I started a weight-loss blog: One Body for Life.
In all honesty, this blog will probably be more interesting – that blog is really what I think of as the “facts and figures” blog, and this one is the “what the hell is going on in my head and why the hell is it going on at all?” blog.
But because I know I have at least a few readers who have EDs, I really didn’t want to post facts and figures here. But I am cross-posting the first entry from over there, and I’ll cross-post (both ways) from time to time. I just won’t post weights and food lists here. 🙂
This is another variation on “My Story,” but a little more comprehesive. Feel free to skip or skim, as you like. 😉
I was a normal kid, with a normal body weight.
Well, let me amend that: I was always heavier than I looked, but multiple doctors have looked at me, looked at my chart, looked at me again and pronounced, “Well, I was going to tell you to lose weight, but you’re not fat!” So clearly, my body weight wasn’t really an issue. (I have always, ALWAYS carried a lot more muscle than the average person. I’m a classic mesomorph.) (Does anyone still use the somatotypes? I don’t even know.)
I took a lot of ballet though, and it didn’t take long for me to get super-conscious of my weight. And although I always wanted to lose 10 more pounds, I didn’t engage in anything more extreme than standard “dieting.”
I didn’t start dieting like a maniac until I went to art school for acting, and their prescribed curriculum (we didn’t get to choose our own classes) included NO dancing at all. Between the lack of exercise (I went from dancing about 30 hours a week to no exercise AT ALL) and living on a diet of Pasta-Roni (no kitchens in the dorms), I gained the classic Freshman 15. (It’s a miracle it wasn’t more.)
By the time I transferrred out of there the following year, I was COMPLETELY freaked out about my weight gain. So I started eating chicken and broccoli. Which would be healthy, but . . . I ate it every night. Every. Night. And pretty soon I started skipping breakfast. Coffee was enough, right? I was still eating lunch though, so I figured I was FINE. JUST FINE.
Did I mention that I started working out during that time? An hour a day. EVERY day. And if (God forbid) I missed a day, I’d make it up the next day by working out for 2 hours. Still living on “normal” lunches and dinners of poached chicken and steamed broccoli. (I still can’t eat chicken and broccoli together. Separately, sure, but not together. *shudder*)
I lost weight that school year. And gained it all back over the summer.
When I went back to school for my last year, I moved in with my best friend’s parents. (My best friend was still at the aforementioned art school.) My friend had been an extremely anorexic ballerina some years before, and her mother still thought of those years as her daughter’s “glory years.” It was a very pro-starving-yourself household. That house had full-length mirrors on all the closets. (That will be important later.)
I lost a LOT of weight that year, more through food restriction than through exercise, which maxed out around an hour and a half a day. I did not lose enough weight to qualify as “anorexic,” but today I would be diagnosed with ED-NOS. I obssessed about food, about my weight. I stood in front of those mirrored closet doors every morning, memorizing my flaws so that when I was hungry I would suck on a hard candy instead of eating “real” food.
And then I blew out my knee from too much exercise (probably done improperly, too). Without the exercise, I wasn’t restricting enough to avoid a weight gain (however slight it may have been), and a switch flipped. Instead of starving, I started bingeing. I didn’t see the point in starving myself if I could never be thin enough, so I ate EVERYTHING.
And I gained a lot of weight. Over the next 3 years I would gain more than 50 pounds by bingeing (and once I started tending bar, drinking). It’s been 11 years since that switch flipped, and I still don’t have a handle on the bingeing and the drinking (later punctuated by intermittent periods of starvation), although I’m better now than I was then.
But I recently bought my first condo, which has full-length mirrors on the closets. I have deliberately not had full-length mirrors in any place I’ve lived in the last decade. I find myself staring at my reflection, listing my flaws like Pavlov’s dog, wondering how many calories I could burn at the gym today. I keep trying to reset my brain, to repeat all the things that are good about me. But that old voice in my head overrides it all. I find myself seriously considering just drinking coffee for breakfast, thinking that if I go to bed early enough, I can just skip dinner, dreading social occasions that involve food.
I refuse to go down that path again. I. REFUSE. But I also know that I’m standing at the head of the path, and that right now I’m not strong enough to withstand it completely: I’m not strong enough to accept myself as I am, and to take care of myself just because I’m worth it.
So I’m losing weight. And I’m blogging it because I need some accountability. I need to not be COMPLETELY insane about it, and if I have to confess that I’m eating lettuce 3 meals a day, then I can’t deny the insanity of that. (Whereas if I tell no one, then I can always delude myself into thinking that I’m just “not that hungry now” and “I’ll eat later.” And “later” of course never comes – although the binge eventually will.)
So this is the beginning. I chose to title the blog “One Body for Life” because I’ve read a lot of diet blogs with self-hating names, and I couldn’t help thinking, “But what about when the weight is lost?” I don’t want to feel like I’m running from something for the rest of my life. This is it. This is the only body I get. I’ve fucked it over more times than I can count (at one point I even had a doctor tell me I’d shot my metabolism all to hell, and that when it finally reset, he had no idea what my set point would be), and I have to start taking care of it. Not starving it, not stuffing it, just treating it WELL. Because I don’t get a second one, and I can’t send this one back for an exchange.
One body (and mind) for life. Time to start taking care of them both.