My First Eating Disorder

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This is a hard one, writing about weight when you can barely remember when your weight problems really began and why. Growing up in Zambia as a teenager wasn’t that hectic, people didn’t really care about how much you weighed or if you had an eating disorder. It wasn’t what people discussed at home either, so I really didn’t have much of a problem or obsession about it. Although I must say the bigger you were the better and richer you were.

I have always been thin or medium-sized in school. Going to university here in South Africa was hard, because then I started learning that my weight was attractive and men were attracted to me. I was the thinnest of most my friends or in groups started realising that the thinner I was the more people seemed to either like or hate me. My friends on several occasions would comment that I was only lucky to get so much attention from men because I was thinner. That hurt my feelings big time. I started feeling that I was only liked because I was light-skinned and thin. But it never crossed my mind that I was actually attractive in other ways. Women can be cruel.

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So I started using my weight as a way of making my friends feel worse about themselves and I started wanting to become thinner and maintain my weight. I became bulimic.

I hated my bulimia stage (at this time I didn’t even know what this disease was), I was in control of my weight and yet so ashamed of why I was doing it drove me over the edge. But it was working and more comments came my way (not good ones). I couldn’t believe how cruel people could be I was still so naive. But I stayed in control of my weight, and I remained envied in some ways as university went on and people started gaining weight I stayed the same.

Bulimia, is the funniest eating disorder I experienced because not only did I not control what I ate I suffered for it. Puking out every meal tends to be more horrendous than it seems. Doing it purposefully is even weirder. Strangest thing is I didn’t actually control what I ate; I ate all I could and then threw up. When I think about it now, it wasn’t the weight issue it was a punishment for myself and a sense of despair that I wasn’t good enough anyway so I might as well use my weight to get what I wanted.

When I moved away from home after university, I furthered my bulimia to anorexia, for only about 6 months or so I starved myself. I was getting weary of this and so tired of being tired and in control like this. It was killing me and making me miserable. My throat was so sore and my teeth sensitive.

I made friends with new people, and realised I had something to contribute apart from being skinny and looking great. I had brains, a good eye for things and I could compete at just about anything with men. I wanted and found some respect. I started to change my outlook of who I wanted to be. This was an issue I had not grown up with, wasn’t familiar with and I couldn’t let it control my life.

Well as it goes we women will never completely be happy about our weight no matter what, it comes with the territory. I have and still am discovering new ways to look great and not compromise my health. It can be done, I have to just find it within me to fight for myself and be what I want to be. People can be cruel whether you are fat/thin/medium but they are just projecting who they are on you.

I’m thin again but thanks to a goodish diet (I try) and Pilates, I am happy!

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One thought on “My First Eating Disorder

  1. I can relate to this in a way. I have never had an eating disorder but its so interesting to me how much of my time is taken up with thinking about food and what is good for me or bad for me and thinking about my weight constantly and whether that impacts on me finding love or happiness or whatever.

    You’re right, people can be so cruel. I was a ‘thin’ child and when I was about 12/13 I started becoming ‘porky’ and my great-aunt who I had last seen when I was about 5 turns to me, at the dinner table, at 13 and says “what happened to the thin pretty little girl I once met?” (I think the saddest thing is, I recall making an effort that evening). From that day on I hated her (felt it was good riddance when she died) and I have resented my parents for not saying anything either. It is unacceptable to say things like that to ANYONE at ANY age. Needless to say I am pretty much permanently on a diet these days (although exercise certainly helps) – and I acknowledge it is not her ‘fault’ but I certainly think she played some role in my pysche as I still remember it clearly.

    I know I comfort eat (so I suppose that is a form of ‘bingeing’) but I just want to say I think its great that you have finally found a place where you are happy and content. and take solace in the fact that you have a brain and are smart and energetic and someone others want to be around.

    I am going to strive to do this, (and try to think less about food and exercise etc) and hopefully, at the end of it I can come out the other side and finally be ‘happy’ with what I have.

    Thank you for sharing.



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