Thursday, March 5, 2015

Background Pt. 3

I'm into my third month of scale-free living and going strong! I feel that 
I've truly broken the habit of thought now. I do wonder sometimes, but it's no longer at specific points of the day. I think if the scale were back in the bathroom again I'd remember not to step on it accidentally. I feel that this is a huge jump in progress!

Every night before bed I used to think about whether I wanted a snack during our show or not - how would this affect my morning weigh-in? Would the food in my gut make the weigh-in higher? If I skipped my snack, would that get me a new record low, just because I wouldn't have food digesting?

No more of that. Now, I just eat.

Let's get back to my fourteen-year-old self.

With my starvation method - fasting off and on, skipping breakfast and lunch but eating dinner, etc - I got back down 13 pounds. I did have the occasional binge, my body's way of fighting against the starvation, but these were minor setbacks. I still had the goal of losing 10-12 MORE pounds. That is, until the binges got closer together. 

Binge-eating: Letting go of the limits. No longer caring about calories or carbs or fat or sugar and eating. Whatever you want. Without stopping. Without listening to your body's cues. Without listening to your mind screaming at you to stop. Just doing it. Any food you thought of at all while being hungry. Until there's nothing left. You. Empty packages. Pain. And failure.

I managed to maintain my weight loss until summertime. Then I gained 6 pounds back. I spent all my time thinking about it. One day, it "clicked" that I needed to count calories. I went on a 900-calorie-per-day diet, with exercise. It seemed reasonable to me that, if 1800 calories were what I needed to maintain my weight, and if 3600 calories were in a pound, then I could lose 3/4 pound a day, or 3 lbs a week. Of course, that's not how it really happened, but the numbers were promising.

I lasted three weeks, and I got rid if those 6 pounds. Then my metabolism slowed down and my weight stalled at the same place as before. I was so tired. I broke, and the weight came piling on. 

The beginning of sophomore year saw me at the same weight I had been at pre-pneumonia in 8th grade, and ready to try again. Up and down, up and down. I read somewhere that being a vegan helped with weight loss. I tried that. I read that avoiding carbs helped. Nope. The new year brought my first "resolution" diet. When that failed, I went on Weight Watchers. I felt like the slightest comment from my peers threw me off and ruined everything. Weight Watchers got me back down to a size 5, but it didn't last. Right when I thought I'd mastered portion control, I lost myself again.

The beginning of junior year I was 10 pounds heavier than ever. I followed the same usual pattern. I got my hands on several different diet pills, and tried my own combinations. The suicidal thoughts started. I thought it might have been a side effect of the pills, but I didn't want to stop taking them. That summer, I tried cleanses involving lemons and cayenne, etc. I was obsessed with a few European documentaries about getting down to a size 0. They were supposed to discourage against starving to be thin, but they fueled me on. Once, I ate a whole tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil because I'd read that it could suppress appetite. To this day I hate the taste of raw olive oil.

I tried to throw up my food after binges. Oh, did I try. Once, I almost succeeded. 

I started my senior year of high school 7 pounds lighter than the year before. I felt like this was progress, even though I was 9 pounds heavier than I had been before ever going on a diet. I kept working at it. I started over repeatedly. I kept thinking THIS time I would stick to it. THIS time was different. THIS time I wouldn't be weak. My weight didn't go anywhere. Then, I got caught with an empty bottle of diet pills.

The woman I spoke to then is someone I'm still in contact with, but we rarely speak. She touched my life for a short time, but it made all the difference. She explained the havoc diet pills could cause for my body, that they didn't work, that they were a waste of money, and that I was worth too much to treat myself this way.

She didn't know about the 10+ different bottles in my drawer upstairs. But when I walked away from her that night, I got a trash bag. I threw away every single bottle. Even the vitamin C. And the caffeine pills that I took to ward off the exhaustion of hunger. I knew that if I was going to quit, I needed to quit it all.

I spent the next three days in a stupor of caffeine withdrawal. But I never went back.

The diets, however, weren't over.

As I end for the night, I want to make a disclaimer. Compared to others out there, my eating disorder was minor. My pain was only a sliver of what others go through. By talking about my background so frankly, I don't want to discredit those who are currently living through much worse.

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