Once Upon a Fat Girl

Thursday, June 01, 2006

They Are a Third of Me--And Yet We Are Sisters

I Googled "Weight Loss Blog Ring" today, hoping to find some new reading material.

Holy Christ.

What I found was a weight loss blog ring for those that want to lose weight permanently. When I opened it, I found dozens...DOZENS...of blogs by girls as young as 15 and 16. Their taglines said things like:

No matter how much I exercise, the scale just says 95. Even though I only eat a few crackers a day.

My goal is skin and bones.

I ate 750 calories today--gross!

I want to gather these poor skinny little girls in my arms and hug them and tell them that they are beautiful and special and amazing. I want to do something...anything...to encourage them to eat, to stop starving themselves for a Hollywood image (they all had Mary-Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie, Kate Moss as art on their blogs) that even those girls don't live up to without the help of airbrushing and professional lighting.

Then I had a thought that was sobering.

My eating disorder is no less frightening than theirs.

I need someone to gather me in their arms and tell me I'm beautiful and special and amazing, too.

The difference, of course, is that our society celebrates what they are. Thin. While what I am is the thing that most people fear the most. Fat. The majority of women would give up their job, their marriage, 10 years of their life and 20 IQ points before they'd agree to weigh 323 pounds.

I'm not saying I'm cured. Maybe I can't be. Maybe the OA people are right, and it's recovery. Something on going and forever, like an alcoholic giving up vodka or a crackhead going off the pipe.

But I feel so strong right now. Just knowing that if I want Ben and Jerry's I can have it. If I want a Big Mac I can have it. If I want donuts, peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, fully-loaded baked potatos, salt-and-vinegar chips, Snickers bars, orange chicken from Panda Express...you get the idea. If I want any of it, I can have it. Just knowing that has made the difference.

Because I don't even have a craving for it.

I mean that. I don't. I ate a Tastykake Cherry Pie the other day and it tasted like lard in my mouth. It was by far the fattiest food I've eaten all month. Normally, just having them in my house would have driven me to the brink of insanity, and I would have locked myself in the bathroom with the box, eating them until I wished I was dead.

I ate one. Two days ago. I was hungry, and when I was full I stopped. I didn't binge on all the rest of the food in the house afterward. And I didn't want another one. Because that thing sat in my stomach like a bowling ball.

This month I've eaten pizza, ice cream, some decent bbq, ranch dressing (the real stuff, not the nasty fat free crap), salt-n-vinegar potato chips...and I still lost 11 pounds. Why? Because I gave myself permission to enjoy the food. I didn't go spiraling into a deep funk that brought on a 5000 calorie binge.

Those girls with the Ana/Mia sites...I wanted to send them a message telling them that I feel their pain. I'm just like them. I'm afraid that hearing that a 312 pound woman identifies with them might have made things worse for them. But I am. They are trying to control their environments by restricting what they eat. I have a compulsion to do the same by eating everything.

I still have so much work to do. Starting with not measuring my success, or my worth, by the number of pounds I've lost or gained. But I feel like I'm healing.

In one of the blogs I read tonight, the author, an obviously bright girl, said "I am what I protect." She is anorexic and she protects it by not telling anyone.

That got me thinking. Am I what I protect? Is that what secret eating, and binging alone is all about? What am I protecting behind my 170 pound fat suit? Am I suddenly finding the healing that I've needed for so long because I've stopped protecting my eating disorder by writing about it here and being as honest and open as I can be?

Because I am being slightly more honest than comfort calls for. For instance posting pictures of myself. Talking about things that even my husband is only learning about as he reads my blog is another example.

I am what I protect. She's paraphrasing an Audrey Tautou line from The DaVinci Code. I am what I protect.

What if I start protecting my health--mental and physcial. My athletic spirit. My sense of adventure. My creative nature. And by protect I don't mean hide it in the bathroom or under a suffocating layer of fat. I mean nurture and love those things that have been hidden for way too long.


Blogger iportion said...

I have struggled with weight issues since I was ten. I had trauma which lead to me being over weight and eventfully morbidly obese. I will not want to give up my marriage to stay thin. I love my husband. I will not give up my IQ, my creativity. I believe in health. I believe in being the role model for my family. I will give up negative thoughts about myself but that’s it.

I wish I could show these girls they are pretty and do not need to be sick to be beautiful that some fat isn’t evil.

I am with you. I don’t think WW would have worked for me if I told myself I can never have a snickers bar again. Sometimes I chop mini candy bars and put them in the freezer. I think I will do that with a bigger candy bar.

I’ve lost weight and ate pizza as well. I find myself craving more vegetables due to allowing myself to enjoy. I just have to count it all except veggies and even then I journal it. I have ADHD and it’s easy for me to get distracted and eat.

PS For years I protected myself with fat so I understand.

6:37 AM  
Blogger drstaceyny said...

Good stuff. . .

3:42 PM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Another somehow idolized thing about eating disorders of the skinny-kind is the self abuse. Not saying eating too much isn't self abuse- it's the super-control over one's eating habits that makes it so distinct. Both eating disorders are similar in they are a response to an evironment you're no okay with- usually one you feel little control in.

"The anorexic staves off lack by emptiness, the overweight person staves off fullness by excess. Both are homeopathic final solutions, solutions by extermination."
- Jean Baudrillard

6:05 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I'm so sad for those girls. Not to mention all of them out there that don't have a blog...that feel trapped by food in some way or another.

We really are sisters. Where does this all come from?

8:30 PM  

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