• Tue, May 17 2011

Hunger Games: I Hate My Body

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

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  • matbo

    Reading this makes me admire your willpower. I should urge you to use that will power to get better, but really I’m just jealous. I’m a size 8 and I hate my body.

    • Christina

      Willpower? Eating disorders have nothing to do with willpower. If a person with OCD has to touch the lightswitch 100 times before leaving the apartment, would you say that person has amazing willpower for doing the touching every time? No.

    • Summer

      When you have an eating disorder you think it’s willpower but its actually fear. I have an eating disorder. I eat twice a day, no meat, no dairy, no eggs. It is not my willpower (as much as i’d like to say it was) but i’m just deathly afraid of being ‘fat’, of people looking at me and thinking i’m ‘big’. I truly am afraid of food. It is my enemy.

  • Topf

    Struggles with weight and food are weird. My self-esteem has been improving in the last year since I lost several tons of useless weight in the form of invalidating and abusive people. I look at myself in the mirror and I rarely dislike what I see since those negative voices disappeared.

    I think I have never had an eating disorder but I do watch out for what I eat and I am dieting right now because it freaks me out that my hip measures 4 cm more than it used to before I moved to another city. It’s weird that despite the improvement in my self esteem I am so self-conscious about what I think I should look like and about what I eat.

    I am not even looking for a boyfriend or for validation about my looks. I am happy with it. There is just something incredibly powerful about fitting a certain mold perfectly. I wish this power could be explained away with lack of self-esteem, or with body image issues or with food issues or with peer pressure.

  • Eileen

    Maybe instead of a nutritionist you should consider a therapist? I honestly don’t know what to say except that it’s really amazing and freeing NOT to think about food/exercise/your body all the time, and you shouldn’t give up on that.

  • Baker Girl

    I wish you the best in your recovery darling. I’m sure that a therapist would be more helpful to you now in your recovery. I hope you can love yourself like your co-workers and bf loves you.

  • Kate

    “Honestly, I have no idea how, and if, my battle with food will ever end.”

    I think you are so brave for writing so honestly about this topic and I feel exactly the same as you do with your final statement. Hopefully our battle will end some day soon.

  • Charlie

    Along with being a fitness Coach, I am a practising Food Psychologist. It was very wonderful of you to share this story with the world. So many people keep this sort of thing to them selves. I do hope it will help. And for you look into talking with a Food Psychologist. Much Luck!!!!!!!!

  • captain haddock

    wow you people are fucking arrogant self absorbed freaks parading around your fake disorders. answer me this how many starving africans have ever been “anorexic” or “bulemic”? these are FAKE first world luxury diseases that idiotic attention seeking spoiled girls came up with so they’d feel special.

    fuck all of you, you fakers disgust me.

    • -

      You are very uneducated and making yourself look like a total idiot.

    • Katie

      do your research before you open your damn mouth. The only one seeking attention here is you.

  • Kzxkx

    In the words of an old friend once said: “Go lie down infront of a train when you don’t eat, like I give a shit! Where do we get our values.” Stay classy America.

  • Stacy

    I always felt I was alone in the world. At least I know i’m not, but it’s a bit harsh to hear that the battle never ends. I’m 18, currently on diet, hoping that once I reached my goal, there would only be happiness. Guess not.