How are you and food today?

I thought this week I had nothing to write about. For once in my life, I thought that I had nothing to say, but that’s not true. It’s simply that I’ve been so obsessed with one thing that I won’t let myself think about anything else. This article isn’t going to be a fun list of movies to watch on a slow Saturday or a quick craft of decor to spice up a dorm room. This article is just a way for me to admit that I have a problem. This article is about weight.

My parents had always seemed so concerned about my weight that it became one of my main concerns too. One time I came home from school when I was 15 and my mother asked me, “Are you pregnant or just fat?” I’ll never forget that moment. My hands pressing down on my stomach, googling cardio workouts while crying at myself in the mirror.

I know, I know standing 5’2 at 120 lbs isn’t anything to be ashamed of, in fact, that’s completely healthy, except for some reason I still am. My friends made a joke at dinner one night about how I’m always eating, yet I seem to stay so skinny. I’m not always eating, though, and that’s the problem. My whole life up until the end of high school I’ve been on the chubbier side. Even after I finally grew out of my baby fat, I continued to worry about “If I could really pull off this outfit” or “If I really deserved dessert.” Insecurity is common among young people, so I wasn’t concerned about these moments of self-doubt until they got out of hand.

Last spring I found myself chugging Teami, which is a type of “skinny tea” that acts as a laxative. You drink one tea in the morning to curve your diet and one at bedtime to turn whatever you did eat into liquid. Basically, it makes you sh*t yourself instead of your body naturally processing the food on its own. After a few friends confronted me, unsettled about the health risks other users reported online and how the drinks would either be useless or ruin my colon, I stopped drinking it. Though I didn’t let myself stop yearning for that supermodel body where their hip bones and rib cage jut out. (This body type is a seriously unhealthy social standard pressed on young girls that need to be shut down, but that’s another article.)

When I stopped drinking the “skinny tea” last summer, I convinced myself to eat less. I was working a job on my feet all day and my mother didn’t keep a lot of food stocked in the pantry. There was no food to snack on, and I had a distraction from hunger. My perfect crime. I got my weight down to 108 pounds in the most unhealthy way I could’ve, but it was hard to maintain that when I returned to college last fall. I had constant access to the cafeteria and on-campus restaurants that tore down any resolve to cut down on calories. This is where it got bad.

When my friends made that comment, they didn’t know that I was starving myself all day because I started to think that I didn’t deserve to eat at all. I wouldn’t touch food until I caved around dinner time (the time I would normally see them) and would gorge myself with fries, tacos, or anything in sight. This got me nowhere. I realized that I couldn’t stop eating because I wasn’t “strong enough” to do so. I started pushing my body at the gym and counting my calories. Every calorie. Four peanut M&M's = 47 calories. Gum = 5 calories. Women’s multivitamins = 20 calories. I became obsessive, cutting myself off around 1200 calories, and torturing myself if I went over the limit. It’s scary when you can watch yourself fall apart but let it happen because it’s what you think you deserve.

It wasn’t until today when I made myself throw up my lunch to “deserve” dinner, that I recognized that this is a PROBLEM. I called my best friend to see if he could lend me some advice. After talking, we came to find that it wasn’t that I didn’t like my body. It was that I thought others wouldn’t like me if I didn’t have the “perfect” waistline and hourglass figure. I had learned to hate who I was on the inside, and I had taught myself that any worth I did have was in the way I looked. I was convinced that I was bland and too sad all the time for someone to love me for me and that the only chance I had with someone was if I got the outside part “right.”

The thing is, I would never consider telling another person that they didn’t look good in a bikini or tell them they didn’t deserve to eat a meal, so why wasn’t I showing myself the same kindness and respect. I picked myself apart, and now I’m stuck putting those pieces back together. I don’t have a happy ending, yet. However, I’m working on one. An ending where I love who I am and I think I’m worth loving.