I have an eating disorder.
Not many people know this. How could they? I am not the typical face of an eating disorder. The smallest I have ever been with my 5’10” frame was a size 10 at 150lbs.
I am overweight. Most of my life I have been. In Kindergarten, I would chug a Coca Cola every day before heading to class. Throughout elementary school, I would curl up with party sized bags of potato chips and graze while reading. Performing in sports was awkward because of my hypermobility, so I would skip physical activity in favour of more sedentary hobbies. I knew I was taller and larger framed than my classmates, but even in the face of some teasing, this did not really bother me. Yet.
In middle school, I became acutely aware that I was different than my peers. I was larger, I took up more space. I had a reoccurring dream of grabbing the fat from my thighs and throwing it against walls. Being the odd one out led me to seek comfort in snacking and the Internet. On Neopets, I was a petite half-Vietnamese teenager who role played in a Sailor Moon guild. In real life, I was a hefty white girl barely squeezing into a size 13 jean while I would hear my sister and mother moan about how fat they were while they picked at their food. Why were their appetites so bird-like while I could crush a super sized McDonalds meal and still be hungry? Why was I different? Thus, the cycle of binge-restrict-binge was born at the tender age of thirteen.
My metabolism is shitty from this lifetime of shame. I put on weight easily, but losing it is a struggle.
The lowest I have weighed as an adult was ~160lbs in 2013 after recovery from a laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrium from my uterus left me bedridden and without an appetite for several weeks. I restricted for a year after to vainly try to remain at that weight but ultimately I ended up back around around 240lbs due to a combination of an antidepressant that did not work for me and my typical source of comfort during tough times: food. I hated myself for gaining back the weight and then some. Once again, I was Heather the fat ass, even though I tried to “own” it outwardly.
Now, I currently weigh 199lbs through a combination of exercise and logging everything I eat. It has been a slow, imperfect process, but I am happy to be making progress the legitimate way. By changing my lifestyle rather than crash dieting. I stopped buying my “comfort” foods to binge on. Instead, I seek comfort through my friends, family, and Jake. Food is not the enemy, but it is also not my best friend. I do NOT need to inhale junk food on a bad day. I DO need a balanced diet to survive.
I will never have a normal relationship with food, but I hope that I can continue to make positive strives.