beauty

The story behind these two innocent photos has sparked an important conversation about eating disorders.

When we hear the phrase “eating disorder“, many of us immediately think of a certain stereotype – a young woman essentially reduced to skin and bones.

Veronica Calhoun wants you to know that’s definitely not always the case.

The 20 year old took to her body positive Instagram account to share the important reminder that eating disorders look different for everyone – it’s the habits and symptoms that make them the same.

“A few of you have asked me if it’s possible to have an eating disorder while still being at normal weight. My answer to you all is yes!” she captioned the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photograph.

A few of you have asked me if it’s possible to have an eating disorder while still being at normal weight. My answer to you all is yes! That photo of me on the left was me at my lowest point of anorexia. It’s easy to see why my friends and family didn’t show immediate concern. But at that time in my life I was passing out during my runs/work outs, my period slowed to a stop, and the only time I ever took off my towel at the beach was when my little sister begged to take a picture with me. When I finally went to a psychiatrist she even told me that yes I was anorexic but I didn’t meet the “weight requirement”. I was too heavy to physically be anorexic but my mind and thought process was of someone who suffers with anorexia. I want you to know that just because you don’t look like skin and bones that doesn’t mean you don’t have a mind fighting with an ED! To be honest I didn’t even think I had an ED. I ate “healthy” and worked out so I couldn’t possibly have an eating disorder…right? Wrong! 600 calories a day isn’t healthy. Working out 3-6 times a day vigorously with all weight loss routines isn’t “getting fit”. I finally decided after I passed out during one of my daily runs that I needed some advice and I got help. I urge you that even if you just have a negative body image to see a professional. There is nothing wrong getting a neutral opinion and having someone to talk to free of judgement! That photo on the right is the first time I was able to walk down a beach in my bikini without thinking everyone was staring at me for negative reasons! It’s the first time I didn’t cry after having my picture taken in a swim suit. And it’s when I realized that my body is beautiful just the way it is!!! ???????????? So reach out! It doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist, or even a psychologist, reach out to us here in the #bodypositive community! We’re all here for you and want to help you on your journey to self love! You’re not alone beautiful! I love you all so much, and I hope you all love yourself a just as much! ???? ———————————————— #neda #frombones2bold #embracethesquish #donthatetheshake #loveeverybody #edrecovery #edwarrior #edsoldier

A photo posted by From Bones To Bold ???? (@frombones2bold) on

On the left is Calhoun at what she described as the “lowest point of anorexia”.

“It’s easy to see why my friends and family didn’t show immediate concern. But at that time in my life I was passing out during my runs/work outs, my period slowed to a stop, and the only time I ever took off my towel at the beach was when my little sister begged to take a picture with me,” she wrote.

When she finally went to a psychiatrist, the US based student was told that while technically she was anorexic, she didn’t meet the ‘weight requirement’.

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"I was too heavy to physically be anorexic but my mind and thought process was of someone who suffers with anorexia," she continued.

"I want you to know that just because you don't look like skin and bones that doesn't mean you don't have a mind fighting with an eating disorder (ED)!

Because of this, at one stage Coulhan says she didn't even think she had an eating disorder.

Kasey Chambers speaks to Mia Freedman about her experience with an eating disorder. Post continues below. 

"I ate 'healthy' and worked out so I couldn't possibly have an eating disorder...right? Wrong! 600 calories a day isn't healthy. Working out three to six times a day vigorously with all weight loss routines isn't 'getting fit'," she wrote.

"I finally decided after I passed out during one of my daily runs that I needed some advice and I got help. I urge you that even if you just have a negative body image to see a professional."

The 'after' picture represents the first time the aspiring Eating Disorder counselor was able to wear a bikini to the beach without worrying about her body.

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"It's the first time I didn't cry after having my picture taken in a swim suit and it's when I realized that my body is beautiful just the way it is."

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation‘s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or email [email protected].

You can also visit their website, here.  

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Veronica is currently fundraising for National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) to fund the life saving programs they provide to those who suffer with eating disorders. You can donate here.

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