I was anorexic. Counting every calorie. Living on less than 600 calories a day. Sometimes, less than 300. People stared at me. People commented about my weight. People whispered about me. I was completely in control.
No. I was completely out of control.
I couldn’t sleep because my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about food for long enough. Plus, I didn’t have enough fat on my body to allow me to get comfortable in bed. I couldn’t sit because, once again, sitting hurt. Plus, it didn’t burn as many calories as standing up anyways. Always standing, always moving. I stopped having my period. Weighing in every morning. No number was too low.
Then. My mom decided it had gone far enough.
She made me eat. At first, I detested it. I hated food. I hated her. It was dinner-time. She made spaghetti. She wanted me to eat spaghetti?! That just WAS NOT going to happen. Stomping to my room. Laying on my floor crying. She wanted me to get fat. I knew it.
She didn’t let her guard down though. She made sure I ate. And once food passed through my mouth, my walls came crumbling down. I was malnourished. I was starving. I ate. I ate a lot.
I figured I had about 40 pounds to gain anyways, so I binged. Instead of eating a healthy, high calorie diet, I binged. Food still seemed off-limits. It still had a charge. It still had a power over me. Instead of avoiding it, I had switched to the other side of the spectrum. I overindulged in food. No amount was ever enough. I was never full.
Then, I had reached a “healthy” weight. I no longer wanted to gain weight. But I still hadn’t dealt with my food issues. I still used food as a coping mechanism. I couldn’t stop binging. So I started purging.
It was messy. I hated it. I hated myself every time I did it. I hated the residual vomit I could smell in my nasal cavities. I hated the burn in my throat from my stomach’s acidic juices. I hated the knowledge I was ruining my beautiful teeth. I’ve always loved my smile, at any weight.
I reached my breaking point. I couldn’t go on living my sort of half-life, almost completely dominated by food. I had to do something. I knew I didn’t want therapy. Been there, done that. Hated it. Of course, I shouldn’t have completely judged therapy by my experience with one less than stellar therapist. But I did.
Instead, I turned to myself. I started meditating using free podcasts. I read books about overcoming eating disorders. I read a lot of books. I read almost every book by Geneen Roth. I read “Food: The Good Girl’s Drug” by Sunny Sea Gold. I read countless books on the topic of intuitive eat. I stopped forcing myself to eat certain foods I considered safe. Instead, I ate whatever sounded good to me whenever I was hungry. Really.
Eventually, food lost it’s charge. I ate when I was hungry. I stopped when I was full. Food lost it’s control over my life.
I eat to live. I am alive.