The Serendipitous Treatment for My Disordered Eating

My personal struggle with anorexia

Merre Larkin


Select pieces of vegetables, mostly green, in an artistic but sparing design
Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash

I wanted to be a model. I loved fashion. I read Seventeen and Glamour cover to cover every month. I yearned to pose in all those funky and cool clothes. Perusing those magazines in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I’d finally found a way to think of my tall and flat-chested gawkiness as something positive.

I went out for the track team the spring of my sophomore year in high school. I wasn’t a phenomenal runner, but I liked it. I decided I was going to join the cross country team in the fall.

Then something weird happened that summer. I got sick while visiting my aunt and uncle for a few days, vomiting up whatever I’d had for dinner. It took me several days to be able to eat again.

I lost weight, and my clothes were baggy on me. I liked it. No, I loved it. I don’t know why. I loved being even skinnier than I already was. I loved knowing I had control over it. I started counting calories.

I continued counting calories as I began logging long miles as a member of the cross country team. I’d eat Grape Nuts in the morning, a sandwich at lunch, and because I was from a big family, and my parents were running here and there with my four younger brothers and sisters, I’d eat a salad for dinner that no one would notice, proudly putting zero calories next to my dinner entry.

I did well at my first cross country meet. I wasn’t off the charts fast, but I had a time that could easily be improved, with training and experience. And, eating.

At my second meet, I made it halfway through the course, stopped and doubled over, and started hyperventilating. I couldn’t finish. On training runs, I had to stop to go to the bathroom because I couldn’t keep all the fiber I was consuming inside of me for that long.

My mom took me to the doctor. I weighed 100 pounds, not nearly enough for my height, 5’8”. The doctor nonchalantly commented to my mother that he thought it was merely a phase I was going through. My mom angrily disagreed and marched me out of his office. She told me I had to quit the cross country team. I knew she was right. I couldn’t finish the meets and even the daily training runs had become almost impossible for…



Merre Larkin

Writer. Life coach. Educator. Marathoner. Survivor. Avid reader. Here to share, here to learn.