Amy Kubal

Amy Kubal

Registered Dietician at Hartshorn Health Service

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Colorado State Collegian - Living with an Eating Disorder

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 seventh-grade year."This time I went to an outpatient program and I just sort of got by," she said.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 said.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 said.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 said.By the end of her freshman year in college, Amy had dropped to a weight between 72 and 74 pounds, and she decided she needed help."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 said.Still, Kubal continued to attend her appointments and ended her nine-year struggle with anorexia when she was 20-years-old."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 eating disorder.Kubal 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 said.

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