Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reverse - the last 5 pounds

my weight is down (for me) again. i'm about 125 (at 5'6). sure, that sounds like a lot for us eating disordered gals, but, my body wants even more -- it loves weight. to weigh 125, i still have to restrict and note every morsel.

if i could only let myself gain the 5-10 pounds my body wants, i could live such an easier life, but i am having a really hard time. When the scale says 125 i'm happy and relaxed for the day, until after dinner when i start wondering what i'll weigh tomorrow. when the scale reads more than 127, an oppressive gloom shadows the day.

i like what i weigh now! but it's too hard and takes up too much of my life. generally, i restrict all day and eat most of my food at night. this has always been my way -- all day, i look forward to my late night meal. then i go right to bed, so i won't want to eat again.

lately, i've been eating even more at night -- i think it's because i'm not drinking. i'm looking for something to stick in my mouth and sedate my brain.

not eating during the day is not productive. i'm listless and unfocused at work in the morning until i get a giant headache and let myself eat something small around noon. then i wait until i'm starving and useless at about 6 pm and nibble a small snack again. when my boyfriend can't wait any more, we eat dinner around 9;30. if i'm alone, it's much later.

my therapist asks how she can help. she's a terrific substance abuse counselor but doesn't know much about the idiosyncracies of EDs. i don't think she gets the big deal about skipping breakfast, etc. she wants me to track everything i eat. i resist. it reminds me of the dreadful years of counting calories and it feels terribly private - "it's none of her business", spits my ED.

i'm not sure about the best approach. a big part of it is self-esteem and body image. if i didn't think i was ugly, a few more pounds wouldn't make me even more hideous. in school, i was ceaselessy teased about being fat, having braces, acne and frizzy hair. i believed everything i heard and can still clearly remember every put-down spewed my way.

no wonder i cling to my thinner self even though it seems silly to my rational self. what big difference does five pounds make? when i met my boyfriend, i was 15 pounds heavier. he told me i was his fantasy girl then; he tells me i'm his fantasy girl now. around thanksgiving i carried seven more pounds. the boyfriend rolled over in the morning and said, "how did i get lucky enough to get to sleep with you?" .

of course, i can't base my self-image on what my boyfriend thinks, but who else matters besides the two of us? at 130ish, i'm slim and healthy. why can't i know that?

what if i could make peace with a few more pounds? what would i do with myself if i'm not watching my weight? or drinking? or taking pills? i don't have many hobbies. i've really spent most of my life dieting.

i never made myself do much else. dieting fed my fears and my laziness. i'd have to build a life. scarey. part of me wants to do it; part of me says, "fuck that, fatty". this isn't going to be easy.

by the way, i just got a fountain soda at the pizza place. it tasted like regular, not diet coke. of course, i threw it out in terror. now, i have nothing to drink.


  1. That's the worst feeling -- being trapped by need to weigh a certain amount. Isn't it strange how we can put so much emphasis on a number? I threw my scale away a while ago. Would you consider that? I would just hate to see you go down the road of more restriction. It's a hellish existence, as you know. I have to think it is truly liberating to detach from the numbers game.

  2. By the way, my security word was "Pie in." Ha.

  3. When I think about it, I realize how trivial one or two pounds are. Us eating disordered people put too much stock in so little a difference in numbers. I know it's hard, but consider not weighing yourself. No matter what the number, the eating disorder will be unhappy. It's best to weigh your progress rather than your body.

    I've been there: I was the frizzy-haired, braced, overweight kid with acne who got made fun of every single day. My biggest fear is going back to that. Every word anyone ever said about my appearance still rings in my ears. Sometimes I still see that kid in the mirror. The only way I can rationalize is that I'm no longer in middle school, I found a good hair straightener, I don't have braces anymore, and I found Proactive.

    Kids and teenagers are cruel, unfortunately. The best revenge is not giving credit to anything that they've said.

  4. Long blab answer ahead.

    It is not so much the weight as the lightness that goes with it. In 2005/2006 my weight dropped down to between 118 to 121 lbs and at just 5'9" it was thin. It was the feeling of weightlessness I loved The slipping between tables and chairs at cafes, the feeling of stick thin arms with their sinewy length, the gap at the top of my thighs. My spine and ribs showing. The total control I had over my body was intoxicating. It was only because I had been down this track twenty odd years ago that I was able to finally resist going down that track again.

    My head cannot handle that weight these days. I would think 24 hours a day of what I had eaten etc. You know what I mean. I know the calorie content of everything I eat, I know how much my clothes weigh. However, I am more concerned with how my head functions as well as my body. So as much as I hate being heavier (despite looking fit, strong and healthy) I rationalise that I am happier. I am now 140lbs (hate reading that number) but it is mostly muscle (have to justify the heaviness of course). If I don't exercise I drop around 10 lbs easily.

    What I am trying to say is that you need to relax a bit. Let your body tell you what it needs. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snack on healthy stuff. Your body as a set point and it will force you there in the end. If you resist you will binge, purge etc and end up even more miserable.

    Get your boyfriend to take a photo of you. You may find you are not as fat as you feel. I always think I am fat and am always surprised when I see a photo that I am not HUGE. It is very odd. My brain does not see what others do.

    School is a cruel place, but you are not there anymore are you. So, leave that all that shit in the playground where it belongs.

  5. Weight is so overrated. My Dr still believes that at 5', you should weigh 100 lbs, and add 5 lbs for every nch after that. I said seriously????

    No way. But *sigh* it takes SO much work to stay where I am; wouldn't freedom be more exciting than slavery?

    In regards to the comments when you were younger: I had to have a major meltdown, before I could forgive others and myself. It has made all the difference in who I am today.

    I particularly like Linda's last paragraph. Cheers to that!

  6. I can't really add much other than to say that Linda's comment was brilliant, and amazing advice. She really should be an ED counselor, because who better to counsel than someone who had it and then beat it?

    You are going through a very hard time right now. You are clear headed now, without the wine and pills, and remembering some pretty hard stuff. Take a deep breath, remember it, face it, deal with it, and then put it away.

    It's the only way to get healthy without hurting yourself with yet another addiction.

    How do I know? I do the exact same thing. Dealing with it is painful, but it is like ripping off a bandaid quickly. You leave it and cover it up with meds, like wine and pills, and it festers in there, and becomes more painful once you take away your meds. And it is still there, looming.

    Instead of putting it off now, I deal with it head on.

    Right now I'm trying to piece my peaceful life back together before it was torn asunder the last year and 3 months. It's time for some alone time and reflection. No need to add another guy into the mix. No way.

    good luck, hon.

  7. See? I was naturally and easily thin throughout my childhood. Never even thought about it. Then, in adulthood- I stopped exercising and used food as my drug of choice when I felt tired, sad, bored, happy, mad, groovy... whatever. I like food. And I gained.
    And then I freaked out and did Weight Watchers and lost a bunch of weight (over 50 pounds).... and got OBSESSED in the process. I journaled everything I ate and weighed myself at least once a day. I poured over labels and calculated "points" and thought about fiber and fat content all the time.
    And then, five pounds shy of my goal, I snapped. Just couldn't deal with the counting any more. I wanted to eat a piece of pizza without fretting that it cost me half my day's points. I wanted a chocolate shake- not a soy-milk-ice-cube-banana fake. I didn't want to parse out a 2 oz serving of pasta. I wanted to just grab a handful and throw it in the boiling water.
    And I gained.
    And gained.
    And hated myself. (Like Oprah!)
    But now, I dunno... I guess I think I ought to eat more healthfully, and I try not to freak out and like eat a half a carton of ice cream like I am apt to do on a bad day. But I tossed my scale. I have no idea what I weigh. And it's so liberating. I wonder if I am being UNhealthy and should work harder to get fit again... but, I'm happy with myself. I could be thinner and would look better in clothes. And the whisper of my possibly former ED self sometimes sidles up and starts chatting when I see a particularly unflattering picture. But not so much as I used to.
    So I think I basically get where you are-- and I'm guessing you couldn't toss out your scale, eh? But lemme tell you-- it's really really nice not to feel enslaved by it. Good luck, lady. You're a brave soldier.

  8. Kim: "Pie in" is too funny. yes, i need to get off the scale. yet, then i worry that i'm gaining like crazy, which makes me, well, crazy. i really need to work on this, so i can have a life.

    Just Eat It: when i read your blog and posts, i can not believe your age. you write beautifully and with such wisdom. we had the very same high school experience. mine was nearly thirty years ago (!); you were probably teased -- one or two years ago. yes, teenagers are mean, mean, mean. and i have found a great hair straightener too.

    linda: how right you are. by the way, can i leave EVERYTHING in the playground. i do need to let up. my sense is my body would like to weigh more. i need to let it be. i feel pretty relaxed today. hope i stay in this space. thank you for sharing your experience. and you do always have great answers.

    Gaining: i wonder why it IS so hard to let ourselves keep weight on our bodies. what does it mean? what is the value or even pleasure of being really thin or even just thin? what is it? i really don't know, but it is slavery. imagine ALLOWING ourselves to been enslaved!? i like that idea of leaving things in the playground or even in the house i grew up in. have to think about that.

    karen; yes, dealing with things head on is the way to stay healthy, emotionally and physically. it's just HARD and tiring. but worth it. my body issues are well embedded in me. i'm working on them and won't let it go on. it's been too long. i'm ready. and you -- i love the idea of your piecing together your once peaceful life. and it will be again. sometimes, it IS good to be alone.

    D.M. when i think about you, i think of the most vibrant woman, actress, director, writer, teacher, innovator. you seem up for anything. a dynamo with a great attitude. an ED of any sort seems unworthy of you. i don't know why i'm writing this - it's not really in response to your comment. i just find it infuriating that food and body issues creep into our full lives and take any energy.

    i don't own a scale but i usually run over to my brothers or hop on the boyfriends. i want to stop. i did for a while. it's such an easy habit to slip back into. if i can give up crack, alcohol and pills, i should be able to stay off the scale! thanks.

  9. I so feel you on what you're going through. Numbers really can shake my world. I really really need to not weigh myself, because it actually makes me worry and obsess more (obviously, but ed just NEEDS to know all the time). Its a huge trigger into spiral shitty thinking. No matter the number on the scale Melissa, you are a beautiful person in and out, and people see that. We all are beautiful, we just need to be brave enough to accept it.

  10. i keep telling myself i'm cool until the moment before the scale. who invented the dumb thing anyway? it's like i'm suddenly not the boss of me. it IS a huge trigger into spiral shitty thinking. it seems like my final frontier.

    hope you're doing well, sarah. thanks for your great comments