Thursday, June 4, 2009

one day at a time...

Well, hello readers (although I doubt I have any followers at this point, as this is my very first blog entry)!

As you can read from my info page, I am 20 years old (my 21st birthday is on the 21st of June which is also Father's Day this year so that will be interesting) and I am currently trying to recover from anorexia. My name is Colleen, but my friends call me Coco (it's a long story). Since this is my first entry, let me tell you a little about my life:

I was always a thin, active girl all throughout my childhood. In high school, I danced ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, etc 6 days a week and was also involved in theater and chorus at school. I was always a huge ham, loved being onstage, and had lots of friends! At 5'6.5", I never weighed more than 120 in high school, and I never watched what I ate. In fact, my friends were often astounded at the large amounts of pizza, ice cream, and various other junk foods I could consume without gaining a pound.
In the fall of 2006 I went off to Susquehanna University, a small liberal arts school nestled in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. I quickly made several friends, many of whom have remained my close friends even as we approach our senior year. I began dabbling in the usual activities of college life: classes, homework, studying....and drinking.
At the end of sophomore year, I was about 130 pounds, which is still relatively thin for my height and age, but was a bit more than I was used to weighing. Looking back, I now realize that ok, maybe I wasn't making the best food choices at school and maybe I wasn't working out, but I was still healthy and happy. I'd give anything to turn back the clock...
So, at the end of sophomore year (aka May 2008), I decided to "get fit" and "start eating right". I starting jogging with my dad, eating healthier foods and more reasonable portions, and lost 5 pounds basically without even trying (I suppose I'm "blessed" with a fast metabolism--something I'm getting more and more frustrated with as I'm struggling to regain weight). I felt good, looked good, and kept getting compliments when I went back to school in the fall. So I figured, hey, why not lose a little more? It won't hurt.
Slowly but surely, a little demon whom I like to call "Annie" snuck into my life and into my thoughts. October, November, December. A few more small changes--"Run 30 minutes instead of 20"; "Don't put cheese on your sandwich!"; "No more dessert!". 
Once January 2009 arrived and the new semester was under way, Annie became literally unstoppable. She told me to run EVERY DAY, and if I didn't I felt worthless. She told me to stop eating carbs and fat and that salad and vegetables would make me healthy and beautiful. My friends became concerned, my teachers made comments, my parents gawked at me in awe when I came home for spring break, I stopped getting compliments and started getting sad or disgusted stares. I stopped hanging out with my friends and roommates. I was constantly cold, had to nap at least 2 times a day just to function ( if you could call it functioning), and there were times when I could barely make it up the stairs to the 3rd floor for my classes. Before I knew it, I was down to just under 93 pounds.
Then, slowly but surely, it hit me: I was sick. Really and truly ill. I don't remember which "moment" was my defining one, because I believe there are--and will be--many. But I do remember running on the treadmill, telling myself to go harder, faster, longer, and then suddenly I realized I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE. I PHYSICALLY CAN'T RUN ANYMORE. So I went outside the gym and called my mom at work, shaking and crying. I told her I wanted to get a sandwich at Clyde's (this delicious place in the same building as the gym which has kickass burritos, sandwiches, and smoothies) because I was hungry but that I was afraid. She told me to just go get the sandwich but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. That was one of the lowest moments of my life. Slowly, this past April, as spring advanced, I made baby steps: a dunkin donuts run with my friends (the first donut I had eaten in well over a year), Chinese buffet, Applebee's half-price appetizers, until it was time for junior year to end and for everyone to part ways.
Then, this past May, from the 7-18, my parents and I went on a trip that honestly saved me. We went to France to visit my mother's relatives (she used to live there when she was little), and also to sightsee around France. When I went to buy "summer" clothes for the trip and realized that a size 16 GIRL'S pants were STILL TOO BIG, something in me broke. "Ok", I thought, "that's it. You are going to go on this trip and EAT and GET BETTER". And I did. We had quiche, eclairs, crepes, pain au chocolat, pasta, beef, chicken, ice cream, SO MANY DELICIOUS PASTRIES, WINE WINE WINE....and I realized I enjoyed every single morsel that entered my body. And I felt reenergized. And even though we walked like crazy taking in the sights (the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Giverny, Dijon, Chaumont, chateaus and churches and cafes and wine country and the list goes on and on), I felt more alive on that trip than I've ever felt before. And I gained a few solid pounds--went from 96 before our trip to at least 100 after, and am now fluctuating around 103-105!
And even though the weeks since we've returned have been difficult (having to make my own food, being alone at home all day, re-entering the social world, etc etc), I am realizing that I am much stronger than I had ever imagined. I know this journey will be a long one, and I'm sure I'll stumble, but I also know that Annie is fading and Coco is taking back the reigns. I am a psychology and creative writing major, and I think God has a reason for this. Even though anorexia is one of the most physically and mentally exhausting experiences I've ever had, I think it will make me stronger in the end, and I intend to use my writing and my Psych background to help other girls so that they won't make the same mistakes I did. 
Anyway, this summer I am taking the time to get help, get nourishment for brain and body, and to get better so that my senior year in college can be the best yet. My goal weight is to be at least 120 again, and to be healthy and active (but not an obsessive-compulsive overexerciser). I am rediscovering the foods I love (pasta! ICE CREAM! anything with chicken! chocolate! peanut butter!) and the hobbies I used to enjoy (reading! writing! DANCING around the house! shopping! photography! etc etc). Sometimes I feel really depressed and anti-social and "emo", as the kids would say, but I realize that those moments are probably Annie, telling me I don't deserve friends or food or new clothes or any FUN.
The real Coco loves life. Coco loves fun. And little by little, day by day, Annie is fading into a memory and the real Colleen is emerging once more--happier, healthier, and ready to take on the world, one bite at a time!

Anyway, probably none of you read this, but if you did, thank you. I could use all of the support I can get!


  1. hello beautiful,
    i think now you do have a follower :)
    i saw your comment on tori's blog and was just a bit curious to find out more about you. thank you for sharing your story here and i hope you will enjoy blogging and it will help you achieve your goals
    have a wonderful day

  2. Hi, thanks for commenting on my blog. Sorry to have confused you, but by Pratt I meant Pratt Insistitute of Fine Arts in NY, a college, not a treatment center. I was accepted there in 2006 with a $16K scholarship. Lost it because of the ED and the weightloss and whatnot. Yep. Sorry, I'm not much help on the treatment front.
    While I've not met with a nutritionist or doctor in over a year, I've gained nearly 30lbs on my own, and worked my calories up to the 3600-3800 calorie range healthfully. So, I'm really quite good with that lol. I'm just scared of finding out what kind of damage I did to myself in all those months I spent at an extremely low weight, especially since the damage is probably cumulative after years of being up and extremly down.
    I wish you the best of luck on your road. If there's ever anythin I can do to help, drop me a line.


  3. Hey Coco, I'm so glad I've found your blog :)
    Thank you for sharing your story with us, there are a lot of things you said that I can relate to. One thing that stood out to me was "Even though anorexia is one of the most physically and mentally exhausting experiences I've ever had, I think it will make me stronger in the end"... this is so so true. The struggle of recovery is probably the most difficult thing we'll ever have to do in our lives, but it will be 100% worth it when we come out at the end as strong, healthy individuals that are ready to embrace life to the full.
    Good luck with reaching your goals my love. I look forward to learning more about you!

  4. hey you, you started a blog then :)
    Great introduction story and YES to recovery!
    France sounded amazing, maybe that's what I need :P

  5. Hey Coco (:

    Just found your blog and I wanted to tell you how much your story touched me! I recovered from anorexia and I completely know what you're going through!

    Have a great day and keep fighting! <3


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