So, I sat down to do my portfolio and started with the “About Me” page. I got it done, then realized I wanted a picture, which sent me to Facebook to creep myself, which sent me through 2,369 tagged photos. Holy poop.

I got to thinking…

Grade 9 -- I remember looking back and thinking "how big" I looked.

I can remember bingeing in elementary school. I remember always wanting to lose weight.

I look at this now and think how badly I wish I could have NOT thought I was "big" at this point.

This is the summer when I started running. Nothing was obsessive about it, I even took a month off when I went to Bermuda. I felt on top of the world because I ran my first 10km race (I think it took me 1:04 or something) but that was huge for someone who couldn’t run a mile in gym class the year before.

Somehow I got here, and people said I looked awesome, but I think I looked hungry.

This was when I got really low and wasn’t really eating. I was a “vegetarian” and I mostly ate fruit and granola bars. My mom made the call to my wrestling coach that I was quitting over this Christmas break…

In Hawaii.

The next summer I had gone through some treatment for my ED, but I stopped. I went on a trip to Hawaii and by that time was bingeing on a pretty regular basis. I’ve never shared this: the first time I actually made myself sick was in Hawaii. Of all places, ED had me in the most gorgeous place I’ve ever been…as much as I wish I could forget it, the memory is so vivid.

Halloween first year, I remember hating this picture.

I was in love with Kalan for years, but all I could think of when I got this picture printed was how fat the shirt made me look (and how bad his hair looked straight).

My first duathlon. I was so focused on my thighs that I forgot how amazing it was that I was on the darn thing.

In second year, I started to see Noelle about my bingeing/purging. I was exercising like mad and still feeling inadequate. Ed was still there, but I thought I was doing “better”.

 So, I decided to “do something” about it and I got back into my restricting.

I think I hit a healthy looking point along the way, but my mind was obsessed, so to say that I was healthy is far from the truth. Then I got really too small, I know.

My thighs are supposed to touch. Maybe not yours, but mine do.


where the hell is my butt

lowest of lows, and I got a lot of compliments, but also some concern, over this

I remember thinking that I looked “big” in the pictures from this summer and fall.

My first triathlon...

I can’t believe how much I used to beat myself up. If I’d just been able to see how beautiful I could look at any size, I’d never have had this problem. Here are some of my favourite, size neutral, whatever photos. The lesson here is that right now, pictures I look at might look “gross” to me. I might feel “fat” or think I look heavier than I should. I might actually be perfect. My weight’s just a reflection of how I treat myself. It’s not something that I need to control. It’s not something that I need to worry about. I need to worry about school, about people, about taking care of myself and being the best I can be. I KNOW that body will balance out where it needs to and that if I wasn’t restricting, wasn’t bingeing, wasn’t using food as a drug or my eating disorder as a distraction, I’d be right where I need to be.


Sorry for the diary, sorry to anyone who I embarrassed by association through posting these photos, and sorry to my portfolio for ignoring it and working through this instead. I think I’ve come to the conclusion (yet again) that I don’t want to worry about this. I don’t WANT to gain weight, I don’t WANT to lose weight. I want to go back to a place where it didn’t matter (but I don’t know where that place is). I don’t know what it’s like to NOT be actively trying to lose or trying to maintain a weight or to be saying screw it because I feel fat anyways. I’m trying to find it.

Do you ever look back on old photos?


16 responses to “Distracted

  1. I think your beautiful insides are glowing in every one of these pictures and it is your strength that allows you to go through them and see that light and love xo.

  2. This blog post I found because a friend had asked me to take a look. I think what you have put together a lot of people go through and are embarrassed to talk about or work through! I think it’s wonderful you’ve done this 🙂 Thanks for being inspirational 🙂

    • Thanks for looking! I think if my sharing helps one person realize maybe it doesn’t have to be so, I don’t know, miserable…it’s worth clicking “publish”. I’d be writing this in a diary anyways, so why not? I appreciate your comment!

  3. Hi Cheryl,
    I know we weren’t ever close in high school, but I wanted to tell you how inspirational you are. To open up to the world and show them who you are is the hardest thing to accomplish in life, and you have been able to do that! It takes a a true solider to battle the mind in such a way, and with the support of your friends, family and total strangers through this blog, you will win. Take pride in the fact that now you have shared your story and will connect with people in ways you never would have imagined, take care of yourself Cheryl.

  4. Pingback: A different sense of accomplishment | eatplayluvblog

  5. Your posts about ED are so interesting to me. You have made me realize how ignorant I am about the topic and how much I wish that more people would open up and be HONEST about how distorted their thought processes can be (through absolutely NO fault of their own). Two of my very dear friends have struggled with ED, and yet your blog has provided more insight than I have ever gotten from them. I think it is because I did not want to make them uncomfortable by asking. I should have asked.
    I also realize now that my ignorance has, at times, spread to unfair judgements and criticisms of other people’s bodies (why is she so skeletal? why is she so obese? etc.). Facebook can be TERRIBLE for that. It doesn’t matter that I never shared these thoughts aloud, I still let myself think them. And for that, I am ashamed. I don’t want the next vulnerable generation to grow up with the same concerns we did… that someone might look at them and think they are fat. That they might look at themselves and think they are fat.
    Thank you for being a part of a broader “awareness” movement.. you are making a difference 🙂

    • Thanks for making such an honest comment! I think to me I’m so used to being hyperaware that it’s strange to think someone might not even realize what’s going on! I don’t think you should be ashamed, because you’re clearly a sensitive person. I appreciate that you read and I know this is all teaching me things at the same time people are reading and maybe picking up on things, like you have. Sometimes not asking is what you need from a friend, so also don’t feel bad for that. Just remaining friends with someone who is struggling can help more than you realize, trust me!

  6. My dear friend Cheryl,
    As I was scrolling through fb I just so happened about your blog for the first time! I want to first comment on the amount of courage and self awareness it takes to be so open in sharing your story, I truly, truly admire you girl! When I first met you… over two years ago now (wowza)… I can honestly say that I immediately gravitated towards your energy and was sooooo eager to seek your friendship! I saw the greatness in you that was about much, much, muchhh more than your physique, and I think I speak for everyone in that you are, and have always been admired for your beauty inside and out.
    As a university-age girl I can share some of the struggle, self doubt, and obsessive thought processes that seem to overwhelm us at times. Yes, it is so shallow and egotistic of us to think this way, but our diseased thoughts are a product of the society we live in, which has taught us that as young women, no matter how intelligent, bright, articulate, or successful we may be, we will not be valued, loved, or admired until we are able to achieve “perfection” (as in I don’t care what it takes to look damn good, even if it means starving, purging, over exercising, obsessing, or whatever means you may choose). Regardless, there is something to be said about this “silent epidemic” in our society, as many young women are wasting ridiculous amounts of energy on something so small and insignificant when we consider the real challenges in our world (don’t count me out I am just as guilty as the next girl)! How nice it would be to celebrate our health (as one trip to an oncology floor would have us feeling more than blessed at the life we have), not to be ashamed by the number on the scale, embarrassed by the tag on our jeans, or feeling like we need to hide behind our clothes. Wouldn’t it be nice to appreciate our pictures instead of immediately critiquing our flaws and wishing we were of a different size?! Sometimes I wonder about all the opportunities and experiences I have missed out on because of low self esteem, and can attribute it all to distorted body image. It saddens me.
    I won’t trouble you with an essay… after all you probably have enough reading to do! I do however want to summarize by telling you how much I love you as a friend and respect you as the beautiful person (and I mean it), and leader that you ARE. I am always here for you.

    • Your comment should be a blog post in itself. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your words are really kind, and I think you’re really observant of how nasty this whole problem is. If you’ve never heard of “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body”, you should check it out.

      “Sometimes I wonder about all the opportunities and experiences I have missed out on because of low self esteem, and can attribute it all to distorted body image. It saddens me.” < — thanks for summing it up.

      There's so much love in your comment–<3–thank you. Ya need to know that you're just as beautiful, inspirational and magnetic! We're drawn to people who make us feel better, and you're one of those girls. Beautiful, smart, insightful…I'll go on next time we run into each other. 🙂

  7. Laila ABdel Salam

    You are an inspiration cheryl. Sadly, I can completely relate to what you are saying. However, unlike you I am not brave enough to admit it to anyone I know. Keep it up! x

  8. Pingback: Pictures and perspective…take 2 « eatplayluvblog

  9. You are absolutely beautiful, and truly inspiring to me. Reading this is helping me with my own journey of finding balance.

    You look INCREDIBLE in your tri-athalon photo!

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