Adrienne’s grandma gave her a little photo album for Christmas with pictures of her from newborn to 17.
By default there were some pictures in there of me at age almost-21.
(That’s me in the background, my mom in the foreground holding Adrienne. Both of us, I can promise you, feeling huge and uncomfortable. Do good legs run in my family or what? I weighed about 200 pounds.)
First: I can’t believe how young I was when I had her.
Second: I can’t believe how slender I was when I had her.
Why? Because I felt like an absolute cow. As big as a house.
As big as I feel now, after 17 solid years of dieting, a good 100 pounds heavier.
I weighed 200 pounds, so I wasn’t exactly skinny. But I also wasn’t fat. I’m nearly 5’10”, 200 pounds is probably only about thirty pounds overweight for me. So why, a couple of years earlier when I was still a competitive swimmer and runner and an incredibly fit 40 pounds lighter than the day Adrienne was born, did I still feel like a big fat cow. Why did I still feel just like I do now, 150-ish pounder later. I’m nearly twice as big as my teenage self, but I don’t feel any different.
(This is my in San Francisco summer of 2008, at my very heaviest.)
I’ve always felt fat.
Maybe it’s because my mom felt huge. Both of us had skinny-minny sisters, and comparisons were drawn all the time.
Maybe because my dad left my soft, curvy mother for an angular, petite woman.
Maybe because I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with food, and I knew it.
I have an eating disorder. I binge. I would be bulimic, if I wasn’t so scared of throwing up or taking laxitives. So I go through periods of eating enough to make myself sick–and all that time while I’m eating, even to the point of illness, I never feel full–but I don’t do anything to get rid of the calories. (Except from ages 10 to 17, when I exercised enough to burn them off. Sometimes eight hours a day during school breaks and weekends.)
I can remember looking at my naked 8-year-old body in a bathroom mirror and deciding I was disgusting. That night I skipped my Oreos. I’ve been on a nearly constant diet for the next 30 years.
I’m tired. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to be able to care about myself just as I am. I don’t want another 17 years of dieting to leave me a middle-aged 400-pounder.
So this year, I’m not dieting. This year, I’m not weighing myself. This year, I’m honoring my emotions so that I don’t have to stuff them with food. And this year, I’m accepting that food is my drug of choice and I’m an addict. And if anyone knows that an addict can change, I do.
I’m scared. I’ve had food rules for as long as I can remember. What if I end this year even fatter than I already am? What if I binge?
Chances are I will binge. But instead of beating myself up after, maybe if my focus isn’t on dieting I’ll be able to understand why. And then I can learn otherways to cope.
Last night I made a gluten-free pizza. (Another sort-of Annalise Roberts recipe, and it was so good.) I meant to eat half and save half for my lunch today. I ate the whole thing. It was a nine-inch pizza–so four decent sized slices. I’ve eaten more in one sitting. I wouldn’t exactly call it an all-out binge.
But I was really uncomfortable with the idea of not eating the rest of that pizza. After I was done, and full enough to be slightly uncomfortable, I tried to figure out where that discomfort came from.
TO BE CONTINUED.
(Sorry, this gets really involved and I have to get to work. I won’t make you wait long. It’ll be my post about why I need to have a stocked pantry for my peace of mind, too.)
More WFMW here.