Posts Tagged ‘obsessive compulsive eating’

In which I resolve nothing

April 30, 2010 4 comments

After visiting some family friends a while ago, my father commented that they are all “porking up” and that their teenage girl looked “like a sausage.”

He must be so disappointed in me.

I know that nature doesn’t care if you’re ripped. I know that thin doesn’t necessarily equate being healthy. I know that my father doesn’t approve of me fasting, intermittently or otherwise, or of my occasional flirtations with self-induced vomiting. But having a low body fat percentage is the holy grail of the body project. It is the only, the all-encompassing project, and it shrinks the world to a pinpoint of obsession. If I really want to be honest here, on an emotional level, I would prefer to be thin than to be strong. This is problematic at best and wrong and damaging at worst. I would love to have some visible abs, but in a pinch I would take a few visible rib bones.

But diet (low carb paleo), exercise (strength, occasional sprinting), sleep (magnesium and l-tryptophan induced), and supplements (fish oil, borage oil, amino acids, vitamin D3, iodine, over-the-internet-counter desiccated porcine thyroid, maca powder) have not helped me reach a low body fat percentage. Apparently, my body would prefer to shut down its reproductive and metabolic functions before it releasing extraneous  fat stores.

I have tried carb cycling with sweet potatoes and cycling hypo- with hyper- caloric days. I have tried all meat, all the time. I have tried meditation, but my thoughts always circle back to my failure to be a thin person. I have tried cognitive therapy, but I think you really have to believe the thoughts you are trying to think. If your actual inner self is convinced that the positive thoughts are absolute lies, cognitive therapy is a wash, and an exhausting one to boot.

Meanwhile, on an intellectual level, I know that thinness, as well as not equating health, does not equate happiness. Any time I ever lost any weight (those were the days!), I would immediately adjust my goal weight down a few pounds. And yet, the things that are positively correlated with (though not necessarily causal of) happiness: marriage, religion, a sense of community, a sense of meaning, gun ownership, etc. seem very hard to come by.

I rarely remember dreams, and I seem devoid of any deep feeling or empathy. I feel like the psychological version of Helen Keller. If I believed in reincarnation, I might think that in a previous life I had been hurt so grievously that I was reborn without the ability to love. How’s that for maudlin?

Now, what am I going to do about it?


In which I am melodramatic, but truthful

January 2, 2010 4 comments

It’s negative 6 degrees Celsius out there. I verified this by the thermometer on the Sopher Real Estate billboard outside. It’s negative 6 degrees Celsius, but I couldn’t have guessed this just by standing outside. My innards felt warm

And I wanted to weep, because I knew then that I would be all right, that 2009 – the lost year – was over.

Understand that the past 12 months have been spent in a haze of cold, infertility, cognitive dissonance, and increasing despair. And this all started out as  – well, we don’t say diet anymore, do we? A healthy lifestyle choice. A   “Paleo”“Evolutionary”“Primal” lifestyle choice, which included a dash of intermittent fasting. I still believe, with a caveat, that these are the evolutionarily correct pathways to health and fitness.

The caveat is this: my daily experience on the regime, the incessant cold and intolerance to cold, the amenorrhea, the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior, the bingeing, the purging, the depression. These are all classic and recognizable symptoms of starvation. What got to me most was the cold. In Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, Marya Hornbacher writes, “I wish I could find words to explain what this kind of cold is like-the cold that has somehow gotten in underneath your skin and is getting colder and colder inside you. It isn’t an outside sort of cold; it’s a cold that gets into your bones and into your blood and it feels like your heart itself is beating out the cold in hard little bursts through your entire body.” And it is, it is. It’s the feeling that your internal organs have turned into ice. People tell you to put on a sweater, but how can that help the cold lives in the very core of your belly?

The thing is that I knew all of this. But I was getting, according to and its ilk, plenty of calories and nutrition for my height and weight. My bloodwork was stellar and even called “textbook” by a lab tech. Even still, it seems to me that you can be getting plenty of almost everything, but if you fail to obtain enough of any one essential nutrient, you can in fact be malnourished enough to have a starvation response.

It took a year of trying everything and jumping through bureaucratic hoops. (Did you know that insurance companies can take months to recognize that they cover you if you have a hyphenated name? Did you know that naturopaths can’t order bloodwork for NY state residents? Now you do.) But I think I’ve finally identified the nutrients that I, personally, was deficient in. And I’m finally getting better. I finally have hope.