Amy Kubal's doctor diagnosed her with anorexia when she was too young to understand the meaning of the word.
"It started out innocently," said Kubal
, a 24-year-old graduate student studying food science and nutrition."In fifth grade they weighed me at school and I had lost one pound since the year before and I was like 'geez that was easy.'
"I made my goal to weigh 80 pounds, I weighed 84, so I just said to myself, 'OK, no more dessert and I'll just ride my bike more and play outside more.' I started cutting out more stuff and I basically stopped eating all together."
By the November of her
sixth-grade year, Kubal
was hospitalized for anorexia, a disease of which she
had no knowledge.
"When the doctor said I had anorexia I didn't understand what that meant," Kubal
said."I asked my mom what it was, if it was a disease and if we could fix it."
After leaving the hospital in January, Kubal
relapsed in the August of her
"This time I went to an outpatient program and I just sort of got by," she
Following Kubal's eating disorder relapse, her
parents enacted consequences that would remain throughout her
high school years.
"There were always a lot of ultimatums, they'd say, 'If you don't weigh this much by this time you can't do this.'" Kubal
At Christmas that year, Kubal
's parents resorted to force-feeding Kubal to make her
eat and while she
did gain weight, by that time her
eating disorder had become an obsession.
"It was like an addiction," Kubal
said."It was like having power, I thought 'you can tell me what to do, where to go and how things should be done, but you can't tell me what to put in my mouth.'"
The eating disorder that began when she
was in junior high school engulfed years of her
life, leaving no room for friends or a boyfriend throughout high school.
"I didn't care about anything else," Kubal
...Having maintained 90 pounds during her senior year, Kubal came to CSU for a new beginning, a place where no one knew her past and she could make friends.
"I never planned to relapse any of the times that I did; I wanted to start over, but right when I got to CSU I got sick again," she
By the end of her
freshman year in college, Amy
had dropped to a weight between 72 and 74 pounds, and she
"One day I was walking across campus by the (Hartshorn) Health Center and said, 'I'm going to make an appointment.I eventually want to get better,'" Kubal
said.She started seeing a registered dietician at Hartshorn Health Service and made gradual progress.
"It took weeks and weeks before I could even put cheese on pizza," she
continued to attend her
appointments and ended her
nine-year struggle with anorexia when she
"Every time my parents would put me in the hospital or make me eat, that saved my life because I wasn't ready to get better," she
said."Ultimately, if you ever want to get better you have to want to do it yourself."
At age 24, Kubal
is proud that she
has weighed more than 100 pounds for three and a half years.
"I don't regret anything because I think I am a lot stronger of a person for where I've been," she
said."Life's better than it's ever been.I'm happy with how I look and I feel good."
Since overcoming anorexia, Kubal
has experienced many firsts in her
life, including having her
first boyfriend and having a solid base of friends - firsts that were postponed by her
speaks to groups and students at local schools, hoping her
story will prevent other people from developing eating disorders.
"If I can save one person from going through what I went through, that's my goal in life," Kubal