for dinner. This summer, I admitted I needed help. My psychiatrist recommended me to a nutritionist. When I saw him, he did a lot of blood work. He was measuring the facts such as cholesterol, protein, and iron levels. The diet I got from this nutritionist scared me a lot. He recommended three meals a day with a snack. Although this was normal, in my mind, the mirror would not be staring back at me and telling me I was pretty. In my head, skinny meant pretty. 

 

I remember coming home and taking everything as a compliment. “You lost so much weight.” “Your hip bones are showing.” “You look so small and skinny.” My response was always “thank you.” Somewhere in the back of my head I knew it was not healthy, however, in my own world it seemed correct. 

 

The next September, I transferred to Boston University. When I first moved to Boston I was so small I believe my 12-year-old brother weighed more than me. I weighed 34KG during my first semester. Not once did I use my dining plan to enter a dining hall. 34KG meant I could get smaller, right? No. this was the year I began listening to my psychiatrist and my therapist. This was the year I beat anorexia. For years there was a voice in my head saying, “don’t eat, skinny is pretty.” But soon enough, I found a new way to gain control.  I did not have to listen to that voice. I could be in charge. This is when my real recovery began. 

 

I moved to Boston at the age of 19. Here I am at the age of 21 and I am so proud to say I have been fighting anorexia for two years now. Every day is still a small challenge with food. There are days where I do not enjoy food and there are days where I enjoy it too much that I binge. However, this is all part of my journey. Eating disorders affect so many people within my generation. I am beyond proud to say I am in control of my own body. Skinny does not mean beautiful. With each day, I am becoming more confident and prouder of my body. At the end of the day, nothing hurts more than your eating disorder will. I encourage everyone to support the youth that struggles with eating disorders. This disorder could be anorexia, bulimia, restrictive food intake, rumination, or even pica. Your eating disorder does not control you. You are one hundred percent in control. 

"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself". Lois McMaster Bujold