SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) - There were some emotional moments at the University of Utah this week, students there are just wrapping up a several day campus wide focus on "Loving Your Body". It's part of national Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
"I wanted a life. It was an over night decision, to decide that I'm done with this. I'm tired of being in the hospital every six months, I'm just done."
Andrea Olson is thirty one years old and she's battled an eating disorder for most of her life. She says it started at age eleven when she was weighed by a PE teacher.
"I was a lot less than other people. And it really triggered something in my head because she said, you are so lucky. So it triggered in my head that that is valued and I was trying to be original and different, so it went from there," Olson says.
Andrea won't talk about her specific weight or what she did to her body, she says broadcasting numbers on a scale hurts others who are trying to recover. But she will talk about her feelings.
"I never thought recovery was possible, or that there was a point to it and I'm amazed, I'm going to cry, at just how far I've come and that I'm able to do this."
Eleven million people suffer from some type of eating disorder and though it can start on college campuses, experts say concern about body image can start as young as age five or six.
"The parents can be the most positive influence by being a good role model, by having positive body image, by displaying positive feelings about one's body as opposed to making negative comments," says Justine Reel, Asst. Professor of Health Promotion and Education.
For Andrea Olson learning to celebrate her body no matter the shape or size is a daily struggle. She hopes telling her story will help others.
"It's never too late to recover. I suffered for twenty-two, twenty-three years. It's never too late."
If you would like tips on positive body image or more information on the University of Utah's Love Your Body week go to their website www.loveyourbodyweek.com