Tag Archives: weight

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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Hello From Both Of Us

245491-fetus-ultrasoundAfter a little hiatus, I have decided to write again. I am pregnant again and have made it to the second trimester, so we are sharing our news with everyone. After the miscarriage, this pregnancy seemed tenuous and frought with anxiety. There was nothing anyone could say to put my mind at ease that this baby would stay with me on earth.

In November we discovered some medical complications that resulted in a surgery. The last 2 months have been a whirl of hospital visits: surgeons, radiologists, obstetricians, enodcirnologists, nurses, doctors and of course myriad tests: ultrasounds, x-rays, MRIs, blood tests, weight, blood pressure, heart rate…

The list goes on, but nothing measured the anguish and suffering in the mother’s heart.

Today I am recovering from surgery which went well. Baby is thriving from what we can see on ultrasounds. Through all of this, I have continued in the ED recovery program where I see a case manager, medical doctor, nutritionist, psychologist and occupational therapist. As much as I want this child more than anything in this life, I cannot describe the distress of gaining weight as someone with an eating disorder.

Since we confirmed the pregnancy, I have not once binged, purged, restricted or over exercised. The desire is there constantly, but I felt that I could not do that to my unborn child and live with the consequences. It is strange that not taking care of myself has never concerned me, but I cannot hurt my unborn child by continuing with my ED.

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Words of wisdom from a friend. 

  

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Home Time Triggers

135lbs

I am one week away from going home. My goal was to be in the 120’s by then. It isn’t happening.

Going home is exciting and stressful all at the same time. Exciting because I get to see everyone, stressful because of finances and many other things. I will be gone for 5 weeks. I leave my boyfriend and children behind which will cause me anxiety. I go to be with my family which will also cause me anxiety. Nothing is as triggering as going back to the root of your eating disorder.

I love my family. I am overjoyed to see them. One of my oldest, bestest friends is getting married and I have the honour of being her bridesmaid. I am, of course, worried about being thin enough in my bridesmaid’s dress.

I am torn: torn by my boyfriend not being able to come with me and torn by my family who need me too. I drop out of one life and into another, worlds apart. It is emotionally overwhelming.

I cope by eating, or not eating. When I eat, I purge. By the time I leave next week, I will be beside myself. I will cry all the way there and on the way back, I will cry all the way here for different reasons.

I had firmly believed, that I would be going home engaged to my boyfriend. He told me he would give me a reason to come back and I thought that would be it. Part of me imagined he would surprise me by buying a last-minute ticket and coming with me, or just showing up back home. I know I am setting myself up for a massive heartache. There will be no engagement ring. There will be no surprise visit. When I get back from my trip in July and am bereft and lost and distressed, he is going away for a week with his kids. I will need him, but they will need him more. Some days I just have to accept that this is how it is.

The heart wants what it wants and right now I want to go home and never come back here. This is no fairytale. There is no happily-ever-after.

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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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Check Up

Yesterday was a check up with my doctor at the ED treatment centre and a meeting with my case manager/counsellor.

I am weighing myself every day at home: 137lbs and not losing. Even after 2 days of not eating from being sick, the scale wouldn’t budge. After restricting then bingeing and purging for a while, the scale has refused to give. I stared in horror at the numbers and the scale stared back mercilessly. I am determined to lose at least 7lbs before I go home. I have 3 weeks.

The doctor and nurse did the medical part first: weighing (backwards of course), blood pressure lying and standing (cue dizziness on standing), heart rate, urine test and a review of my blood work. The doctor asked about why I had been in emergency this week (which you can read about in my last blog post). She asked if my eating had improved, worsened or stayed the same. I told her it was worsening. Then she asked if things were stable at home and I told her that that had worsened too.

She didn’t say much. She asked me to try eat more during the day. Just like that. As if it is easy and/or possible. “Try have a snack earlier than noon. Try eat something between ballet classes. Try to remember to eat after class before you drive home. Eat before the gym. Eat after the gym.”

Eat, eat, eat.

I do eat. That is my problem.

She asked if I had cut down on my alcohol consumption. I told her I had, drastically.

“Why?” she had to ask.

“I want to lose weight before I go home next month,” no point in lying about my real motives for giving up something I love.

“Is that the only reason you’ve cut down your drinking?”

I smile at her, “yes. I like to come home and drink. It takes the edge off the stress of the day and the fight with my boyfriend and crying children and whatever else ails me.”

She makes notes. She doesn’t respond.

After the medical, I met with my case manager. She asked about if my boyfriend was going to be part of my family therapy.

“Is this someone with whom you are going to be spending a large part of your life,” she enquired.

I nodded, “until last week I thought that was the plan. Now I am not so sure.”

We get into the fight we had. I tell her about my expectations and demands. I tell her about how I perceive my boyfriend to cope by avoidance.

“It seems he has a soft heart, that he is very loving,” she comments. I cannot disagree with her. “You will have to accept that he most likely won’t change. You will have to decide what you are willing to tolerate to be in this relationship. Ask yourself ‘do I love this man despite his circumstances. Am I willing to be with him, to choose to be with him knowing that this is how things are?'”

Sometimes if you shut up and listen, you learn things. She had some interesting perspective on our relationship. She confronted me about the “solutions” I offer my boyfriend when I put my foot down and demand boundaries. She reminded me that no one likes being told what to do by someone else all the time. She talked about how I was clear and straight forward and goal orientated. Isn’t everyone with an ED? Then she said this: “it seems to me that you are similar. He copes through avoidance and you do too with your eating disorder.” I had never looked at it that way. She talked about my pattern of self sabotage and of pulling the plug on relationships even when I love them. She said in that way I managed to avoid everything by ending things.

She gave me some things to think about. I feel like some introspection and soul-searching will go a long way to helping me change and grow in this relationship. I am not a nice person. I am intolerant and impatient. I have high expectations in a relationship. I am demanding. I am resentful and unforgiving. I thought yesterday how it would be to be my boyfriend, to be treated without grace for the past mistakes I had made. it was rather soul-destroying, the realization that I can treat someone I love so poorly.

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Do You Have Bulimia?

I went to the hospital to have a cyst removed last week (yes, another hospital trip). The doctor looked like a mad scientist: matted, sticky out hair, retro glasses, bad teeth all complete with lab coat and stethoscope.

He was just as odd as he looked, but completely harmless. He asked a barrage of questions while examining me. They always go in the same direction: where are you from, what do you do etc. Both usually stump people. Once he knew that I taught ballet he went on a long, eccentric, meandering soliloquy about ballet. Out of nowhere he looked at me, “did you have bulimia?”

I looked startled. I realized I had nothing to lose by telling him the truth. “Yes. I did.”

“Ah, but you’re better now? You’re alright.” I couldn’t tell if he was asking a question or stating a fact.

“I’m fine,” was all I replied. I don’t look sick so why would I explain to him that I am still purging regularly and restricting when I am not overdoing the “healthy” eating or the wine-free-for-all diet.

“Bulimia…it can kill you,” he muses shaking his head. “That will kill you.”

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Girl Code (And More Dumb S**t People Say To Me)

Everyone knows that you never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Girls especially know that this is a code you don’t break no matter how obvious it is.

Today a colleague at ballet asked me if I was pregnant while patting my stomach. She actually thought it was acceptable to pat my belly and ask if I was expecting a baby. I looked at her in horror. I told her that was a terrible thing to ask someone.

“Why?” she seemed surprised that I was upset.

“Do I look pregnant?” I responded.

***This is the worst part. Brace yourselves***

“I don’t know,” she answered.

I. Don’t. Know.

Well I am obviously fat enough that she thinks I’m pregnant. The sad thing about that is I have actually lost weight lately. That there was all the encouragement I need to keep purging, exercising and restricting.

The tragedy of the whole day was when I relayed the incident to a friend and they said to me, “well if she knew your situation, she wouldn’t ask.” Meaning that my boyfriend has already had 2 accidental children with 2 different woman and our lives are negatively impacted by it every, single day. Said friend then said this: “It’s not like you want to be the third woman to have his child.”

No, I do not.

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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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