Food Dreams

March 28, 2008 at 10:15 am (binging, disordered eating, dreams, fasting) (, , , )

The problem with fasting for a long time is that after awhile you get hungry again. Sure, you can ignore that hunger for a few hours, a few days. You can ignore the light-headedness and the confusion and the shaking hands. But after awhile your body reasserts its claims, its needs. And then you get hungry. Ravenously hungry. Out of control hungry. Your body craves fuel, craves sustenance, craves life. Driven by my body, I would binge.

I’ve read accounts of other people who binged (and usually purged. I never did. Not out of any reason other than I have a paranoia of vomit.) where they recount the tubs of ice cream, entire cakes, multiple bags of chips they devoured until they were stuffed and groaning and distended, unable to move. I would eat… wait for it!… several pieces of toast. A sandwich AND chips AND soup! A bag of chips! A carton of Chubby Hubby Ice Cream! You know, amounts of food that were fairly normal for most people, but I’d internalized the idea that since I was big fat fatty mclardass I must automaticaly be eating more food than other people and therefore when I ate a meal I must be pigging out and cramming mass amounts of food down my gullet. So a fast food combo meal or dinner at a Greek restaurant became not a meal but a horrible binge, more fat coins put into the lard back that was my gaping maw.

I started having horrific dreams where I’d wake up terrified, soaked with sweat, and feeling huge whomps of guilt. What was I doing in those dreams? Eating food at barbecues. Buying cakes at bake sales. Eating. Or… trying to eat food at barbecues, trying to buy cakes at bake sales, trying to eat. The dreams would often involve me feeling so shameful and guilt ridden that I couldn’t eat in front of other people, or I’d be unable to find my money and thus pay for the food, or everything I wanted would be snatched away and I’d run through mazes trying to find it. Or I’d eat and eat and eat to satiety and wake up feeling guilty because I was full and satisfied in the dream. And I’d feel “off” and shaken all day, and depressed. I felt bad about food even in my dreams. I felt bad about eating even when my dreams were trying to tell me to eat.

When did food become the enemy?


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The Way It Began

March 26, 2008 at 12:13 pm (disordered eating, fasting, highschool) (, , , , )

People were always telling me I “would be so pretty if only” and then a bit of a pause, and then a litany of my failings. If only I were thinner. If only my teeth were straighter/whiter/didn’t have braces on them. If only I just did something with my hair. If only I wore better clothes. If only I had better skin. If only I were thinner. The “thinner” one is, actually, the one I heard most often with the skin thing coming a close second. In my whole life, I’ve had all of one person come up to me and offer to help me with my awful, awful skin (her own words). I’ve had hundreds, literally hundreds, offer me unwanted advice about how to shed my awful, awful weight.

I can’t remember a time that people (my peers, kids younger than me, adults) didn’t pick on me for my weight. Looking back at photos of myself as a little kid I was a huge toddler, and then “normal” sized when I hit pre-school and kindergarten (right around the time I had two growth spurts), and then started chunking up in first and second grade. I’ve been fat ever since then. Consistantly the same amount of fat, consistantly the same size. Consistantly too big.

When you’re constantly told that you’re bad and weak and wrong because you’re fat, what do you do? How do you address that? When other people constantly question how much you eat, constantly ask you if you’re “really” hungry, how long does it take before you start second guessing yourself?

When I was in highschool, my diet on a good day consisted of:

  • Several cans of caffeinated soda, all diet (of course!)
  • Half a bag of M&Ms, Skittles, or Reeces Pieces, shared with someone else
  • Whatever my family was having for dinner.

There were times when I didn’t eat for two or three days.

I was cranky and out of it all the time, constantly tired. I had problems focusing, concentrating. I never got the final growth spurt my school mates got between 8th and 12th grade. My  nails were brittle and broke easily. And I remained fat. And people still insulted me for being fat, and told me that if I just ate a little less and stopped pigging out I’d lose weight. I hated myself for so many reasons, and sometimes I still do. I became more and more restrictive with food and eating, and became more and more depressed, until I realized that I was actively suicidal which was a bit of a wake up call and very very scary.

A few months ago I started practicing intuitive eating, trying to eat what I want to eat when I want to eat it in the quantity that I want. If I want to eat a baked potato for dinner, I will. Or a salad. Or soup. Or a pound of steak. Or some green beans. Or artichoke dip and pita chips. Or waffles.  It’s changed the way I eat. I don’t feel as compelled to finish off those last french fries. I don’t feel as panicked that food might run out. I have less horrific, guilt-ridden nightmares about food and eating. I am eating a wider range of food than I have in fifteen years. And people still give me shit for being fat.

Because, obviously, fat is a choice and if I’d just try a little harder, I wouldn’t be fat. If I’d just eat slightly less, I wouldn’t be fat. After all, humans are just like bunsen burners, and if you consume less calories than you’ll burn, the pounds will just melt away. If an 1800 calorie diet doesn’t cause you to lose weight, drop down to 1500 calories, 1000, 800, 500. If you can subsist on water and air for a long enough time, you’ll be thin, and who cares about malnutrition because thin! Thin is healthy! Automaticaly!

I am a woman of abundance. My hair and nails grow quickly, I have a big stomach, big arms, big belly. I heal quickly when injured. I am fat. I am hated for that. I am trying very hard not to hate myself.

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