Surviving and Eating Disorder: Two Teens Speak Out

February 11, 2014

What we see in magazines and on television can sometimes put pressure on women to become what society deems perfectly beautiful. Some women change the way they look with makeup, a diet, or even plastic surgery. However, a desire to control and change the body can spiral into an eating disorder.

“Officially it started in 7th grade,” says Victoria Lilly “It was middle school and I hated middle school.”

“Officially it started the second semester of 9th grade, but I guess I had body image problems since 7th grade maybe,” says Caroline Hazlett.

Both Caroline and Victoria suffered from anorexia at a young age and have since recovered, but during that time they suffered physically, emotionally and socially.

“I never really had anything to talk about with any of my friends or anything, because I was always preoccupied with food thoughts,” says Hazlett.

“People were always pushing like you should eat, you should eat, so then I didn't want to be with anyone,” explains Lilly.

Now, they are both seniors in high school, but while they were suffering from anorexia they felt isolated from friends and family, which made it even harder for them to reach out for help.

“I’ll get to 115 lbs and be ok, then I wasn't. Then I was like, I'll get to 105 lbs and be okay, and then I was like no I need to lose more,” says Lilly. “I just kept going and going.”

At her lowest weight, Victoria Lilly weighed only 80 pounds. Caroline Hazlett got down to an unhealthy weight as well.

“It wasn't until my friends and family sort of pushed me into recovery, that I actually was able to comprehend that anything was wrong,” says Hazlett.

Many believe that having an eating disorder is all about being in charge of your weight and being in control when everything around you becomes too stressful and out of hand.

Eileen Gomez, school nurse for Albemarle County, says no one's to blame for an eating disorder.

“An eating disorder is not really the child's fault, it's not really the parent's fault, they didn't do anything wrong,” says Gomez. “It's just something that sort of happens to these kids.”

Gomez says that some of the warning signs of an eating include skipping meals, making excuses for not eating and excessive exercise.

In the long run having an eating disorder like anorexia could lead to brain damage, heart attacks and death.

Statistically only one percent of girls suffer from an eating disorder, but researchers say that it is under reported and could be higher in areas where achieving perfection is key.

“Kids who are perfectionist sometimes get wrapped up these kind of eating disorders, who can control their future, so they control their academics and they can control what they eat,” says Gomez.

The good thing is, you can recover from an eating disorder. Thanks to treatment and sessions with a nutritionist, both Caroline and Victoria are living healthy lives and have left their eating disorder in the past.

“Now I think I look a lot better than I ever have,” says Hazlett.

“It's hard to live your life with an eating disorder,” says Lilly. “There are so many better things out there, than your pant size.”

Victoria wants to become a nutritionist, to help others who could be suffering from an eating disorder. Caroline aspires to be a nurse.

I you or someone you know could be suffering from an eating disorder, click on the links in this story for more information on how to receive help.

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