February 20, 2015
While he was a freshman in high school, Simao Drew’s perception of himself drastically changed when a boy in his class made a comment about his weight. Although Drew was never severely overweight, he began dieting, running and experimenting with alternative ways to get thinner.
“Over the next two years, I grew seven inches but lost 25 pounds,” Drew, English teacher, said. “I was a string bean, practically. I kept a strict calorie counts and tried weight loss tablets that I bought at pharmacies. Basically the body image issues followed me until senior year, when I [started] playing sports.”
Many people in Drew’s life, such as his mom and teachers, expressed concerns as he slimmed down. Drew said one part of him was happy that he was making progress, but the other was concerned his health.
“I was obsessive over what I ate, body image and how much exercise I was getting,” Drew said. “I thought the skinnier I got, the more attractive I would be, but in reality, I should have focused more on getting more muscle and not restricting the food I ate.”
As Drew moved beyond high school, his issues followed him. In his opinion, an eating disorder is not something you can overcome, it’s something you have to live with every day.
“Even now, at age 40, I ask myself ‘Am I getting enough exercise? Can I still fit into this pair of pants?’ Drew said. “I wasn’t the classic anorexic: all skin and bones, but I did look in the mirror and say, ‘Wow, you look so fat.’ Reality is, I may have been a pudgy ninth grader, but why does that matter?”