Bulimia (bu·lim·i·a/noun): an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting.
I have always been the fat kid growing up. When I hit about third grade, my weight skyrocketed. I was wearing juniors size clothes by the time I hit fifth grade. I weighed 200 pounds by my junior year of high school. My weight has always been something I’ve struggled with. Growing up, I was put on diet pills by the age of 10. I remember bringing Slim Fast meal replacements for lunch at summer camp in elementary school. I was told by one of my parents that I should not eat for two days so I could understand what real hunger was like. I was constantly mocked for my weight, I could never wear the cute clothes everyone else did. Occasionally I would have a friend offer to lend me clothes, but of course, they were always at least two sizes too small.
I spent a lot of time being told I was too fat, to lose weight, that I was ugly and needed to count calories and stop being so lazy. I cried because I would never look like the beautiful women I saw on tv and in magazines. And so I ate more, drowning my feelings in food. Sometime in middle school, around the time I self-harmed for the first time, something in my brain clicked and I decided I wasn’t going to eat anymore. At least, not like I used to. I would go a few days barely eating anything, and then by day 3 or 4, I would eat everything in sight. Sometimes I would eat normally, then force myself to throw it back up or take laxatives to get it out of my body.
For a long time, I just kept going through the cycle of fasting/restricting and binge eating. I thought it was normal and that, because I wasn’t underweight or even at a normal weight, that there was nothing wrong with me. I was just a fatass with no impulse control or willpower. If I tried hard enough, I wouldn’t look like this. I wouldn’t be covered in angry red stretch marks, have thighs that rub together to the point that they bleed sometimes, have back fat that looks like a second butt. I just needed to eat less, and throw up what I was eating. Spend more time at the gym working off those calories, because who the fuck wants to be around someone this disgusting? I mean, look at that double chin. It never goes away. Everything jiggles when I walk. Pathetic.
On July 8th, 2017, I stepped on a scale for the first time in 3 months. The scale read 30 pounds heavier than I was even a year ago. I was 50 pounds heavier than I was 18 months before that. That day, I cried, harder than I had in a long time, over how I looked and what I had become. I stopped eating, starting forcing myself to throw up again, weighed myself at least twice a day. I was disgusted by myself. And you know what? I barely lost any weight. In fact, after 2 binges, I had gained back all of that weight and then some.
I finally admitted to my therapist that I had a problem with eating. I don’t know what compelled me to tell her, maybe I was just tired of living like this. She set me up with a local eating disorder clinic and I was able to start treatment right away. On my first day there, I was terrified. I’m considered very obese, who the hell would believe I had an eating disorder? Thankfully, I got paired up with the most awesome therapist ever, and she’s helped me a lot in understanding why I have these urges to binge eat and restrict. It helped to know I was not alone, and I finally had an answer for what I was doing. Of course, not looking “the part” of someone with an eating disorder, I’m usually met with “yeah, okay” responses. I mean, how can you be obese and bulimic? Surprise, eating disorders don’t give a fuck about your size.
I am nowhere near recovered, I still have to fight with myself to not eat literally everything in front of me all the time. My self-esteem is nonexistent, especially after having a child. I still cry over the numbers on the scale every time I get home from my doctor’s appointments. I have to force myself to eat on occasion because I can’t stand the idea of it anymore. But I am trying, and someday I will learn to love myself. Eventually, I will have a healthy relationship with food. It just takes time.