Ed Note: If you have or have suffered from an eating disorder there are potential triggers in this post.
I think I realized I had a problem when I was eating 2500 calories of Chinese food in a car, after I’d been stood up for a date. My stomach was uncomfortable over the notch of my jeans, a healthy size 6.
So, I decided to make a change. I went from gorging myself constantly to eating less than 1000 calories a day of vegan food, and running for an hour every morning. I was thrilled by the feedback, and quickly reached my goal weight of 110 lbs.
But maintaining was the tricky part, as I knew from the hours of research I was doing a day on diets. I upped it to 1500 calories a day – but I worked out more. I started taking “days off,” from food, sunbathing and swimming at the YMCA near my home. I became harder on myself, because no matter what size I was, I hated my fat, fat stomach. It made me cry. So, I shrunk. I swore I was eating a lot, to everyone at work that began to warn me about how low my weight was dropping. I wore a size 00, and was 93 lbs, at a height of 5’4.
The funny part is, I became obsessed with food and weight management. I used to take pictures of cupcakes, go online for “food porn,” read cookbooks, and fantasize about what I would eat, before I worried about the calories and nutritional content. I would never eat anything that hadn’t been logged into a calorie counting app. I needed to be sitting down to eat, relaxed. I would go 6-7 hours between meals, and then gorge myself on the same vegan, low calorie foods, every day. There were other rules, too numerous to mention. It all made no sense, a kind of rule-bound ritual that lunatics would conduct. I felt disgusting.
That’s when I sought out my nutritionist, available at a very low fee from my university. The road to recovery was long. It took me 7 months to gain 10 lbs… and another 3 months to gain 12+. I met my boyfriend. He made me feel better. I ate. I cried into a plate of lo mein instead of eating it, when he worried that I was never going to recover from this. I went from being a vegan to eating chicken and turkey. I proved to him, and everyone else, that I was “all better.” The reality is, I hate myself – even though I topped out at 121 lbs, before I began my most recent diet.
I am a Type A, no question about it. I work 37 hours a week at a very stressful retail management position, while going to school full time, and maintain a 3.75 GPA. This is not bragging- I mention it because I feel I would not be worthwhile as a human being if I didn’t try and maintain at least this standard. Obviously, physical recovery has not done anything to heal the lack of self confidence, and the astounding self hatred, that I feel. It’s my darkest secret. Everyone at work thinks I’m fine, because I have maintained a healthy BMI for months now. They don’t see me chewing and spitting out a cookie. Partly I’m afraid of the fat and calories, but I also see it as a safe outlet for the stress, and often rage, I feel at my job.
I think that’s why I’m on a diet again. This time, it’s high protein, low carb, less than 1500 calories a day. I have to burn off breakfast at the gym. My boyfriend accuses me of dieting. But honestly, when I look at my stomach and want to tear it off, I know I will keep going. Also, since I’ve been on a diet, my food obsessive thoughts have diminished. I’m not thinking about ice cream during sex. My nutritionist and I are close friends now, even though I just graduated and no longer see her professionally. I worry that she will freak out if I drop to a low weight, but I can’t stop myself. Honestly, I have no idea how, and if, my battle with food will ever end.
Ed note: This story came to us from a reader. If you’d like to share your experiences with weight in 600-800 words for Hunger Games week, we’d love to hear from you. Jennifer [at] thegloss.com or Ashley [at] thegloss.com