When I was anorexic, my perceptions of myself and others were distorted. As is common, I could not see how thin I was and those I had once perceived to be normal, I thought of as overweight.
Most of my weight gain came in leaps and bounds. A (slim) friend once complained to me about a 2kg weight gain over a six month period. And then there are those who complain that they have slowly gained a bit of extra weight over the years.
Weight has leapt onto my body, often catching me unawares. When I was younger and weighed myself on rare occasions, or had several aborted attempts at Weight Watchers and the like, I would get on the scales only to be shocked that I had put on 10kgs in just a couple of months. Gains were never small. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be 20kgs heavier than I expected. Of course, once upon a time (when my metabolism was kinder) even sensible diets like Weight Watchers, allowed me to lose weight just as quickly.
I yo-yoed about for years: losing 20kgs; gaining 25kgs; losing 25kgs; gaining 30kgs. I was volunteering in Africa when I first went into three digits – over the 100kg mark. Of course I didn’t know this until I returned to Australia sometime later. I still recall starting work in my capital city a short time after and walking past a shop (I suspect shiny glass windows was something that I hadn’t been confronted with in Africa and Asia). A shape in the window inadvertently caught my eye. But then I had to look again as I realised it was me. This big, huge creature. This large shape reflected in the window was me! I was horrified. I recall even now, how my confidence (in everything) was shattered for some time after that moment.
I suspect I suffer the same body dysmorphic disorder now. I must admit – even though I am over 120kgs I don’t think I see myself as ‘huge’. (I think) I think of myself of chubby, or ‘solid’ or ‘carrying a bit of weight’. As I continued exercising into much of my very early weight gain I was never blubbery. Then.
Yesterday I was waking from a holiday nap and a neighbour popped by to ask me to a BBQ he was having (I of course said no as I had a night of fillet steak, mashed potato and red wine planned!). During our discussion he mentioned he was ‘watching’ his weight and I congratulated him on his 600g loss for that week. I felt I could be generous. He was, after all, a big man. You know the type… in his 60s, a big beer belly, he waddles along. Basically very overweight.
“Yes indeedy,” he said on the topic of his weight loss, “I am now about 122 kilograms.”
I was floored. Gobsmacked. He is fucking lighter than I am. How is that possible?
After he left I pondered on this for a while. Again realizing that I really must not have ANY idea what I look like. I see myself in photographs and rip them up, or delete them. I know I look big, but perhaps I don’t LOOK look. I see myself in the mirror, but do I see what I want to?
I ended last night with so much mashed potato that I had to lie in the bath for an hour afterwards. Over the years I have been in the habit of binge-eating. Eating so much that I couldn’t move much afterwards. It was usually at night, but I couldn’t sleep because I was too full to do anything other than lie on my back, feeling uncomfortable, hating myself and the world.
Although I polished off the second packet of cornchips today (for breakfast, after my walk) I wonder if I am starting to feel a bit more resolute about this ‘dieting’ caper. A few more incidents like that with my neighbour may shock me into action.