Stupid Mirror! I said fairest, not fattest!
In my post several weeks ago I said that I was worried that quitting smoking would make me gain weight. And then I said that I was being a whiner. That 2 or even 5 lbs was not worth considering. Well since I quit smoking, I gained 3 lbs. And I’m going to admit it. I am upset. Not just upset. It’s making me crazy in the head.
It’s all mixed up with feeling fat, hence feeling ugly. With being obsessed with what I look like. And with analyzing what I am eating to decide if it is making me fat. In other words, I am having a body image disorder attack.
I want to say that the 3 lbs is probably water retention. That is one of the side effects of quitting smoking. And the only part of my body that is noticeably bigger is my stomach. (I should say the only part noticeably bigger to me. Because I don’t know if anybody else has noticed. But in my head, everybody can tell. And they all think it’s disgusting…Because people have nothing better to do than take note of, and pass judgment on my body. Obviously.) If it is that I am bloated, it will go away. It has only been 6 weeks. I am trying to remember that that is not a long time. That my body is going to be adjusting for a while yet. That just because my brain has stopped thinking of me as a smoker, doesn’t mean my body is done dealing with the change.
And then two days ago, it hit me that I am so incredibly fat. Grotesquely fat. Jabba the Hut fat. I have cried over how ugly I think I am. How distorted my body looks. How ashamed I am.
I am having a severe body image disorder attack. And when my body image disorders flare up, they often get tied up with food.
There is a restaurant here in New York City that makes deep-fried onions. No breading. Just onions cooked in the deep fryer. Totally within my boundaries. So incredibly satisfying and delicious. And a huge part of my food life. For years now I have gone there at least once a week. Often twice a week. And even occasionally, three times a week. For years!
I went there this week. I ended up bringing home some leftovers (again, a very common occurrence) and they started to make me crazy. I looked in the mirror and saw myself as a disgusting blob. And then I thought about the onions in the refrigerator, and I started to obsess over them. Wondering if they were the real reason I gained 3 lbs. Wondering if I would get fat from the leftovers. I couldn’t stop thinking about what eating them would do to me. To my body. To my stomach. So finally, I had to throw them away. I had to get them out of my house. I had to get them out of my head.
Let me explain to you what rational Kate knows. I have not broken my food boundaries. I am not eating more or heavier within those boundaries than I have in the past. In fact, I am probably eating lighter these past few months than I have in a couple of years. There is no way that I will get fat from eating the way that I eat. Even if quitting smoking has slowed my metabolism. Even if I eat deep-fried onions and bacon twice a week. And I don’t even think it’s true that quitting has affected my metabolism! I really think it’s water. I really think it will pass in time. And I weigh 136 lbs and I am 5’6.5″. I am not fat. I am not even chubby. At absolute worst, I am just not skinny.
Now let me explain to you how knowing this rationally helps with my eating disorder brain.
IT DOESN’T! It doesn’t make me see myself clearly in the mirror. It doesn’t make me love my body. It doesn’t make me compare 136 to 300 and thank God. It does not help to know!
I feel like there is an expectation by society for an intelligent, beautiful woman to be able to see herself clearly. To be able to think critically and rationally and “snap out of it.” Or maybe that is just my projection. Maybe it’s that I think that I should just be able to snap out of it. But I can’t. I am sick. All I can do is sit tight and wait for it to pass.
If I give up control of my food and go back into my eating disorders, I can expect to live in this place where I think I am gargantuan, until I eat myself back to actually being gargantuan. But as long as I keep my food under control, I know that this will pass. I have been here before, and it has always passed. If I maintain my food boundaries, I will eventually go back to looking in the mirror and thinking I’m a knockout. And being so grateful that I am beautiful. And being vain. But for now, this sucks. And hurts. And it’s no fun. And there is nothing to do about it but wait…
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