The other day I slipped into my usual pair of jeans and t-shirt and began my day. Ironically, this particular pair of jeans is a set of “skinny jeans”, a name I have always cringed just a tad at. I mean, for so long, “skinny” jeans were the pants that women wore when they met a weight loss goal. I don’t need to lose weight, so when I shop for jeans, I don’t want them to look or sound any tinier than they already are. Thus why I never shop for jeans. They just kind of appear in my clothes collection, and usually fit ok. I have a few drawers full.
Anyway, I had pulled my jeans on, just like everyone else, one leg at a time (no, I didn’t happen to be wearing a gold plated diaper) and as I pulled the jeans over my “hips” I noticed that they felt a little snug. All of a sudden an all too familiar feeling rushed in. “I’m gaining weight, is my butt getting fat? Am I getting fat? Oh no, my jeans don’t fit, do they look too tight?” my thoughts became erratic and illogical. At times throughout the day I caught glimpses of myself and tried not to grimace or look too closely at my legs or backside. I know I’m underweight. I know that any excess fat on my body is healthy. Well, I know that in my logical mind. In my anorexic mind, I think that every extra bite I take is potential fat on my body. I think I can become fat overnight.
I write about this not only to give an example of how my mind works, but also to pose the question to myself: how can I be so in tune with my body that I notice a half pound weight gain, but so out of tune that I can’t even recognize my own hunger cues? That is so messed up, just like everything about this disease. Of course my brain would allow me to notice something that I would define as negative and scary, and not notice something that would benefit me and help me succeed in life in general.
I have read many books about women who have struggled with an eating disorder, and almost all of them mention a point where they have to move up in a size of clothes. They no longer fit into their anorexia clothing, and have to start shopping for pants and tops that are in actual women’s sizes. I have always known this day might come, should come, but somehow I have avoided it. I slip back into my habits and lose weight before I gain too much. I notice the clothes I wear fitting differently, but I don’t buy new bottoms, so maybe the legs are a bit snug, maybe the waistband fits better, but it’s not like I have my sick clothes and my healthy clothes. And yet, I still feel like I have gone out and bought a pair of jeans that are a size or two bigger. I start to panic and my anxiety kicks things up a notch. And suddenly, I am in tune with my body. In the worst way. And then things start to slide in the wrong direction.
So what do I do when these feelings and thought start to creep in on me? I eat. I tell myself to ignore that voice in my head telling me that to eat is to be fat, and I eat because I know that eating is what I need. I need to fight my sick side and get stronger on my healthy side. And every bite I take gets me closer to the me I used to be.