Proud2Bme | Eating Disorder Recovery: My Crowning Achievement

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Eating Disorder Recovery: My Crowning Achievement

By Johannah Vittetoe--I grew up on a farm in small town Iowa. I am the youngest child in my family, or as everyone else likes to call me, "the baby." I grew up playing with American Girl dolls, dancing, cutting the lace off my girly socks because that wasn't "cool" and wearing red-lined superman underwear with my older brother, Joel.

Trigger warning: Descriptions of eating disordered behavior.

As I got older, I kept dancing and eventually I started playing sports like basketball and volleyball. I also struggled for years with anorexia nervosa. 

During my battle with ED, I met with an eating disorders specialist, who became the first person I could be fully honest with about struggle with anorexia. She became a great comfort to me during this difficult time.

My specialist was the first person who truly understood what was going on in my head and was able to put it into words to help my family understand.

I told her, "I don't know why I can't overcome this fear of gaining weight, but I just can't. It controls my life and I can't help it. People think I am crazy for not eating but they just don't understand what my mind is saying."

She understood what I was saying and let me know that she got it: "Just like how someone can't explain why they are afraid of something, let's say mice. To me, I am not afraid of mice, I think that's silly to be afraid something so small and harmless. But to the person who is deathly afraid of them, they can't explain why they are and seeing a mouse would control their actions as well."

She was the first person to put me at ease when I was fighting this mental illness, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support and guidance. I worked so hard to overcome my eating disorder and get to a healthy weight and that’s what I did.

Now, as a student attending Iowa State University, I'm involved in a lot of activities, including coordinating a NEDA Walk this coming April. Last February, I even made the decision to take part in the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program. What I have gained from this program over the course of the last eight months has been incredible. It's made me who I am and has helped me to find something I am very passionate about: helping others.

I found, as I like to call it, my niche. This program has given me the opportunity and confidence where I can now share my story of how I battleED anorexia nervosa. My platform (a social issue each contestant stands for) is Anorexia Nervosa: Hold On Pain Ends. Now, and as a local titleholder of the Miss America Program, I travel, blog and post on Facebook sharing my story of recovery and hope. I share how I overcame my eating disorder to help others who are struggling feel not as alone.

I have helped more people than I ever thought possible. With that being said, I am now ready to share my story and experiences with the world. Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see it. I found the beauty in my life, now I want you to find yours.

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

About the blogger: Johannah is a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, Greek Community Ambassadors, Dance Marathon, St: Jude: Up ‘til Dawn, Proud2Bme On Campus and Body Image and Eating Disorder Association (BIEDA). She attends Iowa State University. 

For more on recovery, check out:

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.