A few hours ago, I enjoyed a few drinks with friends. I haven’t eaten anything since 3:00 pm, and upon my departure from the social setting, I found myself daydreaming (okay, night-dreaming) about an olive oil-soaked piece of avocado toast to enjoy before falling asleep. I arrived home, made my way to the bathroom to let the aforementioned drinks out of my body’s side door, and noticed my scale in the corner of the room. At this point, approximately (fine, exactly) nine days after my last weigh-in, I decided to hop on.
It wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined it would be. After nine days, I assumed I’d somehow climbed back to my peak weight of 224 pounds. Worse, even. I thought I might have cracked 230, despite the fact that I haven’t seen a number over 200 on the scale in almost five years. Do I sound irrational? I know I do. You don’t have to patronize me. I know that most thoughts surrounding my weight live in a space beyond sanity. They live in my subconscious in a place far beyond my thoughts of what I might do with my weekend, where I might purchase my next skirt. Far beyond my goals and aspirations. These thoughts live in the part of my brain that keeps me from making weekend plans and buying skirts, and from having real aspirations. They live in the part of my brain that believes that thinness is the only goal worth having. After achieving varying degrees of what I thought I would consider thinness throughout my life, I can confidently say that my depth perception is skewed when it comes to my body. I will never achieve thinness because my idea of thinness will only ever exist on a body that doesn’t belong to me.
I won’t tell you how much I weighed when I stepped on the scale tonight because I can’t. Though it’s much closer to my lowest weight than my highest, it’s more than I weighed two months ago.
The amount of pounds away from my low weight is minuscule. My low weight, however, has never been low enough. I would be happy to lose another forty pounds, and, at this moment, I would do anything to be happy. That piece of avocado toast I mentioned earlier? It’s going to have to wait until morning if I don’t want to wake up hating myself. Waking up hating myself isn’t very conducive to my personal happiness.
Here’s the thing- there are two possible outcomes here. Each one leads to me hating myself sometime around 8:00 am tomorrow. The first outcome is that I eat the toast, add too much parmesan cheese, and curse myself in the morning because I’ll wake up bloated when I could have woken up to a stomach that feels empty, almost flat. The other outcome is that I eat the toast, then the chips, then the rest of that expensive but disappointing chocolate that I have in my fridge. If I choose the latter, then I know that my index finger will find its way to the back of my throat to expel the demons (calories) from my body.
The latter doesn’t grant me happiness, and it won’t grant me the peace I need to wake up satisfied with the vessel that my brain and organs live in. It will cause my face to swell, make my teeth hurt, and give me the kind of stomach pain I imagine senior citizens experience while consuming buffalo wings. What it will also do, though, is give me the temporary satisfaction of a perceived caloric deficit. I live for the caloric deficit, and sometimes it feels as though I would die for it too. This is when I begin to feel torn, and perhaps a touch unstable.
I don’t want to throw up, but I will if I have to. Of course, I never have to. I simply reach a point where I convince myself that I do.
At this point, it begins to feel more reasonable to avoid food altogether. While it might feel like a step forward to do so, I cannot refer to myself as “in recovery” if I’m not eating. Not eating becomes an extension of the disorder I want so badly to kick.
In my routine internet deep dives on the topic of healthy eating habits, I’m frequently told to toss my scale. My brain can hardly process this suggestion. Not knowing how much I weigh? It feels like chaos. It IS chaos. It feels like those few days before my direct deposit hits when I know my funds are getting low but I refuse to check my bank balance. If I check, it might be much worse than I imagined. I might be in the negatives. If I check, I might have to gain some control over my habits. The scale works similarly. If I let myself go for a few days, I might be shocked by the number I see. I begin to tell myself that I should not eat for a few days before I weigh myself, just as I would tell myself to stop spending money.
Food is much like money in the sense that you do have to spend it, but you have to spend it responsibly. Just as I have a budget with my dollars, I have a caloric budget with food. I’m not sure just how many calories I “spent” today between breakfast, lunch, and more drinks than I care to count, but I know that I should stop. I WILL stop, right? I have to. I won’t eat another thing before I go to sleep.
Okay, maybe just a chip. Wish me luck.