I think my lifelong struggle to become/remain slim has been a significant factor in my depression and anxiety. I love food, and have a very sweet tooth. It says much about me that many happy memories of childhood are about delicious treats and animal companions. Not much has changed.
Just to make matters more difficult, I have a good eye, a strong aesthetic sense. I notice how people look and dress.
I used to look in the mirror a lot as a child. I was told off for being vain. The truth was I was frustrated and disappointed by what I saw. I wanted everything to look different. I was "bonny".
Crash diets became an obsession. I gain weight very quickly, and I think those crazy fads altered my brain into famine mode, no calorie is unstored. I would fast for days, then pile it back on.
I was around 8-9 stone for years. Then in my late 20's I lost all control. For several years it was yo-yo, lowest 11 stone, highest a shaming 15 stone. I am barely 5ft 2 with a small frame.
I read diet books, but none described the civil war between me and my body. Suzie Orbach's Fat is a Feminist Issue failed to help. For me Orbach's "fat" past- a whopping 9 stone! - did not resonate. Nor did the theory that our bodies achieve equilibrium if we listen. It was listening to my body's demands for cream cakes that caused the problem.
One thing I did learn later was that my greediness was not entirely my fault. I can't excuse my lack of willpower, but I could eat a full meal, and still feel ravenous. It was horrible. At the time I was in a wretched state, desperately hard-up and working 6 days a week in menial jobs. I was not eating proper nutritious meals, but I could devour half a large loaf toasted with jam.
I read research about the affects of rollercoaster stresses on our hormones. Everyone knows how some people on steroids get fat. I think the continual fear I lived in resulted in steroid overload and insatiable hunger.
Desperate, I devised my own way of slimming. It was not easy, but I knew I could not face another fad diet. It took a long time, but after many years I resolutely remain size 8. I cannot bear to weigh myself, so Spock keeps it secret. I am just on the acceptable side of BMI, not underweight. I had a lovely G. P. once. She told me that older people who did best were those carrying an extra half stone. If you become ill and can't eat you won't fade away. I have no reserves.
I can't deny it is great not being fat, having nasty comments, being stared at, "jokes". I love wearing nice clothes, getting compliments I am still the same woman inside though, thinking of food a lot, counting calories and panicking when faced with temptation. I crave the comfort of food, but have to limit and plan my indulgences. Every year I tell myself that after my next birthday I will say "**** it" and stuff my face, but I just can't do it.
I realise that I have a borderline eating disorder. I can't seem to do moderation, I have settled on slightly skinny, but obese greedy Val could yet make a comeback, I can't be complacent!
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