|(PC: Unbroken Designs, 2015 Atlantic Regional.)|
Lunch was a bagel with low fat cream cheese and a plate of vegetables. I tried not to snack during the day before my two and a half hour swim practice. Dinner was as small as possible. Small was beautiful, and small was what I was supposed to be, despite the fact that I was already taller than the majority of the boys, and competitive swimming made my shoulders and arms bigger than the majority of the girls'.
That behavior wasn't sustainable, it's hard to swim 8,000 yards a day when you don't eat enough, and my eating habits started to normalize. When I got to college, I had to figure out how to balance the things every athlete has to balance - school, training, a social life, finding a job, and more. I still had trouble coming to terms with how I looked, even if having bigger arms and shoulders than the "normal" girls made me a better swimmer.
I struggled with bulimia beginning in sophomore year of college, figuring if I slipped up and didn't follow all of my (completely arbitrary) food rules, I could immediately fix it (absolutely not how things work). Thankfully, I got those behaviors mostly under control by senior year, and sitting here now, it all seems so ridiculous. Why would I want to be smaller? How would that help me be a better swimmer, hiker, backpacker or mountain biker? How would that make me happier?