I Will Never be as Thin as Americaâ€™s Next Top Model Ann Ward
Sitting on my heating pad attempting to feel better I settle down to watch a marathon of ANTM cycle 15. I was immediately drawn to the 6 ft 2 ultra thin model Ann Ward. She is everything I ever wanted to be and more. As I munch on my gluten free sandwich I wonder what she eats to be able to remain 98 pounds. Coming from a child bearing hip family lineage I would have died to be thin like that and almost did.
At age 15 I left home and basically stopped eating. My hair fell out and I was an emotional mess. I started working at the trendy Le Chateau store in 1967 and was told I was not thin enough by a fellow employee. I told him I was a size 9 and he simply said,
“To be cool you need to be a size 5!”
So I decided to repeat not eating for days on end and sometimes I fainted because I was so hungry. I ended up being that idolized size 3, and the food abuse journey began.
For years I ate so frugally that my period stopped at times. My Grandmother would get so upset at the way I looked she would tell my father. When he reprimanded me, I would simply tell him I had more weight to lose. They chose to remain silent less I was true to my word.
I was thin for years until I developed emotional problems and then the weight crept back on quickly. I knew every diet and every calorie value backwards, forwards, and then some. No one needed to tell me what to do because by now it had been engraved in my brain forever.
At 34 I got pregnant with my first child and became very concerned about the possible weight gain. Instead of watching what I ate I developed a new habit called bulimia. My obstetrician became concerned about the weight loss while I stood there on the scale and secretly smiled. I constantly told my unborn child Mummy was going to be skinny again. Realizing how selfish I was now I could kick myself. My oldest child was born weighing 10 pounds and the pregnancy weight seemed to leave over night. I had lost 30 pounds while I was pregnant.
Bulimia became very addictive and it was so easy to eat what I wanted and then purge. I told my doctor, that when I completed "the deed" I felt nothing but a feeling of power. This horrible addiction continued for another 4 years until I made myself stop. One afternoon I saw my oldest son become upset, run into the bathroom and force himself to throw up. He knew all about my dirty little secret and that was the last day I purged for awhile.
Years later it came back to haunt me sporadically as well as something new called exercise addiction. I was told when I taught aerobics if I wanted to find people with food problems the gym was the first place to go. She was right and I met Kat who encouraged me to consume only liquids - which I did. Everyday it was either soups, Jolt Cola, or days of fried rice. One day when I went to see my doctor she told me she was starving herself to go on a trip. She looked at me straight in the eyes and said,
“I just cannot follow a diet; it’s either starve or not lose weight.”
That to me said it all and I realized that if a professional could not do it how could I? So for years I have remained the size I am and watched the skinny girls drift by on TV. I have spoken about eating disorders to girls in Elementary schools because image issues start at a very young age now. I know what they are feeling and tell them I now have scar tissue in my throat from repeated bulimiac abuse. It is so bad that sometimes I have to run to the bathroom when I eat - not to purge, but to stop from choking to death.
So all afternoon I watched Ann Ward on America’s Next Top Model and sighed because I would never become her. Linda would never be 6ft 2 and have a 21 inch waist, nor wear Cavalli clothes. I would just be me forever and I remembered in my mind what I used to say to those young girls,
“ It does not matter what other people think of you. Just love yourself for who you are.”
So to those that can follow diets I applaud you, but there are many of us that have food issues and cannot be like you. We are what we are and do not ever doubt that we do not try, because we do.
Every single darn day!
Images and Text: Linda Seccaspina 2011
Ann Ward Image from Facebook- Marl Migullas
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