New Year’s is rough for me- everyone around me suddenly starts hitting the gym and wanting to drop some weight- and even just this last year, I was a part of that. I’m not at all criticizing people who enjoy working out or feel that they are unhealthy at their current weight. It’s just that I’ve realized the topic of weight loss is a trigger for me.
I’m still not sure if you’d say I had an eating disorder, but every time I’ve tried to lose weight, it’s ended up with me spending a few weeks engaging in unhealthy habits and hating myself and making myself sick.
In junior high, my cheerleading squad inherited the old uniforms of our varsity squad and I was humiliated because nothing fit me. I asked my coach- surely, some of the older girls were built sort of like me? My coach just patted my arm and reassured me that some of the girls had been built like me in Junior High, but they’d ‘starved themselves’ until they were thin. I remember her laughing about it- somewhere between a joke and a suggestion. Later that year my parents divorced and no one really noticed that I wasn’t eating much and lost about fifteen pounds. It went back on when I was happier and eating more than one meal a day. I remember going to the hospital with pneumonia in high school. I lost over twenty pounds in two weeks and my mother said it was a good thing that my senior pictures would be taken a few weeks later, before I’d have a chance to put any of the weight back on.
In college, wracked by depression and anxiety, I would see how long I could go without eating- usually about two days or so. More than once I had dizzy spells while I was at work because of it. I remember going home to my family and them seeing my forty pound weight loss and being told to keep doing what I was doing- when I started eating regular meals again, no one seemed to care that I was happier or that my hair was shinier and my skin had more of a glow.
A year ago, I’d realized that while visiting my future in-laws, that I’d put on about fifteen pounds of Christmas and became obsessed with the idea of weight loss. A few weeks of running and eating smoothies mostly consisting of spinach and eating plain chicken for dinner had me losing weight and everyone applauding me… but I hated it and did it because I hated myself, not out of love for my body or my future and physically felt awful the entire time because I was trying to eat less than a thousand calories a day. My phone is still full of calorie trackers that yell at me occasionally about eating too much, because “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, why the hell are you crying while you eat baby carrots for lunch?”
I have never gone to the doctor about these issues- I don’t know if my brushes with unhealthy eating would count as an eating disorder or not, although reading this I find myself going ‘well that’s some borderline anorexia bullshit right there’. But this is why I do not want to hear about your diet or your weight loss goals. I don’t want to know what your goal weight is or your goal pair of pants or dress is. Maybe the weight loss is healthy and best for you, but it is not the best for me and the mental anguish isn’t worth it.