Trigger warning: Disordered eating
I stare at the food on my plate.
I mentally count the calories.
I calculate the carbs.
I push my food around to make it look like I’ve eaten more than I have.
I look around the room.
No one notices.
Later that night, I will eat an entire frozen pizza and two pints of ice cream. I’ll take laxatives to push the food through my system quicker. My stomach hurts. I’m cramping and curled into a ball. Somehow, I relish in the pain. That means the calories are leaving my body.
This cycle will begin in my early teen years and continue into my adulthood.
This is my fucked up relationship with food.
I’ve tried the cabbage soup diet. The gas was terrible.
I tried South Beach. I lost 4 lbs.
I tried keto. I lost 26 lbs the first time and 32 the second. I’d gain every pound back.
I am prompted to share my story of disordered eating with others.
I was standing in front of the refrigerator this morning, choosing between an energy drink and fruit to satiate my hunger. The energy drink won. It’s one of many rules and restrictions I live by. I’ll go on to break more rules out of defiance. When I eat bread, I think I’m winning. And the next morning, as I’m retching over the toilet, expelling the oatmeal I’ve eaten, I know how far I have to go.
I’m under the care of a therapist and my primary care doctor is aware of my anorexia. Yet, how can I be anorexic when I’m not skinny? Because disordered eating affects every person who’s ever seen an ad in a magazine and thought, “I want to look like that.” My therapist says my issues may have developed from childhood sexual abuse. I have friends who model that developed anorexia. Perhaps that’s why I choose to spend my time behind the lens, rather than in front of it. It doesn’t matter who you are. From thin to fat people, anyone can have a fucked up relationship with food.
And how ironic is my addiction to food? I may as well develop an addiction to air or water, because we need food to live. I need calories to exist, and I don’t want to exist if there are calories. Enough calories equal pounds, and pounds are fat, and if I’m fat… if I’m fat, then what?
If I’m fat, then what? We as a society, treat fat people with such derision. I developed disordered eating in order to control my body because a monster defiled it in my childhood. Then, I graduated to restricting food or purging to control weight. I gave myself diarrhea to be considered more desirable. How fucked up is that? I abuse my body in order to be beautiful.
While I still struggle with disordered eating and intrusive thoughts, I’m very happy to say my treatment plan is working. I ask myself, “Who cares if I am fat?” because size doesn’t matter. You can be healthy at any size. In fact, there’s an entire movement online.
If you recognize you have an unhealthy relationship with food, restrict yourself, or binge and purge, please seek help. It’s out there.
Lastly, know you are beautiful. You are special as you are. You are amazing as you are. You are worthy as you are.