I have an eating disorder. Or at least I have an ‘official’ diagnosis of bulima though currently binge eating disorder fits me better. When I say “I have an eating disorder” I feel like a fake and that, any second now, someone will point out how ridiculous such a claim is and then go on to emphatically point out how much I am insulting and cheapening people’s experience of genuine eating disorders. Then there is more pointing and laughing …This flashes though my mind every single fucking time I say or imply in any way that I have an eating disorder. I know where some of it comes from but I still don’t know what to do about it or even whether I should do anything. I am almost entirely anonymous on this blog but I still don’t want to associate the words bulima and binge with me. If I ever let myself think about having an eating disorder, I feel such intense shame.
I have been told directly by a psychologist that I trusted and had confided in that I shouldn’t diet. I have an obese BMI. Her reasoning was that dieting would be an almost inevitable trigger for my binge eating and restriction/fasting cycle (also called bulima but see above) and that my eating disorder does me more harm than my fat. Not specific to me but the same diet-and-you’ll-binge message is repeated in eating disorder self-help books and on fat acceptance blogs. Both seem to be reliable sources of information as have evidence to back themselves up including the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
On the other hand, I have what seems to be everyone telling me that I should diet. From my GP to my family to my friends to the clothes shops to my bank balance to my new ladder. Yes, my new ladder. It has a weight limit and I’m over it. It cost me £44 and it isn’t strong enough to hold me safely. I have done the yo-yo diet thing which I personally find more humilating than being shamed for being fat. I have a lot of triggers just now. And I am so tired of it all. This fight in my head feels very similar to the fight I used to have when trying to resist a binge. In the end, I just wanted the fight to stop and since it seemed the fight wouldn’t stop until I binged so I would binge. Futile in the end because it just prolonged the cycle so I’d have the same thing to deal with in the near future but in the end, I just wanted some peace. This current fight seems to be the same thing: just diet, just do it, the shame and humiliation will stop, the laughing or sneering stares and comments will stop, at least I will be doing something … I can’t get away from the message to be thinner but I can get away from the message that fat is okay. I can abandon that, never visit those sites again and laugh at those sentiments along with everyone else and only I’d know my traitorous thoughts. It would be so easy to slot right back into dieting and weight loss.
And maybe I would find some peace in dieting and feel better about myself with weight loss. Is it really inevitable that I would binge? Would I really regain all the weight again? Perhaps there is a chance that it would all work out beautifully but the other outcomes look pretty grim. I can’t stand this uncertainty and feeling so lost.