By Liana Jacob
MEET the strong waitress who took control of her life after her obsession with exercise and losing weight led her to become anorexic, shrinking to a size two.
In June 2013, online fitness coach and waitress, Morgan Bryant (22), from Anderson, USA, began showing signs of anorexia which she suffered with for three years.
She began counting calories and used to run for seven to eight miles a day, three days a week and work out on the beach in the heat. By consuming as little as 900 calories a day, Morgan dropped down to 6st 11Ibs and a UK size two.
It wasn’t until one day in August 2015, Morgan began to realise that it was an obsession and after looking up anorexia online, still in denial that she was anorexic, the reality of her health hit her.
Her recovery process resulted in her binging initially, reaching her peak weight of 11st 1Ib a year later, but she managed to find a good balance in May 2017, when her weight in 2017 when she landed on a healthy weight of 9st 4Ibs and a UK size eight.
“It was a gradual process that began with loving exercise and losing weight. It then became an obsession to see how small I could get, and I started yearning to ‘perfect’ my body,” Morgan said.
“I felt trapped. I believed the lies about myself and the standards I had to meet. I was terrified of gaining weight and was a slave to exercise.
“It was a battle to allow myself even one rest-day a week. I ran three days-a-week, one of those being seven or eight miles.
“The other days I did hard strenuous workouts with weights, squats and push ups. All my exercises were done in the afternoon heat at the beach. I thought if I did my exercise outside in the heat that I would burn more calories.
“I ate about nine-hundred calories a day and would eat two saltines to keep from getting weak in the heat. If I ever ‘splurged’ then I would work out twice a day or run extra the next morning.
“I then began to realise it was an obsession and something that controlled my life. I remember one night I looked up the definition of anorexia online – never believing I could ever struggle with something like that – but the definition was everything I was feeling one-hundred percent.
“I knew life was not meant to be so enslaved to something and as a Christian I believed I was created for freedom. Once I saw it as an issue and for what it was, I was ready to change.”
However, the process of recovery resulted in swapping one addiction for another; from refraining from eating, to binging on food, while Morgan found the right balance.
“After anorexia it’s very common for people to struggle with binging. I still struggled with the emotional aspects of eating but just in a different way.
“I ate to feel better and to stuff my feelings. Instead of facing my emotions I would eat to make myself feel better.
“Stress, loneliness, anxiety, depression and boredom all were dealt with by eating. Like anorexia, binging doesn’t make sense logically. I would stuff my face to the point of discomfort but couldn’t stop the habit.
“I now try to eat clean and natural but also enjoy unhealthy foods on occasion. I strive for a balanced/healthy lifestyle instead of a perfect diet.
“I am training for a marathon right now, so I still exercise because I enjoy it and not because I have to. However, I definitely take plenty of rest days whenever my body needs it.”
Her new-found confidence in her current weight has now taught her the true affect of an eating disorder that she wasn’t aware of before.
“It’s given me more compassion and understanding for people who struggle with food. I now am so much more aware of how mental and emotional an eating disorder can be,” Morgan said.
“People tend to assume all you need to do is ‘eat more’ but it goes way deeper than that. It’s also grown me as a person to overcome something so life threatening.
“I am now humbled, but secure in who I am as a person rather than just a body. I think a lot of people don’t understand anorexia.
“Some are just happy to see me healthy and those who have struggled with eating disorders themselves are proud and encouraged by my recovery.
“Life wasn’t meant for bondage and you aren’t expected to be perfect. Your worth isn’t in the size of your body, but in your heart.
“You are not alone, and you aren’t crazy for what you think and feel. Recovery is possible. Freedom in food and exercise is worth fighting for.”
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