Okay, they are still there. But in my new life, which I am just beginning, they have a much less importance. In fact, I like to pretend they don’t exist, because in reality they truly don’t matter. It is manmade measurement to control peoples lives, and I am not letting them control mine anymore.
I know intuitive eating is sweeping across the world, so mind me if this is a bit redundant. But I never thought I would be able to give up calculating calories. Anorexia teaches your brain to calculate everything without even trying. It can drive you mad – all those numbers getting punched into a calculator inside your head, tallying up every little crumb you swallow. It’s sickening. And you can’t really control it. If you’ve ever read Wintergirls (which is written by someone who has never dealt with eating disorders, and it can be triggering to those who have), then you know what I am talking about. Everything you look at – you see numbers attached to them. I don’t even have to look up most foods anymore. I just know. That’s how long my head has been calculating calories.
But then I read this, and realized I wasn’t truly “recovering” from my eating disorder. Instead of counting calories with a maximum, I was counting with a minimum (in order to gain weight). But forcing myself to eat at the end of the night because I was under my goal even though I already felt overly-full and sick is not recovering. Yes, I physically need to recover, but that will not stop my obsession with calories. You can gain the weight back and be a healthy weight again, but that doesn’t mean you’re eating disorder is “fixed”. My mental health is still screwed up, as much as I like to say my mind is all recovered and positive now – it isn’t. I still cry on days when I feel bloated because my stomach looks like a blowfish, but then I see my concave ass and hate that I don’t have curves anymore, so I spend the rest of the day driving myself crazy because I have two voices: EAT! and STARVE!
So about a week ago, I gave up calorie counting. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t count calories for a week nor step on the scale. On Monday, I am going to weigh myself and see what happens. I am trying to mentally prepare myself – whether it be that I lost, maintained, or gained: either way I will be both happy and depressed about it.
Hopefully one day, I will be able to give up the scale and calories once and for all. But for now, it is just babysteps. I know it’s only been a couple of days, but I have changed so much and I feel so amazing today.
Stay zen, lovelies!
I have never been diagnosed with body dysmorphia. That is because I have never been to a doctor for it. But you don’t need a doctor to tell you you hate your body. I’ve known it since I was about 7 or 8 years old. That was when I started my first diet. Barely going through puberty, and I am already dieting. I wanted to be thin. I didn’t want to be known as the chubby or fat girl. A lot of girls called me fat in elementary school, but in middle school there were all different sizes of girls and I was then considered “normal”. But what is “normal”. Is it my perception of normal or theirs? I always thought I wanted to lose weight for other people. Through my bulimic and anorexic experiences, however, I was proven wrong. I got to the point where everyone else says I am too thin and that I should gain weight. But for once in my life, I like my body, or at least better than I used to. After all of the accusations and concerns I have learned it was all for me. It was all for my fucked up perception of what I should be and what I want to be. I have changed that into what I NEED to be. I have been at both ends of the spectrums: being called fat and being accused of an eating disorder. Before I could never believe that the latter would be worse. Honestly, I feel like people liked me more when I was thicker. But I don’t care. Because I hated myself then. I lost the weight for me and no one else. This is why I refuse to listen to anybody else.
However, something the other day in me snapped. I honestly have no idea where it came from. It was sparked by a photograph of an anorexic girl with organ failure I just randomly crossed on the internet. I started freaking out. Because at that point I wanted to lose even more weight. I loved being underweight. I loved not having a period every month. I loved fitting into things most girls have never fit into. When I went to a store and they didn’t make a size small enough for me; it actually made my day. In some stores, I even wear a size zero. AND I LOVED THAT! But that all changed. Seeing the picture of the anorexic girl made me remember that you don’t end up like that over night.
Looking back on what has happened over the last year and my current contemplations, I realized that this is only the beginning. That could be me in a year. I have become so addicted to weight loss, to diuretics, numbers, measurements, and sizes. I weigh myself twice a day. I constantly check out my figure and feel my waist throughout the day. Diuretics are the drugs that help me deal with everything. I drink coffee and green tea throughout the entire day to keep me debloated and to suppress my appetite. “Its full of rules,” Sexton wrote. My life is filled with rules as well. I don’t eat after five. I eat very small portions. I must workout at least 2 hours a day. I have to drink coffee, green tea, and water constantly. I don’t eat fried food. I don’t eat fast food. I don’t eat junk food. I don’t drink anything with calories. I eat mostly organic. I eat very small portions spread out throughout the day. I don’t think about it anymore. It’s natural. It flows. This is just who I am now.
Losing weight is so easy now. I struggled with it for years, and I never got anywhere. I don’t know what happened. Like I said, I never lost weight from purging, and the first bit of weightloss was truly just from eating healthy and exercising. The rest of the weight is debatable; I still haven’t decided for myself if it was “healthy”. I no longer have strong cravings or desires for food. I have trained myself like a dog. So many rules, but they don’t feel like rules anymore. It’s just my lifestyle. And I enjoy it. No fried food, no junk food, no fast food, no soda, no SO MANY FOODS! But I don’t crave them anymore. They say yoga and other physical activities (but mainly yoga) make you want healthier foods. But is eating too healthy unhealthy?
“It’s a kind of war where I plant bombs inside of myself.” Can I say that about me? Am I constantly at war with myself? I think I’m blinded from this internal war with my drug, my weight loss. As long as I get rewarded with being slim I don’t care what I eat. I am addicted to weight loss. It is the drug that numbs me from feeling hunger or distress.
One day I stepped on the scale from not weighing myself for a couple days. I went from 108 lbs to 103 lbs, in like 4 days. In my defense, I was sick and had a fever so I usually lose weight, but I have no clue how that happened. I ate a ton of halloween candy and some cake! Officially underweight. My arms and torso have gotten grossly thin, and yet my stomach still bothers me. I am never going to be what I want. I am built wide. I am built to be thick. But I am trying to force my body into a shape that is impossible. I cannot change my bone structure. I cannot make myself taller or narrower. There are many girls I know who are “smaller” than me, but I weigh way less and have way less body fat than them. I have like 16% body fat, and most of them have like 25% and yet I several inches bigger than them. And yet I will never fit into a size zero of most designers. And yet I will never have a 23” waist. And yet I will never by above 5’4. And yet I will never be what I want myself to be. So why don’t I let it go. Just let it be, Catherine.
It is the innocence of perception that I have lost. I will never see myself through a mirror the way I truly am, but rather comparing to an unrealistic nonexistant perception of perfection.
Despite what people think, I am happy.
September 31, 2011
Do you have any idea how insulting it is to be asked if you have an eating disorder? It is an insult to one’s character that they would do such a thing. It is like calling somebody pathetic and weak. I understand, I am somewhat of a hypocrite since I did have an eating disorder. However, I didn’t lose the weight doing that. And I was never really ‘full-on bulimic’. The fact that people say that about me, scares me – not because they may be right about the eating disorder, but it makes me question my own honor and character.
I’m naturally a defensive and closed person and so I really don’t like when people question me about my personal life. I got called to counseling after some teachers were talking about me and saying how I look thin and that they think I have an eating disorder. They want to get my parents involved, and yet they have no idea what’s going on in my life. I told them I was fine (and in fact I am not longer bulimic and I am eating healthy). I won’t talk to the counselor’s at our school because although there is a confidential policy, I don’t trust them. I am not comfortable sharing this part of my life with them, especially since they do want to get my parents involved. The last thing I want is to talk to my parents about any of this. I don’t want to talk to them because I know they will get the truth out of me, and they don’t need to hear that.
October 1, 2011
I went to dance today, and my director, Miss Kate, made a comment about me not eating a big enough lunch. It really upset me to hear all the shirt from my counselors and teachers and now Kate, who have been my best friend since I was 11. I went to the back in the bathroom, closed the door, turned off the lights and cried on the floor. She was still teaching class, but a half hour later she realized I was back there and made me come out. We had a talk.
She told me a lot of the parents are talking about me. They say I look anorexic and unhealthy. They notice that my bones stick out. They told Kate she should call my mother. This made me really hate the dance mothers; they can be so nosy and think they can say whatever they want. They need to understand that going to my mother is not the answer. It will only piss me off and make me want to not talk ever more. I’m 16; I’m not going to listen to my mother. I really wish people would stop going behind my back, talking about me, insulting me, and accusing me of eating disorders without giving me the chance to defend myself.
Kate told me that I don’t look happy in general, and that I always look weak. However, I feel happy. I felt happy until people started saying these things to me. I feel weak because of my exhausting schedule. I don’t understand why people think I’m unhappy. I’m not unhappy because of my actions or how I look; I’m unhappy because the way people treat and talk to me. She also said I should go see a therapist. I’m trying to figure out which part is more insulting: being accused of an eating disorder or being told I need therapy. Talking is obviously what is making me sad, so I don’t want to go see a therapist. They will only make me feel worse about myself. I don’t want to talk to anyone about it. I’ve moved on. I’m healthy. I’m happy. I want to throw all of this away and move on with my life. But people don’t let go. I feel as if they will keep coming after me for answers and explanations. I feel as if at every meal people are watching the way I eat.
October 3, 2011
Before, the only people who knew about my bulimia were Dominique and Niccolo. Today, I told Kate and Mackenzie. They listened as I told them my story. Mackenzie was quiet and listened; Katie on the other hand has had experience with eating disorders and I had a really long conversation with her about why I do it and how it makes me feel. She also made me feel a lot better about how people are treating me. I really need to stick to my guns and do what is best for me and my body. I will not conform to what others want me to be. Because I am the way I want me to be, for the first time in my life. I need to not let people hurt me. Everyone could tell I was upset today – even Clay who is usually a jerk to me.
On the way home, I talked to Megan (who does not know about my bulimia) about what everyone has been saying. She told me to go talk to my mother, to a therapist, and to the counselors. However, I can’t I don’t trust many people to talk to them about any part of what is going on. Honestly, I don’t feel the need to go to anybody. I’d rather cope with it on my own. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to listen to.
There is something so pure, cleansing, and beautiful about crying… but after doing it for four days straight – I’m sick of this shit.
I am happy. I love my body. I love the way it feels. I love living in my skin. I am happy.
Despite what people think, I am okay.
I am happy with the way I am, and how I’ve gotten there. I never regret the choices I made or the paths that I have taken, for they have all gotten me to a place and will continue to lead me through my life. Besides, what would life be if it weren’t a complete disaster? It’d be a rainy Sunday afternoon doing nothing.
Yes, I was bulimic. No, I have never lost weight purging. This is one reason why I don’t tell people I am bulimic (or rather used to be, but like cancer, it’s more of a remission), they always assume I’ve lost the 25 pounds from purging. No I purge for fear of becoming what I used to be. I know I’m not mentally sane, because that is an unhealthy statement. Nobody ever said Einstein was sane. Yes, I am insane. I am so far from perfect and yet I drive my life around that word. Perfect. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I won’t give it up so easily. Bulimia is psychological. It “turns the mind,” in the words of the Yoga Sutra. It is (like body dysmorphic disorder) an unrealistic and fake perception. I see myself differently than how others see me. But for once, I don’t think I rally care about what others think of me. If that was the case I wouldn’t purge. I purge for me. I am mentally corrupt in the sense that I was something so unattainable and unrealistic. But it makes me happy.
Purging is the easiest form of eating disorders. It is the control-Z button for life. In documentaries, you always see bulimic girls crying after they purge – and some of them do. But doctors, therapists, and counselors have no idea what it feels like to live with bulimia. A lot of girls, including me, are actually happier after we purge. After the first time it gets easier. It’s like n Lord of the Flies when he first kills the pig. He didn’t want to. He tried to resist, but he couldn’t. After he killed the first one, he wanted more. It became much easier after the first time. I only did it a couple times a month, but that doesn’t make it okay. Honestly, after I purged, I felt so much better about myself. It is a relief to purge. In Latin, purgation literally means a cleansing, cleaning, or justification. It feels refreshing and pure, and yet it is so filthy and unnatural. I placed Purgatio under Gula because to me gluttony does not mean the over excessive use of; it means the waste of. To purge is to waste the nutrients to satisfy the emotional distress of body dysmorphic disorder or some other fancy disorder the doctors made up to explain why we do such things.
…And then there are people dying of starvation because they don’t have any food.
Fall of sophomore year I went from 135-140 lbs to 120 lbs – just working out and eating healthy. However, I became obsessed, and I was afraid of gaining the weight back. Everyone said I looked great and I didn’t want to lose that. So in January, I started purging, but only every once in a while, whenever I binged. I never lost weight from purging. I also never told anyone. I drank natural diuretics (like green tea and black coffee) in order to kick up my metabolism and suppress my hunger. I experimented once or twice with laxatives – I was not that fond of… the results and consequences. Also it didn’t really do much.
One day in July, I purged and it made me really weak and sick. I told my two best friends, Dominique and Niccolo, and they gave me the strength and the incentive to finally stop. I knew I needed to stop and the only way I could do that is if I felt guilty about it. I needed to feel guilt. Even today, when I feel the urge to purge, I think of them and how disappointed and sad it would make them to know I do that to myself. I promised to them that I would never do it again. Of course, I did it one last time in August of 2011. I never told them about that. After that, I’ve tried so hard to keep my promise that I do everything to avoid binging or feeling full or bloated. It’s not uncommon to trade one eating disorder for another. I didn’t know it then, but this was the catalyst for some anorexia.
Despite the bulimia, that summer I lost 10 more pounds – really in the last few weeks of summer. It wasn’t from purging, but I can’t really say it was ‘healthy’ either. I was probably eating less than 1000 calories a day, and I would stop eating in the early afternoon. I even used to take the dinner my parents made up to my room and throw it away. This is another reason I put this entry under Gula: throwing away my food. It wasn’t difficult for me at all. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t missing sweets or fast food. I didn’t really want to eat. I was barely trying at this point. I don’t know if I will ever be able to eat again without thinking of what it will do to my body or overanalyzing the nutritional value. I never counted calories. I only tried not to binge or eat too much.
I have always hated my body. I think I started dieting when I was about 8 years old. Everyone else said I was fine. Now I’m 5’4, 110 pounds, with a healthy BMI of about 18.7. Over the last year, there really was no “Struggle”. I don’t wish I could eat more. I’m not really hungry. To me, I eat healthy. I get about 50-70 grams of protein per day. I’ve actually gained some muscle over the last year. I feel so much prettier, stronger, and healthier than I did a year ago. For the first time I’m actually happy about my body, and now everyone else hates it.
I’ve kept this a secret from all my friends, because I was afraid they would be mad at me for thinking I’m fat when I’m not. Meam innocentiam in eis oculis conservare volo: I want to preserve my innocence in their eyes. I don’t want to tell people, because I am afraid of hurting them. I don’t keep it a secret for my benefit. I keep it a secret for theirs.
I understand I probably don’t sound sane, and that I should go see a therapist. But I am a dancer and I care about my body. I will do everything I can to make it stronger, healthier, and better. I can do twice as many pushups as I did a year ago. I no longer have a muffin top. I like the way my hipbones stick out. I love the curvature of my spine. I love my collar bones that frame my shoulders and my neck. I like my ribcage and all the bones in my torso.
Today, I am in remission or sober (or whatever the word is) from bulimia. I know that it was not the right choice to make, but not necessarily the wrong path. I definitely don’t regret it. In a sense it was the purging of my innocence. Like killing the pig, it became easier and easier. I am no longer afraid of bulimia, like I did when I was little. Honestly, I contemplated bulimia since I was 11. I never went through with it until I was 15. It is a scary and very heavy thing for an 11 year old to endure. It has changed me. I don’t know whether for better or for worse, but I have changed. I will never eat the way I used to. I will never look at my body the way I used to. I will never be the same girl I was. However, I have an experience in my life that I will never forget. And who knows, maybe someday I will use this experience to help others.
I have purged my innocence. I have corrupted my mind. I have turned my mind. I have lost sanity. I have lost true perceptions. And yet I know that I am stronger, wiser, and more content because of what I’ve taken from it all.
I am okay. I am healthy. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am okay.
Vegetable Salad Rolls & Almond-Lime Sauce