Trigger warning: This post contains content about eating disorders.
“Do you have four boobs?” I was teased by every boy I ever had a crush on throughout middle school. My boobs, barely training-bra qualified, stuck out at my chest reticently, equivalent to the distance of my protruding ribs just inches below. This mortifying physical detail of mine, which I regarded as a deformity, made me highly aware of my body. And so, as an awkward ‘tween, riddled with braces, chin pimples and oily skin, I decided to control what I could, a decision I still can’t quite grasp considering I chose to wear overalls and blue eyeshadow to school. Meanwhile, I had been actively praying to the breast goddesses for a small contribution, a plight in which I’ve proven to be wholly unsuccessful. Is it possible to have bad boob karma?
Determined, my 12-year-old self began a daily exercise regime. I incorporated the scale into my morning ritual after having learned that 3,500 calories translates to one pound. It didn’t become a major problem though until later, I was just always actively aware of what I weighed. My 60 minutes of cardio a day compensated for my ravenous appetite: I worked out hard, but ate even harder. I never understood why anyone would spend time counting anything–mathematical problems, calories, or enemies (i.e. carbohydrates).
But then I got to college during which my daily meals, an amalgamation of processed sugar, (doughnuts, chocolates, cookie dough) were no longer plausible since my gym obsession became difficult to pursue. My roommate and I would joke about “the dark days,” when we would accidentally sleep through “Taco Tuesday” or how we were clearly making no attempt to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15. We also made promises on our pinkies, as frequently as we made wishes on eyelashes, to start drinking less beer and to swear by the Special K diet. She would mock me for drunkenly abandoning my vegetarianism at a fraternity bull roast and I would question her “workouts” when she returned from the gym sweat-free.
The day our jeans no longer buttoned we both laughed and embraced, yet proceeded to call our mothers in tears. We later recovered by watching marathons of America’s Next Top Model with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
After a series of unfortunate events, including, but not limited to: my boyfriend deciding he was no longer in love with me, my father inheriting two forms of cancer and my neighbor committing suicide, the word ‘diet’ was no longer a lifestyle I chose to not believe in. Soon, it defined me, completely consuming the food that I couldn’t.