BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Eating disorders can be life-threatening and affect millions of people every year.
A local girl who survived anorexia wants to raise awareness to help those who may be going through an eating disorder themselves.
22-year-old Chelsee Cook’s eating disorder began when she was only in the 8th grade.
“It started out not really restricting much food but started doing a lot of cardio overexercising. Then it was kind of like, ok I’ll have like two meals a day, then it just became one meal a day, and then it started becoming real bad,” Cook said.
She said often times she’d give her lunch away at school to avoid eating it. Not long after she was taken off of the cheerleading team because she had become too skinny.
“Freshman year – that’s when it got really bad I was probably down to 65 pounds. I got sent to Gainesville the day after Thanksgiving. I think this was either 2013 or 2014 and I was in that treatment center from Thanksgiving till two days after Christmas,” Cook said.
She said the treatment center was a difficult experience, but it helped her get up to 85 pounds. But once she returned, she relapsed.
“It’s like a variety that can deal with an eating disorder and it’s not common for people to talk about, but it’s so important because a lot of people don’t see it,” Cook said. “And it is a form of suicide. Like I always got told you’re slowly killing yourself. And you don’t think about how you’re slowly killing yourself when you are doing it, but it is a form of suicide.”
It wasn’t until she was invited to a CrossFit gym and introduced to a personal trainer who Cook now calls her “guardian angel.”
“She really helped me. She was like I’m going to treat you like my little project and we are going to get you where you need to be,” Cook said. “She got me a meal plan and started introducing me to her kind of workouts and that’s when it clicked for me. I started looking at her and the kind of girls I need to be looking at like they have muscles, they eat, and that’s when it clicked for me. Like what are you doing? I was a walking zombie.”
Cook said she still has moments where she struggles, but she now has the tools and support to fight it.
“It’s what made me want to eat. I started looking at new kinds of girls that I want to be like that have muscle. And I’m not trying to compare myself to them, but I’m trying to get on that healthy level as them. I see their muscle and I’m like I want that, but starving myself is not going to get me there,” Cook said.
Cook is now in the process of becoming a personal trainer. She hopes to one day own her own gym so that she can help other women find their confidence.
“My biggest thing is I just want women to like just be confident in themselves, love their body. Just right now with the world being how it is, I guess I just went so long with no confidence that it ruins you,” Cook said.
Cook encourages those who may be going through an eating disorder to open up to someone and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder visit this website.
To contact the Eating Disorder Helpline visit here.
For a website with links to numerous different resources visit here.