a lack or loss of appetite for food (as a medical condition).
an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat.
I have been working up to writing this for a while now. I have a lot of difficulty with labels, and additionally with admitting my own struggles, because the voice in my head that tells me my own pain is nothing compared to what others in this world suffer is very loud. The thing is that this is really important, and I believe that I have been through it for a very good reason, and that reason is my voice. I don’t hear anyone talking about it much, and certainly not very loudly, so I have decided that it just might be my place to scream it from the rooftops.
Rewind to about eight years ago; my youngest daughter was over a year old, and I still weighed over two hundred pounds. It isn’t hard to explain why: I became pregnant with her when my twins were six months old. They had breastfed for an entire year, so I had not worried about my weight too much after their birth. With my second pregnancy, I was less cautious about gaining weight, and I ate whatever I wanted. I was under high stress and sleep deprived. I certainly had no time for exercise with the three babies. It is easy to understand. I remember watching television one day, and a few talk show ladies were discussing weight. It was one of the most honest television moments that I have ever witnessed in my life because the impeccably slim woman on the television explained that to maintain the figure that she had, she truly and honestly barely ate anything. I guess that I was just so tired of a lifetime of chubbiness that her honesty inspired me to follow her lead, and get thin for once in my life, and thus began seven years of functional anorexia.
I am just over five feet five inches tall. My genes are predominately German with a little English and Irish thrown in. I can put on weight in the blink of an eye. I swear, I joke and say that I can gain weight just by looking at food. There are many different people in this world that have genes much different from my own. There are people in the world who actually struggle to gain weight because it is simply a part of their natural make-up. I had a friend in junior high school whose parents would pay her when she could manage to gain a pound, and god was I jealous of her. I understand all of this now, but it is an education that I was not provided as a child, and the absence of this information greatly contributed to my own disease. We have a hell of a problem going on with this, and we are not doing anything about it. We are not telling children that some people are built to be one way, and some are built to be another. We are not telling them that it is okay to be the way that they are, and we are not teaching children to accept each other in the way that nature created them. We teach children, as we teach adults, that any body type can be achieved through diet and exercise. Well, that may be true to an extent, but in my case; to even border on being thin, anorexia is an absolute requirement. I can be healthy and strong eating an exceptionally healthy diet and getting lots of exercise, but I cannot be thin. If I want to be thin, I absolutely must starve myself, and there is just no other way to achieve it.
The picture here is of me at my lowest weight as an adult. I believe that I was at about one hundred and seventeen pounds. I remember when this picture was taken and I had traveled to visit friends that I had not seen in about six months. I remember my friend’s husband opening their door and getting a look at me and exclaiming that I looked emaciated…and do you know what? I took that as a compliment. I was seriously screwed in the head for a while, and I was slowly but surely hurting myself pretty badly. The problem is that the whole world was supporting me in doing so. I was so addicted to all of the compliments that I was getting from my friends, especially my female friends who looked at me with envy in their eyes. The whole time I was still never satisfied with what I saw when I looked at myself naked in the mirror. I always saw fat that needed to be whittled away.
On an average day my normal diet consisted of a couple slices of lunchmeat, or a small portion of beef or chicken and a couple of pieces of broccoli, or a small salad, or pickles. I watched carbs like a hawk, and the only ones that I was getting in my system came from the wine or cocktails that I drank in the evening. I would cheat for a day about once a week and actually allow myself to eat carbs. My hair had fallen out to the point that I knew it was all going to be gone in a matter of years. My stomach acid was killing me because I wasn’t putting any sort of substantial food into my body to absorb it. I was exercising almost every single day of those seven years doing primarily pilates and dance videos for about an hour. My husband would ask me occasionally if I was getting enough to eat, but he knows me and my nature, and that to tell me that I need to do anything is the very worst way to approach me. I believe that only by his support in always telling me that he loves me no matter how I look is one of the ways that I got past it all.
Everything that I was doing to my body then is absolutely one hundred percent socially acceptable, even though it is the definition of anorexia. As long as people are existing with it functionally, the way that I did, society will support them one hundred percent. Ask yourself though; would you want your child to do what I did? Would that be okay? I have had to step all of the way out of it to actually realize what a total social sickness it is. Not only is it contributing to female subjugation in our society, but it is also strongly affecting our children. It isn’t only a problem for women either. I have male friends who have suffered from anorexia and even bulimia. We have these campaigns going around supposedly attempting to let young girls know that we all come in different shapes and sizes, but what good is that going to do when they get to witness their own mother starve herself to fit into a size six pair of jeans. Yeah, what a shame, hugh? I starved myself for seven years and only ever fit into a size six.
Our entire family has stopped eating refined sugar now. I have an excellent supplement regimen as well through Isagenix. I have backed off on the excessive exercise, and I definitely take two or three days off every week. We rarely eat any refined grains and strongly limit fruit juices, but we still eat potatoes and corn several times a week. I have doubled my muscle mass in many parts of my body since I started eating again, and therefore I have gained quite a bit of weight from where I was before. Most of it is muscle however, so I have to remind myself how well I am doing. It is a true struggle, and I cannot say that I do not break down and cry and want to go back to starving myself again. I know how important it is not to though. My body feels good now. I haven’t been sick in a long time and I have twice as much hair on my head now as I did six months ago. I don’t have any idea how much I weigh, because I finally threw my scale away and I don’t plan on buying another one, ever. If I can encourage one single person to throw away their own scale and decide to simply be healthy rather than look a certain way, then everything that I am struggling with will be worth it to me.
We must stop this. We must collectively decide to stop. We are causing people, children, to become ill for a terrible reason. The food industry, the fashion industry, and the medical industry are all controlling us like dogs on leashes. Our country is addicted to sugar and getting sicker by the day because of the processed foods that we eat. Then we turn around and buy the drugs, and the slimming pants, and the diet pills, and the gym memberships, and the fat free foods, and the liposuction, and the boob jobs, and the high heels, and the hair replacement, and the therapy, and the insulin that these industries are purposely making us sick to need. When is it going to end? When are we going to say no, enough, we just aren’t going to do this anymore? I have. I am living proof that it can happen. It is not easy, it is actually very hard, not the sugar part, but the living in my healthy body part, and the being who god made me to be, instead of what the media monster wants me to be part. It is getting easier though, and I don’t have to live with the guilt of knowing that I am hurting my own children anymore. If I can do it, anyone can do it…I am still working hard, but I am determined to escape the trap. I have to remind myself every day that my health and my life have more value than being skinny, and that simply is not the way that the world should be.