Saturday, December 08, 2007


Ok, so here's a post about food that has been a long time coming.

Food in our house was never a big deal. I can remember us all eating what we wanted-mostly. The boys and I would fight over who got to pick out the marshmallows from the Lucky Charms, and the cookies and Tastycakes were always counted so none went missing.

I have memories of us going to grandma's house on Sunday's for bagels and stuff, and holidays always had a great spread courtesy of my mother's side of the family. We are a small family, so gatherings were always fairly intimate.

I had the joy of being a fairly good gymnast. What that meant was that I spent hours in the gym on most days. This was all well and good until I was about 9 and my coach had a secret meeting with my mother. I was brought in and told that they would give me a prize if I was able to lose weight-just a little bit. I was so excited . . .little did I know that this would mean the end of the cakes and things I liked. It would be controlled food for the next few years. I remember getting a prize when I lost 10lbs-it was a white bear in a bride's outfit.

What I did not know is that this would throw me into a battle with my weight that was furious and unrelenting. I was throwing up and restricting by the time I was 12 and subsequently hospitalized at 12-for that and trying to hurt myself. I would continue this struggle with food through the middle of high school. After I quit gymnastics at age 16-after multiple injuries and a body that never quite worked the same, I quit.

Well, what happens to a body that is not training and not eating as strictly . . .it gains weight. I also never got my period during this time, and no one thought anything of it. I finally did get it at age 17, but it was sporadic and after a while just went away completely.

Off to college I went and in an effort to control my food again, I ate really only cereal and low fat, low calories foods. I was gaining weight like crazy, and I was also throwing up and restricting foods at times in dangerous ways. I was hospitalized several more times at the Renfrew Center, Rader Program, and the Belmont Center due to my eating disorder. I always felt weird though because I wasn't eating much, but I was gaining crazy amounts of weight. I was the fat girl at the eating disorder units and being there was never really helpful--I was the very thing most of those girls feared. What they didn't know is that I had no idea why I was gaining weight. I was seeing nutritionists and continued my love/hate relationship with food.

Finally, at age 20 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This would explain the weight gain, the sporadic periods, and several other things I was experiencing. Finally, there was a name for what I had. As I found out more, there was report after report about how hard it was for people with PCOS to lose weight after they'd gained it. When you have PCOS, among other things, your body doesn't process carbs properly, and eating once piece of bread was like eating a whole loaf. The best way to tackle food for this is a low carbohydrate diet. Great, the one thing I LOVE and I can't eat it without knowing that I am eating "bad food".

Now, I already had a list of good foods/bad foods from earlier on, and the low carb diets wanted you to eat meats, fats, dairy, oil . . .all the things I wasn't going to eat. I stuck out the low carb diet things for a while and saw great results-but I got bored. Gained weight back-not all, but some.

I then gave it all up and started eating what I wanted-none of which was in excess, but just not the lower carb, whole grain stuff I was supposed to for optimal health with the PCOS. Now I am trying to eat better carbs, and watch how many things I eat that are straight up carbs. I also have hypoglycemia and after eating sugary/carb filled things without protein, you can guarantee that I will be shaking in a matter of hours. I have been tested and retested for diabetes, and luckily I do not have that.

The medicines for PCOS are the meds they give folks with diabetes since typically someone with PCOS will have insulin resistance. I do not have the insulin resistance and the pooping-my-brains-out side effect was not worth it if it wasn't going to help. I took some of the other meds and had really bad side efffects-so now I take no meds. I will also not be looking to birth children, and the fact that I am unable really to have children is a whole other post.

I had worked with a trainer at the gym for a while and that was fantastic-while I could afford it and before I got hurt last December. I have lost some weight since then-about 20 lbs, and I have kept that off-thank God!

My relationship with food is still very disordered. I have lists of good and bad things, but I can generally understand why it is important to eat some things. I will throw up on occasion, but that is generally linked to the feeling of being too full. I don't do this often-and one of my topics in therapy is why I even have to do this at all. I'll let you know when I have that one figured out.

I wish that I could be smaller, and know that there are so many barriers to that happening the way I want it to. The fact that I have screwed up my body with years and years of restricting/purging . . .never really any binging, but lots of barfing . . .and the fact that I do not make the best choices. I have also had a myriad of health and medical things wrong with my body-both knees have been surgically altered, wrist has had some tendons reattached, bulging discs in my back flare up every once in a while. I feel so old and I am not even 30.

What I know I can do it make better choices about food and exercise, and I am going to do that starting January 1. I have the privilege of having DP wanting to also make some healthier changes, so I am looking forward to that added bonus of support as well. I get so so angry at my parents for not making better choices about their health and well-being, and I realize I am doing the exact same thing if I continue what I am doing. I also know that people say that the number doesn't matter-but in my mind the number is the bottom line and it DOES matter. I am working to lessen the grip that this has on my life and will strive to look at health versus the number.

Wish me and DP luck. I know DP struggles with different food issues than I do, and we have had our go around about how I feel sometimes she is not supportive, and how she doesn't have to eat differently. I get pissed off that she can eat better and lose weight like it is nothing but chooses not to, and it is so hard for me. It is a lot, both for her and me, and that is why I am hoping she and I can stick it out and then maybe food and weight issues can be less of a barrier and we can focus on more exciting things.

I would really like that.

(Side note-I also know that a lot of my behaviors at the time I was younger was to deal with the sexual abuse I had experienced at the hand of a family member for 4 years, and later the rape at college. So there are other psychosocial issues that are in play here wit the food issues and general self-destruction, but this is the gist of it. This is what I mean in my profile that lots of things have happened . . .)

1 comment:

Jenster said...

Wow. So many thoughts running through my head. I admire you because you've been through so much crap and yet you made it through to the other side.

The holidays are horrible for people who are trying to lose weight. They're bad enough for those of us who have never struggled with an eating disorder. I imagine it's a bajillion times worse for someone who has.

I'll keep you in my prayers! And like I told you tonight, it'll be January before you know it!