In the Spotlight: Sofía P
Have you ever developed an unhealthy relationship with food? For me, it happened some years ago, in my teens. And though it didn’t happen overnight, I can now see a distinct line separating the way I thought and acted before and after this relationship changed.
Before, the fact that all my classmates were very skinny didn’t feel like a problem to me. When they stared at their bodies in the mirror before PE and started pointing out the things they hated about their bodies, I didn’t have anything to say about mine. Before, when we went out to eat at lunch I always wanted a burger with fries.
Once I started to hate my body, however, things changed. The fact that my ribs were not showing or that I did not have a thigh gap kept me up at night. My Pinterest page went from delicious recipes to workout routines. And what I hated the most was the fact that I had to stop eating the things I liked and start eating the things I thought would barely satisfy my hunger while I lost weight. When we went out to eat burgers I only had salads or nothing at all, and some days I would return home by 7 p.m. having had only breakfast.
I couldn’t stand eating like this and see everybody else eat what they wanted, so I kept pretending I was fine, but once in a while I gave in to temptation and ate a whole hamburger with fries in seconds, as if my life depended on it. I didn’t enjoy it. And when I went home, I would panic and go straight to the bathroom to vomit and then do 50 crunches.
I would spend so much time out, doing different activities, that my family never realized. I wore baggy clothes because I didn’t want to show my “fat” body, but what these baggy clothes hid from the world was my skinny body. I distanced myself from my classmates, so they didn’t notice either.
But everything changed after fainting at school one day. My teachers called an ambulance and my mum. The paramedics asked my mum a few questions about my behavior and moods, and they made her realize that I needed help.
I was hospitalized for two days with an IV that gave me the nutrients I needed, even though I didn’t want them. They ran some tests, and on the second day, a doctor came and asked me the same questions the paramedics had asked my mum. I was embarrassed and angry, I lied and didn’t answer some of the questions, but they told me I had an eating disorder called bulimia.
I was sent to a facility with other girls with similar disorders. I was angry most of the time, but I had a therapist who got through to me when I realized I was putting my life on the line. I decided to change because I didn’t want to be this person anymore. She helped me improve my relationship with food little by little. The girls from the facility and me had group sessions with a counsellor as well and I made friends who encouraged me to get better and I encouraged them to do the same. We didn’t allow each other to go back to our old ways, we supported each other and wanted to see us get better.
Eventually, I left the facility, and though I had relapses in which I would exercise a lot if I was feeling anxious about food, at one point I could enjoy my first hamburger with fries in a long time, without feeling the need to vomit.
Ten years later, I still see my therapist twice a month, but I don’t give myself a hard time eating what I want, and though I exercise frequently, I don’t overdo it. Today, I am a successful professional with a baby on the way thanks to my therapist, my family, and my friends who allowed me to see that I was putting myself in danger and that my body was not only good enough but also beautiful.