The worst part about being a well-educated person with an ED is I know how goddamn stupid it is. I know that heavy restriction will eventually lead to binging and regaining the weight, and I know I’m losing mostly muscle and gaining mostly fat, and I know I’m probably less metabolically healthy than a lot of people with 40lbs on me, and I know eating 500cals of fat-free candy is actually worse than eating 800 cals of real food cooked in olive oil, and I know that purging won’t get rid of all the calories, but I can’t shake the need to engage in these behaviors. I understand that it’s not physically possible to gain 10lbs of actual fat overnight, but that doesn’t make me obsess over the possibility any less. I acknowledge that my weight is less than that of most Americans, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like the fattest personality in the room. And then I feel stupid and ridiculous because I know that I can educate myself all I want but it won’t matter because ED isn’t logical or rational and doesn’t care how smart I might be. Worse yet, I know that eventually ED will take my mind too because the brain doesn’t care what size my pants are if that means it doesn’t get the nutrition it needs, but ED is just the opposite.
After like seven years together, my shrink is moving to St. Louis. She wants me to get set up with someone new before our last appt next month. But I don’t want to. I’ve been doing this shit for half my life, and I am fucking tired of it. I’m so goddamn tired of caring so much about the numbers on the scale and on my pants. I am so goddamn tired of my self esteem being inversely correlated to the number of calories I eat each day. I’ll begrudgingly call my PCP’s office and ask for a referral a few days before I see my shrink for the last time only because I need someone to keep writing my prescriptions. But I don’t want to start over working through my issues. I don’t want to start over trying to be happy when it’s February and I haven’t seen the sun in a week and I’m eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for lunch. I just want to be a fucking normal 30 year old. I’m too old for this shit.
I often wonder if scientific exploration of EDs do more harm than good. Like I know I sometimes exhibit traits of Aspergers, but getting an actual diagnosis of an intellectual disorder like that would cause my self esteem to plummet. I need to think I’m normal with some minor issues; anything else sends me into a spiral of hopelessness. I often imagine my “normal” coworkers talking about my craziness and it makes me want to be more stringent in my eating so as to at least have control over something in my life. I actually bought diet pills the other day in the hopes of losing 5-10 lbs – hoping that if I can at least get my weight on track I can play like I have my life on track. I don’t know how to get out of this spiral. Help?
So I think I had a bit of a breakthrough today, or at least made some progress. I was craving something sweet so I made a mug cake (single-serve dessert!), and I even added ice cream because it honestly makes most things better. But about ¾ of the way though I realized I didn’t want anymore and I THREW IT AWAY. What?! I’m always one of those people who feel super guilty wasting food (but somehow it’s not wasting it if I eat it and puke it up??), so it was a big deal for me to not force myself to finish. Go me!
Sometimes I want to recover. Sometimes I want to say “fuck it” and eat whatever I want without thinking about fat or calories or any of that. Sometimes I eat dessert, and then want another dessert so I have something else. Sometimes I think I look “good enough” and consider just buying larger pants.
But sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I can’t imagine giving up control of my diet. Sometimes I can’t bring myself to eat even 1000 calories in a day. Sometimes I feel immense guilt for not working out. Sometimes I look in the mirror and hate everything I see. Sometimes I can’t even wear a normally-fitting t-shirt, never mind something form-fitting.
So what do I do? Am I making progress? When I think of 10 years ago, bawling on the phone to my girlfriend because I couldn’t make myself eat some peas after fasting for four days, I think I’m doing much better. When I think of where I was nine years ago, binging and purging over a dozen times a day, I think I’m almost normal. But when I think of 13 years ago, before I ever started “dieting,” I think I’m pathetic.
Maybe I’ll be actually recovered in another ten years. Hopefully I make it that long.
I’m trying, I really am. I’m trying to eat healthy, from a variety of food groups and not too much junk. But rather than make me feel better, I’m practically crawling out of my skin. I feel fat, and ugly, and like no one likes me, and like I’m not that smart, and I’m definitely not special or interesting. So much of my life has been based around ED for so long, I don’t know what to do without it. And let’s be honest, I don’t necessarily give a shit about being “normal,” I just want to be thin.
I got tired of writing about all the plans I was making that I never kept, of all the supposed insights I was having that never actually lead to any changes. But now it’s 15 days into the new year and I finally feel like I’m making progress, beyond just numbers on a scale, so I felt like sharing.
This year, for the first year in over a decade, I didn’t make a New Years resolution to lose weight. Instead, I’m focusing on health – I resolved to eat less shit, workout more often, and watch less TV. And so far, I’m doing okay. I’m trying new workouts, like spinning and barre, and choosing not to buy junk snacks at the grocery store. I’ll admit I have slips – today I binged on a whole box of cookies and bag of chocolates – but the biggest accomplishment for me has been not giving up. I’m not quitting totally bc of my slip today; I’ll try again tomorrow.