Brittany Burgunder


?It started so innocently for me. I just wanted to eat a-little-bit-healthier. I started asking my mom to pack me fruit instead of cookies in my school lunch box.

In middle school I went to a tennis camp. We were competitive athletes —carbs were essential to our performance. But my anxiety was getting worse. While everyone ate spaghetti, I sat alone with a bowl of salad and leftover deli meat.

I was a freshman in high school. And it was my 15th birthday. My mom got me a delicious cake. But she also got me a large fruit cup. Because she knew I’d no longer eat cake, and that I’d have a meltdown if something disrupted my food rituals. I blew out the candles in my birthday fruit. And I wished to be skinnier.

My senior year in high school I was dating a guy I was sure I loved. We went to In-N-Out Burger for lunch. I spent the whole time using a napkin trying to wipe the spread off my burger. And I didn’t eat the bun. And we broke up shortly after. I was crushed and also relieved because I was in a committed relationship with my eating disorder.

There was a big party in my dorm at UC Davis. Everyone was going. I decided to go and at least say hello. It was a pizza party I reluctantly found out. I made an unconvincing argument that I was allergic to gluten before hurrying back to my room, alone.

It was Thanksgiving a few years later. I was trying to quit my bingeing problem. I tried to restrict, but I couldn’t resist. One tiny bite of mashed potatoes. Okay two. Fine, have some stuffing. One bread roll won’t hurt. Oh my gosh don’t forget there’s pie later! It’s too late now! Might as well enjoy one last binge before starting your diet tomorrow.

The stories I have are endless. What began as minor changes in my relationship with food, soon snowballed into a catastrophe. At one point, I was so afraid of food that I counted the calories in gum and vitamins. This is not the life you want. 

My recovery was filled with fear as I had to re-learn how to make peace with food. And it was worth every tear and every bite. Food no longer controls my life. I’m the one eating the biggest piece of cake on my birthdays now. And in 20 years, I’ll be doing the same. ~Britt?

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