My personal low point—the timeframe when my eating disorder was more of a health risk—was when I was in late middle school through early college. Of course, that’s also the time when my body was becoming an adult woman’s body, and I think I was trying to assert some control over the scariness of that change, so I heavily monitored my eating. I weighed all of the food that I ate, and counted calories down to the single calorie. I also had an extremely restrictive list of foods that I would eat, and I didn’t allow myself any variation. I would eat things like dry noodles with nothing on them, because then I could read the back of the package and know the calorie count exactly. It made it impossible for me to participate in a lot of things because I couldn’t eat with other people and I wasvery angry all the time, because I was veryhungry all the time.

My eating disorder was also triggered by the interactions I had with my boyfriend. I loved him and thought he was a really cool guy, so if he wanted to make out, I thought we should make out. But even though he was cool and I loved him, it felt terrible to be with him. After he would leave, I would soothe myself with food. That was the only time I left my restrictive way of eating, and I would binge hard to try to comfort myself through this massive, painful confusion about why it didn’t feel great to make out with my boyfriend.

Realizing I wanted to be with women and coming out helped me a lot. Being able to work with my body’s needs and desires in sex and relationships allowed me to see the possibility of working with my body’s needs and desires when it came to my eating habits. Those things definitely coincided for me. The guys I dated before coming out had bodies that existed at a distance for me—I could appreciate them, but I wasn’t really into them, so I wasn’t able to see what it means to truly find another person attractive. When I starting dating women, this changed. I loved every part of my first girlfriend’s body because it was every part of her. Understanding this helped me so much to better love my own body.