By Lisa Mullins and Lynn Jolicoeur on October 21, 2020

Miranda Snyder, 21, says she was "quasi-recovered" from her eating disorder until it flared up again during the pandemic. (Courtesy)


When the pandemic sent Miranda Snyder home from her Maine college in March, she felt herself heading down a familiar and dangerous path.

“I just completely lost a sense of what I could control — what I was actually contributing to anything if I wasn’t having these regular interactions with my professors and my peers and my coursework,” the 21-year-old from Brimfield recalls. “So I leaned into the familiarity of my eating disorder more intensely than I ever had before, since eighth grade.”

Snyder remembers one day she was attending her contemporary literature class at University of Maine via Zoom. She had her camera off and her microphone muted, and her mind wandered.

“I was scrolling through recipes on, like, the 10th page of Google about baking recipes and even looking at the menu of restaurants, about food that I would dream to eat,” Snyder says.

During the pandemic, advocates say more people have struggled with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. The National Eating Disorders Association SAYS ITS Helpline saw a 94% increase in calls and messages from March through September compared to the same time last year.

Snyder’s eating disorder started when she was 13. She says she obsessively compared her appearance to that of her peers. That first led to her doing a lot of workouts and facials. Then things got worse. She started measuring out small servings of food and doing compulsive stomach crunches on her bathroom floor after meals.

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