Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fat or Fiction?

     As a woman of thirty-nine, I can say that I almost accept my body.  I say almost because, the fact is, I have been fighting with my body image for so long that the behavior is ingrained in my being.  I have tried myriad methods of satiating my inner, image demons, including creams, peels, and surgery. However, these band-aids never successfully barricaded me from my demons. On the contrary, they allowed my demons to dig in deeper where they still savagely hiss their disapproval.
Me, at 19 years old.
     I found this photo a few weeks ago, and I have to say I was shocked. How had I ever gotten to this point? Why had no one ever said that I was too skinny?  Why did I think I was fat? How had I not recognized that what I was doing was so dangerous? I recall becoming aware of my weight and the idea of dieting at about 12 years old.  This awareness was followed by an obsessive-compulsive fixation on my body, and weight, which clouded my judgment into my mid-thirties.
     Starving oneself is remarkably easy to do, after the first few days, and is easily maintained. I found that it was too easy. I typically went for days at a time eating only the minutest of portions. I was partial to bananas.  I did not know anything about eating disorders, and I never spoke to anyone about my need to control my eating.  I binged and purged on an occasion or two, but I just hated the purging part. So, I stuck with the starvation tactic because it was producing the results that I wanted. I managed to bring my weight down to 101 pounds, and I maintained this weight into my early twenties. I remember being painfully disappointed that I could not get my weight under 100 pounds.
     I also took up exercise in the hopes that it would further tone my already underweight frame.  I exercised for hours everyday and never did I consider that my body needed fuel to maintain the rigorous pace I was keeping. On several occasions, I fainted due to my low blood sugar; however, no one ever asked why it was so low, so I was able to continue my vicious cycle. I am very lucky to have never developed any of the  serious anorexia nervosa complications such as amenorrhea, kidney damage, or heart problems
     The behaviors that I practiced for so many years, as a young woman, did not go away as an adult. I had set the tone and would spend years being obsessed about food portions, my weight, and my body. However, as I have grown older and become more educated, I have found that my demons are slowly taking their leave. I still worry about my weight, but I stopped imposing a strict eating regimen on myself when Bill and I got married in 2010. I still exercise, but I keep it in moderation and no longer spend 2-3 hours per day at the gym. I used to imagine, as I ran on the treadmill, that I was running away from all of the things that I couldn't control. I now know that I just needed to accept myself and the rest would work itself out.
Me, at 39 years old.