Body Image: a Different Numbers Game

Body Image: a Different Numbers Game

Almost seven years ago, I was told that the cruel way I treated my body was going to eventually kill me if I kept counting calories and restricting my intake at the rate I had been pushing myself. The day my doctor said to me if I were to continue to do these things to myself, I would not live to see my twenties was the day I decided to defy all odds. 

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Body Image: Navigating the Holidays

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Editor's Note: We will be following Trinity on her journey through eating disorder recovery as she learns to accept herself and her body.  It's our hope to shed light on what this disorder looks like from the inside, as well as to provide support for Trinity through her progress.  You'll find Trinity's posts once a month.

Words by Trinity Murray 

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and as some people break out their cozy sweaters and warm spiced lattes to strategize their Secret Santa gift giving others have more chilling thoughts dancing through their heads. Christmas is a time of giving, laughter, snow days, and being surrounded by the ones we love. When your mind tells you that no outfit will look good enough on your oddly shaped body to go to Grandma’s house and that you are not allowed more than one sweet treat a week, it is easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holiday.

I used to love playing in the snow with my big sister when we were younger. I remember once at our favorite aunt’s house we had recruited almost the whole family including my grandma and grandpa to build the largest igloo I have ever seen. We then continued to ride down to the barn on deconstructed cardboard boxes to brush the horses that we grew so fond of over the years before the night was over and we had to go back home. In other instances, we would layer up and spend from sun up to sun down in our backyard pretending we were pro snowboarders training for a competition or imagining that we were trapped in the North Pole. She and I would have stayed outside forever in that make believe world if we could have. When my mom would shout from the house that our soup and hot chocolate were ready, we would race back and toss our gear over heating vents to let them defrost as the savory soup and creamy cocoa warmed us from the inside out.

There came a time in my life that no amount of layering could keep me warm, and the magic of snow days melted away. The family stopped putting up a Christmas tree and decorating the front porch with twinkling lights. The only person in my house that still cared about the beauty of the season was me, but I could not possibly decorate all by myself for long as the energy I had was diminishing just as fast as my family’s spirits. Soup and hot chocolate no longer had a positive impact, and being offered a cookie was a punishment rather than a treat. Everything was looked at in terms of calories. Before Christmas break at school, almost every class threw a party with cookies and cupcakes made by other students and their families. I could not tell you how delicious those were, but I can say how fast my heart raced listening to everyone around me slurping their soda and chomping or crunching their share of the goodies. Coming down the stairs on Christmas morning meant stocking snacks and incredible anxiety towards the events to follow. Going to Grandma’s meant a big meal and dessert which translated to extra restriction a week prior to the gathering. Parties at friends’ houses meant more sweets and fake happiness, and it took every ounce of energy to remain calm and draw no attention to my fear of food.

What has changed in the past few years for me around the holidays is that I am now a gatherer in a family full of hunters. Being the only vegan at family functions can at times be awkward and difficult, but I feel less stress than before now because I don’t have the fear of losing control around sweets and large meals since so much of those things contain non-veg ingredients. I make my own dishes to bring along which helps tremendously as knowing what exactly is going into my body puts my mind at ease. As a fashion major, you would think that I still have that preoccupation with what to wear to these family functions. However, I have come to the realization that I was not put on this planet to impress everyone…I just want to impress myself. If that can be done wearing jeans and a T-shirt, then that is just as nice. The negative thoughts are still there, of course, but my focus is aimed more at catching up with my relatives and making those around me smile instead.

Read more from Trinity here.

Up next ... Losing Weight Didn't Make Me Happy and Body Image in the Fashion World


Trinity is a small town girl studying Fashion Design at Kent State University holding onto the hope of becoming a fashion journalist. Though her passion is for fashion, she enjoys good conversation, great books, and lots of coffee.

Body Image | Mental Health | Eating Disorder | Family

Body Image: Relationships through Eating Disorders

Editor's Note: We will be following Trinity on her journey through eating disorder recovery as she learns to accept herself and her body.  It's our hope to shed light on what this disorder looks like from the inside, as well as to provide support for Trinity through her progress.  You'll find Trinity's posts once a month.

Words by Trinity Murray

Relationships are a beautiful thing. They are a contagious laugh that fills a room, a shoulder to cry on when things get tough, and a hand to hold through thick and thin. But what happens in a relationship when thick and thin have a completely different meaning?

Body image is a serious mind game that not only affects the individual with the issue, but also the people closest to them. My roommate and I, as I have mentioned before, have been together for four years. He is the sweetest guy I have ever met, and he puts up with so much more than he should have to from me sometimes. He is the kind of person that thinks hugs can solve everything, kissing is almost as necessary as breathing, and love can conquer all. That being said, I am at the point in my recovery where I can’t hug a person without focusing on the area that they are touching on my body being too pudgy or not toned enough. When I think of kissing I think of lips, and when I think of lips I think of the food that touches them. Love is powerful, but some days I'm not sure if it can conquer an eating disorder.

I remember one instance just a few months back where neither of us could decide what to do for dinner. There are only so many choices on a college campus as it is, but to make it even more of a challenge we are vegan which really narrows it down. Most days I am not hungry for anything, but I know that food is fuel and without that I can’t keep up with all of the work that comes with being a full time student. That night, I had gotten so frustrated and worked up about us not picking something to eat that I had just laid on the floor of our dorm room and completely broke down. My guy, as amazing as he is, sat down next to me and tried his best to reassure me things were okay. We did not end up having dinner that night, but I do recall starting the next morning off right with my usual breakfast and we carried on. This semester, as assignments pile up and life gets a little more crazy for me, he reminds me when it’s time to take a snack break before I exhaust myself further especially when I’m overworking myself because I get kind of hangry. He carries me through.

Love is powerful, but some days I’m not sure if it can conquer an eating disorder.

I’m not comfortable with my stomach, thighs, hips, rump, or calves. As you probably know, these play a pretty significant role when it comes to intimacy considering that’s basically all of me. If I could do everything in absolute darkness all day I would just so I wouldn’t have to see my jiggly parts. Of course, when I say this I am aware that my weight is still quite below where it should be so saying “jiggle” is blowing it out of proportion.

I am sure my boyfriend is alright with me speaking of this, so I’m just going to say it. We have not yet made love, and it’s not the end of the world. Our love is based off of more than just sex and good looks. Thank goodness for that, because when I look in the mirror it seems as though he drew the short straw getting stuck with this hot mess! Intimate occasions are a big deal to me, as I am allowing someone to see parts of myself that I even like and am trusting that they don’t think the same as me. We are slowly working on that intimate connection, but for now we are working on our education so that we are able to live long and happy lives together when we graduate and have plenty of time for each other. For the attention and love that I receive, and for the caring and understanding nature of his being I owe my other half a million hugs that I hope one day I will be able to deliver with only positive thoughts and the belief that love can conquer all.

Read more from Trinity here.


Trinity is a small town girl studying Fashion Design at Kent State University holding onto the hope of becoming a fashion journalist. Though her passion is for fashion, she enjoys good conversation, great books, and lots of coffee.

Body Image: A Relationship with Food

Editor's Note: We will be following Trinity on her journey through eating disorder recovery as she learns to accept herself and her body.  It's our hope to shed light on what this disorder looks like from the inside, as well as to provide support for Trinity through her progress.  You'll find Trinity's posts once a month.

Words by Trinity Murray

For the first time in a long time I had what I guess you could call a meltdown about food. My last class of the day had finally ended, and my roommate and I walked all the way across campus to get dinner only to find that the one place I wanted something from closed about ten minutes prior to our arrival. So, I went back to my unhealthy habit of ignoring food’s existence and chose to work instead.

As a college student just starting my second year of studying fashion, there is barely time for me to squeeze meals into my routine. Having an increasingly busy schedule and an eating disorder to try and manage poses a problem. I’m either in class or working on projects, sewing seams, drawing oddly shaped fashion figures, showering or, if I’m lucky, sleeping. With a deadline driven life, how else can I handle the situation? Managing time is difficult, but it’s imperative that I somehow make time for the non-studious aspects of life to balance out the stressors with destressors. For instance, fueling my body with what’s necessary to continue running at this pace. Another example being my roommate and I who have been dating for four years. Sometimes it’s important to take extra time with him and focus on each other. But if I can’t find the energy to walk miles and miles between classes and do every homework assignment known to man, then how can I find the energy to do anything else?

So I’ve had this thought in my head all day, of course, and as I passed many students on campus with their noses in their phones this is what I have come up with. Humans are like cell phones in that we have 100% energy when we wake up each morning. As the day goes on, we may use more energy for certain tasks than others. Maybe thirty percent goes to taking out the trash and vacuuming, fifty-five percent goes to doing our job, and before we know it our low battery alert goes off and finding an outlet to plug into becomes more urgent than ever if we don’t want to exhaust ourselves and shut ourselves off from the world. Food is the energy source that we are most familiar with, as there are typically three breaks in the day for us to recharge. From this it’s clear that in order to find the energy we need we must find an outlet that can supply us. But what do we do if we don’t have the time to search for an outlet?

The answer is obviously to make time for what’s necessary, because even if it’s not a want it is most certainly a need. In my psychology class the other day, my professor started by saying “some things in lecture today might promote your general well-being”. So, I sat up in my seat and paid extra attention as she discussed the link between mind and body. We covered everything from Stages of Change that demonstrate the many phases of recovery to tips on how to manage stress like getting enough sleep and socializing. I found myself drawing bubbles around the word “motivation” about a hundred times while the professor mentioned that people who are more motivated to make a change in their life to promote healthier habits are more likely to actually make the change. There’s this thing called self-efficacy which she noted in a relatable context means “believing you can do what you set your mind to do”.

So, in theory we should be able to accomplish all that we have in front of us if we think positively and stay motivated. Starting each day with a full battery is the best way to make sure we have what it takes to get things done. We must be able to recharge periodically throughout the day to keep up with daily demands. Even if we only have time for a snack or a cat nap, a little energy is better than none at all. And finally, stay connected with friends and family who know of your goals and will help you achieve them on good days and bad.

Read more from Trinity here.


Trinity is a small town girl studying Fashion Design at Kent State University holding onto the hope of becoming a fashion journalist. Though her passion is for fashion, she enjoys good conversation, great books, and lots of coffee.

Body Image: The Numbers of an Eating Disorder

 Recovery from an Eating Disorder - hollandlanemag.com

Editor's Note: We will be following Trinity on her journey through eating disorder recovery as she learns to accept herself and her body.  It's our hope to shed light on what this disorder looks like from the inside, as well as to provide support for Trinity through her progress.  You'll find Trinity's posts once a month.

 

Words by Trinity Murray

Six years ago my doctor said to me that I had been eating less than enough to keep a two year old alive, and that if I kept going at that rate I wouldn't make it to the age of 20.

Being thirteen at the time, I didn't really know what to think. It took quite a while for the reality of the situation to set in. I guess I didn't realize how bad things had truly gotten until I had heard those words. Yes, my hair was falling out. If someone gave me a hug, I would bruise. My nails were very brittle and always had to be polished so nobody would see how discolored they were due to vitamin deficiencies. I had passed out more times than I could count. It was difficult to pay attention in school, and at home I began to forget simple things most people would remember.  I could not lift a carton of milk. I was constantly freezing my non-existent butt off. When I couldn’t sleep because the negative thoughts about my body would not stop playing on a loop in my head I counted crunches instead of sheep. The color had left my skin, and it was all I could do to just barely make it through each day. But did any of that phase me? Truthfully, not a bit of that had crossed my mind until recently.

The only thing on my mind were numbers.

Calories in, calories out, how many miles to jog or sit-ups to do in order to burn off that apple from earlier, and the one number that never once left my mind...the one on the scale.

There was a time in my life that I had stepped on that scale twenty-nine times a day. I kept record of only the first and last numbers. The others were just to reassure myself that a stick of gum wouldn’t push me past my specific limits for that day. That number, as I have learned since my diagnosis of EDNOS or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (the last stop before Anorexia Nervosa with more recorded deaths than Anorexia and Bulimia combined), was and is still a way for me to stay grounded and in control of something in a chaotic world.

At my worst, I weighed around seventy pounds under what was considered average for my height and age. Doctors said that I needed to gain weight so that I could be in that range, but nobody asked me if I wanted to be average. The answer would have been no, and the answer remains no today for a completely different reason. I would have said no six years ago because of the weight I would have had to restore (that’s the eating disorder recovery word for “gain” which is supposed to make people like me feel more comfortable with the idea).

Today, I would say no if I was asked if I wanted to be average. Not because of the weight restoration or added calories or fewer crunches, but because there are far better things to do with our lives than be average! This is the exact thought that got me on the path towards a healthier and happier life. The realization that I could do amazing things with the life that I was given got me to age nineteen…and counting! All of those incredibly amazing individuals out there including yourself who were told time after time by society that they couldn’t do something or that they were not good enough in any way at all, I invite you to join me in proving the world wrong.

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If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association to find help

Read more from Trinity here.


Trinity is a small town girl studying Fashion Design at Kent State University holding onto the hope of becoming a fashion journalist. Though her passion is for fashion, she enjoys good conversation, great books, and lots of coffee.