How is it possible that even when we know why we are doing something to harm ourselves that we continue to do it? I have had issues with anorexia that started when I was 15. At the time I really just chalked it up to wanting to be thin so someone would want to be with me. It also didn’t help that my Dad decided to put me on a diet in high school due to the fact that I didn’t “seem healthy”. It may have been true that eating French toast every day after school while doing my homework wasn’t the best idea, but it did nothing for my self esteem to have my Father make me perfectly balanced meals that fit the zone diet. Being a 15 year old female I took the spiteful approach and just stopped eating all together.
I remember the feeling of power and satisfaction I felt when I made it three whole days without eating anything other than sugary cappuccino that came from the machine at school. This is when I also discovered what a great appetite suppressant caffeine was, not only does the liquid fill you up the caffeine gives you the missing energy. I developed incredible lying skills, telling everyone that I either, “just ate”, or was having “strange stomach issues”. I got extremely good at dodging meals and outings that involved eating. Never once did I tell people that I was trying to lose weight, instead I just kept food at bay.
I’m really not sure when I realized that not eating had very little to do with wanting to be thin. That’s not to say that I did not love when I would step on the scale and had dropped another five pounds in less then a week, but the actual act of abstaining from food didn’t have anything to do with wanting to see all of my ribs. My first few months out of college things got particular bad, I discovered the practice of county calories. I bought a book that had almost every type of food and it, what their calorie count was and what types of activities burned the most calories. This was before the time of online food journals and calorie trackers. I became obsessed with writing down everything that I ate, every move I made and making sure that my caloric defecate was always very high. I would never allow myself to consume more than 6oo hundred calories a day. At the time I worked three bartending jobs and was on my feet for at least ten hours everyday if not more. I was burning way more calories then I was taking in, and I dropped 17lbs in three weeks. Again I found myself being very proud of my will power, that I had overcome the need for food. Things got worse and it wasn’t until my life fell apart and I ran away to South America that I stop obsessing about my caloric intake, it’s hard to care about calories when you are hauling 150lbs of bananas down a muddy road.
After moving to California and getting on anti depressants I gained a lot of weight. All of a sudden I found myself in a very controlled and loving environment. I lived at my job and everything was taken care off, I met wonderful people and didn’t feel as though my life was spiraling out of control. I got to my heaviest weight ever and according to my mom was “a bit Porkey”, but both my parents claimed to rather have me be a bit on the plus size as long as I was happy. Although I was unhappy with having put on thirty pounds in the course of six months, there was never a point where I really felt the need to do something about it. However when I moved away from my place of work and was without a job for the winter season the need to control my eating came back. In retrospect it was a good thing because I had become quit hefty at that time.
Recently I have been making a valiant effort to date and potentially meet someone I could form a relationship with. With dating comes rejection and for some reason some rejections just really fucked you up. This last one took a toll on me, probably because he was the first smart guy I met in this town and it had a really bazaar ending. A day after the rejection I did the emotional eating thing, eating udon noodles with cheese sauce and sausage. However the following day I feel back into old eating habits. I told myself that I was going lose a lot of weight so if I ever saw him again he would feel stupid. But that is not the case, I am now on day three of eating no more than 500 hundred calories and doing extensive works outs at the gym. This not only coincides with the rejection, but also my regular winter lay off and pretty much everything else being unsure in my life. I know that me controlling my eating is just a means for me to gain control over something in my life. I know that it will in no way make anyone fall in love with me, nor will it make all the other difficult things in my life go away and yet once again I fall back on my fail safe method of feeling empowered. The twisted thing is that I missed it, I missed my disorder and the way it makes me feel. I am almost happy that things in my life have fallen apart just to give me an excuse to take control again in the only way I know how. I know it’s wrong, and I know it is extremely unhealthy and that at my age I should have gotten over this, but here I am once again counting calories and validating myself and my strength on how long I can keep moving on an empty stomach.