For a timeline of my life events, refer to My Weight Loss Story: Timeline.
This is going to sound sick, but I tried to have an eating disorder when I was around 14-15 years of age. All the girls at school were talking about purging or starving themselves and I looked at them with envy. I wondered if I should be doing that as well. So I gave it a go, but I honestly hate vomiting and making myself vom just isn’t my idea of a good time. I found starving myself a little bit easier. But honestly, as much as I tried to convince myself I could get used to the hunger pains and growling stomach, I had to eat some time. Also, I liked to eat. I’ve always liked to eat, and I would never have gotten away with it in my household (thanks Mum).
Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are girls and guys out there legitimately struggling with an eating disorder/s and I’m sorry to be speaking this way about the disease. I recently watched the show “Addicted to Food” and gained some insight into the sickness and limiting beliefs and behaviours that come with it. If you are struggling with this, please seek help, it’s the disease making you feel the way you do. This is not you and there are people who can help you deal with whatever it is that’s causing such turmoil. You deserve better. Thinking about food 24 hours a day isn’t good for you. Love yourself enough to understand that the disease is not you. You are not your disease. It’s time to end that relationship; for yourself, your future and those around you.
Alternatively, if you know someone with an eating disorder, love them and support them.
Over the summer holidays when I was 15, I was working at McDonalds and felt pretty happy (except not really coz I was an angsty teenager). I decided to only eat when I was hungry, which surprisingly wasn’t as often as I thought. The weight dropped off. It probably helped that it was summer time and the meals were lighter and the pool was beckoning. Going back to school I felt pretty good about myself. I didn’t weigh myself but my work pants were falling down, I looked okay in a bikini and when I put my school dress on, it didn’t sit against my stomach. Plus a few people mentioned it, it felt reassuring.
Getting back into school that year I had less flexibility about when I could eat so I started eating at my break times and from what I remember, the weight came back on. I will admit that my nutrition could have been better. Most days I took a small can of tuna and an apple, plus a muesli/granola bar or something. But there were those honey soy chicken chips, garlic bread and pizza pockets from the school tuckshop sometimes. I worked at McDonald’s, so naturally I ate there about once a week. I was also getting into drinking by that stage, which probably added to the weight.
Time went on and I now honestly believe that during my bigger periods, I was completely in denial about my weight. I knew I wasn’t happy with it, I wasn’t confident, didn’t really know who I was but I knew I wanted to be liked. I was overly and out-of-my-way nice to everyone. I wanted to be remembered for being “nice”. I knew these friendships in high school wouldn’t last forever. I mean I hoped they would because I was such a nice person, why would they ever want to lose me? I would put things in my calendar like when a friend started a new job, so that I would remember to wish her good luck. I wished every person a happy birthday. I did people’s shifts for them.
Well, I was in for a rude awakening pretty much as soon as school ended. People started dropping off the radar. I was making huge efforts to keep in touch and remain friends but was sorely disappointed and disenchanted when they were too busy to send me a text, let alone hang out. They started going off to work, university, getting boyfriends, etc etc. I felt I was being left behind. I wasn’t good enough, blah blah blah.
I’ve never really played much sport. I hated games where I had to be centre of attention at any time (still do), like softball, teeball, cricket etc. If anything, I liked soccer or touch football. Or an individual sport like swimming or gym. I did swimming from the time I was a baby through til I was about 14. Then picked it up again just before finishing grade 12. I’d also started going to the gym and was following a program from a PT, plus some Pilates. I had lost weight for Schoolies Week (a week of partying on the Gold Coast for School leavers).
By the age of 18, my negative body image issues were in full swing as I went out into the real world, full of uncertainty masking itself to everyone else as confidence and joy. As I mentioned, friends were disappearing and everything was changing. For this Pisces-babe, that was all too much. My life was filled with work and uncertainty. I got my first car.
I started my first proper Diet and it was called Tony Ferguson, which was 2 meal replacement shakes a day with salad and protein for dinner. Which was fine, it was summer; I was busy working and getting ready to start Uni. I started going clubbing on Friday nights with a couple of work girls. It was a good time.
By the second week of university, I stopped doing the shakes and I noticed the weight coming back on as I was eating for convenience and comfort.
To be continued...
Comment below, did you feel pressure to develop an eating disorder?