Ansje 's Story

Hi, my name is Ansje and I am anorexic!

I know, anyone who looks at my photo may think; her anorexic, no way! What the hell is she talking about? But an eating disorder is not necessarily noticeable. Today a third of women haves problems with eating. As soon as you can't stop thinking of food and serving sizes, what is too much food and how much exercise do I need to get rid of it; you're in trouble! That was my way into the vicious circle.

At the age of eight or nine, I started my first diet. My mum made comments about me not being able to wear nice clothes because I still had too much puppy fat. Today I know, she never meant to say so, she never really thought about what she said and she has apologized many times. But it burnt into my mind and from that moment on, I was self-conscious about my body and I haven't felt comfortable in it for sixteen years. When I was fourteen, going out with my first boy-friend, he used to tell me how slim and pretty the girl-friends of his friends were. Looking at these girls with admiration and envy, I attempted to get their shape. Frequently skipping meals, not eating at all for forty-eight hours was part of my daily schedule, like going to school or having a shower. My boy-friend dumped me when I was seventeen. I was devastated and I started exercising excessively. Due to all the exercise I was doing my appetite increased and I ate more. This allowed me to stay healthy as my body found a balance between exercise and eating. Oh, before I forget: I was never fat! At the age of twelve, I was 160cm and weighed fifty kilograms and I maintained my shape till I was eighteen.

My life changed when I moved from Hamburg where I had grown up, a town in Northern Germany to Munich, deep in the South of Germany. I had no friends; only huge packages of chocolate and ice cream could make me happy. In a period of two years I gained twenty kilograms and was very unhappy. I had no idea what to do with my life. My dream was to find something that I could see myself doing in fifty years time.

I found my dream job at a television production company making documentaries. I just loved it! Making documentaries was so creative, stimulating and fascinating that I couldn't get enough. My team became a second family and would have to make me go home sometimes. We worked long days and I was having so much fun I lost ten kilos without even thinking about it.

A friend from work invited me to his gym. Having lost some weight I felt more comfortable showing my body. At the gym I soon met my next boyfriend who worked there as a fitness instructor. He seemed to be very cool and lots of the girls fancied him. After we had been seeing each other for a couple of weeks he said to me "Well, you could lose some weight, but if it's too hard for you.....!" This comment made me scared I would lose him so I tried to work out just as hard as he did. I would work twelve hours a day on the TV programs and then spend two or three hours working out at the gym, plus a run a half hour run each morning. This went on for three months before he dumped me. Even though I was less than fifty kilograms I though I could win him back if I worked out even harder and lost more weight. He had a new girlfriend and I would see them together every day. This spurred me on to be thinner and to be more attractive than her for him. I really lost control, over exercising and not eating. When I looked in the mirror all I saw was a fat girl. After six months I had lost halve my weight. One day in the kitchen I collapsed, I was twenty two years old and only weight thirty eight kilograms.

As far as I was concerned there was no problem. Anyone trying to make me gain weight was an enemy. My parent came from Hamburg and took me home. I was not allowed to exercise at all and it took another six months to gain weight before I was able to work again. Fortunately, my boss and all my colleagues were understanding and promised to keep my position till I recovered. I still work with them and it is the best team I can imagine working with. Because of the anorexic disease my metabolic system turned upside down. My body saves anything I give it for starving times. Also, my body developed a food allergy; I am not able to eat any meat or milk products at all.

Hence I put on again nearly two thirds of the weight I had lost before and I have been so proud of this achievement. I couldn't look in the mirror anymore, I started to exercise a couple of hours every day, but my body just doesn't want to let the kilos go again. I was sure, I would never wear a swimsuit in my whole life and no man would touch my body again.

A couple of months ago, my parents let one of my greatest wishes come true. They paid for a trip to Australia. One day after I have arrived I met the man of my dreams. Two months later we got engaged and in six months we will get married in Germany. He loves me with every kilogram and never wants me to lose any weight. Due to him I feel adorable and sexy again and for the first time ever in my life as a woman.

But to be anorexic, even when you look recovered, you are in danger. It is an addiction and it can always come back. My fiancé knows about my medical history and he has promised to support and to help me staying healthy and happy so it can never happen again. Sometimes I still have days when I can't look at myself. Sometimes I hate my body because of binge days that I go through from time to time. But that's all nothing compared with more than sixteen years of wasted time counting kilojoules and thinking about food twenty four hours a day. Today I can enjoy my life to the fullest, and I am grateful to be still alive, because if I had lost only two or three more kilos, I wouldn't be here to write my story.