All this time, and eating disorders have never come up?
Okay, that wasn’t funny. This is a serious topic.
When we think of eating disorders, we invariably think of girls hiding in bathrooms after lunch and forcing whatever they ate to come back out again. We think of skinny sticks masquerading as human beings with ribs jutting out and eyes that stare out of hollow cheeks.
You don’t have to look like you have an eating disorder to have one.
There are the quieter eating disorders. The liquids-only diet or the I’ll-only-eat-raw-food type. There is the I’ will count every single calorie I eat and then feel bad it went into my mouth’ eating style and the ‘I won’t eat anything oily because I’ll puke’ school of thought. And that’s not healthy either.
I’ve always eaten healthy. I have to. For the first 10 years of my life, because I was forbidden by a doctor to eat hydrogenated and trans fat. Then again because I lost interest in playing sports and so had to watch what I ate if I didn’t want to be overweight. All it takes is a few pointed remarks from a friend or a family member that your thighs aren’t in proportion to the rest of your body or that you really need to exercise more.
I used to tell people that mantaining a healthy weight is 90% eating the right food and only 10% exercise. And maybe I was right as I stopped eating starches and carbohydrates (proteins do have the same energy value as carbohydrates do, you know). Maybe I was right as I dropped to two meals- breakfast and lunch (because who needs energy for sleeping?).
But the diet wasn’t healthy. Not for a fourteen year old. And I realised that, eventually. This was after a couple of months and about reading books like Laurie Hale Anderson’s Wintergirls.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say I had an eating disorder, but I was definitely at risk of attaining one.
Calories are necessary because they literally give you energy. Fats are necessary too. There is no substitute for exercise-not even eating less. It’s a good thing I realised that sooner rather than later.
I’m back to eating 3 meals a day. I still only eat bread made of whole wheat and avoid rice. But I’m no longer the annoying person who orders a sandwich without bread.