Tag Archives: food

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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Apathy, Indifference, Whatever…

I have not really had much to say about ED in the last 2 months. Here is why:

I had a miscarriage.

I haven’t been able to talk about it.

When it happened, I lost my appetite and didn’t eat for a week. I cried and sobbed and drank myself to sleep every night for a month. I binged a few times. I ate “normally” and I just existed for the last little while. I had experienced weight gain after the miscarriage, but not during the pregnancy – I wasn’t far enough along. I hated myself for what happened and of course, I blamed myself for what happened.

My boyfriend was supportive and loving and caring. He put up with the snot and sobbing and staring into outer space like a zombie. He comforted me every night while I fell apart. He held me when I woke up screaming from nightmares about dead babies. He flew my mother here to help me cope (yes, her being here had nothing to with my birthday so I feel even shittier about being ungrateful). He ran me bubble baths and tried to shield me from adverts for diapers or someone giving birth in a movie.

For two months I have been depressed. It is a kind of depressed that I have never known before.

In the beginning it was hard enough to function while dealing with the physical repercussions of the miscarriage. I lost so much blood and was in so much pain. I was physically weak and exhausted. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t think about anything else except the baby we might have had. Miscarriage is common. I read all about it. I read everything I could. It still didn’t prepare me for what I went through or how devastated I am.

Now, a couple of months later, the physical symptoms are gone and I am left with a hollow in my heart. I would have been 16 weeks along today.

ED has barely featured since and I am not sure why. I still think about it. I stare at my much heavier reflection at ballet and am repulsed. I have to squeeze into my size 6 pants and it upsets me, but I don’t do anything. I eat in terms I can only describe as “normal”, keeping in mind that I don’t know what normal is. I am not actively starving, bingeing or purging. I am drinking a lot. I seem to have become apathetic and indifferent to food. I am unconcerned with anything except trying to get through my day with my sanity intact. Work has been overly stressful and dramatic. My boyfriend and I have had some more relationship turmoil (as usual revolving around the mother of his youngest child). We continue to not move forward. At the end of the day, I cannot cope with any of it. I cannot deal with anything.

I have been trying to get back into a gym routine over the last few weeks. I have little incentive or motivation to exercise other than I know endorphins are good for depression. I just don’t really seem to care and I cannot make myself care. I have thought about going to see a counsellor. On that note, I dropped out of my ED treatment that I was in. There didn’t seem much point in going.

So I have nothing to update on the ED front. I ate cucumbers and hummus at work today. Last week when my anxiety over our relationship was much higher, I ate nothing. Tonight I ate 2 bowls of pasta and didn’t purge. On the weekend when we went on a happy family vacation, I ate 3 meals a day. There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

When my coworker announced her pregnancy this week and her due date 10 days after mine would have been, I hid in my office. I feel a numbness. Other than being depressed, I haven’t felt much else except the inability to cope. My anxiety has been escalating lately over work and relationship stuff and that usually sends my ED into a frenzy, but I have barely reacted if the truth be told. All I want to do is sleep. I don’t mean kill myself because I have no suicidal tendencies at all. I just want to sleep for a very long time.

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Guilt, Anxiety, Stress.

I am beside myself with anxiety.

My mum has been here for nearly 2 weeks. As much as I love having her here, it has added a lot of stress. Work has been extremely busy and ridiculously unpleasant. If I am at work, I am worried about my mum being left alone all day doing nothing. If I take time off work to spend with my mum, I am wracked with guilt about not being at work. I can’t seem to balance everything. I seem to be failing miserably and driving myself crazy with anxiety instead of enjoying my time with her.

I don’t know what to do. I have a performance review at work tomorrow which I am dreading even though my boss has never indicated to me that he is not happy with my work. I always anticipate the worst. I have considered resigning this week from the stress even though I don’t want to leave my job. Last night I cried myself to sleep because I was so overwhelmed by everything. I have been quite depressed for reasons I will explain another time.

I am fat and discontent. I keep eating and drinking trying to escape from the anxiety that will not ebb.

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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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After

After he has left me at the airport, the messages start. 

It has suddenly hit him that I am leaving. After…He says he loves me very much, he misses me already. He realized how sad he was that I am actually gone. He can’t wait for me to get back. He was so busy planning our future together – our never ending love story – he forgot to think about the present, until now. After….

He calls because he needs to hear my voice. I am oddly quiet on the phone. I have been dealing with these feelings for weeks and trying to tell him how hard leaving him is. He only experiences it after. 

These messages are more of his mixed signals where he talks about how he is planning our life together and can’t wait for me to come back. He is just so sure that I am coming back to him. 

I wonder if he can hear my heartache. 

I tell him that this was the goodbye I was looking for and didn’t get. I tell him “it’s not you, it’s me”. I can’t explain to him now that it is too late, how much more I needed from him in those last couple of hours, in the last minutes. I know he loves me, but he does not understand what I need. 

I roam the airport and look for food. It is the only thing to soothe the pain now. I need to eat and eat and eat and purge. Going home is supposed to be happy, instead, I feel like I am bleeding. It is slow and agonizing. It is destroying me. 

Now I face 5 weeks where the starvation first started; where I learned to eat my feelings. The triggers have not changed in 20 years. I just chose to live far enough away from them. I take my anxiety over our relationship back with me to add to everything else. 

My mother tells me she has bought me rice cakes. She is enabling and she doesn’t even know it. 

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Wedding Weekend

We went away for the weekend to a wedding for my boyfriend’s cousin. We had the children with us and all his family had traveled there. After a lot of drama involving the mother of his daughter (she thought that she should attend the wedding and I didn’t), we managed to go too.

Road trips are hard for people with eating disorders. There is no routine, there are few ‘safe’ foods and lots of triggers. I was already high on anxiety from the drama by the time we left. I anticipated someone in my boyfriend’s family would make a comment about the little girl’s mother or make one of their stupid pregnancy jokes in our direction. Before we even left, I was on guard and expecting it.

Nothing happened. Nobody said anything dumb. We had a great weekend. We stayed with friends and drank wine and took the kids swimming.

At the wedding I had my heart set on a slow dance with my boyfriend. It was all I wanted. The night went on and on with no chance of it happening as we chased the children around and spent time with his family. His daughter takes up all his time and attention. It is just the way it is. When she is around, his son and I barely get noticed. I had a feeling that I was setting myself up for disappointment by fixating on the one moment I really wanted: a slow dance in his arms.

I do it all the time by setting my heart on something: a romantic date, a weekend away together, him coming home with me to meet my family and of course, an engagement ring. I leave in a week. There is no chance now that I am going home with a ring on my finger.

As the night wore on, I ate more (pasta, potatoes, bread, lasagne – all good for anxiety relief) and drank more and eventually went to purge it all. When I came out of the washroom by boyfriend was standing there looking for me. He had been looking for me for some time.

“Where else would you expect to find me?” I replied in tipsy honesty.

“I should have guessed,” was his response.

Normal people would have been on the dance floor.

By the time he came to get me for the last dance of the evening, his daughter was half asleep on my lap. Her needs trump my needs. I wasn’t going to move a sleeping child so I could go dance. I went back to the hotel and cried in the bathtub instead.

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Reality -2, Expectations – 0

I imagined when I was so upset with my boyfriend that I cancelled our weekend away, that he would realize what he had done and make it up to me. It crossed my mind that he would think to book another chalet and take me away knowing how disappointed I was. If he didn’t do that, I thought at least he would plan a romantic date: dinner or drinks or a movie – something. Nope. Nothing.

Turns out I am stupider than I think.

Last night after work he messaged me on my way home to say he was out drinking but wouldn’t be too much longer. I came home and poured us both some wine. I set out a cheese plate and appetizers. I thought perhaps we would watch a movie and have a nice night in spite of my disappointment.

Three hours later with not a word from my boyfriend, I had purged all the food, drunk most of the wine and went to lie in the bath tub with my book. I eventually messaged him to make sure he wasn’t lying in a ditch. I got a drunken selfie in return. I put on my pajamas, turned off my phone and went to bed.

When he did come home in the middle of the night, 5 hours after he told me he wouldn’t be much longer, he made the mistake of turning on the bedroom light and flying across the room, leaping onto the bed. I woke up in fright, screaming. He landed on top of me laughing and it took me a minute to figure out what was going on. I pushed him away from me asking him what the f**k he thought he was doing. My heart was pounding from the shock.

The stupidity of his answer is almost as alarming as my stupidity, “I didn’t realize you were sleeping. I thought you were waiting up for me. I didn’t mean to scare you.” I know he is drunk. I roll over and try to sleep, but adrenaline is coursing through me. I am wide awake and unhappy. He falls asleep instantly, cozying up to me; one arm heavy over me which I keep trying to remove. He is snoring-farting-moaning in his alcohol induced stupor and I lie there in the dark thinking that there must be more to life than this.

***

The next morning he is sheepish. He thinks I am mad about the near heart failure he induced in me last night. He doesn’t seem to get that I am crushed by the weight of disappointment. He comes upstairs with flowers and coffee for me. He says he is sorry he was an asshole.

“I didn’t mean for last night to turn out that way,” he says

“I didn’t plan this weekend to turn out this way,” I respond as my tears run down and splash onto the Calla Lilies. I try to tell him that I don’t deal well with disappointment. He is mute – immune to my distress.

***

The weekend carries on as usual. We lie in bed and watch movies while it rains-sleets-snows outside. We eat. I purge. We eat again. I purge again.

He doesn’t mention any plans and I don’t ask.

Saturday comes and goes. Sunday comes and goes. On Monday he leaves to go shooting with his friend (ironically in the mountains where we would have been staying). I am angry-cleaning the house when he leaves, trying to scrub my frustration out of dirty counter tops and bathroom floors. I am meant to be relaxing in an outdoor hottub not scrubbing toilets on my hands and knees. He asks if I am ok. I tell him once again that I didn’t plan for the weekend to turn out this way.

“I know,” is all he says.

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Boyfriends and Lies

I think I made my boyfriend suspicious last night.

He commented at dinner that I had eaten more than everyone at the table. When I got up to get seconds he said, “are you still hungry?” I asked him to stop talking about what I was eating and how much. He responded that he didn’t know when it was ok and when it wasn’t ok to talk about it. He said sometimes I do it (I use it to deflect) and he didn’t have a script to follow.

I didn’t bother explaining.

I went upstairs while him and the kids were watching a movie, ran the water in the bathroom and purged dinner. It took longer than it should have. When I came downstairs, he raised an eyebrow at me questioningly. I smiled and ignored him.

I ate more later on and then went to throw up again. I opened the bathroom door and he was standing right there, looking like he was walking to the kitchen.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I wanted some water so I was going to the kitchen, but now I don’t want any.” he went and sat back down on the couch. It was weird. Maybe I was just reading in to the situation.

I have another part of my ED assessment this week called “family therapy”. He is supposed to come and I have mixed feelings about it. I feel bad not being open with him about what is going on, but so much of what is triggering is to do with our relationship. One thing that is really upsetting me is that I feel he isn’t being honest with me. I feel like he is lying or hiding the truth about him and one of the mothers of one of his children. When I confronted him about the inappropriate messages they send each other, he tried to deny it. Then he got that scared look like he had been caught out and began trying to talk his way out. When I asked him if I could see the messages, he started to panic.

I never saw the messages in the end. I have a feeling they will have magically vanished by now.

I never ignore my gut instinct when I feel like a man is not telling me the truth. So far, i have never been wrong. I was hoping this man would be different to all the ones that came before him.

I am actually that dumb.

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Post ED Assessment

They weigh me – backwards, of course.

They take my blood pressure: lying down and then standing up. The nurse watches me as standing up gives me a head rush and raises her eyebrow as I put my hand out to steady myself.

They check my urine for hydration levels because of all the purging.

They do blood tests and look at my electrolyte levels…because of all the purging.

They check my teeth and my throat…again, because of the purging. They poke me and prod me, feeling my stomach, listening to my heart.

They turn the heater on because I am freezing in my hospital gown. What a cliché. All the patients here are freezing, shivering, wasting away.

They give me endless papers to fill out. I have to rate my quality of life with ED, my body dissatisfaction, my mood swings, my anxiety, food obsessing.

They ask questions. They ask more questions. I go through the last 20 disordered years, dredging up stuff I have buried under tonnes of pasta. At one point I cry unexpectedly. I minimize and deflect. I confess to feeling guilty for wasting time and resources that could be better spent on other people. I admit to being embarrassed that I am not thin enough or sick enough to be here. I tell them that I honestly don’t believe this outpatient program will “cure” me.

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