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My name is Hannah Altmann and I have written about my battle with an eating disorder. I hope that my words are able to give hope to people going through similar journeys and to educate the public about the reality behind eating disorders.

My Eating Disorder Begins

It was around my grade 10 year in high school, when so much of my life was changing and developing, that I began struggling with body image and food intake. Looking back, I can see that controlling what I looked like and what I ate was a means to try and cope with the stress I was feeling at the time.

Being a competitive swimmer on scholarship in a top academic school while going through puberty and general teenage distress definitely put me in a constantly anxious state of mind, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. Not knowing the dangerous path I was propelling myself along, I began to turn to the only source of control I had, which was over my body and food. I wasn’t equipped with any true nutrition or health information, and so I simply began to eat less than before and cut out anything I deemed unhealthy. I didn’t realise the satisfaction of being in control could become so addictive until I was fully obsessed with it.

Control freak

Having a perfectionist, type-A personality meant that I was stubborn and strong-willed, so despite people having concerns over the lack of carbohydrates in my diet, or the fact that I needed to eat more to sustain my swim training, I sustained the belief that I knew what I was doing, and that was simply becoming the best and most healthy version of myself. My way of life was manageable for a few months, and thus I thought I was fine. This was a major part of my problem, not realising the extent of the damage I was causing and refusing to listen to others.

Further down the line, at the end of year ten, our family took a trip to Europe, which is where things really took a turn for the worse. I was no longer swim training, and therefore my mind thought it logical to minimise my food intake, seeing as I wasn’t doing exercise. Looking back, I can see how ignorant this is. I was walking tens of thousands of steps a day while sightseeing, but convinced myself I only deserved salads to eat. This is key – the fact that I felt I didn’t deserve to eat. When that finally changed, much later along my journey, when I realised I was worthy of food no matter what, that is when I could finally recover.

Admitting that there’s a problem

When my family got back from that trip, we (or my parents at least) decided I needed professional help. So for the next few months, I saw a dietician who told me all the right things to do in order to fuel my body properly and return to a healthy physical and mental state. I did not, however, listen to her. I pretended to do what she said, when in reality, I was still on my own wavelength, still believing I knew better. However, after months and months of an internal struggle with anxiety, self-esteem, hatred, and a need for control, my brain became too exhausted to continue.

The endless battle of counting calories, isolating myself, missing friends’ birthdays, and causing major conflict in my family had finally gotten to me. I read a book that truly opened my eyes to food and self-image and made me realise that my body did not dictate my worth and that I could still be loved and accepted no matter what. When this eye-opening moment arrived, I felt as though the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders. I realised that I could eat whatever I wanted, and I would be okay. A slice of pizza was not going to make me a bad person. In fact, it would put me on track to becoming healthy again, and start swim training that I’d missed for more than a year.

Eating does not make you a bad person

Of course, there were ups and downs during this cathartic journey to self-love, but once I understood that weight does not determine worth, there was always a sliver of hope and logic that I held onto. This is why I wrote my book. To give people out there hope that they too can get better, despite how dark their life may seem. There was a time when I thought I would never eat sugar or bread again, fully believing that the remainder of my life would be miserable and unexciting. But that can change, as it did for me, with just a little hope and belief in yourself.

About Hannah Altman

Hannah Altman

I hope my words will motivate those of you who need help or know someone who needs help to learn from my journey. You can buy my book (Not) A Piece of Cake on Amazon or on my website.

Hannah Altman: Just a book loving, coffee obsessed, student blogger. Read about my thoughts, experiences, opinions and advice about navigating this confusing thing called life!

Hannah Altmann

Hannah Altmann

Just a book loving, coffee obsessed, student blogger. Read about my thoughts, experiences, opinions and advice about navigating this confusing thing called life!


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