Tag Archives: exercise bulimia


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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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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Exercise Bulimia

It has been a good start to the day. Still making up for my binge on Sunday with an hour on the elliptical yesterday and today.


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Fear and Loathing


My life is diminished by ED. I know it but, right now I am powerless to change it. I cannot sleep at night for the fears that crawl and creep. I cannot live during the day because I am filled with loathing. I loathe the physical. The sight of my body upsets me. My day is filled with thoughts of food, calories, exercise. Diminishing myself more and more seems to be the logical solution to a life of too much. Too much wanting, needing, being. I am too much. I am too extreme. How can I be less of me? I am riddled with anxiety. How did I get here? Why? What next?

I want to be in control of a life that is careening out of control One day I woke up with a boyfriend, a house and a life (I thought) I wanted so much. The next day it was gone and I was the one who pulled the rug from under my own feet. I was the one who made the decision to leave a man who did not love me enough. Now I sit here alone, drinking, bingeing, purging, over exercising and not sleeping. I am reeling from the loss of love; from the absence of the familiar; from the stabbing pain of being let go without a thought. I wake up each day dazed. I go through the motions. I try to stay in my routine: ballet, gym, yoga. Nothing saves me from my destructive self.

I went to hot yoga tonight after ballet. I had no strength….not an ounce. I had eaten carrots and grapes for lunch after a particularly bad B/P episode last night. I was unsteady on my feet. Sweat poured from my feeble body.  The room spun around me. Darkness crept in every time I tried to stand up.  I swayed. I put my hand on the wall to hold me up. I hung my head in defeat, steadying my body, leaning on my shaky legs. Dale, the instructor, came over and put his hand on my back. I was shaking uncontrollably. “Relax,” he said. He doesn’t know that I cannot. It eludes me no matter what I do.

Each day I wake from troubled, fitful snatches of sleep that do not nourish me. I get up, sore from compulsively over-exercising, dehydrated from purging. I feel like I am hung over. I make myself green tea. I race to the studio and teach ballet. All day I plan my starvation diet, count calories, think of my next binge. I flee from the mirrors in the studio and escape to the yoga studio where I can continue to loathe my reflection. I push my body to breaking point. I feel like I am constantly on the verge of collapse.

But, I keep going. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. My friend tells me that this is what it means to be strong – to take the next step when you feel like you cannot keep going. I feel like that is merely surviving. Sadly, I am a not a skinny bulimic. I do not drop much weight despite a severe relapse over the last 2 months. Hypothyroid sees to that. No one tells me anymore that I am too thin like they used too. So I suffer whilst my outward appearance belies a healthy, happy person. Each day I shrink, wither, die a little bit more inside. I loathe and I fear and I long for the unattainable.

“You can go a lot of years on empty”.  One of my favourite, bittersweet quotes. It is so true.

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I can smell it – fear and the sterile hallways of the clinic. I can see the light through the windows and I know it is winter but somehow this is an outer body experience as if I am not quite there. Even in my dreams I can feel it. It is always there when I am least expecting it.
I am aware of him sitting next to me. He is looking at me as I gaze straight ahead. My heart is pounding painfully and I think that this might be when I actually have a heart attack. I can hear my breathing accelerating as people fill the room. No eye contact. I look ahead and realize I am panicking. It takes hold of me and I cannot fight it.The loss of control is overwhelming. I can hear my breathing as though it is someone else that I am observing. It is short and shallow and catches at the back of my throat. My throat is raw. Burnt from the bile and acid of heaving breakfast back up.
He puts his hand on my thin thigh and says something that I do not hear. He is telling me to breath. It seems so absurd that in that moment when my breathing is so loud that it seems to fill the room that he tells me to breathe. Slower or deeper or calmer or something that makes no sense. He is no comfort at this moment even though he should be. My vision closes in. The edges are darkening and blurring. I cannot hold on. I want to get up, to run, to flee as if for my life from this thing that comes for me. It is huge. It is monstrous has invaded me and taken over and I am powerless against it. I try to stand up but he stops me, takes my hand covering my raw knuckles.
The last thing I feel is him. His hand is behind my neck as I look up, bewildered. His other arm around me as I collapse. But he cannot save me.
This is my intervention. The years of anorexia and bulimia culminating in this moment. The clinic is painted white. In my dreams I can see the tree outside those windows. Every detail is startlingly clear except the faces of the people. I cannot see the nurse or the doctor or the family that surrounds me but I can recall the room like a photograph. I can see the pictures on the wall as if they are here now. I can hear, I can smell, I can feel it. The fear, the bleach, the panic. If I could run there would be nowhere to go  but I am too weak. I am starving and shivering. I am paralyzed with anxiety. My heart lurching inside my chest deafens everyone else. They always warned me it would give out but I didn’t imagine that this would be that moment.
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