I started at a boarding school in Grade 11. When I arrived, I had a stunning figure, slim and muscular.  I bought clothes without a care in the world. I wore my school uniform – a checked button down dress with ease. I remember another girl in the grade below me complimenting me one day on what a nice body I had. (Don’t get any ideas, yes this was an all girl’s boarding school, but she was merely making an observation!)

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I was homesick and unable to speak to my parents on the phone; they lived in a remote part of Africa.  I was thrown into higher grade Maths and French which until then in my school life I had excelled at. All of a sudden I had to prove theorems and had oral exams in French.  My new friends and teachers comforted me, but the comfort I also sought solace in was…. food.

The meals themselves were not the healthiest. As anyone from boarding school will know, breakfast, lunch and dinner are inevitably smothered in some kind of cheese. I did not complain.  Sunday lunches were something I looked forward to… cauliflower in cheese, roast potatoes with gravy… ahh, just thinking about it now makes me hungry! The tuck shop had wonderful chips and chocolate for sale every day after prep… there was a couple weeks where I had a Tempo bar and BBQ Fritos every day.

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As the months wore on my uniform became tighter and tighter.  A friend and I decided we had to do something about our weight gain. (Exercising and eating less was just not glamorous enough) and instead went to the pharmacy for diet pills.  We bought Thinz. They were within our budget, easy enough to take, and we could hide them in our closets.

About a week after taking the pills my friend and I were the most irritable we had ever been. We snapped not only at each other, but at other friends as well. Everything and everybody just seemed to annoy us.  We were in such foul moods that it scared us a bit.. most of the time we were always laughing and very carefree. However all of a sudden we were being horrible to everyone and feeling terrible.  It was an easy decision to make.. stop the pills. Life was just not fun, and instead of losing any weight, we were on our way to losing friends.

It’s been 10 years since then… I am still on the journey to get back to that slim muscular figure. I have realized though that diet pills just aren’t the answer and only hard work on my part will get me there.

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