Today I feature the second guest post by Myra (aka my inner critic; or as I like to call her… my resident mind-bitch). I’ve asked her, however, to write as an independent observer on this particular topic… rather than the manipulative cow she most-often is.
I’ve noticed that Schmiet’s been thinking more and more about binge-eating of late. Now, you would know that this is something close to her heart and something she still struggles with over twenty years after her battle with anorexia. Before that she was – perhaps – an occasional over-eater, but nothing more. She’d sneak the occasional chocolate or eat too many biscuits in a sitting (TeeVee snacks and chicken drumsticks being a particular favourite of hers), but it wasn’t until she lost a lot of weight that her eating became secretive and obsessive.
Many years later she confessed to her parents that she’d miss parts of school to go home and eat homemade biscuits from the freezer, sometimes just eating parts of many, and having to bake more to avoid being caught. (She also skipped school to head to her nearby basketball courts to do endless suicide / shuttle runs as well!) I suspect her parents knew some of what she was doing but were worried about saying something that might upset the precarious balance that 16 year old Schmiet was struggling to maintain for most of her final year in high school.
Fast forward twenty-five years and she’s still struggling. Having (at one point) reached almost three times what she weighed back in her late mid-late teens; she’s still battling those eating-related demons. Many MANY people don’t get it. She had a visitor last week who witnessed her purchase of a bag of caramello koalas (I believe I mentioned the downward spiral she’s been on since stepping onto the scales to witness a lack of weight loss), “Surely you couldn’t eat all of those,” her houseguest said. Even I chuckled at that. Her guest himself is quite frugal on the dietary front. He allows himself ONLY two squares of chocolate each night with his pre-bed coffee. He would never DREAM of eating even a row of squares. Let alone an entire block. Or two or three. Like so many other non-binge-eaters, he doesn’t understand how someone could engulf massive amounts of food that they don’t even enjoy.
Schmiet’s heard it before, as have I: from her parents and from her friends. “How on earth can you eat one kilogram of chocolate in a sitting? Don’t you feel sick?” we are asked. HELLO, sometimes that was fucking point – it’s way easier to purge if you already feel sick, I’ve wanted to say… but Schmiet never let me confess such things. Of course now she doesn’t purge. At all. Ever. I sometimes suggest it to her. “Oh. My. God,” I say. “You’ve just eaten three days’ worth of calories in one sitting you fat weak fucking bitch! You’ve ruined EVERYTHING! But…. you DO know how you could make it better…”
Surprisingly she is stronger than that. Yes… that amazes even me!
Her visiting houseguest recently lost some weight. “I was just eating so much,” he said. “I was dining out all of the time, and eating too much cheese.” I observed Schmiet as she nodded knowingly and sympathetically at her houseguest while thinking: WHAT. THE. FUCK?! And unfortunately she refused to let me slap him around the head.
I can tell, though, she envies the weight loss amateurs like her visitor. You know the type… those who haven’t spent their lives on every diet under the sun, or who are able to recite the calories in any food they are about to eat, or can offer the pros and cons about Zone vs Atkins vs Paleo ways of eating; those who do not understand the urge or ability to eat anything and everything in sight without consideration of the implications.
Schmiet’s dad was one such person. At one point they undertook a diet together, even though he only needed to lose a small amount of weight, which he carried around her belly (though a non-drinker). “Do you know that a little chocolate bar has more calories than an apple?” her father would ask wondrously. “Did you know how many calories are in butter?” She’d eye-roll and wonder how on earth he didn’t already know these things! He’d listen eagerly as they were told about proteins, carbohydrates and fats and received demonstrations as to how their plates should look (this was in the mid 1990s before the low carb-regime took hold).
Funnily enough though, it was her first experience with a dieting debutante. Weight literally dropped off him, even though she was eating less and doing more exercise. It was one of the first times she wondered what years of anorexia and bulimia had done to her metabolism and contemplated the all-or-nothing approach she had to dieting. I naturally told her that ‘it served her right and was entirely her own fault’.
She already knew then, however, that her father (like many others – and quite often men!) didn’t understand the mindset side of things. When she was anorexic they often fought, “Just eat!” he’d say. Not understanding that doing so would cause her to literally die a little inside. He couldn’t understand that it was a mental illness, not just physical.
The weight-loss amateurs, or those without a long history of eating disorders (like her recent houseguest and her father) seriously have NO IDEA. Schmiet isn’t proud that she DOES understand. I try – as much as possible – to have her remind people of the fact. I believe it gives her an excuse to remain stymied in her weight loss efforts…. you know… “I’m fucked in the head and so can’t diet…” Etcetera. And you’ll be pleased to know that I often get through to her… and I’m sure you’ve read many-a-post here in which she’s bemoaned her weight-watching history and used it as an excuse for having a screwy mindset or struggling with motivation.
Despite her many (many) faults, Schmiet tries to not judge others who lack sympathy. I try to convince her otherwise as much as possible. I mean, can she not see that they are BASTARDS for NOT understanding what it’s like for someone who binge-eats or over-eats; or not understanding what it’s like to keep cramming food down although you feel full and know you will regret it later; or who even think you may (in the moment) have some control over the situation?!?!
I know Schmiet dreams of a day when her biggest slip-up is that akin to her houseguest: over-eating when out with friends; or partaking in too pre-dinner nibblies… rather than taking my advice and relying on food to give her the love, satisfaction and comfort that’s not forthcoming from elsewhere.
It’s an ongoing battle that she and I are continuing to fight. (But… more on that in my final post later this week.)