My Story in Pictures

Howdy y’all! How are you doing today? I hope you’re healthy, happy, and well!

I thought I’d do something different today and post some old pictures to prove that you DON’T have to be underweight to struggle with an eating disorder. This is my story in pictures, y’all.

This was me BEFORE the ED behaviors started – I was overweight and very unhealthy in my eating behaviors. I was bullied at school and by my sister for being overweight.

Then the eating disorder (bulimia to start with) started in 2002. I weighed about 155 lbs at the time of my ED starting, and bulimia got me down to 145 lbs (the ED began when my theater teacher, Linda Hughes, told me that I was overweight and needed to lose weight to be a better performer. I took her *very seriously,* so to the toilet I went!). Linda commented that I looked like I had lost weight, and this just validated my bad behavior.

Below is me, holding my Shih Tzu Toby, and in the beginning throws of the ED. I was vomiting daily.

This is a pic of me with my theater people after singing at a recital. I weighed about 155 lbs here (this is when I played Fantine in Les Miserables).

After I went off to Texas Tech, I started binging on pure junk food and purging it. The ED was RAMPANT. I weighed about 220 lbs here and was bulimic AF.

As the years passed, the bulimia just got worse and worse. This picture is from around 2006, after I had my first mental breakdown.

Slowly but surely, I began to restrict my food intake and I would throw it all up. I still ate junk food at this point, but I weighed about 145 lbs. I met Luke in 2007. I weighed 145 lbs at the time (I’m the one with the long hair on my black horse, Phoenix), and the bulimia raged on and on. I had my own apartment and could binge and purge in peace without worrying over anyone hearing me.

Then I began to truly restrict. We went on a trip to South Padre Island and San Antonio around 2009, and I weighed 130 lbs. I remember that trip – I tried hiding my tummy, as you can see in the second picture, because I was so convinced that I was fat. And you can see the exhaustion in my face in the first picture here – the dark circles really were horrid.Then we went on a trip to Santa Fe … I weighed 128 lbs and was thrilled with myself, my binging, my purging, my restricting. This is me in the hot tub with my mom, and you can see my collar bones starting to stick out.

My weight went from 128 lbs to 162 lbs soon after we bought our first house. The binging became worse and worse, and the restricting went out the window for a while. In this pic, I weighed about 160 lbs.

The years 2012 to 2016 that followed are a blur to me. My weight fluctuated from 162 lbs to 128 lbs often, and I remember just being a drunken, miserable bitch who slept most of the time and who was admitted to the nuthouse twice for overdosing. The below pics show my weight fluctuations at the time …. I weighed 155 lbs in the blue shirt.

And then I weigh about 128 lbs here. I told you that my weight fluctuated a ton!From 2015 to 2016, things really started to change. I was drinking like a fish and practically living off alcohol. I’d throw up anything that entered my stomach, and the restriction was awful. This picture was taken in our giant house, and I weighed about 119 lbs here.

This pic was taken shortly before I entered the ED facility. I weighed 109 lbs here (you can’t really see it, but you CAN see my alcoholic eyes and face).

After my short stint in the Denver center, I came home and immediately became bulimic again. I also started restricting. I was no longer drinking, thank goodness, but I looked very thin and skeletal at 123 lbs (the weight I was sent home at from the ED center). Below is me, fresh from the ED center and at 123 lbs.

Soon after, I began restricting and purging again. I got down to around 115 lbs.

Around this time, Luke started to become interested in weightlifting and encouraged me to join him. I did just that, but I didn’t take it seriously – I was still focused on a number on the scale. Here I am at the ranch with my Sig at around 130 lbs. You can see my muscles look at ton better here.

Then I began to restrict again, heavily. I got back down to 115 lbs.

I stayed at about 115 to 120 lbs for about a year, and then I relapsed majorly in the summer of 2017 and got back down to 110 lbs. This is the face of someone with an ED, y’all.

After this certain relapse, I soon began wanting a change. I wanted to truly get better, to do better … something in my brain changed, and I began to take notice of Luke’s muscles and he and his friends’ dedication to the gym. This is me at 120 lbs, which I worked HARD to get to …

… and soon I became inundated with fitness, healthy eating, and I started to ENJOY lifting weights with my hubs. It feels like therapy!

You can see a difference here for sure! This pic was taken a few weeks ago, and I weigh about 130 lbs.

This is me at 120 lbs versus being around 129 – 130 lbs with more muscle.My view has changed COMPLETELY. MUSCULAR is the new sexy, not skinny, bony, and at a low weight. Yes, recovery IS hard. Yes, I still mess up sometimes. I’m not perfect. None of us are, and after nearly 18 years of struggling with an ED, it’s hard to let go of the behaviors. But I’m trying my DAMNEDEST to do it!

I finally am starting to feel STRONG inside and out. But yep, I still struggle sometimes with feeling fat … it’s just part of the process. Yes, every now and then, I still throw up (it’s not very often, but it does happen, and I fully admit that). Yes, sometimes I have a day where I live off veggies and fruit, but I’m learning about nutrition and weightlifting, and I know I need more protein in my diet. That’s a goal of mine: eat more protein!

I hope this little adventure in pictures of mine will help people see that EDs come in all shapes and sizes. Eating disorders don’t discriminate, y’all. They don’t care what size you are.

Hope this helps,

~ Mandy








2 thoughts on “My Story in Pictures

  1. WOW WOW WOW I have so many thoughts and I relate to this so much. I’ve never actually thought about laying out my ED journey/recovery like this. Did you find that it was triggering at all or more reflective? Just wanted to say as an outsider who relates to some of your struggles, congratulations for getting here. Everyday is such an accomplishment in recovery even if it doesn’t go the way we planned (which happens a lot). I’m excited to continue following your journey!


    1. Hi there Sarah! I definitely found my post to be reflective, no triggers! Thank you so much for following, I’m glad to have you! 😀 You’re SO right, every day is an accomplishment for us. I’d love to hear more about your journey too!


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