A young woman who runs a body-positive Instagram account recently shared a 'before and after' photo of her journey from suffering from anorexia to her happier, healthier self.
However Veronica Calhoun has gained attention from the way she looked in the 'before' photo - and it's not how you'd expect. There is an image associated with anorexia that is bony and frail, yet in this image, Veronica looks quite normal.
She posted the photo to highlight that it is still possible to have an eating disorder at a 'normal weight'.
"A few of you have asked me if it's possible to have an eating disorder while still being at normal weight. My answer to you all is yes!" she wrote.
"That photo of me on the left was me at my lowest point of anorexia. It's easy to see why my friends and family didn't show immediate concern. But at that time in my life I was passing out during my runs/work outs, my period slowed to a stop, and the only time I ever took off my towel at the beach was when my little sister begged to take a picture with me."
When she went to get help for her eating disorder, she was told that the mental aspect was what classified her illness as 'anorexia'.
"When I finally went to a psychiatrist she even told me that yes I was anorexic but I didn't meet the "weight requirement". I was too heavy to physically be anorexic but my mind and thought process was of someone who suffers with anorexia."
She went on to say, "I want you to know that just because you don't look like skin and bones that doesn't mean you don't have a mind fighting with an ED! To be honest I didn't even think I had an ED. I ate "healthy" and worked out so I couldn't possibly have an eating disorder...right? Wrong! 600 calories a day isn't healthy. Working out 3-6 times a day vigorously with all weight loss routines isn't "getting fit". I finally decided after I passed out during one of my daily runs that I needed some advice and I got help."
She warned her community that when you notice things going wrong like this, it's time to get help.
"I urge you that even if you just have a negative body image to see a professional. There is nothing wrong getting a neutral opinion and having someone to talk to free of judgement! That photo on the right is the first time I was able to walk down a beach in my bikini without thinking everyone was staring at me for negative reasons! It's the first time I didn't cry after having my picture taken in a swim suit. And it's when I realized that my body is beautiful just the way it is!!! So reach out! It doesn't have to be a psychiatrist, or even a psychologist, reach out to us here in the #bodypositive community! We're all here for you and want to help you on your journey to self love! You're not alone beautiful! I love you all so much, and I hope you all love yourself a just as much!"
Now, it seems that Calhoun is doing well. She aims to normalise body fat and a healthy mindset towards food by posting photos of body rolls and different angles of the body.
We couldn't be happier for her!
For support on eating disorders, contact Butterfly Foundation‘s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673).