BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
A student has gained 35 pounds (2st, 7lb) in five months to beat anorexia thanks to her tactic of writing positive ‘I am’ statements each morning, telling herself she is ‘beautiful’ and ‘strong.’
Emily Lou, 20, of St. Louis, Missouri, USA, jumped from 85 pounds (6st 1) to 120lb (8st 8) after going from eating as little as zero calories a day to now consuming up to 2,300 calories.
At the height of the illness, triggered by other disorders like depression and OCD, she would endure so much joint pain at night that she feared she wouldn’t wake up the next morning.
Following five years of trying to schedule inpatient treatment around school, the 5’7 student decided she needed to come up with her own recovery method.
After her final inpatient stay last summer, she returned home to start journaling, meditating, writing down the five “I am” statements every morning and taking up weight training.
These tactics inspired her to keep up her intake of more than 2,000 calories a day.
Emily, who works as a part-time barista, said: “I start each day by writing five ‘I am’ statements. Saying that ‘I am’ something rather than that ‘I want to be’ sets a really good tone for the day.
“When I was struggling with my eating disorder, day-to-day activities became a struggle for me. I was barely alive.
“Whenever I did impatient, it was a lot of in and outs. This time, I instead wanted to be able to live in the world with everyone else while recovering.
“I do a lot of journaling and mediation each day, which has really helped make my recovery possible.
“My ideal amount of calories to eat in a day would be 2,300. Some days I reach that, but other times I don’t.”
Emily’s effort to recover was largely inspired by her parents warning that they would no longer support her financially if she failed to change.
Upon returning to school in the fall, she declared herself as a nursing major in addition to working a job and moving into an apartment for the first time.
She said: “When my parents said they were going to cut me off, I knew I needed to recover.
“I’m doing things that I wouldn’t have had the energy for back then. Now I’m working up to 30 hours a week while in school. I love working.”
While Emily has made a lot of progress, she still tends to have some bad days and often wonders if a full recovery would be possible.
Although she wants to eat sufficient calories each day, her intake tends to drop once in a while.
Emily said: “I have come a long way, but it’s not always easy for me.
“There are days that I still struggle to eat a meal and I just wish that someone would force feed me.”
Now on a summer break from school, Emily’s goal is to reach 130 pounds (9st, 4lb.).
She added: “I am getting close, but I’m not quite there yet.”