My doctor looks at me with concern. She asks how much weight I’ve lost since my last visit. I answer. She says, “I don’t want you to starve yourself.” I tell her I’m okay. I tell her I’ve got it under control. But only half of half of that is true. I’m not okay. And when I say I’ve got it under control, I mean I’ve got my weight under my control: my obsessive, unhealthy control.
A few hours later, I go and see my cardiologist. He says to me, “You need to lose weight.” Before I could finish telling him I had already lost 185 pounds, he tells me “you need to lose more.”
All he sees is the fat. He doesn’t see anything else. He doesn’t know that my protein is low, that I’m undernourished and anemic. He doesn’t know that I struggle just to make 500 calories a day sometimes. He doesn’t know how many times I’ve fainted because I didn’t eat for days. He doesn’t know how I spent time in the hospital having every bit of food I ate (and didn’t eat) monitored because my eating disorder had left me severely ill. He doesn’t know I am at my lowest weight in two decades.
He just sees the fat, and the need to lose it. He sees that I am not good enough. I tried to tell him the good thing I did, and it was just ignored. Because it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.
I knew in that moment, that doctor had just opened a door for me. He gave me a warped, valid excuse to limit my eating.
And it worked. I found myself saying “I can’t eat that. My doctor said I have to lose weight.”
I focused on what he said and ran with it. I wasn’t lying. He did say it. But I didn’t want to acknowledge what my other doctor had told me. I didn’t want to acknowledge that this doctor knew nothing of my history. That wouldn’t help my cause. I believed what he said because it was a belief I had already.
And after my lapses in judgment when I ended up eating, I heard that doctor’s words bouncing around in my head, along with the words of my mother. I felt so sick, but it wasn’t from the food. It was from the guilt and the shame I felt for eating. I tell myself that this is why I shouldn’t eat. Those sick feelings are signs that I was doing something wrong.
It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a constant battle that never has a winner.
I don’t know why I even bother trying. No matter how much weight I lose, it will never be enough. I will never be enough. Just like my mother said. No one will ever love you looking like that. You’re gross. I tried and I tried, but I never lost enough weight for her to love me. But I will still keep trying. I will keep losing until I won’t be gross anymore. I will keep losing until somebody can love me.
Fat on the outside; starving on the inside.
Fine on the outside; dying on the inside.