This Shocking Pic From My Past Made Me Realize I Had an Eating Disorder (PHOTO)

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Mary Fischer

For quite some time now, I've had some major self-esteem/body image issues going on. Actually, it's been more like self-loathing. Ever since I went back to work full-time two years ago, keeping extra weight off has been a bit of a struggle, to say the least.

In my opinion, I'm a good 10 pounds heavier than what I consider to be an ideal weight for myself. I've tried pretty much every trick in the book to somehow squeeze back into my favorite pair of jeans -- which coincidentally I bought when I was around 25 or so.

Even though common sense tells me that at almost 37, I need to let go of the fantasy of ever looking as thin and beautiful as I did during my younger days -- it's easier said than done. I look at the photo of me above and think, "Ugh. My face looks heavy. My arms are fat. I used to be so hot and now it's all gone in the shitter."

But still -- I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to feel "like I've still got it." And that's why I just can't seem to stop beating myself up over the fact that my weight keeps creeping up year after year.

But then a couple of weeks ago, I went over to my parents' house to help them pack since they are getting ready to move to Florida. And hidden in an envelope of old photos, I came across this little gem, taken when I was 25 or 26.

And I was horrified by what I saw.

Mary Fischer

This picture almost makes me want to cry. I was SO THIN -- to the point where I actually looked sick. My elbow protruded out from my body. My boobs were practically non-existent. And the way I'm sitting there with my arms folded reminds me of a 90-year-old woman sitting in a nursing home somewhere.

But the worst part isn't how painfully skinny I was. What's really sad is that I had absolutely no idea how out of hand my weight loss was getting at that point in time.

In the year prior to that photo being taken, I had lost almost 50 pounds -- but that wasn't good enough for me. I had this unrealistic goal in my head of reaching 110 pounds -- a weight that is very low for my build and also my height of around 5'6". I was counting every single calorie -- right down to a stick of gum. I was skipping meals. And until I saw this photo, I never realized that my obsessive behavior was probably on the verge of turning into a full-blown eating disorder (if it hadn't already).

But even though I was saddened and flabbergasted by how tiny I was, I'm so happy I came across this picture -- because it knocked me back down to reality again. Yes, I still want to be thin. But I sure as hell don't want to be THAT thin ever again. I want to look fit. And healthy. And have a few curves on my body.

From now on, every single time I have a negative thought about my weight pop into my head, I'm going to pull out this photo to remind me that it's better to have a little meat on my bones than to look all gaunt and sick.

If only I could've seen things in the same light 11 or 12 years ago, I sure would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary anguish. I guess hindsight really is 20/20.

Do you stress out over being heavier now than you were in your 20s?


Images via Mary Fischer

body image, eating disorders, weight loss


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What an inspiring & insightful article. I, too, wish I looked the same as I did when I was in my 30's--I was working out 6 days a week, including running 3 mi daily, drinking smoothies and eating no red meat or pork--I was weighing about 160 and wearing a 9/10 or 11/12--I am constantly reflecting to those glory days with painful nostalgia. I get a little ticked now because I am well over my weight limit, 255 and wearing ? (I really don't want to say--it was hard typing the weight) and it is so hard to to lose those pounds. However, I am trying to get back on that workout routine and change my eating habits--it will not be as strict as before but there will be a change. Reading your article made me lessen my "abusive" thoughts about myself and try to love my body a little more because I am alive, relatively healthy and loved by family & friends--I need to appreciate that more than wishing on my yesteryears of a ROCKIN' BOD!

nonmember avatar Christina

Same thing happened to me. I knew I had issues in high school, but I ignored them. A few years later I saw a picture of myself before senior homecoming and felt just like you describe. It really is a wake-up call, even if it comes too late.

Shandi80 Shandi80

I have never been thin. But I do notice that as I'm getting older, everything I've heard about age making it harder to lose weight is true. I used to be able to drop 5, 10lbs easily if I put in a little effort, now it seems  like if I even smell something fattening, I gain 5lbs. It's horrible. I am looking into full change to my diet, because I know I can lose the weight, it's just going to require some extra effort. And it's not going to get any easier the older I get, so I may as well bite the bullet and go full force now. I offer you my best wishes in your goals and applaud you for taking an honest look at your past self. Perhaps we are all a little more hard on ourselves than we should be. 

nonmember avatar Emmie

NO!! I was severely anorexic in my early 20's and it was the most miserable time in my life. After years of treatment and hospitals, I was able to get control enough to live a normal life. It wasn't until after my second child that I was able to totally kick it. She was very ill as a baby and as I was in the hospital with her (a place where I used to spend weeks at a time), all of a sudden it seemed so stupid to me - I guess life challenges can really put things into perspective. I am now on the small side because that's where I am comfortable, but I have to workout and watch what I eat. I saw a photo of myself right before treatment a while back and it just brought back a wave of feelings that I would never want to experience again. I am like 30 lbs heavier and 100% happier.

nonmember avatar Amber

I am having a hard time with my weight. When I was in hs i weighed 120- 130. I did not eat hardley ever. I ran in 110 degree weather everyday through out the day. I thought i was so fat and had low self esteem. I let guys use me becuz they made me feel "pretty". I did drugs to lose weight and I regret it. I started to gain weight with my hs sweet heart(now husband). He made me happy and I actually ate around him. When I got pregnant with baby#1 I had got up to 200... which I hated! I gained 70 pounds through my pregnancy due to pregenastal diabetes and high bp. They put me on bed rest and I gained like crazy. After I had my daughter I got down to 240 and was losing more weight till I got pregnant again when my baby was 6 months..... now I am up to 260 and I am stressing out at all the weight I am gaining! :\ i have 3 months to go till bubba is here. I wish I wouldnt have screwed my metabolism up while I was young. I would be happy around 155 pounds. Maybe I will reach my goal but doing it healthy after the baby is born.

Marcie Borgula

When I was 18-19 I weighed about 127 pounds., I was really trying to get to 110 because that is ideal weight for my height. Not for my build though. I have very wide shoulders and very narrow hips. At that size my face was gaunt, my ribs, collar bone and hips really stuck out. I was very muscular in my legs, back and shoulders. From behind I looked like a guy, and I thought "wow how beautiful I must be, look at the scale." I worked very hard to get there since I was a heavy girl though high school. I worked out, ate clan or nothing and used diet pills. I met my husband and I thought he liked the way I looked. Years passed, four kids were born and I haven't seen under 160 since. My husband loves it and finally told me that he never wants to see me like that again. He said I looked disgusting, but he didn't know how to approach my weight with me. Now if I start back on a hard regimen, he leave cup cakes or peanut butter cups around the house to remind me that he doesn't want me to lose weight.

Proud... ProudMommy51006

I'm right there with you Emmie! I was so very sick, sounds like you fell a bit deeper than me. But it took until after my 2nd to also kick it. I work out now to keep where I'm comfortable. Never want to go back to that. I'm so free now, not hiding soooooo much and lying to keep my eating disorder alive. I feel shame typing this online, fearing someone I know might read it, but the reality is I'm sure everyone knew and I'm a success story.

Reading this article, the part that said she was close to being in a full blown eating disorder, if not already, and that this pic made her realize, kind of made me feel annoyed.... you'd know if you have an eating disorder. You wouldn't need a pic to tell you. It's awful, exhausting, obsessive, painful, etc. Just my 2 cents.

nonmember avatar Mara

I've had an eating disorder for 16 years. I'm 5'6'' and currently weigh 81 pounds (gained 2 pounds in the last few months.) It's a long, hard fight to get well and stay well.

easto... eastonbennett

Love this article!! And here is my opinion/experience....I am 38, have had 4 kids; my oldest is 18 and my youngest is 5. I still weigh the same as I did when I was younger despite gaining between 50 lbs and 70 lbs with each pregnancy. However, I am tall 5' 8" and my body type is not supposed to be "thin or skinny." I weigh right about 155 but I hate it. With my 3rd and at my heaviest pregnancy weight I weighed 226#. So here is my deal...I STILL struggle to maintain my weight. In my late 20's I would walk fast (never a runner; big babies don't allow for maintaining bladder control) for 30 minutes 5 days a week. NOW I strive to go to the gym at least 4-5 times a week but I work a lot. When I do go to the gym I am on that stupid treadmill for at least an hour, usually 80ish minutes. So is so much more difficult as we age to maintain weight. And yes, I know I have issues with body image and self esteem.

nonmember avatar Jennifer Boucha

I had an eating disorder in my twenties too. Getting pregnant with my son is was cured me of that. Thank God too, not sure what would of happened if I hadn't. I feel for anyone that has or had a problem .

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