Kait Fortunato Helps Make Recovery Possible for College Student
This is the testimonial of one of Kait Fortunato’s clients, who wishes to remain anonymous. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
This past year I tackled the most difficult challenge I have ever had to face. I tackled an eating disorder. My freshman year of college was full of laughs and good times. I met friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life and I thrived in my classes. On the surface it looked like I was fine. It looked that way, until I suddenly didn’t look like myself anymore.
I got to college having heard of the Freshman 15 like any other college freshman. The honest truth, the Freshman 15 scared me to death. Throughout my entire childhood I had never worried about food. I maintained a healthy weight and lifestyle, but the thought of gaining 15 pounds was something I could not let happen. I’m a control freak. I like to know I have control over everything involved in my life. The Freshman 15 sounded like something I couldn’t control, which made me think I had to work to control it more.
The dining hall didn’t have the best food. In fact the best food they ever had was the fried food, but I wouldn’t touch it with fear of the Freshman 15. Not eating fried food turned into not eating bread. Before I knew it, I wasn’t eating any carbohydrates at all. My stomach adjusted and suddenly I was felt full with limited amounts of food. My rational was that the dining hall food was bad so why would I subject myself to it. But not eating the bad food turned into not eating much.
When I got home, everyone was concerned. But with my rationalization I thought that if I felt full I should be fine with the amount of food I was eating. Then one day at the Doctor’s office, before I headed back to school, they took my weight and I realized just how much weight I had lost and just how dangerous the path I was on.
You think this would have woken me up, you think this would have snapped me out of it. But it didn’t. I went back to school with the knowledge I had to gain weight, but it scared me. In a world so focused on losing weight I had to gain it. The worst part was the fear, the fear that if I started to gain weight I would lose control and suddenly gain that Freshman 15 I had been so scared of to begin with.
The summer came and my family could tell I had made no progress in gaining the weight back. In fact, I had only lost more. I blamed it on my fullness, how carbohydrates made me feel sick, but in actuality it was the fear of losing control that stopped me every time I tried to start a path to gain the weight back.
On July 4th, 2015 I woke up and sat down at the kitchen table. Suddenly, my heart rate slowed and my vision started to fade before it went completely black. I began to sweat profusely and kept telling my sister I couldn’t see anything. After a cold washcloth to the back of the neck and a glass of water my vision eventually came back. This was my moment; that was when I realized that if I continued doing this to my body I would eventually kill myself.
There are four people who saved my life this past year. Four people who didn’t give up on me, four people whom without I wouldn’t be able to talk about my recovery today.
The first three were my mother, father and sister. These people were the ones that had to see me slowly do this to myself. They were the ones that watched as I shrank away and all they could do was tell me that I had to gain weight. A part of my recovery was that I had to realize that they couldn’t do this for me; I had to do it for myself. They waited and they let me vent. They let me cry out the fear of what I had to do and stood by me, as I had to do it. They made it possible for me to recover, they were my supporters and without them I couldn’t have remained strong. Even when I wasn’t strong, they were there to pick me up when I fell. They saved my life. In no exaggeration, they saved my life.
The fourth person who saved my life, was Kait Fortunato of Rebecca Bitzer and Associates. Kait taught me how to gain weight while still feeling in control. She taught me how to eat in an enjoyable and healthy way. She understood completely the anxiety I felt every time it was time for a meal. She never judged or criticized. She was goal oriented and understanding. She worked with me and set out a meal plan I was comfortable with, and she listened as I tried to explain all the jumbled thoughts in my head. I felt as if I had a partner in the fight. I felt as if it was possible for me to get back to my normal self because she made me believe I could do it.
Not only did Kait make my recovery possible, she made my recovery possible in college. Schooling was always important to me and the thought of having to miss a semester of college because of my eating disorder was unbearable. Kait made it so I didn’t have to. Through a food log app (Recovery Record) on my phone, FaceTime calls for our sessions, and her receiving the paperwork of weight checks I had done in school, we were able to work together even while hundreds of miles a part. If I needed her, got stressed over whether what I was doing was enough or any questions I had in general, she was always there to respond to every single one of my text messages. Without Kait not only would I have not recovered, but I wouldn’t have been able to come back to school, and that means the world to me.
If you’re reading this and you have an eating disorder and don’t know where to start with recovery because it seems so far away, I want you to know that it’s possible. I’m not going to lie, sometimes anxious thoughts still pop into my head. But every day they get easier and easier to push back. Throughout my recovery I failed more than once to try to get better, and it’s okay if you have failed in the past too. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. But if I can provide one piece of advice, find people you trust. Find people you can talk to. This fight doesn’t have to be something you have to do by yourself. Recovery starts with you, no one else can start this journey for you, but that does not mean you have to face it alone.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and would like to meet with a Registered Dietitian, we are here to help. Please click here or call us at (240) 670-4675.