Category Archives: Food

Bereft

I have been back nearly two weeks. They have been a blur of emotions and days and I cannot quite recall them in minute detail. 
I have existed: gone through the motions, done what’s expected of me at work or home. 
I have not eaten. I have eaten too much. I am now full of emptiness; of leavings and longings and loss. 

In the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep (too scared to close my eyes, too numb to keep them open), I wandered into the kitchen in my underwear and started foraging for food. 

The sight of my mostly naked body was simply an annoyance. Instead of halting me, it spurred me on. I made pasta without thinking about it. I could have gone to sleep hungry, but instead I started looking for comfort in carbohydrates, for happiness in the bubbling tomato sauce and for love in the soft, melting cheese. I let it caress my insides with warmth. I let it soothe me. I ate sitting on the floor with my fat rolling out around my panties and bra, cushioning the agony, shielding me from the dying sensation that will not leave me alone. 

I sobbed into some wine. I wailed in a bubble bath. Tears and snot and mascara mingling with the grimy water, dull as my soul. 

I am a tomb of nothingness. 

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Unlovable

We go to the wedding today. I wear 2 different outfits: one to the ceremony and one to the reception. I don’t eat all day so that I might look vaguely acceptable (to myself or perhaps some passers by). My boyfriend doesn’t look at me, or notice me, or comment on my apprearance. Given the horrible things he said a few days ago when I was trying on dresses for this event, maybe it is a blessing – you know the kind they say come in “disguise”.

I starve and I primp and I preen. I paint my face and curl my eyelashes and spritz and tease and my legs are tanned and my collar bones are glittered. I brush and comb and fuss and tuck and pin and change and inspect and criticize and adjust and ruefully accept the outcome. We arrive at the ceremony and he says a blanket “you guys looks snazzy” to all 3 of us. Snazzy…the epitomy of compliments. The truth is he only has eyes for his daughter. When she is around, his son and I cease to exist.  I get compliments from his friends at the wedding. Complete strangers talk to me in the washroom telling me they like my dress or hair. One woman hugs me and uses the word “gorgeous”. My boyfriend barely acknowledges me. He is disconnected, preoccupied and I am just the maid who had fed and cleaned and dressed and delivered his children to him while he has been drinking with his friends. 

He takes his daughter “for a walk” which is code for calling her mother. I sit at a table for ten fat, repulsive and alone, staring  into my appetizer, looking for love. After the briefest pretense I walk away from the table and in my high heels and lace and pearls and curls, I toss back up the disappointment. There is not enough wine to soothe my discontented soul. 

His daughter is sick and whiny. She takes up all our attention. There is no time for “us”. There is no hand holding. There is no smiling into each other’s eyes. There is no dancing at this wedding. I hold her and she fidgets, unhappy. He holds her. She cries for cupcakes. No matter what we do, she is fractious. We are home by 10:09pm on a Saturday night. I wanted to slow dance in his arms and dream of our wedding which we both know (but won’t acknowledge) will never happen. The kind of things you do when you are only 9 months into a relationship. I wanted the overflow of love and happiness from this union to flood out hearts. But there are children to take care of  and his stomach is upset by the Indian food (which I hear about in graphic, unromantic detail), so we go home. I pour myself wine in the kitchen, take out the flower from my hair while my boyfriend puts his daughter to bed. His woefully neglected son comes to me in the kitchen and tells me that he feels like we don’t love him. I wrap my arms around him knowing exactly what that feels like and hating myself for not being able to stop him from feeling it too. 

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Data This Week

Meals deliberately missed: 2

Meals purged: 0 (for a total of 3 months purge free) UPDATE: purged tonight…offically ended my 3 month streak just hours after I wrote this.

Days of premediated caloric restriction: 3

Accidental binges: 1

Planned binges: 1

Gym workouts: 4 so far…

Total meltdowns: 1 (crying naked in the bathroom in the middle of the night)

Partial meltdowns: 2.5

Number of migraines: 6

Longest lasting migraine: 3 days without any respite

Days since last hospital visit: 17

Weeks left til trip home: 13

Anxiety level: please send Valium

Glasses Bottles of wine: too many

Months since I moved in with my boyfriend: 2

Number of days period is late: 1*

*(I did just have my IUD removed a couple of weeks ago and am waiting for things to “normalize” whilst trying to avoid any unplanned babies.)

Triggering comments from this week: “Why don’t you go have a nap and then you won’t eat anymore?” “She loves food…she is a woman after your own heart.” “You had 3 carrots and a banana for lunch? Watch out you don’t get fat.”

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Love and Purging

 

We went out for sushi last night. I had eaten some grapes and nothing else all day. By the time we got to the restaurant I was ready to cry from hunger and agitation.

My boyfriend’s food came first; all four plates of it. I kept waiting for my tofu and rice to materialize. All I kept thinking was how f**king tired of being hungry I was. I am always hungry. Always. I can never fill the void. I don’t know what it is like to not be hungry. I am hungry as I write this…starving, empty.

After we stuffed ourselves my boyfriend complained about how much he had eaten.
“Are you going to throw up?” I asked.
“No. Why? Is that your plan?” He raised his eyebrows at me.
I laughed and continued shoveling rice down my throat, “we don’t talk about that. I’m old and ugly enough to do what I want.”
“You’re not allowed to do that,” he said in all seriousness.
I laughed some more. Nothing on earth would come between me and purging this meal.

When we got home I shut the bathroom door, turned the water on and threw up. It felt right and good and I was relieved afterwards. During the day I had accidentally caught sight of my reflection when I was taking a ballet class. It made my skin crawl. I am aware of how fat I am, but sometimes it still shocks me.

When I came out of the bathroom my boyfriend looked at me:
“You look guilty…”
I didn’t make eye contact, “of what?”
“That’s what I am wondering.”
I didn’t respond. I couldn’t sleep for hours because of the pain I was in. My kidneys still hurt.

The next morning I mentioned how awful I was feeling which is normal after purging.
“It must have been all the food we ate,” my boyfriend replied.
I shook my head, “it’s not the food.”
“Why would you say that?” He asked suspiciously.
I am not sure if he was asking me if I purged or is just hinting at it. Did he want actual confirmation? I don’t care to talk about it. I don’t need him to know and to ask questions and to fight me on this. I prefer to stay disordered. I don’t need help – I am beyond that. I don’t need saving – there is nothing worth saving. He can love me as much as he wants. I will never love myself.

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Which Way To The Buffet?

 

I went to Olive Garden for the first time this weekend with my boyfriend, his kids and his parents. They have bottomless pasta bowls. Danger Alert. It’s like taking a bulimic to a buffet. They don’t know my issues and have only seen me eat veggies and hummus so they don’t know that it was a bad idea. I was so excited it was awful.

First came the endless salad and bread sticks. I munched my way through as much as I could even though Heath’s dad warned me against filling up on bread. I informed him casually that I have no problem eating seven bowls of pasta at a time. He didn’t believe me. I asked the waiter what the record was as I ordered my second bowl. He wasn’t sure but he was amazed when I ordered my third bowl and then impressed when I was on my fourth one.
“Usually we can tell the people that are going to eat seven bowls because they have a certain body type,” the waiter mimed a fat person. “They are not usually your size.”
I laughed as he went to get my fifth bowl.
“We won’t judge,” he said
“I will,” Heath’s dad said. He kept shaking his head as I out ate everyone at the table. My boyfriend is 220lbs and couldn’t finish a second bowl. It was embarrassing for me that I was so out of control.

Eventually the waiter asked if he should bring another bowl. I explained that even though I could eat more, we had to leave because the children wanted to go. He brought another one anyway.
“To be fair you didn’t say you were full, ” Heath observed. “You just said we had to leave.”
Some people don’t understand that when you are eating your feelings you are never full.

The whole family was incredulous that I had managed to eat that much. I’m always surprised especially as I had warned them. I forget that although binges are normal to me, they are not to others. I wasn’t particularly proud of my behaviour, but sometimes I am out of control in front of people which is scary. I usually save that kind of eating for when I am alone. No one needs to see that. I felt distressed and repulsive. I wish my boyfriend hadn’t witnessed it.

We took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese and as soon as we got there I went to purge. The family looked for games and I looked for a toilet. No one even noticed I was gone. Later on my boyfriend found me while I was looking for water “Too much pasta?” he asked with a smile, not noticing the post-purge signs.
I shook my head, “no, I feel great.”
I couldn’t explain to him that the pasta was never going to stay down. Nothing freaks people out more than purging does. Anorexia is acceptable if horrifying; bulimia is downright disgusting. Sometimes I wish he just knew. He showed up unexpectedly at my house on the weekend and there was an empty box of ex-lax on my nightstand. He knows enough is wrong, but I like that he doesn’t ask any more.

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Labels

 

You can get away with a lot when you label things. I met my boyfriend’s family at Thanksgiving and was nervous about the food situation. When you say you are vegan or vegetarian you can hide a lot of disordered behaviour. On top of that,  I always explain about my hypothyroidism and the need to watch my calorie intake. It works like a charm. No one questions my obviously bizarre attitude to food.

On the first morning Heath’s mom suggested that we take the kids to McDonalds for breakfast. My heart started pounding and I could feel the anxiety rising. When we got there he looked at me and asked if I would eat anything. I shook my head and shot him a pleading look not call attention to it. He is so good that he just goes along with everything and doesn’t make a big deal of it.

Later in the day when I was doubled over from starvation, I told him I had to have celery.

“I love celery.” I said without even thinking about the stupidity of the statement.

He laughed, “No you do not!”

We went to the farmers’ market and were given a free muffin each to sample. Without even batting an eyelid, Heath held his hand out for the muffin he knew I did not want. I gave it to him and he pocketed it. No one even saw it happen.

At dinner he tried to help me navigate the vegetables that had been cross contaminated with meat or drowned in butter and sugar. There was nothing safe to eat. I wonder if my panic was obvious.

For the actual Thanksgiving meal, they decided on Raclette and not turkey which was not good for me. I am dangerous around melted cheese on anything. I ate with abandon. I knew after two bites that I would be purging the meal immediately. I drank most of a bottle of wine to help the process. I made an excuse to my boyfriend and went downstairs to throw up. The house was so busy and loud that I am sure no one even noticed.

At one point Heath’s dad talked about my “healthy” eating of fruits and veggies and I went into a detailed explanation of my vegetarianism and hypothyroidism. He marveled at my ability to eat so little then said that all I was waiting for is to get married and then I would eat everything I can see and weigh 400lbs. It has become the running family joke. It is funny because it will never happen and they don’t know why.

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Cauliflower and Crazy

 

I restrict all day to counter the bingeing of yesterday. I am determined not to eat until tomorrow. Somewhere around mid-evening my resolve snaps. I decide that I can eat cauliflower and hummus rather than go on another binge. Once I have made the decision to allow myself to eat, I cannot wait. It is urgent, serious, life threatening.  I drive to the grocery store. I am frantic. I hit every red light. It is the longest drive in the history of driving. I grip the steering wheel. I want to bang my head against it out of hunger and rage. I am on edge knowing that I could lose control and buy anything, everything except that cauliflower. It is my sole focus.

In the grocery store I run crazily looking for the damn cauliflower. An old man is shuffling in front of me and I am shaking. He blocks the aisle and I want to shout from frustration. There has to be a faster way to get food than this. “Don’t binge. Don’t Binge. Please, don’t binge.” I mutter like a mantra as I start to panic. There is no cauliflower anywhere. I must be delirious. How can there not be the one food that I am allowed to eat? I ask the store clerk for cauliflower. He says he will check in the back. I stand amongst the vegetables ready to weep. I will lie down by the lettuces and sob if there is no cauliflower. I am so terrified of going on a binge if I cannot find the one safe food I crave. I must eat a cauliflower. My existence has been narrowed down to this.

Eventually he returns with one and I am beside myself with relief. I take it, ecstatic. I know I am sick. I am so excited about this cauliflower that I want to cry. I try to rush out the store. The line ups to pay are agonizingly long. Another old person is strolling in front of me. I will not make it. I will not survive this. It will finish me. I will die of this starvation holding a f**king, miserable cauliflower in my hands like it was the holy grail.

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Moderation

When I was growing up, my mother told me often that “everything in moderation” was good for me.

Perhaps she could already see my extremities even then. As a Libra (represented by scales), I am perpetually amused that my life is not balanced at all.

Today I ate 2lbs of mini cucumbers for breakfast. I was so hungry that it felt like I would die from it. I woke up full of bile and acid.  I binged and purged my way through uncountable amounts of food last night. Never full enough to be satisfied; never empty enough to be loveable. To look at me you would never know. My fat rolls negate any signs of illness; the cellulite and stretch marks blind everyone to how sick I really am.

I left ballet untouched by my overdose of vegetables and raced wildly for dinner. Obsessed, demented, focused: all I could think about was tofu and rice. It is all I want to eat at any given time. It is on my safe list. Sometimes I can almost justify it.

I start eating and cannot stop. I register that I am full and continue to shovel anything-drowned-in-soy-sauce and acceptance down my raw, sore throat. When I am done, the panic sets in immediately. What have I done? What was I thinking when I imagined not throwing this back up? I pay and run from the restaurant like I am fleeing the hordes of hell. My demons keep pace.  I have about half an hour before I am meant to meet my boyfriend at home. I drive with purpose – agitated –  run inside and start purging the calories that are sloshing around my insides. The relief is instantaneous. I have minutes to spare before my boyfriend is home. I wipe my face, fix my makeup.

I find a bottle of wine and settle outside on a beautiful, end of summer evening. No one will ever know. Too empty, too full…all I know is it is not enough. I am not enough.

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Emergency Again

Friday started like any other day and ended with me being rushed to emergency.

I woke up and groaned, clutching my head and stomach. I was in agonizing pain. Another post-purge hangover. Another pizza box on the floor; a visible reminder of my poor decisions the night before. I had starved so much and then snapped and binged in the middle of the night. I got up eventually, revived myself and went about the day as usual  – work, coffee, restriction.

That evening my boyfriend and I went to a dinner party at his friends’ house. I drank nearly a whole bottle of wine with dinner which is not unusual for me. Somewhere towards the end of the meal, I started to feel unwell. The rest of the night is a blur and what I know of it in detail, has been relayed to me by my boyfriend. The friends started a fire outside for us to sit around and that is when he says I began to panic and be agitated. I went upstairs to purge dinner and quickly realized that I was in agony. My stomach hurt and even after purging, I felt like I couldn’t stop vomiting. I felt like I had been drugged. I lost track of time. I went upstairs and threw up twice more which I only told him about when he put me in the car after he realized that something was wrong with me.

He drove me to the hospital in the middle of the night. I cried hysterically and kept asking him to pull over so I could vomit. I crouched by the side of the truck sobbing, shaking, hyperventilating. He kept putting me back in the truck and eventually I started throwing up uncontrollably in a vehicle moving at 120 kms/hr. There was vomit everywhere: all over his truck, all over him, in my hair and smeared across my face and clothes. I was too far gone to care.

He tells me that when we got to emergency, I opened the door, stepped out and immediately collapsed face down on the ground. He checked my pulse which was faint and ran inside to get a nurse and a wheelchair. I came too when he picked me up and put me in the wheelchair. I don’t remember passing out. I continued crying hysterically as they wheeled me in. I was confused not knowing where I was or how I got there. I had lost track of time. He told me 4 hours had elapsed since the end of dinner and that was the last thing that I could remember clearly. Everything after dinner remained blurry and even now, I can only remember snippets of the evening.

They admitted me right away.  The nurse took my medical history and I asked my boyfriend to leave the room so that I could tell her honestly about my eating disorder.  I was too embarrassed to have him hear the disgusting details of my life. She reprimanded me and told me I was most likely severely dehydrated with an electrolyte imbalance. She made note of the starving, bingeing, purging (including vomiting blood) and laxative abuse. She sent the doctor in a while later and my boyfriend left the room as the doctor questioned me. He instinctively knew that if he stayed, I wouldn’t tell the doctor the truth when he asked about my medical history that they nurse had just taken.

The nurse began a barrage of vital checks (blood pressure too low; heart rate too high), urine samples (not pregnant), blood work (elevated liver enzymes consistent with drinking alcohol) and stomach x-rays (inconclusive ? gallbladder). They hooked me up to an IV and pumped me full of anti-nausea medication, re-hydration solution and an anti-anxiety drug. The entire time, my boyfriend didn’t leave my side through the small hours of the morning. He held my hand while I cried as they put needles in, covered me with warm blankets to stop the shaking and told me that I had to let him take care of me because he was not going anywhere. I was so distraught and was conscious of the fact that I didn’t want him to see me in this state.

After almost five hours, they discharged me from hospital and let him take me home, but not before another long lecture from the nurse about my ED. She told me I needed help and warned me of the danger I was in. She said that tonight could have been a close call if my boyfriend hadn’t had the presence of mind to rush me to the hospital. She reminded me that heart attacks from electrolyte imbalances are common in bulimics and many of the symptoms that they couldn’t diagnose they believed were complications from ED.

My boyfriend drove me home and it was almost 5am by the time we got there. He put me in the shower and washed vomit out of my hair, all the while holding me up because I could barely stand. Somehow, I knew without him saying, that he loved me. The next day I was weak and disoriented. He lay next to me and asked about my ED. My heart pounded as we had the conversation I hoped we never had to have. He asked about how much I was purging and what he could do to help me. I lay there feeling numb and overwhelmed. He told me he wanted me to be well because he was falling in love with me and wanted to grow old with me. The things about me that I thought would make him run didn’t. The man wrapped his arms around me instead and kissed me.

 

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