I have multiple eating disorders, hence I have a whole cast of messed up characters that live in my head when it comes to food, eating, my body, and my emotional life.
I talk a lot about my fat girl. She’s relatively easy for me to talk about. She’s lived in my head for almost the longest. (The girl who is a burden has lived in my head the absolute longest. We’re not going there today…) And in many ways, I think my fat girl is the easiest for you to process and handle (unless you have an eating disorder of your own). She’s sad and a coward. She couldn’t stop eating. She hopes I’ll go back to being a coward so she can have her cake back. That’s about the extent of her. Don’t get me wrong. She’d kill me if she got the chance. But it would be a slow death. Diabetes and heart disease. Death by chocolate, if you will. Which I bet sounds great to you if it’s not actually a possibility for you like it is for me.
But there is also a bulimic girl who lives in my head. And she’s the scary one. The one that is the most dangerous. And damaging. The kinds of things I was doing to myself because of my bulimic girl scared me into quitting sugar entirely. She is the reason I keep such strict boundaries around my food. She would rather see me dead than fat. She is angry and obsessive and cruel. And she’s excessively vain. Not a healthy, see-how-I-take-care-of-myself kind of vanity. A seven deadly sins kind of vanity. She has no peace and no love. Nothing is ever ever good enough for her. Especially not me.
My bulimic girl has a tag line. A particular thought. Get it out. Actually it’s more like Get it out. Getitoutgetitoutgetitoutgetitoutgetitout Get. It. OUT! NOW! (And this is said through clenched teeth.)
It was this thinking that had me abuse laxatives, drink castor oil, run 14 miles a day and eventually make myself throw up my food. My bulimic girl was full of hair-brained schemes to deal with the aftermath of my fat girl and her binge eating. If it were humorous, it might be a version of The Odd Couple. A grotesque murderous version…
Since I quit smoking 3 months ago, I keep gaining weight. I have gained 12 lbs since June 1st. It has been hard for me to deal with. (This may be my understatement of the year.) I put on a pair of jeans the other day, and they were tight. This was especially embarrassing and sad for me. In February, they were comically big. They had to be held up by a belt and sagged around my butt. I wore them to babysit when I expected to get dirty. Feeling these jeans pressed up against me was incredibly uncomfortable. Emotionally. Because it was a reminder that I feel incredibly fat. And I know there is nothing for me to do about it. It is not about calories. When I first quit smoking, I didn’t change my eating at all and I gained 3 lbs. The next month, I ate lighter than usual, (more salad, less cooking in butter) and I gained 4 more lbs. So it is not that I have been doing it wrong. It is not something I can control. My body is changing. I don’t get a say.
Guess who hates this? Any thoughts? My bulimic girl. This is killing her. She insists that there must be something I can do. At least don’t get fried onions this week. At least chill out on the full fat yogurt. At least walk a couple more miles a day. Do SOMETHING! Do you WANT to be this fat? GET IT OUT!
So my fat girl wants to give up and eat cake (not like she’s popped up this week – she just always wants to give up and eat cake), and my bulimic girl wants to resist and starve me. I decided not to give up or resist. I decided to accept. My body is what it is. Right now. And I don’t know for how long. And I don’t get a say. There is nothing for me to do.
But that is not true. There was one thing for me to do. And I did it. I went out and bought bigger pants. I bought pants I feel sexy in. Because maybe the hardest part of this weight gain is that I have been feeling incredibly unsexy. And sexy has been a very important part of my life for years now. It is a part of my personality. It is one of the things that I love about myself and my life.
And buying sexy pants that fit my body the way it is right now has shut my bulimic girl up. For now. I’m sure she’ll be back. Just like my fat girl, and my burden, and my good girl. But today, because I have my eating under control, none of them get to run my life.
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