Proud2Bme | Creating Balance

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Creating Balance

By Chloe O'Connell--I am a 23-year-old student at Northeastern University. My love of fitness began as an athlete, all the way back when I could begin kicking a soccer ball. My enthusiasm and love for sports grew in intensity until I suffered a back injury in eighth grade. 

Trigger warning: Descriptions of eating disordered behavior.

After my injury, I tried tirelessly to recover and make it back to my beloved sports. Unfortunately, I was unable to continue playing sports, making high school and all of its social/fun aspects very hard and different from what I had always imagined. Once I was able to manage my back injury, I became obsessed with fitness, healthy eating and becoming what I thought was “perfect.”

I spent years wasting away at the gym. I would spend hours at a time trying to burn through as many calories as possible, sometimes going to the gym twice a day. My relationships disintegrated and my family and friends watched heartbroken as I was wasting away. Years of this routine resulted in bone loss (osteoporosis), stress fractures, foot surgeries and time off from school.

I battled with my eating disorder for many years, going through multiple treatment regimens with unwavering support and love from my family. I have had a few of what the doctors call “relapses” but for the most part it’s been a healthy and strong few past years. My battle with my eating disorder will never truly end; I will forever work on recovering. 

However, I am now happy, working on being healthy and able to live a life without restricting myself to minimal calories and hours of gym time. I am working toward strengthening my bones (I am in a medical trial though Boston Children’s Hospital) and taking care of my body.

I still love to work out, eat, do yoga and cook. I am a certified yoga instructor and teach as well as practice yoga myself. I fell even more in love with yoga during my yoga teacher training in Maui, Hawaii. The whole experience helped me to move past a few tough obstacles and reach a point where I’m able to love fitness, maintain balance and enjoy foods happily. My workouts are low-impact due to my foot injuries, but I do a lot of heavy lifting, cycling and weight training without the pounding of jumping and running. I modify workouts so I can do them safely without injury.

Sure, I work out hard, but I “play” hard too. I love to eat out with my boyfriend, friends and family, and indulge in yummy foods and a whole lot of wine. I greatly, greatly enjoy wine, especially red wine. I’m in college, but I can allow myself to have some fun! Every day, I learn that life is about creating balance.

For recovery resources and treatment options, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 800-931-2237.

About the blogger: Chloe is a senior business major at Northeastern University with a passion for health and all things yummy! She enjoys cooking, yoga, traveling and spending time with my friends and family. Life has certainly been a journey, but she is thankful and grateful for it all. Cheers!

For more on recovery, check out:

Eating Disorder Recovery: My Crowning Achievement

Undiagnosed but Not Without a Voice

Fighting for Recovery

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.