One step at a time

Content warning: anorexia, self-starvation

I’m Sharpay: I want it all—the Fritos bean dip, the Tostitos mild salsa con queso dip, the cheddar Sun Chips, the cookies-and-cream Pocky, the Club crackers, the Smartfood white cheddar popcorn, the Mamma Chia Wild Raspberry Vitality Squeeze drink, the remaining third pint of Blue Bell cookies-and-cream ice cream.

It tastes good, and I love it in the moment.

It makes me feel guilty in the aftermath, and I hate it.

I feel like I’m not supposed to enjoy it, like it’s all wrong and I should have stuck to serving sizes. I feel like I should have eaten as per nutritional standards and stuck to the rules no one knows the origin of.

But I also feel like, on days like this, when it’s just me and the food and no one around to judge me over it, recovery is possible: I can eat. I’ve been doing this off and on, dealing with a hunger that cannot be satisfied from a meal alone. My body’s craving dairy, first of all, which annoys me to bits because I’m not even a fan of dairy. I’m sick of ice cream already, and yet my brain is screaming at me to feed it what my body craves, while some recesses of my head is also shouting at me to PUT THAT ICE CREAM DOWN RIGHT NOW.

I can’t help feeling like this is the result of starving myself for 16 years, like now that I’ve been working hard to fight my eating disorder and feed my body for almost a quarter, it wants everything. Is it preparing for a winter hibernation? Is it scared I’m going to starve it again? Or is it in this weird recovery mode of I JUST WANT TO EAT EVERYTHING? Most of all, I want this to end. I feel like my thighs have swelled up like balloons and am hating every moment I have to look at them. I’ve found the secret is to not look—it’s easier to process the weight gain/redistribution when I’m not actively watching my body for any changes.

My thigh gap disappeared within two weeks of halting exercise—because my body couldn’t take it anymore—and not starving myself, when I spent a whole three months working my ass off to get that look. It’s things like this that make me realize the lies my eating disorder told me and that it was never worth it to begin with.

It’s little things that make me think I can actually beat this, regardless of whatever stigma the people around me hold. The trip to the grocery store with Charlise, when I put back the “reduced fat” of Club crackers in favor of the regular box of Club crackers, and then even paying no mind to its serving size at home, despite my eating disorder picking at the insides of my body to be attended.

If I do this—break one rule at a time, slowly instead of all at once—I think I can. I think I can do it because I’m a fighter; this is my forte! I think I can bear it if I go it slowly, one step at a time. The binges bring tears of guilt to my eyes, but then I spent 16 years starving myself…so in some ways, I feel like I’m finally starting to make up for it. In some ways, I feel like I deserve to binge on junk food for a day, forgo all food rules, and eat however I please…because first of all, fuck diets. And second? I owe it to myself.

Even if there are bad days, here’s to taking them one at a time. 💓

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Your rawness and authenticity is so poetic, which I hope you take as a compliment. I like how you describe the battle between your physical body and your mind. I don’t think that many understand that an eating disorder is so much more than simply restricting, or is only centered around the concept of food. Your words make such an impact! <3 <3

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Thank you! 💓 I was nervous about sharing this. I even wrote it after that binge, because I got to thinking that I needed to write something, and I wasn’t sure what would come of it.

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