Tag Archives: diet

Overheard

I was standing in line at the DMV and the lady next to me was renewing her license. She was asked to look over her information.

“It’s correct except I don’t weigh 50kgs anymore.”

My ears started flapping, but I prevented myself from turning to stare at her. No one wants to be gawked at like a freak on a Tuesday afternoon.

“Ok how much do you weigh now?”

“I think, maybe 60kgs?”

She doesn’t look self conscious. She doesn’t giggle shyly or hang her head ashamed. No one can say for sure, but to an onlooker it seems like she gained 10kgs and that is just fine. Normal. Unremarkable. Not noteworthy.

I have never put my correct weight on my driver’s license. I always lowball – within REASON.

At ballet school we were taught to subtract 10lbs from our actual weight when asked for an audition. As a rule of thumb I have continued to do this because it seems REASONABLE. Reasonable to lie about my weight because no number is ever really acceptable.

Today I went to get a cup of coffee in the mall and a shop employee was hob nobbing with the barista. No one can say for sure, but she looked like she was afflicted with the rex. I had admired her skeletal like arms as she handed me my coffee with trembling hands and a smile that lit up her pale, hollowed out face.

The shop employee was showing the barista his lunch. She looked at it like a maniac. Like she was fascinated and revolted at the same time.

“I’m not going to eat all of it now,” he informed her and her co-coffee worker. “I guess I’m telling you so that you don’t laugh at my fat ass.”

The other barista comments on how she likes to tell herself she will save food for later and then eats it all in one sitting instead. I’m stirring my coffee slowly, deliberately eavesdropping.

The rexy barista hasn’t moved. She is in the same spot still transfixed by this lunch that has wandered in to high jack her shift.

He gets his coffee from skinny and skinnier behind the espresso machine and looks at his lunch with unbridled delight.

“I’m only 15lbs away from my goal weight anyway.”

I pick up my coffee and stroll out into the banal abyss of mall. I take my extra 15 pounds of “baby” weight with me. My extra 15 pounds of sleepless nights, more calories for breastfeeding, anxiety, bad day with the babies, hormonal, postpartum, non exercising excuses, sneaky glasses of wine and a few too many chocolate binges of baby weight.

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Undefined

I am triggered by everything:

A photo of dancers I used to idolize when I was 16 and starving, desperate to be even half as skinny as they were and still are. I scroll past them. My brain does a double take. I back track. I scrutinize their emaciated arms, their collar bones, their sunken cheek bones. They are all smiles, superior in their anorexia, mocking me. Twenty years have gone by and they are still thinner than thin.

I see my reflection in an unsafe mirror…so that’s what thighs and hips and stomachs look like after two babies in quick succession – well mine anyway. A vast, mass of undefined lard, rolling and oozing and overflowing, fleshy like raw dumplings, doughy like unbaked bread, ever expanding…never ending. Never ceasing to amaze me in horror to fascinate me as I stare. “Is that really me?” I don’t recognize myself, this untamed, unmanageable, out of control lump. I don’t fit into my clothes or my brains neatly, compartmentalized boxes: bulimic ballerina has been replaced with fat stay-at-home-mum. Fat, frumpy, fleshy, unfit to be a mother or an anorexic.

I read an ED memoir a friend lends me. I stop. I put it away on a shelf where I cannot see it. I pick it back up a week later. It makes me remember that I used to purge just as easily as I breathed. After this long, would I even notice if it crept back in? If I slipped a couple of times that were more intentional than unintentional? After all, there are days where I seamlessly substitute my calories as I go. Latte? No, americano. Vegan mayo? No, mustard. Salad dressing? Not necessary. More pasta? No, more veggies. Two slices of toast? No, three quarters of one slice is more than enough for breastfeeding two babies. I shake so much, so often from hunger. I don’t get any thinner.

I don’t want to think of the other bad days where I unintentionally eat two muffins instead of one. When I eat half a bag of chocolate chips and then wonder why I’m carrying this “baby weight” 7 Months later. I’m surprised when these things happen. Half a packet of digestive biscuits later I am unsure where I went wrong. But I’ve never pretended to know so why start now?

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The “V” Gene

“Hello giant,” a coworker greets me at ballet. I am wearing some sky scraper heels and trying unsuccessfully to hide the 10lbs I have gained since June.

“Please don’t remind me that I have giant genetics,” I implore him.

“Oh you have the “V” gene,” he says giving me a salacious look. “V for voluptuous”

My jaw drops in horror.

“Don’t say that to her,” another co-worker interrupts. “She thinks voluptuous means ‘fat’.”

Well we all know that’s what it means.

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Dancers and Eating Disorders

What do ballet dancers really eat…

I find this article skewed and one sided. As a dancer with 22 years of eating disorders behind me, I wish they had represented both sides of the argument.

http://m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/6105968

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Nutritionist Referral

 

After the break down I had at my doctor’s office about my 15lb weight gain, she promised to refer me to a specialist. I explained to her about my vegan/vegetarian diet, exercise, hypothyroidism and eating disordered history. She was adamant that my weight gain and inability to lose weight are not related to hypothyroidism because I am medicated. According to her, that means I am “cured”. When she said that it had to be something that I am eating, I nearly lost my mind and the little sanity I have left. I explained to her about the calories I track every day, all the time I spend in the gym and I told her that given 21 years of having an eating disorder, that I know about nutrition and weight loss. In the end she said she would refer me to a specialist to make sure that there wasn’t another medical reason that I was gaining weight and couldn’t lose it.

Today I got a referral in the mail to a nutrition program. Thanks to my doctor, they have enrolled me in a group course called “Secrets To Weight Loss Success”. To say I am mad doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her referral just goes to show how little she cares about me or my health – mental or physical. I could write her a book on nutrition and exercise and I guarantee there is not one thing they could teach me about “balanced meals”, “snacks that cause weight gain” and “keeping weight off successfully with exercise”, that I don’t already know. When I was in her office she told me that I don’t need to lose weight and that my BMI is normal. Now I have a referral to go and sit with a bunch of fatties and discuss how not to eat McDonalds for dinner. Needless to say, she is no longer my doctor. Who gives someone with an eating disorder a referral to a weight loss course?

 

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The Numbers Game

The Numbers Game

The numbers tumble at first, falling rapidly, swirling past my stout calves, up along my tree-trunk thighs and settling on my broad, starving, ever-expanding stomach. The thrill of the numbers shrinking is a high no drugs could ever reproduce in me. I laugh from my double chins, my rolls shaking, heaving. I have done this before; I can do it again. I will do it a million times over if I must. The first few days are heady with delight and obsession like a new lover but an old love affair remembered. I am beside myself with starvation, with renewed determination to see the scale swing down to where my self-worth was last seen waiting for me. Perhaps my sanity will be there too?

After a few days they stop, stalling. A stalemate. We stare at each other; this is hostile territory. A new lover becomes an old enemy. Swords drawn at dawn after a night of purging, I step on the scale to weigh my loathing and self-hatred. The needle swings past numbers that I long for, that I dream of, that I want more than this life itself. They speed past – up, up, upwards to places, figures, sums that I know will eventually kill me with their truth. I would get on my knees and pray if it would help my quest for thin. Plateaus of pain, of discontent, of frustration and the foreshadowing of what will come. There will never be a consolation prize for fat.

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Fat B**ch

Fat B**ch

My doctor accidentally told me how much I weighed at my physical today.

I immediately burst into tears and started sobbing uncontrollably. I sat there in a hospital gown, my gargantuan thighs peeking out, unable to stop the tears. I think she was shocked by my sudden outburst, but I have never told her the depths of my eating disorder struggles so she doesn’t have much context.

Why was I so shocked by the actual number? I knew I had packed on the pounds since this time last year when she lowered my thyroid medication and I attempted recovery. I had guessed it was 15lbs and I was right.: 15.4lbs exactly. I have refused to weigh myself in a year and a half in order to stop the spiral of restriction from starting again. Now that I know the horrible, hideous, heavy number, I plan to weigh myself every day and restrict more and purge more and exercise more. This is unacceptable. I refuse to be this weight.

She agrees that this amount of weight in one year is not normal although she refuses to credit it to my hypothyroidism because I am medicated. I disagree with her, but she is the “expert”. My LDL cholesterol has gone from being abnormally low to being high enough for me to be at risk from it.
“It must be your diet and lifestyle,” she assures me. “Maybe you should be on a medically supervised weight loss plan?”
I think of my vegetarian diet and of all the days that I eat rice cakes, cottage cheese, hummus and celery and count calories. I think of the hours I spend in the gym and teaching ballet. I think of the only bad food that I eat when I’m on a binge and which I purge immediately after.
“Perhaps you should exercise more to make sure you are burning fat,” she keeps her lecture going and I want to punch her. I have been so sick for three weeks and the guilt at not working out has consumed me. Today I arrive in her office in my exercise clothes and runners, straight from the gym still sweating from my workout.

“Your weight is not bad,” she tells me in an attempt to stop the crying that goes on for an uncomfortably long time. “You are not overweight, you have a healthy BMI so it just depends on how happy you are with your weight.”
“I’m not happy at all. I can’t be this heavy. It distresses me. I am sure I will have a full-blown relapse,” I sob as mascara and snot run down my fat, red face.

She finishes my physical which is now awkward, gives me a vitamin B12 shot and smiles sympathetically at me. “Have a nice day…and take care of yourself.”
Of course I won’t.

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Hidden Epidemic

Hidden Epidemic

I like this article because it talks about how no one thought she was sick because she never dropped below a size 4.

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The Truth Hurts

The Truth Hurts

Saturday: I put on a dress that hung off me this time last year. I am struggling to find anything that fits for the four events I have over the weekend. My friend tries to zip it up as I stare at the boning digging into my stomach fat. I bend over to get a pair of heels and the dress splits open. My friend looks at me in horror. I try on a pair of pants…they get stuck on my calves, there is no hope of them zipping up now. All the clothes that I wore a year ago, I cannot get into or do up. I look like a sausage roll in the little black dress that I eventually squeeze myself into for one of my events. There is photographic evidence of the evening to prove it. I spend the night uncomfortable, tugging at the too tight material, staring in disbelief at every reflection I catch. I am fat.

Wednesday: I see the facilitator from the recovery group I quit earleir this year. I am in a grocery store buying binge food.  Despite the bingeing and purging, I do not get thinner and I cannot hide it anymore. I am holding a wheel of brie when she stops and looks at me. “You look well,” she says. Well = Fat.

Friday: My friend takes a photo of me in the park with her child. I am crouched down and bending over towards the child. There is an undeniable roll around my middle. She posts it on social media so that all the world can see how disgusting I am. I untag myself as fast as I can. It doesn’t make it hurt any less. The picture should have captured a precious memory of the little girl and I. She is smiling adoringly at me.  I am fat.

This truth that I keep trying to deny must be faced.

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