Aficionado

I was in a pretty dark place when I wrote yesterday’s post, and I want to thank everyone who reached out to me. You guys are #1, I genuinely appreciate your willingness to help me re-center, find my strength, and resort back to my default mode, which is complete badassery. Additionally, I didn’t expect the content I share here to be received so positively. So thank you guys.

My Anorexic Mind would claim that what happened yesterday as a “binge episode.” However, my Logical Mind recalls that a binge episode is classified by the consumption of a large amount of food (8,000-10,000 CALORIES) within a short amount of time (less than 2 hours). Since today I’m in a place where I am primarily employing my Logical Mind, I can give a more objective post-hoc analysis of my experience.

Realistically speaking, I probably consumed 300-500 extra calories, or two servings of really grainy cereal, my favorite thing to binge on. We eating-disordered people, we tend to memorize nutrition facts. I could accurately report to you the nutritional content of virtually any food with a label; I spend an obscene amount of time researching foods before they even enter my mouth. Annoying, right?

Anyway, it seems that I had what physicians are calling a “Subjective Binge Episode.” dun dun DUN.

Basically, a subjective binge episode varies from an objective one in the amount of food consumed (objective binge episodes involving the consumption 5-15,000 calories, which exceeds daily recommended intake for both males and females). However, both types have the commonality of feelings of lack of control during the binge, which I completely identify with.

My weight has significantly increased since yesterday (I’ve weighed myself thrice), so that’s something I’ve got to cope with today, in addition to beginning research for a literature review on the pharmacological treatments of eating disorders.

Let’s get to the point of today’s post: Pro-Anorexic content.

I spent a couple of hours browsing through the world of blogging last night, eagerly searching for the most effective way to compensate for the extra calories I had had (I hate that had had makes sense in the English language-another topic for another time), and I was appalled by the myriad #thinspo, self-starvation content that I found.

It was addicting. I couldn’t stop reading pro-Ana blogs, looking at “thinspo” images of thigh gaps, rib cages, and hollow cheeks. These images were often accompanied by slogans such as “Skinny girls don’t eat” or “Starve, bitch, Starve.”

Before I knew it, I was researching diet pills. I was contemplating self-induced vomiting. I was eagerly perusing blog after blog of anorexics sharing their foolproof tricks to keep themselves from eating. I told myself that I could do that, too. I could live off black coffee and water. I could run six miles tomorrow. I could do it, I WOULD do it, and I certainly would not allow myself to binge ever again. I was right back where I started seven years ago, when I opened the door for Anorexia, took her coat, and invited her to stay a while.

I am PLEADING with those who propagate pro-Anorexia content, please cease. Get help. See a therapist. The content you post is triggering the delicate-willed like myself, and undoing all of the progress I have made toward living a normal life without disordered eating and body dysmorphia. More importantly, you are hurting yourself. Not only are you catalyzing eating disordered behavior in others with this content, you are empowering yourself to continue down a road that leads to one sole destination; self-destruction. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of ANY psychiatric disease, and damn it, being thin at the cost of your life is. not. worth. it.

Then again, I was a pro-anorexia girl once.

I am making myself crazy with all of this. I am so distressed and so anguished that eating disorders are so damn prevalent and that I keep relapsing, falling prisoner to this disease that causes so much cognitive dissonance, anxiety, and significant decrease in self-worth. I would give anything to be cured, if such a thing is even possible.

On the other side of the coin, I am so distressed and so anguished by any sign of weight gain, no matter how small. I am so anxious about food, and I feel as though I am unable to direct my thoughts to where I want them. I am not the sole pilot of my brain. I need to feel in control.

It’s as if there’s a throw down between my Anorexic Mind and my Logical Mind, but my Anorexic Mind has a mean left-jab, and my Logical Mind lacks the ability to defend itself from invasion.

Who will win?

Oh, and to the asshole who told me last year that eating disorders aren’t ‘real disorders,’ please reevaluate your claim, or at least back it up empirically.  

M. 

 

Englut

I’m in an abnormal psychology class this semester, and let me tell you, Psych majors are a lot like Med students in that we tend to diagnose ourselves with whatever disorder we are currently discussing in class. I am guilty as charged.

Except for when i’m not, and I really do qualify for the diagnosis of discussion.

I make no secret of my eating disorder. Don’t believe me? Check out my About page. I am a recovered Anorexic, according to my BMI. However, in regards to my mental health, my eating disorder is thriving as well as it was when I was in junior high some five or so years ago. Those self-destructive thoughts you have when you’re eating 300 calories a day and running every last one of them off still linger, even after you’ve managed to eat yourself into the “Healthy Weight” category.

I always love the unit on disordered eating in psychology courses. Out of everything I learn in school, ED is one topic that I know like the back of my hand. I can give you symptoms, treatment plans, multi-dimensional risk factors, you name it! But more than that, I can give you a monologue for an ED victim, because, of course, that would simply require me to write down my day-to-day thought processes.

The most fascinating thing i’ve learned about my own disorder is that recovered anorexics can often morph into binge eaters. As an anorexic, I didn’t even consider this as a possibility. My 78-pound self couldn’t fathom ever eating more than 7 carrots in one day!

And yet, here I am. Five years later, still obsessed with food. Still obsessed with my weight. Body image. Calories. Carbohydrates. Refined sugars. GMO’s. I’d be willing to say that a good 65% of my inner monologue includes words from this type of vocabulary set.

I binge. Maybe once a week. I did today, and now i’m sitting here, writing about how I screwed up my no-carb, high protein diet, just like yesterday. Okay, so maybe Aunt Flo can take credit for this binge episode, but regardless, I probably would have done it tonight, period or not.

For someone who suffers from anorexic tendencies, a binge piles on more anxiety to an already overwhelmingly high amount of anxiety over weight gain, and it just keeps snowballing into more and more anxiety.

Y’know how long it’s been since I went to a restaurant without researching its nutritional facts, premeditating my order so that I was assured to get the lowest calorie meal? I do this for dates, birthdays, vacations, and any other reason you can possibly think of to go out to eat. Other nineteen-year-olds roll up to the drive-thru like it ain’t no thang and they order whatever they want AND a frosty! And don’t even think twice about it. I can’t even imagine what that would be like, to eat something I wanted and suffer no remorse whatsoever!

I can’t seem to shake this obsession with food and weight. I’ve tried the counselor thing. I’ve asked the advice of my mom, to which she said, “You’ve just got to have more willpower.” I can’t seem to find a plausible solution here, folks. So I guess i’m asking you guys, what methods have you tried to cope with disordered eating, specifically binging, and how have they been successful?

If you can’t think of anything, that’s cool too. I still find writing therapeutic.

M.

Measurement

Who decided that we need to quantify everything? I realize that in some circumstances, measurement is absolutely essential. These circumstances can include building a house, baking, and all that mathematical crap they teach us in high school that we’re supposedly going to HAVE to know to function efficiently in today’s world. We have an obsession with sticking a number on literally EVERYTHING.

And I guess there’s nothing wrong with quantification. But then we apply that quantity to certain contexts and our interpretations of them are entirely skewed, and we shape our entire lives over these measurements. Allow me to further explain with examples:

1. TIME: Y’know, before the invention of the ever-constantly ticking clock, people got along just fine by using the sunrise and sunset as their method of time measurement. I’ll bet times were a lot less stressful, urgent, and structured back then. But now, we have the clock. The dictator that tells us how much time we have left. The circle on the wall or on our wrist which we constantly watch, making sure we don’t linger in one place too long, or counting down the seconds until we can move on to our day’s next appointment. Imagine what life would be like if we didn’t have such a definite measurement of time, or at least didn’t make it such a central, definite, and authoritative factor in our lives. I feel like I’m always wishing my time away so that I can move on to the next mundane activity I have penciled in to my stupid, little planner. I wish I knew how to enjoy where I am. The “right here, right now.”

 

2. THE BATHROOM SCALE: I hate that thing. Hate it with all of my guts. And yet, I am a daily user of that dreaded thief of happiness. By standing on that stupid glass square, I am giving it power to dictate how much I like myself that day. Those stupid LED numbers have the power to change my entire mood. Again, too much value is placed on numbers. I get that measuring one’s weight is important if her weight is causing her health issues, whether she be too light or too heavy. But for your average young adult with a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle habits like me, there is no need for a daily weigh-in. I know, I do it to myself. But I blame society and it’s emphasis on numbers and “ideal weight” for making me this way. So thanks , society, for screwing me up.

3. CALORIES AND SERVING SIZES: BOO. I hate calorie-counters. I have this theory that if we all just ate when we were hungry and stopped when we were satisfied, we’d all be happy, healthy-weighted individuals. Unfortunately, we don’t know how to listen to our own bodily signals. So then we become food addicts and eat an entire box of Oreo’s and wash them down with a big glass of self-loathing. Hence the need for serious attention to our dietary intake. I, too, participate in this nonsense. I use this dreaded app called MyFitnessPal, and it tells me I can only eat 1200 calories a day. That thing doesn’t know me. I always end up exceeding my “limit” by the time 4:00 PM rolls around, anyway.

4. DRESS SIZES: I’m talking small, medium, large, extra large, XXL, XXXXXXL, etc. Nothing says “you’re a human cow” like sticking a tag in the back with multiple “X’s” on it. What’s wrong with the numeral sizing method? I don’t even know what those numbers indicate, anyway. Centimeters? Inches? Doesn’t matter. All I know is that buying a size 4 feels much better than buying a size “Medium.” Medium is relative, anyway. This might be the single instance that I prefer the use of numbers for measurement.

I recognize the significance of measuring stuff. It’s a good idea, really, and a lot of our daily situations depend on our ability to measure stuff. All I’m saying is I wish measurement didn’t have such significance or rank so high on our priority lists and we just learned to let go and live a little.