Dear Eating Disorder,
I remember when you came back into my life, loudly promising me that I would lose the weight this time and how you dared me to hope that achieving my ideal was only a few months of restricting away. I didn’t know that when I gave you an inch, you would take a mile. I know you are trying to reassure me that things will get better once I look a certain way, but I am becoming more and more convinced that you are not trustworthy at all.
Do Eating Disorders Cover Up Deeper Issues?
After graduation, I went to India to spend the summer working for a non-profit. The summer heat was at its height that time of year at 115 F. It was a special time serving and learning about the culture and also a time of weight loss. Through excessive sweating, muscle loss, diet change, and fasting for “religious reasons”, I lost quite a bit of weight. We didn’t have a full size mirror so I couldn’t scrutinize myself and no one could tell if I had a thigh gap in a Kurti and harem pants.
I was unaware of my weight loss until I got home and all my high school clothes fit. People commenting on how good I looked. I had been trying for years to “achieve” this goal and it had come effortlessly while I was abroad and got me the attention I wanted. After a few months, I started building muscle and gaining weight. I was frustrated and turned up the heat on my disordered eating to lose the weight.
This time, it began to look different and more aggressive compared to when I was in college. A vicious cycle of restricting, exercising and an eventual binge: one step forward, ten steps back. Each time I would binge, I would tell myself, “It’s okay, just don’t eat for a few days” as if this was an actual, reasonable solution. I felt out of control while I ate and totally ashamed after. I felt alone and embarrassed. Who could I share this with? Mondays became my beacon of hope for months, I would begin determined that “this week I will be disciplined enough to lose the weight!
Each week would end the same. *Enter Hallmark movie, cookie scene*. I feel far from that now but feel sad remembering the chasm I had build between my mind and body. In the midst of the struggle, it felt impossible to share because I did not see a way out and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone who might help me with my inevitable failure.
Stay tuned for what I changes I made that came from my desire to practice truly caring for my body and mind in order to confront my negative attitudes towards myself.
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