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‘Oooh tough week? What happened, honey?’ I was 15. Women I’d never met were commenting on my weight.’: Woman discovers intuitive eating, self-love after struggling with weight for years, ‘My children will see a vibrant, smart, STRONG woman’

“’Really? That’s what you’re going to eat for breakfast?’ I vividly remember holding my two pieces of cinnamon toast in my trembling hands. Every single one of my siblings had already toasted their bread, buttered it, and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar. Yet, I was the only one singled out by my grandpa. Age 15, I began attending meetings every week with my mother. Strange adult women would applaud and beam at me. I was given jewelry to celebrate my ‘hard work.’ Women twice my age would ask what my ‘secret’ was.”

‘Why are you so loud, Nicole?’ a boy asked. ‘You can’t be fat AND loud.’ That moment set something off in me.’: Woman shares extreme weight loss journey, ‘The joy I’ve felt is indescribable!’

“The summer after I got clean, I was at an amusement park with friends. I recall waiting in line for rides and pleading with God, ‘Please, please let me fit.’ I even told the attendant, ‘You can push as hard as you can, I promise you won’t hurt me.’ As 3 people pushed down on the lap bar, I remember tears welling up in my eyes. I turned to my then boyfriend and said, ‘I need help. I’m going to eat myself to death.’ The straps didn’t fit. I couldn’t fit into a single ride.”

‘I dropped 10 sizes on a starvation diet. ‘Wow, you look GREAT!’ I basked in compliments, but deep down I wanted someone to grab me and say, ‘Hey, I think you need help.’ Woman explains why congratulating weight loss is ‘problematic’

“I dropped to one meal a day. Coffee for breakfast, Red Bull at 3 p.m., light dinner. They’d look and say, ‘Congrats! You look awesome!’ It made me feel REALLY good. But part of me wanted to shout in their faces. They might as well have said, ‘That not-eating thing you’re doing? Totally working. Keep it up!’ It fueled me.”

‘It started innocent. I figured I’d skip a few meals, run more. I never imagined the horrible, disgusting things I’d do to myself. I had only wanted to lose 15 pounds.’

“At first, it was run-of-the-mill diet talk. ‘Cut carbs! No dairy!’ Then I saw picture upon picture of skin-and-bone bodies. I was repulsed and intrigued. Soon enough, I started feeling guilty if I wasn’t cutting out meals. I spent hours a day fantasizing about food. I’d cry in the mirror as I plugged calories into my food journal.”

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