I was always a carefree child, but when I moved from a small town in Arizona to university in Utah, I felt lost. Everyone talked about the ‘freshman fifteen’ – the 15lbs students gain in their first year – and I thought, ‘That’s not going to be me.’
So I started counting calories with my housemate. I was fascinated that if I ate a little less, I’d be a little skinnier. I started cutting back to compensate for occasional indulgences. A bagel for breakfast meant skipping lunch; dessert meant smaller meals the next day.
In my mind, I ‘ate carefully’ and lost weight ‘casually’. But gradually, I started restricting like crazy: carbohydrates and meat became a ‘no go’ but vegetables were ‘safe’. So I’d snack on carrots to fill up – but ate so many my skin turned orange from the beta-carotene.