Friday, November 19, 2010

My Trouble With Food

Sunday evening I purchased Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi.  Tuesday evening I finished it.  It is a short read, 602 pages.  Reading the book brought back some painful memories of high school and my own struggle with anorexia.

Me Summer of '99
You wouldn't know it looking at me now (or even then probably) but when I was sixteen I prided myself for being a size 3.  I loved that I was 103 pounds.  I loved that number on the scale.  I didn't love myself at all and I still hated the way I looked.  I vividly remember lying in my tub one night feeling my ribs and my hips and poking at my stomach that was still too big and it poked out too much.  I hated that flab under my belly button that never seemed to go away.  I hated my thighs.

103 wasn't enough.  I still felt it should be smaller.  A girl of 5'1 had a weight range considered healthy between 100 - 110 pounds according to a chart at my doctors office.  I wanted to be 100 pounds.  In the 8th grade I weighed 130 pounds and had a rough time of it.  I'd moved to a new school and didn't really know anyone.  All the girls in my classes were skinny, much skinnier and prettier than me.  I was plain and uninteresting looking with short hair and glasses.  And I was fat.  I felt alone and left out.  I hid in my writing and books.

My home life wasn't much happier.  Going through puberty at the same time your mother is going through pre-menopause is a recipe for disaster.  I began seeing a therapist at 16 thinking it was only depression.  Just put me on medication and I'd be better.  The psychiatrist was useless.  He didn't know anything and I lied to him in sessions, put on a happy face and said the mediation was working.  I liked that Prozac helped me control my appetite but I didn't feel it was working really.  I still felt depressed, alone and outcast.  I didn't agree with my parents on religion and that was a constant battle in the household between us.

In 9th grade I began to eat less.  I weighed myself each night.  By the end of my 9th grade year I'd lost 25 pounds or so.  The beginning of my 10th grade year I tried out for the volleyball team.  Being a 10th grader most of the girls in my class were already on Varsity.  I'd never played sports before and had a hard time of it.  I'm not that coordinated, I'm not strong and I'm not tall.  Volleyball wasn't my sport but I loved the fact that I'd lost 25 pounds and I could do this stuff.  I wanted to lose more.  I wanted to be in control of my weight.  I didn't want to turn into the fat girl again.

My mom would send me to school with a packed lunch bag.  I'd pick at it, give it away or throw it out.  I'd go home and avoid eating all of my dinner.  When I went to bed I'd think about how much I'd eaten that day.  The less I'd eaten the more accomplished I felt.  Some nights I'd come home from volleyball practice, tell them I was exhausted and just go to bed.  Sleeping let me skip an entire meal.  It was amazing and I loved it.  I loved to tell my appetite to go to hell.  I had control over it.

Anytime I indulged I felt guilt for days afterward.  I hated going out to dinner with people.  I hated people watching me eat.  It was disgusting and I felt like I was under the microscope being judged and examined for each choice I made.

By the time 10th grade came around I'd made a few friends.  I felt I sort of fit in since I'd lost so much weight and could wear a size small in just about everything.  It still wasn't good enough to me.  My hips were too wide, my boobs were too big and my waist would never be as small as the other girls.  They could eat anything and never gain an ounce.

Dressed up for Chick-Fil-A Party
I was happy when my parents let me make the decision to leave the high school after completing 10th grade and just take the GED.  After the summer was over my mother put me in the car and made me go into a Chick-Fil-A and apply for a job there.  I was interviewed on the spot and hired shortly after.  I was the new girl again.

I worked the first shift of the day.  Generally I was there at opening or shortly after.  Because they needed people to work the lunch rush, I was forced to take my lunch at 9AM or so in the morning and then work until 2 or 3PM.  I never ate.  I only drank water or diet lemonade while I was there.  I knew the ladies in the back talked about never seeing me eat.  I know this because one day I took a biscuit and they made a big deal about it, how they thought I just didn't ever eat anything and that I needed to eat more.  I laughed about it and slunk off to a table picking at the biscuit.

One day at work I had a dizzy spell.  I didn't know it at the time but I naturally have low blood pressure.  If my electrolites get way out of whack I come close to fainting.  It happened in the middle of the lunch rush.  My hearing went out and all I could hear was this ringing in my ears.  My knees buckled and I slid to the floor.  Everyone was scared looking at how pale I'd gone.  The manager helped me call my dad as I was sitting on the floor so he could come and get me.  They got me a drink and sat me at a table out front.  I just made an excuse that I wasn't feeling well.  My dad took me home.  I thought it was a fluke.  It had happened once before with some school friends when I went to an amusement park but didn't happen very often.

When I was 16-17 I had a guy move in with me and my parents.  I thought he loved me and I thought I loved him.  He wasn't very nice to me, he wasn't motivated to do anything in life except drugs and I didn't realize that until they kicked him out and I came to my senses a month later.  During that time I'd gained weight and was up to 110 pounds. 

Fast forward a few years and a few other bad relationships and I met Ringo.  I was pissed off at my parents and just wanted out.  I wanted out of the controlling environment and I wanted to start my own life, make my own decisions, my own mistakes.  We moved in together when I was 18.  We both loved to eat.  He was a fit weightlifter and I was a comfortable 120 pounds.  I still missed being a size 3 but I'd somewhat reconciled with myself that a size 7 wasn't too bad. He loved me and said I was pretty.

I told him about my issue with anorexia and depression.  The first few years we were together it was hard working and going to school.  I didn't have time to really focus on exercising like I used to.  I used to ride horses a few times a week but it was too far to drive and I couldn't make it there before sundown.  So I stopped doing that.

The pendulum has swung in the opposite direction.  I've seen other therapists and dealt with my anxiety and depression.  I've been to nutritionists.  I've dealt with my past and my anger towards my parents.  I've dealt with my anger towards the school I went at.

I may never be a size 3 again and that is a good thing.  I still have continual issues with food but try to make good choices.  I slip off the wagon once in a while.  The important thing to me is that I love myself now.  I love who I am.  I even love how I look.  I'm not the skinny girl from high school.  But I'm also not the depressed, anxious, scared girl from high school.  For the most part, I'm happy.  I love my life.  My husband is great, even if he does try my patience on a regular basis.  I have three wonderful dogs and a great group of friends that also love dogs. 

So my goal in life is to do small improvements over time.  If I can lose weight slowly over a few years great.  I don't want to feel the pressure to starve myself or to be a size whatever.  If I'm happy and can do the activities I want to do without getting out of breath that is fine.  I want to be healthy and healthy for me is probably a bigger number on the scale than what an insurance chart says I should be.

It is a continual battle of choices and realizing that comparing myself to every other skinny girl isn't worth it and it isn't fair to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love, love, LOVE comments! Leave me anything. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...