watch out, it's the inside of my head.
It is 10:36 pm. Today, I have consumed one large pint of chocolate milk, two glasses of water, and two English muffins with peanut butter.
And I hate this.
I want to eat. Or I want to want to eat. But I have no easy food right now-- the cupboard has realfood, as close to real as I come.
I hate this. I hate that I ate basically this, plus a very large glass of chocolate milk, yesterday. I hate that I catch myself thinking that two English muffins with peanut butter is a ‘big meal’. I hate that I think, “Should I just have another chocolate milk?” and, “This would be okay except anorexia will make me fat.”
Anorexia will make me fat.
The best argument I can make to myself is that not eating will make me gain weight. And, as far as I know, that’s true. Anorexia leads to weight gain or death. It is a serious illness. It is not something to mess around with, and not something to declare trivially.
I am not anorexic, but for years, I have seen exactly where anorexia would fit into my life.
I want to want to eat. I want to like food. I want to have more on my shelf that roni, mac and cheese, ramen, and stuffing. Oh, and beans, because I might want rice and beans sometime, but not right now. I want food to taste interesting and not be a risk. I want food to be safe. If it’s safe, I might eat it.
I want to... I always frame it as being strong. I grew up knowing I was the weak one, the one who couldn’t do anything, the one who was picked last (popularity never entered my head) and read books and fainted when it got too hot. I grew up knowing I was too thin, picky, underweight but not clinically so, just underweight enough for it to be okay, except for the whole fainting thing. So I try to say that I want to be strong. I want to exercise and talk about weights and what I can lift and doing pull-ups and all these things I see powerful women talking about, I want to be strong.
And if I stay at home too long, if I don’t get out and walk somewhere, I get weird. Walking calms me down. Getting out of the house for the hour or two it takes to go downtown is the best thing for my brain. Angela said it once, and I hadn’t realized it before. So I’ve been walking to the library and Hy-Vee rather than driving. Maybe I’ll manage to walk to schools this coming year.
Food cannot be something I earn. I’ve started thinking of it that way. I looked up how many calories I burned walking a particular string of errands and I cannot do that ever again. I cannot look up how many calories I’ve eaten today. I cannot know it.
If I know it, I will never be able to stop knowing it. I will balance calories in and out and start trying to balance the two.
And it is so, so easy to eat less.
It is so easy to not eat.
Eating is hard. Eating means choices, dishes, leaving the computer. Eating means finding something tolerable enough that even though I don’t want it, it’s worth the time to make it so I don’t not eat.
If I have any kind of excuse, any at all, I will not eat.
This is all about the eating aspect, not the fat aspect. But that’s there too. I weighed myself after Alpha (I am allowed one single weigh-in per month or I want to do it all the time). Two hundred pounds.
I am the underweight weakling. And now I am two hundred pounds of underweight weakling.
So here I am, still not eating at 10:49. I don’t know whether to hate my body because it is Fat, even though I support fat acceptance and would relentlessly correct friends who hated their bodies this way (I hope I have been supportive to friends who have hated their bodies this way), or because it is Weak, the way I am familiar with its failings, or my brain because it is Not Eating (which will make me Fat and Weak both, plus possibly Dead), or my brain because what the hell, brain, how is it that I am twenty-nine and even more screwed up about food than I was younger?
But younger, I had more structure. Eat lunch at school or work. Eat the same sandwich two meals a day, every day, because that’s one less thing to think about in college. I miss that sandwich. I need that structure. But I cannot stand pb&j during the summer-- I go on pb&j detox-- and there’s nothing to remind me to eat except my body, and who’s great at ignoring her body? I am. It is a triumph when I accurately gauge my abilities to walk two miles in heat and humidity after giving blood. I am proud of that.
Left to my own devices, I will drink at least a quart of chocolate milk a day. I will eat something solid, because I don’t think I’ve had a day where I didn’t. I will take my vitamins and wonder if it’s worth it to get a multivitamin for twenty dollars rather than just the ones my doctor tells me to take. I will go to bed a little bit hungry and wake up a little bit hungry but it will be the hunger of habit. Everything else, every meal that comes out of a box or a toaster or the freezer or ingredients, is something I have to do.
I cannot make eating contingent on walking. There are days I don’t walk.
I cannot make eating contingent on not eating the day before-- I have actually done this, classified my meals as Big and Not Big, and tried not to eat Big meals on consecutive days. This worked. But that’s a way to not eat, not a way to eat.
I cannot make eating contingent on anything but Time To Eat. Lunch break. Candy in the classroom, which is another thing-- clearly I eat too much of the wrong things, all the candy and chocolate and cookies I want, because it is better to eat than not eat. But if this were true, if I needed to eat candy and chocolate and cookies, I wouldn’t be fat, would I? I would still weigh the 135 on my first driver’s license, the 150 I had in college, the 180 I had in grad school. I would wear smaller clothes and not need anti-chafing stuff to prevent skirt burn.
I want eating to be someone else’s job.
I want to just now have thought, “Oh, I can make X,” and not, “Oh, I could make ramen. That’s fast and only two hundred calories.” THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE POINT.
School starts in two weeks. Maybe the structure will stick. Maybe I’ll take more food risks. Maybe I’ll get a realjob and be able to experiment, and I will bring sandwiches with meat on them, and hummus. Maybe I’ll find a way to like my body rather than ignoring it at best-- well, no, that’s a lie, I do have one tank top I love because it makes my breasts look amazing. So it’s more than most of the time, I ignore my body at best.
Maybe, now that it’s 11:05, I will post this and make stuffing and eat.