Content Warning. The subject matter of Diary of a Disordered Diet is eating disorders. Please don’t read if you might find this topic upsetting.
I actually wrote this quite a while ago after I wrote another post and was trying to raise awareness about eating issues. It was meant as part of a short series but I didn’t publish it as it felt that the posts were too negative and not right for this blog. When I saw the topic for Wicked Wednesday was ‘Dear Diary’ I was going to link my Diary of a Submissive Wife . I then remembered this post and decided to let it see the light of day.
I don’t really know how I started with the whole disordered diet thing. I think that when I turned 16 I was sort of normal with regards to food but by the time I turned 17 there was a significant issue. The period in between was a slow slipping from one state to the other. I was at school so it was a long time ago and I suppose that, as with anything, certain memories stick and seem significant. It is difficult to pinpoint where the start really was but one thing I remember was a really heavy period.
My periods were always heavy but one night I had a lot of bleeding and the next day when I weighed myself I had lost about half a stone. Now I must have been having issues to have weighed myself and noticed the drop and I know that prior to that, I had felt bloated and horrible. The following day I was a bit shaky and pale but I went to school and I can remember feeling almost weightless. It felt good, and what was even better was that no one knew anything was different so it was my little nugget of information.
My diet at home was pretty good really. My mum was careful about food and she cooked all of our meals from scratch. There were always tins with her home baking for after but the main course was balanced and wholesome. I wasn’t a fussy eater and I didn’t go overboard with things. I was never overweight and was pretty much a ‘normal’ size. My mum worried about her own weight and dieted although she wasn’t ever big. I guess I assumed that if I wasn’t careful I would put on weight like she had, but it wasn’t really much of a concern. Not on the surface at least.
Anyway, around this time, for some reason, I stopped eating lunch. Perhaps I wasn’t well, I’m not too sure, but I can remember laughing as I popped a couple of paracetamol and when my friends asked about eating I told them that was all that I was having. It became a habit after that first time. Sometimes I ate an apple but that was all. I wasn’t trying to lose weight but I felt better if I didn’t eat. Stronger, more in control and more as if the other things going on around me didn’t matter.
Again, this seems odd looking back as there wasn’t really much going on around me. Exams, relationships, decisions about the future but lots of it was just about hanging out with friends. And I had friends. I had boyfriends too and, although I was never the really popular one, I wasn’t left out of anything either. There was never a moment where there was a conscious thought about limiting my eating or changing what I did. It just sort of happened and it happened for a long time before I realised what was happening.
I didn’t really feel hungry despite not having lunch. My mum was on a slimmers’ plan and so we ate the reduced calorie meals as a family. They were always balanced and there were extras to go with them, additional carbs and the sweet treats etc to follow. I made excuses about eating a lot at school and not being full and got away with just having the main dish without the extras. That seemed to be enough to keep me going and it was probably hard for her to challenge when that was what she was having herself.
Although it sounds like a conscious decision, it didn’t seem that way to me until one day I came in from school and, feeling hungry, I got some cereal. It was the oat cluster type and ate it like a snack while I sat and chatted to my sister. Afterwards I felt horrible. I felt sick and sore and I regretted what I had done. I felt dirty and disgusting and really angry with myself. I went upstairs to weigh myself and decided that it wouldn’t happen again. I stopped eating breakfast after that.
I had to be careful as by this time my mum was asking questions. That was the start of the lying. I would get up in the morning before her, sprinkle some crumbs on the grill and turn it on while I washed up a plate and a knife. Waste was always an issue in our house and plates had to be cleared, so leaving food was not an option. Although I didn’t want to eat a packed lunch, I struggled to bin it because of the guilt so I would try to give it away, leave it somewhere, or let it go mouldy so that I could legitimately get rid of it.
Basically by this point I was surviving on one slimmers’ meal a day. It might have been about 300 calories but it wouldn’t have been more than that. I lost weight of course. It would have been impossible not to as I was also reasonably active. Over a period of time people noticed, not friends and teachers but my family. I thought my mum was jealous. I thought she was just annoyed that she was bigger than me and didn’t have the same resolve. I didn’t see the issue and when her friends told me in the street that I looked unwell and asked if I was alright, I thought she had paid them to come up and say that to me.
It’s hard to understand now how I got away with it really. It didn’t seem much of an issue, apart from at home and despite the fact that I’d lost so much weight that clothes didn’t fit and my periods had stopped, nothing ever really happened. People either didn’t notice, or else just seemed to accept it was what I did. I had been seeing my boyfriend for a while and we had talked about sex but agreed we needed to wait until after my period came. We hid the condom in the back of his stereo speaker and it may well still be there for all I know, for the period never came and neither did the sex.
Virginity intact, I put in my choices for university and waited to see what would happen next.
If this is a topic which interests you then you might want to check out the following posts:
- Skeleton in my closet: eating issues undressed is about my journey and the way that I am still affected by my difficult relationship with food and with my own body.
- Healing is an autobiographical account of my experience, but told from a third person perspective as the distance made it easier to write.
- Food: What’s your problem? An eating disorder exposed is an informative piece about eating disorders and what to look out for
I will add links to the two other posts in this series when I publish them.