“You are anorexic.”
I have been diagnosed. It’s official. I have anorexia.
At 5’7″ and 120.4 pounds, I’m not actually underweight (that’s 118). But I have anorexia. I didn’t know that was a thing. But I have anorexia, and probably have had it as many as 16 years when I first became restrictive in 2002 in Senegal.
She listened to my whole story, from the zucchini lunch in 2002 to the current spaghetti squash craze in 2018. And then she said it, “You are anorexic.”
Diary of a Psychological Anorexic was written in 2007 about the years 2002-2004 (with some background for context) when I struggled intensely with weight and body image. I managed to regain some normalcy for awhile but, as I said towards the end of that essay, eating disorders are forever.
I had gained some weight again and in 2014, determined to slim down. I got to a nice 135 in May 2015, gained a few pounds, and then got pregnant in September 2015.
At my first OBGYN appointment at 6 weeks pregnant, I weighed 138. I told my doctor about my history with weight and she was very supportive. She said 25-35 pounds was a realistic and healthy weight gain for me during pregnancy. I gained 33, tipping the scales at 171 at my last appointment. I was a little freaked out when the majority of the weight gain was in my first trimester, but I was nauseated 24/7 and ironically, the only thing that helped was snacking. I also gave myself a lot of permission to indulge.
After my daughter was born, I was shocked to see that almost immediately, I lost 10 pounds. I thought losing the rest would be a cinch. I was breastfeeding, which allowed for 500 extra calories a day. It was summer and I started taking my newborn on walks most days.
When she was six months old, I was still wearing maternity clothes (including the pants). They are so darned comfortable. And I still weighed around 156. Time to get it together.
But I didn’t. For about 3 more months, I beat myself up daily, mentally abusing myself for overeating and not exercising. I hated those maternity pants. I finally had enough and made a goal to be back at 138 by my daughter’s first birthday.
MyFitnessPal was my guide. 1200 calories a day. Maybe exercise or maybe not, but 1200 calories a day. Little by little, it worked.
I didn’t meet my goal by her birthday, but I did by our summer vacation. Then I lowered my goal to 130.
I met that goal. I lowered it to 125.
I met that goal. I lowered it to 120.
And got stuck at 125. For three months. Eating 1100-1200 calories almost every day (very rarely more). I got super pissed off.
FYI: I weigh myself every morning. It’s what keeps me accountable, knowing I will face the scale and the number. I weigh myself after peeing (and hopefully pooping), not drinking water since going to bed, and of course, naked.
Anyway, after clearly what I was doing was no longer working, I lowered my calories about a month ago. This is when I started eating about 600-800 calories most days.
I hit 120.4. The 119 from my previous posted lasted exactly one day; it was one of those things where it dipped and rose back immediately. Damn, those teens felt good. My new goal is 115.
Current points of pride:
- My size 4 (“skinny” jeans) are barely staying on. The other pants/jeans I bought recently are noticeably looser.
- I find that sitting kind of hurts. Like, I feel my butt bones.
After she threw out some freaking scary ideas, like eating 2000 calories and weighing 130 pounds was where my body seemed happy, I told the nutritional counselor:
- We are going to Italy in May and I need to be underweight so I can indulge in Italy. After Italy, then I can level out.
- I bought a bridesmaid’s dress for a friend’s wedding in March (size 2 from one of those awful wedding shops whose sizes run small, thank you very much) and now need to fit into that so no weight gain at least until then.
She asked me what I want. I said:
- I want my daughter to feel good about herself. I don’t want her to be like me. (I cried again.)
- I want to like myself. I didn’t like myself at 156, and I still don’t. I do like how I look more, but I still don’t like me. When did weight become the ultimate question?
I don’t know where exactly we go from here. I made more appointments with her, but I am not ready to eat more. I am definitely not ready to gain weight. I worry she may give up on me if I don’t make any changes.
The next direct step is to go to an eating disorder doctor for an intake to see what treatment path is right for me. I can do that. I can do the next step.