I’ll admit it, I’m in a bit of a funk. There is no reason. Everything is pretty good really. I have a job, a loving partner, a beautiful dog, amazing family and friends and a house. I’ve travelled, been to university, been given great opportunities in life, and I now have enough money to buy myself and people I love nice things. I want no sympathy. I’m just feeling low, and it’s all because I’m feeling fat. I’m find myself sitting here the biggest I’ve ever been and I can’t get used to it (although the blessing in disguise it that I grew boobs – not everyone can do that naturally at the age of 33!).
I’m 33. I was an Australian size 8, and am now a size 12. I am not a little girl anymore. I do realise that my metabolism is slowing down (supposedly what happens as you get older). I’m also not going hard-core at the gym anymore (for I was like a woman possessed – which in itself wasn’t healthy – and my muscles have now been given time to ‘relax’ – eek!)
I am also eating.
‘Eating’ you say. ‘Everyone eats!’ Well, everyone should eat. But from early in life I habitually denied myself food. To put it bluntly, I starved myself.
The earliest memory I have of this is from primary school. I used to throw my school lunches away because I was being teased for being fat. This progressed into my teens, where I was skipping meals to have a flat stomach as it was ‘more attractive’ and I was fat. In my late teens I started working out at the gym and eating properly – but my obsession then gravitated to over-exercising and going out on the town binge-drinking. That stopped when I had to give up the gym and move into a place of my own. That is when full-on depression set in, as did agoraphobia. I hated myself. I didn’t like my body. I didn’t want to eat, and I didn’t want to live. I just wanted to sleep. Of course, I knew I needed to eat, and I did – I just didn’t eat properly. I don’t believe toast passes as a sustainable and nutrition filled diet.
I was stuck in a vicious circle – in order to eat I needed to go to the shops to buy food, but when I finally got over the fear of going to the shops where there were people, I would find myself on the brink of tears, wandering the aisles distressed, dizzy, and so confused that I didn’t know what to eat.
This settled down as I entered my first relationship at the age of 23. It became harder to skip meals when I moved in with my boyfriend, but it didn’t stop me from trying. And with my erratic blood sugar levels, I was susceptible to fainting and mood swings. I wasn’t a pleasure to live with. Eventually he realised that if my moods changed, he had to feed me. So, he started cooking for me. And I started eating.
At this stage I had started anti-depressants, was sleeping way to much, and had put on weight (on viewing the photographic evidence of me at this time – I wasn’t fat). I just didn’t feel good – I believed that I was the ugliest thing that existed. The fact that I had a boyfriend who adored me didn’t matter.
And then I went overseas for 9 1/2 months, travelled, worked, ate, explored, socialised, lost weight and felt truly happy for the first time that I could remember.
On coming home, initially I was on a natural high. I started seeing someone who was a lot of fun, and completely different. Unbeknownst to him, I had actually slipped back into my old pattern of skipping meals, and I was also drinking way too much. I had also started taking laxatives to give me that flat stomach look, and because I was having sever stomach cramps (I now know that I have IBS).
Predictably, my depression came back with a vengeance, and I slipped into the good old not-eating mood cycle again.
Lucky for me the guy stuck by me – he realised what was going on. To this day he tells me off (nicely) when my mood starts to change, questioning if I have eaten or if I need to eat. He has also helped me to realise I am attractive, beautiful, sexy, and a woman (it only took me 33 years).
And for the record, I’m not fat – I never was. But who cares! More than anything, shouldn’t we be happy and healthy, as what is life without it?
So today I choose to eat.
Note to readers: I have only touched on child-hood bullying in this post, with no intention to trivialise the issue. There is just so much to write on that subject, and I will do that in future posts.