I battle with my weight on a daily bases. Every day is a fight to pretend that I don’t like bread, that I don’t want to eat more then a small packet of oatmeal for breakfast. I fight my body everyday, and I ignore it’s cravings, I ignore the fun of a craft burger and I never touch pasta. I battle to get up in the morning and run 6 miles. Every time I run I have to fight.
I get ill frequently, and sometimes I lack energy and I know that maybe if I ate some more carbs, stopped battling my naturally curby body shape then I might have more energy, would be less tired and wouldn't have to leave nights out so soon.
But I battle, because I like being this size, I like it when things start to jut and when I can see the slight outline of a six pack. I like it when my hip bones stick out. But I battle because I hate being this size, I hate the wasted energy, I hate having small boobs, saggy from weight loss when I went from a 34 F to a 34C.
My boyfriend encourages me to eat more, but part me wonders deep down if he would want to be with someone who was a stone heavier. I don’t know what happens if I start eating whatever I want. I don’t know what that is like, not to punish or goad or hate myself for indulging. I don’t know if I could stop. I don’t know if a week of indulgence, or just eating sandwiches would burst a wall down.
I can’t imagine eating a sandwich. I remember eating a kebab in front of some old housemates. They were overwhelmed. "You, eating a kebab?"
You think this is easy? You think I dislike food? You think I want to always choose a salad? You think I don’t want to be like you darling, and order a burger and skinny fries? You think I want to steal food off your plate? To be this size I have to do this. I was 10 stone at 14, and my weight continued to climb. I spent Friday nights eating pints of ice cream and whole pizzas. I hated the way I looked, but it was never enough to stop eating. It was never enough to put down the ice cream. Despite the comments from class mates, despite always being a guys ‘friend’ I was happyish because my mother told me that men eventually like curvy girls.
I read a magazine about the atkins diet, and I decided to try it out. Started each day with yogurt, and ate nothing but prawn stir frys for dinner. I shrank so fast. My mum told me that is was puppy fat, and it would fall off me, but it didn’t. I worked at it. I got controlling. I got small. Then I went to University and everything changed. I started to eat again, but like my adolescent years. I kept up the no carb diet, but when I was a teenager, that didn’t include alcohol, or in fact sugar. Sugar was always my weakness. I barely moved.
I started to drop weight again when I turned 23. I went to the gym, I went running, and bit by bit, inch by inch, I shrank again. I used food as a way to control my life. People told me how great I looked, and I smiled and nodded. I looked great now. I didn't before. I took it too far of course. I got down to 8 stone. I ran everyday. I survived on coffee and pears. I stopped having a period. My body wanted me to be a slightly chubby girl.
I am not skinny. I have fat cells dying to be filled up. I have hips, and thighs.
I am slim.
I have to battle to be this way. Every day I battle. I don’t know what it is not to. I don’t know how other people would react to me if I just let go. If I stopped running and restricting. I am scared of my own body. I am teetering on the edge, and no one can see it except me. I work hard to not get fat, I work hard to not get too skinny. When I was skinny my mother cried, and I was tired, and my sister said I needed help. When I was fat my mother was happy, and boys slept with me, but never stayed. No one asked me out for dinner.
I look at my friends who eat normally, who know my orders off by heart, who know what I will not eat, who know never to invite me over for pasta or pizza or risotto, who know I will not eat pudding. I look at them, and I want to ask them if they hide these secret battles in their heart too.
My cousin is on weight watchers. She is 13. Her parents put her on it. She is being congratulated for losing weight and not eating pudding at family events. She is beaming with pride. I want to tell her how I ate a pizza two weeks ago, and I texted my boyfriend, and he was so pleased for me. I want to tell her tragic that is. How I was preparing for a sold out one women show, and yet the pizza? The pizza was the thing I needed congratulating over. I wanted to tell her my boyfriend had secret discussions with my mother about making sure I ate whilst training for a marathon. How I want to eat normally, just so I will put on weight and show everyone that this is not all in my head, that I can’t eat more without their being consequences. That I do this for you, so you can admire my body from across the room. That I love to look at myself disappear. I want to say fuck you to the people who comment on my eating and tell them that I have a perfectly controlled amount of carbs now, that I don’t touch pasta or rice or bread or potatoes, but it’s not always a bad thing. That I have low blood pressure, and I’m healthy and I can run under a 8 minute mile. That I can not enjoy the little things, because I have my eye on the bigger picture. That I would love to stop fighting, but I can’t because I am afraid you would treat me differently, because in my experience, they did.
An old university friend of mine ran into my sister. He heard I was doing a one woman show. He told her he was not surprised, that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. Like loosing lots of weight. That was the signifier of success for him, the weight loss. The four stone I lost after University. That meant dedication.
Men say they love a girl who eats, who attacks food with gusto. But they don’t. They want a girl who eats pizza with them, but who doesn’t gain weight from it. They want someone who will save all their calories for when they dine together. Then punish themselves silently for it. I would love to live in a world where men, for one day, have the same calorie restrictions as women, have the same pressure, looks, comments, media portrayals, lambasting, scathing thoughts and fears, need to be perfect, and were able to consume fewer calories in general because of their size, yet had a body that cried out hourly for sugar and fat, for the ability to house a baby with a layer of soft blubber.
I am working everyday to accept my body. To ignore it. To regain control of it, and feel like it is not some alien being which only let's me down. I am trying very hard to be healthy, happy and have the ability to not think about food all the time. To not punish myself if I just don't have the energy or time to go to the gym. I am trying, and this website, really really helps.