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Eating disorders

             The writing of this report on eating disorders is a very personal journey for me. From the age of six until I finished high school at the age of seventeen I was a competitive gymnast who trained a minimum of three hours a day, six days a week. Because the sport of gymnastics is one where a competitor is given a score by the judges appearance plays an important part in the sport. The first time I ever experienced an issue concerning my weight was when my parents sent me to a sleepover summer training camp for gymnasts at the age of ten. I was by no means even slightly overweight but all of the girls at the camp were put on strict diets. I remember clearly how pleased I was when one day I looked down at myself and saw that my leotard was too big on me and baggy where my stomach should have been. Even at ten this gave me a feeling of control over my body. When my parents came to visit me one weekend they were horrified by my condition and took my home that same day. When they took me to the doctor it turned out that not only had I lost too much weight, but I was dehydrated as well. This was the last time my parents sent me to a summer camp for gymnastics. When I reached junior high school I became a cheerleader, which also emphasized thinness and I remember comparing skirt sizes with those of the other girls and being pleased that mine wasnt the biggest. I was the only daughter in a very athletic family so my mother served us large amounts of healthy food appropriate to competitive athletes, but luckily I never had to watch my weight. What now seems ironic to me is that my obsession with food and body weight didnt begin until a number of years after I stopped gymnastics. As a youngster I was blissfully unaware of diet and weightloss. I ate when I was hungry and paid no heed to the subject. When I now look back at pictures taken of me when I was a teenager, I see that during summer break, when I wouldnt work out for a period of time, I would gain weight, but at the time I was unaware of the fact.

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