Sunday, June 06, 2010

A body doesn't know the difference between a diet and starvation

This could be triggering for people with eating disorders.

5 years ago I gave up dieting forever. I went through yet another round of exercise bulimia and was walking about 8 miles a day in addition to pilates and a couple of different aerobic dance things every day. I was in constant pain from leg cramps. When I wasn't walking, I was thinking about walking.I was obsessed. I was a bit manic, though with a normal diet and daily activities I am never manic. I was eating very little. I was sleeping very little. I plateaued out after losing 30 pounds and then gained back 50 when I resumed eating about 2000 calories a day. I slowly realized how stupid the whole pursuit of perfection was.

In the last 2 months, I've lost 30 pounds. Not on purpose. It's poverty, and like billions of mothers around the world, when money got tight (okay, nearly non-existent. We are living on the generosity of family and blog friends and they have all been mucho kind) I skipped meals. At first i went from 2 meals a day to one, then somedays instead of a meal it was a snack. Some crackers. A bowl of salad. Then somedays it was nothing but ice tea and the sugar to sweeten it. I didn't want to lose weight. I just wanted to be less of a burden. I wanted to make sure there was food for everyone else.

But a funny thing happens when you starve yourself, and I am getting a very strange view of the whole dieting industrial complex from this side of it. First, not having enough calories fucks up your brain. I know that seems really, like DUH! But I was cranky about things that never make me cranky. I snapped at people. I started holding weird little grudges over imperceptible slights. The rational part of my brain was screaming "stop it!" But I didn't have the mental resources to calm the fuck down. I hid in my room a lot instead. It was better than unleashing the bitter bitch on people who have been nothing but kind to me and the kid.

I also (some of you might have noticed)lost the ability to coherently string words together. I can't go back and read most of what I wrote recently.

But wait folks, that's not all.

It's amazing how fast disordered thinking can sink back in when you aren't feeding yourself. I don't want to be thinner, or any of the euphemisms we use to convince ourselves it's not starvation but a lifestyle change. I'd feel super sanctimonious when I could go more than a day without eating, like I was pure and virtuous and good. My flatter, empty stomach was awesome. My pokier hip bones were rad. Sure I was weak and couldn't think straight and nauseous most of the time, but look how far I was willing to go!!!!!

Anyways, I've had 2 days of eating now. My brain seems to be working a bit better. I'm way less bitchy. I might be capable of writing a sentence or two. There is a little (large) voice in my head that is chastising me for being such a greedy eating pig. But I'll shut her up eventually. She's full of shit anyways.

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