Ok, so some people have asked…How did you get so fat?
Well. It all started when I was a young child. I was super obese at 3 years old and 75lbs, so I was put on a diet….which taught me at 3 years old that eating and being fat was shameful. This cycle of dieting and gaining weight replayed itself every year of my life.
Fast forward to when I was 12, my mom introduced me to emotional eating. Cans of olives at first. If I was depressed, she would ask “how many cans of olives” to gauge how down I was. Then when I was 14, she introduced binging to me. Of course I had been sneaking food since I was 3 and on my first diet….but this was different. I used to be morbidly depressed as a teenager…probably due to undiagnosed bipolar. She would take me to the Quick Stop and buy me hostess powdered jam donuts, a huge microwave burrito, a giant full sugar pepsi and what ever chocolate I wanted. This happened at least twice a week.
Now for my fathers influence…he was always over weight as well. And he was OBSESSED with food. He would count every morsel I put in my mouth and tried to control my eating. I remember one time, I was 16, before school I was eating a large bowl of cereal. He took it from me and threw it in the sink and said you are eating 8 cups worth of cereal and processed to degrade me as he filled up a measuring cup with water to prove he was right.
That day i decided I needed to hide what I ate…and if I did eat, I would puke. I became bulimic and continued until high school was over. I lost a lot of weight but was still about 350lbs when I graduated.
Now fast forward to after high school. It was 1996 and I was moving back to California to live with my aunt. I felt safe and comfortable. Enough that I stopped binging and purging….now it was just binging. All I had to do was write what I wanted to eat on the list and she would buy it. No matter how absurd or unhealthy. She was just trying to make me happy. I was 18 when I moved in at 350lbs, by the time I was 20, I was 566lbs. I did manage to lose 80lbs with WW, but then i moved back home to Idaho.
Now they say once you reach 30, you can’t blame your parents anymore….and I don’t really lie the blame with her as she was just doing what she knew…as she was always over weight as well. Well here I am 33 with a full blown eating disorder.
I obsess about food. Every second, of every day. It’s terrible and depressing and sickening. I’m a bulimic without the urge to rid myself of calories because it’s too late to do that. I wake up hungry, trying to think of ways not to eat…to put off eating, because I know, once I start, I can’t stop. I also emotionally eat…but this manifests to me as real hunger and I do not realise until I am sick with guilt, that I was not hungry.
I also hoard food. When I do shopping, one of everything isn’t enough…even when it comes to lettuce! i have to buy loads of everything or I freak out thinking I am going to be hungry. We throw away a lot of food. The good thing about not having a car or a drivers licence is that i cannot sneak binge.
This is embarrassing, but Im going to tell you anyways. When I had my car, and lived on my own, I would go days without eating, surviving on Starbucks. Then one day I would eat. I would go to Taco Bell and go straight to McDonalds…getting full blown meals at each place. I would park behind a bush in the walmart parking lot or in a dark corner of a park….and eat. Eat until I was sick. The whole time telling myself how worthless and fat I am and how no one could ever love me. Then, I would wipe my mouth, chuck the wrappers in the back seat, drive across town to Dairy Queen at get dessert. Then I would starve myself for 3 days to make up for it and the cycle would begin again.
I actually lost weight eating that way. I don’t know how, but I did. I steadily lost weight until I met my husband. He likes big girls and he’s not afraid to show it in public. Most people would accept that you gain a few lbs at the start of a relationship if you are happy. i was happy alright. Happy to not be ashamed. He knew I was a big eater, but he didn’t realise the current that drove me. When I was with him for 2 weeks at a time, there were no days to starve. I was eating 3 or 4 binge meals a day. He thought it was cute. I was in heaven because I could just relax and eat. It was comforting. Since he only came out to see me every month or two, my weight didn’t increase dramatically.
Then I moved over here. I tried to confront my eating disorder by going to Overeaters Anonymous, but it was full of anorexics….who I know were judging me because I enbodied every thing they ever feared. It was a very uneasy place to be. But I remember one lady was big like me and she described driving through several drive thrus at a time and hiding her eating. It was then that i realised I wasn’t alone, nor was I some freak.
I did some research and then got myself referred to an eating disorder specialist. It helped, whilst I was going. Once the treatment stopped, I slowly went back to my old ways. Add deep depression to the mix and you have a recipe for severe weight gain. In a year I gained 100lbs. To my highest weight of 640lbs. I am not proud of this at all. It sickens me to think about it. Food controls me so much that I let it ruin my life!
Fast forward to today. I have had my stomach amputated to prevent me from over eating and produce weight loss. They have not changed my brain or thought patterns. I still play games with myself and live in denial, a lot of the time. Every day is a struggle against my demons. i am down to 478, but I have had to fight for it. Even though i can only eat a little at a time, I can see eat all day and I can still eat bad stuff. My demons are alive and kickin.
What bothers me is….my food issues are no different to an anorexic or a bulimic…but society looks at them with pity. But because I wear my eating disorder on my body, I am disgusting and worthy of discrimination. It isn’t right. So next time you judge someone based on their size, ask yourself if you would say the same thing to someone who is 80lbs. Same issues, different approach.
Thanks for listening. It has helped to get some of this out. I’m sure some of my friends had an idea that I was like this and others may have been completely oblivious. But there it is….my demon.