For dinner today I had two open-faced wheat bread sandwiches of guacamole, lettuce, and chicken breast. All in all, it was about 280 calories.
And yet, emotionally, I keep telling myself that I didn’t need to eat that volume of food: that I could have had half that amount, just on one slice of bread instead of two, and it would have been fine. I would have been satisfied. Most of the second ‘sandwich’ was me eating it because it was delicious, not because I needed it.
Intellectually, I know that I ate not until full, but until my hunger was satisfied. Maybe a bite or two more than satisfied, but still at that ‘I am content’ level. Could I have stopped after one? Sure. Would I have felt like I had a worthwhile meal? No. And not only that, but two hours later I had string cheese as a snack. Because I felt hungry again.
Emotionally, I feel self-loathing and disgust at how much I ate, and the fact that instead of having a cigarette and a cup of coffee when hunger struck again, I succumbed and ate something. I feel lazy, and out of control, and frustrated with myself like I ate way too much tonight.
Intellectually, I know that you need to eat to keep your body working efficiently, and that listening to hunger cues is a good thing. And being able to eat a meal, and then be satisfied for a few hours, and then eat a small snack is perfectly normal. I didn’t suddenly fall into the fridge and eat everything inside. I didn’t empty the cabinets in search of that elusive food-‘fix’. Even if I wanted to let myself feel bad for overeating when I’m trying to lose weight, nothing I did tonight in terms of my food/caloric intake sabotaged my weight-loss goals. I have no reason at all to feel post-eating guilt today. I only had about 600 calories this entire day. In fact, I should have eaten more.
But emotionally? I not only feel the guilt, but I feel like 600 calories is an absurd amount, that it’s too much, how could I do that to myself?
Knowing something, but feeling something else is exhausting.
I still have no idea how in two years I went from a Fat Acceptance activist, content with my body, to a somewhat-less-fat, absolutely miserable, self-loathing person with disordered eating to the point where the food I am or am not eating consumes my every waking thought, where I stare obsessively at my body, critically eyeing every inch of skin that “shouldn’t” be there.
I had finally learned how to eat intuitively. I was 40lbs lower than my highest ever weight because of that.
Then 50 lbs. lower.
And then it was like the numbers couldn’t get low enough.
Counting every single calorie that went into my mouth, obsessively.
I told myself, you can do this, if you only try.
Well I tried. I tried until I’m 100 lbs. lower than my highest ever weight.
And incapable of eating normally. I often fast for days at a time; the slightest thought of eating makes me feel ill. Most days, when I do eat, I eat 800 calories or less a day, and if I go over 400 I feel like I’ve failed myself each and every time.
And then the few days when I can tell myself that I don’t care (and I’m lying) I binge. I binge to the point where I eat everything in sight. Enough food to feed a family of four. I eat until I feel sick. Then I wait until the pain subsides and eat some more. Rinse and repeat. For days at a time.
In the past two months I’ve lost and gained the same 10 lbs. five times.
I don’t know how to stop. And the worst part is that the bingeing is really the only part I want to stop.