I was diagnosed with an eating disorder (some in the community call it ED) my sophomore year of high school. It’s been a difficult thing for me to talk about.

At first, I knew that my eating habits changed, and I started to restrict what food I ate but I didn’t see that as a bad thing. However, it wasn’t a healthy thing either. I hated what I looked like; I didn’t want to eat things that were high in calories, and it physically pained me to step on the scale and see how much weight I had gained. So you would think that joining a sport like wrestling, where weight is important, would be a bad idea.

The first time I had to weigh myself during the wrestling season it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Not only did I have to weigh myself, but I did it in front of my teammates. I was embarrassed; I felt out of shape and just fat. But over the course of the wrestling season, I came to see my weight in a more positive light.

I only dropped one weight class during the season (which is equal to 5 pounds). My teammates really helped me change my mindset about eating and weight; they had positive body images, and they got excited about eating. That sounds stupid, but it helped me feel better about myself.

Another thing that helped me was going to tournaments; there I was able to see that everybody has a different body type and that a certain body type doesn’t equal a certain weight.

Wrestling taught me that weight is really just a number. It doesn’t matter in the middle of a match. What matters is that you try your best. Weight doesn’t define whether you’re attractive or not, it doesn’t define who you are (you’re not just that overweight kid or underweight kid), and it’s something that a lot of people struggle with — not just physically trying to lose or gain weight —but mentally, too.

I want everyone, not just individuals with eating disorders but to everyone that has struggled with their weight, to know that they are not alone. It may sound hackneyed, but it’s true. If you have an eating disorder it’s important to talk to somebody. People with all different body types and backgrounds can have eating disorders, and help is available.

Sally Wooster is a member of the Women’s Wrestling Team at Hermiston High School.

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