I am fat. I’m not fluffy or padded or zaftig; I’m fat. I’m not saying this to slag on myself; I’m simply stating a fact. I don’t like that I’m fat, but I’m at a loss what to do about it. Oh, I know the usual advice. Eat less (and more healthily) and exercise more. This is the twin mantra of anyone serious about losing weight. The problem is, I’ve dealt with eating disorders for most of my life, and any time I try to diet, I slip into disordered thinking. The two times I lost an appreciable amount of weight, I ended up being anorexic/bulimic both times. The first time, I just dove straight into anorexia with the bulimia evolving later as a chaser. The second time, I was determined to lose weight sensibly, only to find myself passed out on a the floor of First Avenue because I hadn’t eaten all day and had two drinks within half an hour of arriving. I don’t drink much which accounted for part of the problem, but the bigger issue was my refusal to eat in order for me to have those two drinks. That night, I realized if I kept going on the way I was, I would die. I had a 23-inch waist and was eating roughly 1,500 calories a day. A woman my height needs to ingest 1,200 to 1,300 calories a day just to survive. At that time, I was working out for 2 to 2 1/2 hours per day, which means I should have been eating almost twice as much as I was. True to my nature, I quit everything cold turkey. I stopped watching what I was eating and all the exercise. In those days, I didn’t do anything in half measures. If I couldn’t be OCD about losing weight, then I wasn’t going to do it at all. I’m not proud of this mentality nor am I saying it’s healthy, but I can’t deny that’s how I thought. I tend to be a person of extremes, and while I’m better at it now than I was then, I fear that if I started dieting again, I’d be back to square one.
I know, you’re saying why don’t I just make lifestyle changes instead of dieting? I am doing that, but it’s very slow-going. I’ve cut out baked goods such as muffins (which I love), chips (except Lay’s had their name the chips contest, and I had to try the final four because I’ve done it every year for the past few years), and cheese–for the most part. I’m slowly adding back fruits and vegetables. My mom used to make me and my brother eat them several times a day when we were kids, so I rebelled against them when I hit my thirties. It’s a shame because I like fruits and vegetables, so I’m making a conscious effort to put them back in my diet. I eat an orange every day, partly because my taiji teacher told me they’re good for removing lactic build up (which is why you ache after a workout), and I’m trying to eat more salads. I’m also trying to cut back on my Coke Zero consumption, but that has not been easy this summer. The minute it’s eighty out, I’m mainlining that shit. My eating habits are pretty atrocious when I’m in my overeating phase, and this current ‘phase’ has lasted almost twenty years.