how soccer helped me overcome my eating disorder

230 Best NEDA Symbol images | Neda symbol, Recovery tattoo, Disorders

this post discusses weight, calories, disordered eating, & other potentially triggering topics. please check with yourself & see if you’re in the right mental space to read about such things before continuing. i don’t want to accidentally make someone else feel worse while talking about my own recovery.


sometime in middle school, i decided that my body was not good enough. i’m not exactly sure how it started. i’ve always been slender & active; i’d never cared about my weight or how i looked in comparison to other people. but at some point it crept up on me, this concrete knowledge that my body wasn’t right, that it took up too much space.

for a long time, i didn’t act on any of my thoughts, the ones that told me you shouldn’t eat that & really? you’re eating again? & the classic you’re fat. but they were there, every time i ate something. it’s incredibly difficult to enjoy a meal when your mind is yelling at you to stop after every bite. so eventually i gave in & just stopped eating to try & get some mental peace. of course it didn’t work, because nothing is ever enough to satisfy an eating disorder. even if you’re eating just enough to stay alive, it’ll insist that you’re not doing enough.

my eating habits got messed up very quickly. most days, i wouldn’t let myself eat until about three in the afternoon. when i did finally allow myself some food, it was something meager like an apple or a cup of green tea or a handful or trail mix. i never tracked calories, but i think i was living on around 300-500 calories a day. it was just enough to keep myself going, but never enough to be satisfied. i was always hungry. i was hungry every single days for years.

i never managed to talk to a professional about it (or anyone, for that matter), so i don’t have a specific diagnosis. but i know that i showed traits of both anorexia & bulimia over the years. in the beginning, my eating disorder mostly consisted of restricting, which is a characteristic of anorexia. somehow i managed to do that for about two years: eating the tiniest bit of food every day, or occasionally going several days without eating anything at all. i think the longest i ever fasted was three days in a row.

the fasting obviously had consequences, in the form of me getting extremely sick. i woke up from one of those three day fasts & couldn’t get out of bed. i was feverish, my head felt like it was going to explode, & the intense nausea was the only thing i could focus on. it felt like dying, like if i closed my eyes & slipped away into that pain, i would be gone for good. it was horrible — probably the most painful thing i’ve ever experienced — & it didn’t just happen once. after that first time, i suffered through it almost every morning for months. my morning routine went something like this: wake up. immediate pain. throw up in the shower. almost black out while brushing my hair & getting dressed. eat just enough to regain a shred of focus & quell the nausea.

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when my eating disorder was at its very worst, i weighed 83 lbs. according to BMI calculators, i should have weighed 98 lbs. at the very least. i was really, really sick, & here are some side effects, both mental & physical, of my eating disorder:

– i was cold all the time
– my stomach was concave; it hurt & you could see my ribs
– my period would disappear for months at a time
– sometimes i refused to leave my house if i’d eaten too much
– my hair was thin & dull
– i compared my body to everyone that i saw
– i thought about food constantly & couldn’t focus on anything else

when i started my freshman year of high school, i weighed around 90 lbs. i had gained a little bit of weight & i didn’t look as sick, but i was definitely still struggling. i skipped breakfast & lunch, so i typically didn’t eat anything until three in the afternoon, when we would get a snack before marching band practice. i wouldn’t eat again until about 6:30, when i got home. this is when i really started showing signs of bulimia. i would starve all day at school, binge at night when i got home, then feel awful about myself & purge. then the cycle would restart the next morning.

it felt like hell. i wanted to stop but i didn’t know how. i would sit at my kitchen table at night & eat a whole day’s worth of food in twenty minutes. i would tell myself to cut it out, just go to bed, you aren’t even hungry anymore. but i just kept eating. it was just as harmful to my body & mental health as my years of restricting had been. yes, i was eating again, but it still wasn’t a healthy amount. & of course the purging wasn’t helpful. my body didn’t know how to respond to the sudden overload of calories, so i still felt terrible all the time.

i know this has been a dark post so far, but here’s where the recovery part comes in!

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i decided to try out for the soccer team that spring. i’ve played soccer my entire life & i love it with my whole heart. it’s something i excel at without much effort, & the feeling i get when i’m on a field is irreplaceable.

so i went to tryouts & i made the JV team. i’m a talented player & an athletic person, but as the season progressed, i found myself struggling to keep up with my teammates during practice. i was tired after completing warmups, i saw stars after sprinting, etc. it just wasn’t going well & i was incredibly frustrated with myself because i knew that i could play better, so why wasn’t it happening?

one day, we were running laps around the field, & i almost passed out after about a lap & a half. i had to stop & tell my coach that i couldn’t do it. i didn’t have the energy to run because i hadn’t eaten anything that day. it was so, so hard for me to admit that, because not being able to keep up in practice is definitely something i could’ve gotten kicked off the team for.

my coach laid it out for me like this: either i started eating lunch, at the very least, or i couldn’t participate in practice. those were very simple terms & it forced me to make a decision. i could keep giving in to my eating disorder & lose the sport that i love. or i could force myself way, way out of my comfort zone & keep my spot of the team.

the next day, i willingly ate lunch for the first time in years. i even packed a snack to eat right before practice. & i absolutely hated it, because i felt heavy & slow & was sure that all the food in my stomach was just going to make me an even worse player.

but i packed a lunch the next day, & the next, & every single day until the end of the school year. at first it was just salads, a few carrots or grapes, a bag of fruit gummies. just enough that when my coach asked what i’d eaten that day, i could list enough that she would let me practice. as the season went on, i started bringing sandwiches & candy & pie & yogurt & other foods i hadn’t let myself eat in such a long time.

things were improving in soccer, too. i became the star of the JV team. i had enough energy that i could run the entire game & work my hardest at every practice. my coach told me several times that i was basically playing everyone’s positions. towards the end of the season, i even got pulled up to varsity for a few games.

i am so, so grateful to my coach. i don’t think she knows how much that one conversation changed my life. her ultimatum was the kick i needed to pull myself back together & overcome the eating disorder that had controlled my life for so long. she made me realize that i couldn’t reach my full potential as a soccer player if i didn’t take care of myself first & eat. my love for my sport, as well as a healthy dose of willpower & stubbornness, was what it took for me to finally save myself.

by the end of my freshman year, i had hit 100 lbs. i was ecstatic. it was the most i had ever weighed in my life, but instead of feeling ashamed, i was proud. i was so damn proud. i had worked incredibly hard to gain those 10 lbs, most of which was muscle that had helped me perform so well on the field. i felt present & grounded, i had so much energy, & i felt more confident in my body than ever before.

i can’t say that i’ve 100% recovered from my eating disorder. the thoughts are still there, floating around in the back of my mind, but i’ve learned to ignore them for the most part. i still have bad days. sometimes i’m not happy with how my body looks. i can still recall exactly how many calories are in something without reading the label. things like that are still ingrained in my head, because unlearning those habits can be so hard. i don’t know if i’ll ever completely recover & never have to deal with those abusive, disordered thoughts again, but the point is that i am trying & that i am not where i was.

i really am doing so much better now. (i think you can tell by looking at the two pictures above: the one on the left is from 2017 & the right is from earlier this year.) i feel like i’ve gotten my life back. my days are no longer ruled by the irrational fear of something as essential as food. even though i’ve gained over 20 lbs. since my lowest weight, i feel confident. gaining weight is hard, especially when it leads to stretch marks & outgrowing clothes, but i’m learning to love my body regardless. i no longer have any desire to lose weight. i worked so hard to get to this point. i really did almost die trying.

pros of recovering from my eating disorder:

– i’ve developed an interest in cooking
– my hair is super thick & gorgeous
– i can eat all my favorite foods again
– i’m no longer slowly starving to death
– going out to eat with friends (& actually eating)
– gaining weight meant i got to buy a bunch of cute new clothes
– i have the strength & energy to go on adventures, like rock climbing & challenging hikes
– i’ve tried so many new foods, especially desserts

this was hard to write because i’ve never really talked to anyone about my eating disorder. i struggled, starved, & forced myself into recovery, all in silence. now i want to celebrate as loudly as i possibly can. i am tough as hell; i overcame something i thought i would suffer from forever!

thank you for reading this part of my story. my hope it that it inspired some of you to try & overcome the difficult things in your life, or at least to believe that you are not alone & that recovery is possible, even for you.

xo apollo

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a natural disaster (me, on a hike)

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hey everyone!

i miss exercising everyday after school with my soccer team. i know that might sound crazy to some of you, but running drills for two hours & being out of breath & having my muscles ache is a feeling i actually really enjoy. but my soccer season got cancelled & i’ve been quarantined for a month, so i haven’t been able to exercise like that in awhile. i still workout everyday, but it’s not an intense, i am literally about to throw up & pass out at the same time type of cardio that i was used to.

the weather has been lovely here recently, so i decided to go hiking to try & get some exercise. i have a decent amount of hiking experience, i think. my mom is basically a mountain woman, & she’s taken me on a good number of hikes in my life. however, i wouldn’t necessarily say that i’m any good at it, considering that the last time i went hiking, several people got lost & we didn’t get out of the woods until after midnight.

but this time went a lot better! no one went missing, anyway, which is a win in my book. the trail i picked was 9.5 miles long, had an elevation gain of 2,200 feet, & went up & down two mountains.

spring hadn’t quite hit, so there weren’t many flowers & the trees were pretty bare. most of the trail looked like this: rocky, with just a little color from evergreens & plants that could handle the early springtime chill.

there was some plant life left over from last summer, like this dead queen anne’s lace.

we (my mom & i) reached the summit of the first mountain about halfway through the hike.

here’s the view!! (that mountain on the right side of the picture is the second one we hiked.)

 the summit is this huge rocky area with tons of boulders stacked up on top of each other. i love bouldering, it makes me feel like i’m in one of those bear grylls survival shows.

speaking of bear grylls, that man was probably my first crush. while we were hiking, my mom told me that i used to have a poster of him in my room that i had ripped out of a boy scout magazine. i have no memory of that, but young me definitely had good taste.

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i wanted to get some pictures for my instagram, but my mom is kind of the worst photographer ever & this was the only photo of me that wasn’t super awful.

my instagram feed has been filled with hiking pictures recently. it’s super confusing to me because i know that half of the people posting that stuff don’t even like being outdoors?? the world gets hit by one (1) pandemic & suddenly everyone likes nature.

hey guys did you know that i have a kånken? showing it off is lowkey the whole point of this post. make sure you leave me a comment telling me that you love my backpack (it’s a kånken by the way, i just wanted make to make sure everyone knew). ok thanks, moving on.

we found a single peach tree blooming by the side of the trail. a hiker must have thrown away a peach pit a decade or two ago & it grew into something beautiful, all on its own in the middle of the woods. that’s what bob ross might call a happy accident.

another hiker pointed out this luna moth to us as we were passing him. most of the luna moths i’ve seen in my life were dead because their lifespan is only about one week long, so it was exciting to see one that was still hanging in there.

in my opinion, this was the prettiest view of the whole hike. i just love that pointy mountain in the background, & the pines surrounding the rocks were low enough that i could see more mountains to the left & a field-filled valley to the right.

the hike took just about the whole day to complete. my ankles & hips felt like they were ready to snap in half by the time we finished the loop. (thank you, soccer, for giving me joint problems while i’m still a teenager.)

here are my thoughts on this hike:

– other than the rocky summit of the first mountain, there weren’t very many ncie views.

– the scenery just wasn’t that interesting. there were a few streams, but that was about it. i think it’ll be a prettier trail when the trees get their leaves, but i’m not planning on hiking it again anytime soon, so i guess i’ll never know.

– it was a really hard hike!! i guess i should’ve known that because the hiking website i found it on gave it five stars for difficulty, but it was still more challenging than i was expecting. it felt like it was all uphill.

– i saw a few puppies!! 10/10 wildlife


i have to go on another all-day hike in order to get my hiking badge, but i’ve picked out a much more exciting trail for that. it passes by caves, has some huge, pointy rock formations, & travels over clifftops. a lot of trails are closed right now because they were getting too much traffic, so i’m not sure when i’ll get to go, but it’s going to be a great trip.

of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. – john muir

xo apollo

life, i guess (6)

hey everyone!

it’s been a hot minute since i last chatted with you all about how life is going (a hot minute = seven months, in this case). i’m out of school right now because of the coronavirus, so i decided to take advantage of all this free time & share some updates.


– my birthday was awhile ago, & since all my friends are busy 24/7 it took awhile for us to set something up. but we ended up getting smoothies, running into my boss from summer camp, & going to a paint your own pottery studio. i picked up my piece last week & it actually turned out way better than i thought it would. it’s a coffee mug with anoutdoorsy camping scene on it to help me get through the next few months while i wait for summer camp to start up again. :)

here is my mini birthday haul: rainbow kånken from my amazing mom, bouquet from my grandma, & some cute trinkets from one of my best friends, like a candle, a jewelry dish, & a highlighter with a makeup brush.

– i got my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. i was supposed to get them removed in january, but i was wearing a heart monitor at the time & the surgeon didn’t want to operate on me until the monitor was off. (apparently anesthesia doesn’t mix well with heart conditions. & it turns out that there’s nothing wrong with my heart, so don’t worry.) anyway, they had me on so many drugs (an anti-anxiety pill, laughing gas, anesthesia, etc.) that i don’t remember anything until the drive home, when i found some ice cream in my post-op goodie bag. i would take the dessert out of the bag, exclaim that i couldn’t believe they’d given me ice cream, put it away, forget about it, & do the whole routine again a few seconds later. i feel really bad for my mom for having to deal with that. also, the pain meds i was prescribed gave me hives, so this whole recovery thing is definitely going to be a fun time.

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– my scouting troop was planning a camping trip to a maple syrup farm last month, & since my mom is in charge of the troop & i’m somewhat of an expert camper, we felt like it was our duty to go along. even though the forecast called for 18° weather the first night & i don’t particularly like camping, especially in the winter. it ended up being a fun time, though. we got to help with the entire maple syrup-making process, from stacking wood for the fires to tapping trees to eating fresh syrup with every meal. & there were a bunch of little boys staying on the farm that all got attached to me. i basically had my own troop of six preschool/elementary-aged boys following me around the farm & forest, which i loved so much because i really want to volunteer with a cub scout pack sometime in the future. i taught them about smoke signals & fire safety & how to make really incredible s’mores with reese’s and cookies instead of graham crackers. they were such adorable kids & i miss them a whole lot.

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–  all of this time off school has been forcing me to be crafty again, so i made this clay tea bag holder that’s shaped like a toadstool. i haven’t used it yet but i’m lowkey proud of it. that is all.

– i know everyone is probably tired of hearing about the coronavirus, but since i feel like this is going to end up in history textbooks, i want to talk about it at least a little bit. there are currently a few confirmed cases in my county, which is kind of scary. but my family isn’t really following the whole self-quarantine thing so it doesn’t exactly feel real. however, my school is closed for at least three weeks (two by state mandate, one for spring break) & there aren’t any plans for online schooling yet. i have mixed feelings about that, because on one hand i literally have three whole weeks without any school, & i’m trying to get my mom to take me on some all-day hiking/biking trips. i feel like we’ll be fairly safe from corona at the top of my state’s tallest mountain, right? but the downside is that the soccer season got suspended, which sucks because i worked super hard to make varsity & no one knows yet if the games we’re missing are going to be rescheduled or not.


so that’s basically how life has been going lately. although most of this stuff actually happened earlier in the year; everything got cancelled so i haven’t done anything noteworthy recently.

before i go, i wanna know how all of you have been dealing with the coronavirus. do you have any cases near your home yet? has your school gotten cancelled? if you’re quarantined, how have you been keeping yourself busy? a global pandemic is obviously a pretty scary thing to be living through, so i wanted to check in & make sure that everyone is hanging in there.

xo apollo

get to know me | tragic backstory + questionable fun facts

hello everyone!

i’ve gotten a lot of new followers lately, so i thought it would be a good time to reintroduce myself. i feel like whenever i talk about myself on here, it’s through the form of, i don’t know, tragic poetry or sad song lyrics that make everyone concerned about my mental health. i never really say stuff like “tofu isn’t actually that bad” or “i don’t remember how to do long division,” which i’m sure is the type of get-to-know-me content that y’all actually want, right? so maybe this post will be helpful for not just my new readers, but the ones who have been putting up with my posts since 2014, too.


to kick things off, my name is not actually apollo, which is probably not a shocker for anyone. it’s loren, which for the most part is a great name. but people always either pronounce it like the name lauren, or expect me to be a boy because traditionally it’s a male name. so i use a pen name on my blog, & i chose apollo because the things he symbolizes (archery, music, the sun, poetry, healing, etc.) really appeal to me. so that’s the story behind my name, but i honestly don’t care if any of you call me loren instead of apollo or vice versa.

ok, moving on. my name is loren, & i’m in high school. i live in the american south, & yes, i do have an accent. not a full-blown country singer kind of accent, but you can definitely tell i’m from the south because i say some words with a twang. there are fields on three sides of my house & sometimes there will be tractors on the highway when i’m driving around. yeehaw & all that.

i was homeschooled before i started going to high school. i know some people think that’s sad, to have a parent as your teacher & to not have any classmates besides your siblings, but it was actually pretty great. my mom was an amazing teacher & she took my older brother & i on educational trips a lot. we would go to the national park that we live by, museums, historical sites, etc. & since everyone else was in school, we would typically have the whole place to ourselves. so, to sum things up, my education was superb.

now i go to a public high school. i’m not having a great time, but i suppose that’s not surprising to anyone. i’m a huge introvert, so spending all day around loud people is exhausting for me. & i haven’t had to try very hard in my classes yet, not even the advanced ones, so it’s pretty boring. but what i am enjoying about high school are the science classes & extracurricular activities.

marching band be like
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i do marching band in the fall & soccer in the spring. i play bass in our band’s drumline, & while i (someone who is 5’2″) look ridiculous marching around with a great big drum strapped to my chest, i absolutely love it. my band is pretty small, with about forty members on a good day, but we’re actually sort of amazing & win a lot of awards at competitions. as for soccer, i play for the varsity team as a striker/midfielder. this season feels a little weird so far because we have a new coach & i’m not really friends with anyone on varsity, but it just started so i’ve still got some hope.

between homework & those extracurricular activities, i don’t have a whole lot of free time, but when i do, i’m usually doing one of three things: reading, writing, or scouting. i’m sure most of you know that i like to write, because that’s one of the main things i post on here. currently, i write a lot of poems & memoirs, which you can read by clicking right here. when it comes to reading, i typically go for poetry, fantasy, paranormal, & contemporary books.

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here’s me looking snazzy in my uniform

so the third hobby on that list is scouting, & i have a lot to say about that one. i first got into scouting when i was in elementary school. my brother was in cub scouts & my parents were in charge of the den, so i went to all of the campouts & meetings & events. i loved it, but once my brother aged out of the den, i couldn’t participate in anything scouting related because girls weren’t allowed in the BSA at that time. so a few years later, my mom started an american heritage girls troop, which is just a girls scouting organization modeled after the BSA. my best friends were in the troop with me for awhile, but they quit after awhile. i miss seeing them at meetings, but i still love scouting: earning badges & going camping & volunteering & helping younger scouts with their requirements.

i ran out of pretty summer photos so here’s some chaotic camp pics
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in fact, i love it so much that i work at a BSA camp in the summer. i’ve been going to this camp as a scout since 2016, & now i get to work there, so it’s super special to me. i teach handicraft classes all summer with my friends, go on adventures, cause trouble, eat questionable amounts of ice cream, etc. & sure, some days it reaches 100°, my staff cabin is basically a shed, & i have to wear a uniform all summer, but it’s great! seriously, if you want to have a good summer, work at a sleepaway camp. you will be doing very little sleeping, but you’ll have the time of your life.

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here’s a watercolor i did last year

i do have some other hobbies, like art & music & photography, but i don’t have much to say about them other than that i like them. so we’ll just move on to fun facts with loren/apollo/???

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this is my kitty, she’s so precious

– i have two cats, my favorite of which is named navi
– i’ve been vegetarian for over a year
– i’m lactose intolerant but that sure doesn’t stop me from eating dairy 24/7!
– i love drinking tea (hot or sweet). the caffeine in it makes me really sleepy though
– my dream job is to be a paramedic, maybe for a medevac service
– i have some weird areas of hypopigmentation on my arms & legs that i think is caused by eczema?? i’m not 100% sure, just hoping it isn’t vitiligo
– according to my notes app, my favorite movies are sixth sense, dead poets society, catch me if you can, & the breakfast club.
– i have a slight obsession with lip balm but it’s totally not that big of a problem haha

so i guess that’s it? i know that was way too much useless information, but hey, if i ever become famous, you guys will ace those buzzfeed quizzes about me! but if by any chance you have more questions, leave them in the comments & i’ll stick them into a q&a post sometime.

xo apollo

i dreamed a dance with you

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in my dreams, there is a lake with a forested island in the center. we dance on sandy shores. i am always dancing with you in my dreams. there is never any music.

i dream about an angel. sometimes it is a woman with marble cheeks & bronze hair that gleams like a suncatcher. sometimes it is a young native american man. his hair is shorn & his chest is scattered with scars. i hope you’re looking out for me, i tell the angel. i would like to believe that something as beautiful as you would never leave. sometimes i imagine that i can feel a hand smoothing my hair as i fall asleep. i hope it’s you.

i dream about angels following their soldiers into war. the soldiers leave their weapons on the ground on christmas day. they sing together as the smoke clears. not even the angels have heard a choir like that before.

sometimes i dream about hands around my throat. when it happens while i’m awake, my head gets fuzzy; i short out. i am a program malfunctioning. i haven’t dealt with it & i can’t & i won’t. i write poems when the memories are too much to swallow, but i never say it for what it is. there’s no truth in it so there can’t be any healing. i think that i try to tell the truth in my dreams, but i can’t sleep anymore.

xo apollo

thrift store haul

hey, everyone!

i’ve been really into thrift shopping for the past few years. a lot of my books are from second-hand shops, as well as my homecoming dress from two years ago. & a broken cat clock with incredibly creepy eyes (his name is heath), & some of my favorite clothes.

i always have a good time at thrift stores, especially when i have a friend to search through all the racks & bins with me. also, it’s good for the environment, because buying second-hand helps reduce waste. so basically, thrifting is a win-win-win: fun, easy on your wallet, & good for the planet.

anyway, i went thrift shopping last month & came back with a few great finds that i wanted to show you all!


flora & fauna t-shirt – i saw this shirt while christmas shopping with my mom, & while we both loved it, it was a little too expensive for us. so we were super surprised to find the exact same shirt at the thrift store a month later, because how lucky is that? it’s extremely oversized on me, so i cropped it & sewed the sleeves so they’re rolled up all the time.

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fall out boy centuries t-shirt – i was a huge fan of fall out boy in middle school, & while i don’t listen to them quite as much anymore, i thought this was too good of a find to leave at the store. i like the colors & the nostalgia of it.

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varsity sweater – i got this solely because it reminded me of the movie grease. i love the fashion in that musical so much, every time i watch it i wish that people still dressed that way. so that’s the main reason behind this buy, but my last name starts with h, so the letter works too.

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peony sundress – i have a huge problem with buying sundresses & then never wearing them, & i know this, but it doesn’t stop me from getting more of them whenever i can. & it’s not that i decide i don’t like the dresses once i’ve purchased them or anything. it’s just that i have to wear a uniform at the camp i work at, so i can’t really dress how i want to (i.e. sundresses) during the summer. hopefully i can find a time to wear this, though.

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skeleton dress – so this might not have been the most practical purchase, but seriously, how could i have passed this up? it’s not really an everyday kind of dress, but you can bet that i’ll be wearing it around halloween & every time i have to do a presentation in my anatomy class. also, i think the style of this dress is completely adorable; it looks like something you could wear to a tea party (if it didn’t have bones all over it, of course).

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b&w gingham dress – this dress is also not extraordinarily practical, but i adore it, so whatever. it’s got schoolgirl/40’s vibes, in my opinion. i would love to wear this dress with red lipstick, but i’m probably too insecure to actually do that in public.

which of these finds is your favorite? do you like thrifting?

xo apollo