Sometimes it’s hard to take care of yourself when you are taking care of someone else. I think all moms can relate to that. As an autism mom, without adequate support, it becomes even harder to do what I need to do for myself. In the past year, without my son having a mentor, I cannot make it to the gym and it is more difficult to get to the doctor. I’ve gained 30 pounds easily just in the past few months. My war with my body and my food rages on as I deal with my own issues with body image. I received a book from News & Experts in exchange for a fair review and as I read it, I recognize in me the same things I see in the book. I see the same disordered eating habits and thoughts. In Grief Diaries: Through the Eyes of an Eating Disorder, I can easily see some of myself.
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People with eating disorders may have anything from anorexia nervosa to bulimia to binge eating problems. Through the Eyes of an Eating Disorder, people with these disorders recount their stories. I can relate to many of them, as I have battled mild forms of disordered eating since middle scho
ol. In one woman’s story, she begins with, “I wish I were as fat as the first time I thought I was fat.” I don’t know how many times I’ve thought that in the past few months, as I tip the scales at weights I’ve never seen before in my life. This book contains stories all the way from the beginning of a person’s eating disorder to their journey into recovery.
When My Story Began
I’ve always felt like a fat girl. Every time my body bumps into something, especially my butt, I feel like the elephant in the room. Even when I was skinny, I felt huge. In the 7th grade, the boy I had a crush on didn’t even notice me. I wore baggy clothes to conceal my weight. Finally, I decided I wanted to look like the cheerleaders he dated. I skipped breakfast, ditched my sandwich at lunch, ate an apple and drank unsweetened tea, and then picked at dinner until my parents left me alone about eating. I lost weight. I got complimented. I exercised to take off the weight from the little food I ate.
I remember every night getting on the Denise Richards Glide Slide, followed by 100 crunches, push-ups, and lunges. I lost more weight. I officially began my journey.
A Short Recovery
Eventually, I got small enough that my Language Arts teacher made a comment about my weight loss. She said that if I lost any more weight, I’d fly away. I wish I could say I felt that way. In my mind, I took in the compliment, but it pushed me forward. I could lose more. I would lose more. She must have talked to my parents about it, because they talked to me about it. For a short time, I began eating again. I never stopped exercising, and I ate my food, but I stayed away from excess food.
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Do You Ever Fully Recover from an Eating Disorder?
As a person who always feels fat, I can safely say that I have never felt comfortable in my own skin. I remember every negative thing that has been said about my body in my life and internalized it all. Kids can be cruel. Siblings even say horrible things sometimes to push buttons. I got called an elephant, a pig, and even had some people comment on my big booty.
In high school, I hated eating in front of people because I felt self-conscious about it. I kept the weight off until college, when I began eating too much. One day, I started eating tubs of ice cream and then drinking a bunch of water so I could throw it up easily. This did little to help me lose weight, but it became a pattern. I would eat, then go to the bathroom and throw up as much as I could. My boyfriend, who became my husband, urged me to stop and eventually I did. I wish I had also stopped the binge eating, but I didn’t.
Starting Over Again
One day, I just gave up. I stopped all of it. It wasn’t until some time after my first son’s birth that I saw a picture of myself from behind and cringed. I joined L.A. Weight Loss and obsessively tracked everything I ate. I made my husband miserable, but I lose the weight. I could put on clothing sizes I had never even dreamed of before. I felt so proud! For me, looking in the mirror and feeling proud of what I saw was a new thing. I got attention from other men, which never happened before. I managed to keep off the weight until my second child came and then I rapidly gained weight again.
After finding out I had Hashimoto’s Disease and that losing weight would become harder than before, I felt dismayed. But, I started over again. I pursued weight loss measures and lost most of the weight. But I gained it all back and then some.
Where I’m At Today
I’m heavier now than ever before. Again, I’ve gained more weight than I should and in just a year, I’m easily 40 pounds heavier than last year. I gained 30 of those pounds in the past 6 months. Bad food choice after bad food choice due to emotional eating led me here. I’ve joined Weight Watchers and began counting my points and making better choices. In just two weeks, I’ve lost 11 pounds. Yet, as I stand in a classroom in front of 7th graders, my body image issues resurface. Turning to write on the board makes me genuinely anxious. I wonder if they’re laughing at me when I hear them snickering. I hate my body, but I’m taking steps to get back to where I feel comfortable again.
Reading this book didn’t make my feeling resurface, but I felt validated in them. I’m not alone. Women all over the world suffer from eating disorders. In the United States alone, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from some form of eating disorder. The stories in this book capture only a small percentage of these people. People like me, who hate their bodies so much, they’d do anything to change it.
Every time I hear someone talk about another person’s weight and judge them, I wonder what they say about me. Once a fat kid, always a fat kid. No matter what weight I am, I’m not sure if I will ever love my body. Maybe, though, like the women in this book, I will find my own way. I will find hope and encourage through the struggles and accomplishments of others. There is hope out there. I might have a lot on my plate (pardon the pun), but that doesn’t mean I can’t find the time to ensure my own good health. My story isn’t over yet. I can do this.