this was posted in my original blog on DreamWidth back in June 2013 (so it may be slightly outdated):
I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food. as a wee one, I was apparently incredibly picky. my being the first child, my parents catered to my food selection. then, as we aged, finances became tighter. growing up, Mum and Dad encouraged me to accept any free food offered, because sometimes we legitimately didn’t know what our next meal would be (we were finically insufficient). I’ve always been one to be able to scarf down several plates of food when it was offered, only to be hungry again shortly after.
but I first started using food restriction as a punishment when I was in middle school. if I did poorly on a test, I would skip dinner. if I disappointed Mum or Dad, I wouldn’t get to eat whatever they made. “I’m not hungry.” “someone gave me food at school.” I had a collection of fibs to tell them to throw them off my trail.
by the time I was in high school, I was eating very little. sure, I had the potential to eat a lot, as previously stated. but I was nigh depending on my friends to feed me. my family never cooked (we survived off Easy Mac and Chef Boyardee). and my friends could only do so much.
then came college. the time to calorically fend for myself. and being the poor college student that I was, my Freshmen Fifteen was pounds lost, not gained. by this point, I had a love-hate relationship with food. I was using its restrictions as both rewards and punishments. I enjoyed the dizzy sensation starvation gave me. I embraced the light-headedness and light-bodiedness from not eating. but more than anything – the Control.
I felt I had no control in my own life. I volunteered all my time with various clubs and organizations, I obeyed my mother and father’s directions explicitly, and I resisted the encouragement of others to stop being so self-sacrificial. it felt like all I could control was what I did to my body. this is when my self-destruction got worse.
I had begun cutting in high school. but when a certain incident brought that secret into the open, I went to less obvious methods – bruising, hair-pulling, starving, binging. I even tried purging; alas, I have never had a sufficient enough gag reflex to voluntarily induce vomiting.
so there I wa, around 2005, not even twenty, and I was counting calories extensively. a direct quote from an old entry in my journal: “I’m not looking to ‘lose weight’ in the typical sense. I like watching the numbers on the scale drop and I like counting calories, because it gives me a way of measuring my self-control.”
once I realized I was able to eat less than 1000 calories a day and survive just fine, I pushed myself further. could I do less than 700? success. what about less than 300? it got to the point that I was concerned with the five calories a piece of gum held. I would go two to three days with consuming nothing but water.
and that’s when the binges would begin. because people began noticing. so they would feed me. and the animalistic instincts would take over, and I’d eat 3000-4000 calories in one day. so of course, I had to regain control of myself. that meant not eating again. and thus the cycle began.
until my last year or so in college. at which point I began to see this as foolish and repetitive. I still didn’t see it as an actual problem though. just … just faulty. so the binging had to stop.
and it did. I started the South Beach Diet. it was the first time the concept of “good food” and “bad food” really ever occurred to me. I had just recently been in a four-wheeler accident that put me in a wheel-chair for two months. I went from 140 to 175lbs. after a few months of strictly adhering to the South Beach diet and still keeping a low caloric intake, I dropped 20lbs. I received countless compliments. it was the most positive reinforcement I had ever received for controlling what I put into my body.
thereafter, I danced with bouts of anorexia and the occasional binge. but overall, I was doing alright. and by alright, I mean I look back in my journal and see that in the years 2007 – 2010, I was keeping my caloric intake under 1000, though my ideal was under 700. but at least I was eating, and I was binging much less.
then my depression hit. big time. I was in a funk, and I was jobless. and this is shortly after when I became an alcoholic. so my caloric intake shot up to “normal” levels, though it was mainly from alcohol. I still had no idea what “good food” was, nor why it was so important to the body.
during the depression, I gained weight. I got lethargic. I got back close to 170lbs again. and this time, I couldn’t blame it on a physical injury. it was all just personal weakness. I would look at thinspo and admire their dedication, not so much their body. I would wish for control like that, but I had given up on ever having it.
a few years passed of my not being terribly concerned with calories, because what the fuck does it all matter anyway? I was proud of myself just for not off’ing myself each day.
then I had a friend who was a member at a local gym. she had major issues with food. in talking with her, I realized that I maybe I had some problems too. so as I always do when presented with something questionable, I did some research. lo and behold, I discovered I had been struggling with disordered eating ever since middle school, though the severity varied over the years.
maybe that was why I wasn’t able to ever get thin. because I was approaching it from a Crazie’s perspective. so I started going to the gym with my friend. and I began tracking calories again. a few months down the road, Brian (who was just a friend and not yet my beau) introduced me to Fitocracy. and on Fitocracy, I found a group called Nerd Fitness. and from there, my life was changed.
I started learning about eating healthy and how your body uses calories. I learned that calories are not bad, but rather are forms of energy. and that body requires energy to survive. I assimilated so much knowledge that I thought maybe, just maybe, I could get over the legitimate fear I had acquired of food.
and I did! I started cooking, eating, being healthy. it was awesome.
and then a year passed. and I was the same weight as when I started. I was the same skill level as when I started.
and then a few more months passed. and I picked up a second job. and my beau managed to lose 100lbs in the last year. and I was the same size, the same weakness, the same patheticness.
then one day, out of depression, I ate very little. next day, I also ate very little – but this time on purpose. and it was awesome. I felt empowered again. I felt like there was something in my life I could control. something I had a say in.
My Present (as of June 2013)
and so here we are. June 20, 2013. I’m scared to eat again. scared to put anything other than gum and fingernails in my mouth. and of course, all I can think about is food. so I’m consumed all day with thoughts of the very thing that terrifies me.
except it’s not just about Control, this time. it’s also about appearance. Monday I was at 156.6lbs. and this morning, 151.2. I’m almost under 150lbs. I hadn’t been under 150 since May 2012, and even then it was only by two pounds. I haven’t been under 145 since … shit, my online trackers don’t even go back that far.
and I know not eating only works for a while. eventually it backfires. eventually, it’ll make me store more fat than I’m burning. it’ll start feeding off my muscles and destroy this last year’s worth of shitty effort.
that’s why it’s not a long-term solution. I’m just reminding myself that I’m strong. that I have will-power. I’m reminding myself that I can Control something in my life. I’m reminding myself that I am in control of my life. and if it means starting small, then so be it.
but I’m being responsible about it. I’m admitting what I’m eat. and I’m ensuring I eat at least something, and that the something is relatively healthy.
I don’t know what else to do. I’ve been struggling for a whole year to do better, and I never have improved. it’s discouraging. I spent my lunch break last Saturday contemplating suicide plans for the evening, just because I feel so overwhelmed with everything I’ve fucked up.
so really, if not eating enough is the worst thing I’m doing right now – especially since it means I’m cutting and drinking less –, I think I’m okay with it for now.
for what it’s worth, I do appreciate the concern. ❤