As a rising high school senior I have many different things to occupy my mind: boys, clothes, friends… but sadly, the most prevalent is my weight. I have always been a bit pudgy, but a about a year ago I went over the edge. Immobility caused by ankle surgery turned my love of food into an obsession. After school I would crutch my way into the kitchen, grab some saltines and a diet ginger ale, plop down, prop up my foot and inhale one salty soup cracker after another. With the passing of my grandfather I became a pack-a-day snacker. After his shiva, I braved the scale. At 162 pounds, I was barely fitting into my size 12 jeans, I felt sick and sluggish. Terrified of running and working out, I saw no solution for my bursting waistline. I felt ashamed and guilty, especially because my cousin was struggling to keep weight on as she fought against anorexia for her life; I knew that I should have felt grateful for my health.
But then, what if I didn’t become anorexic, what if I just ate less? There couldn’t be anything wrong with eating less could there? I was eating far too much as it was, what if I just cut the amount of food I ate in half?
The first few days were excruciating. I gave my friends my fruit and chips only allowing myself half a sandwich, no excuses. Later that day, I was certain that my entire chemistry class could hear my groaning belly. I could feel the acid sloshing in my gut and felt very much in danger of throwing up. It was so painful, I wanted to cry, but I was determined. Returning home each day, all I could think about was food; the smell of it, the taste of it. But, I had to prove to myself and my denim jeans that I could do this. I threw myself into my school work and found other ways to distract myself and soon the pounds started to fall off. I ate miniscule breakfasts and lunches, but slightly larger dinners so as not to worry my parents. Soon, it became easy. I found that I wasn’t especially hungry anymore. I felt lighter, I felt powerful and beautiful. Soon my clothes were too big and my confidence was through the roof. I was a size 6.
But this all came at a price. I was terrified of eating out with friends and family. I ordered as healthy as I could and ate almost none of it. I obsessed over portions and I’m sure drove my friends crazy worrying about the handful of potato chips I ate at so-and-so’s birthday party yesterday. My mom was scared that I was anorexic and routinely confronted me about it, but, in my mind I wasn’t. I felt fine, I looked great, and I didn’t see the problem. But one day while I was quietly obsessing over the fact that I’d had a second rice cake at lunch, it hit me. This wasn’t healthy. I may not be anorexic, but a rice cake? Come on! That’s just ridiculous.
I would love to say that I’m cured of my weight obsession, but, I’m not quite there yet. However, I am fighting it with every fiber of my being. I eat a healthy amount now, even though that crazy sophomore in my head freaks out a little bit each time that I do. I work out to burn off calories in place of avoiding them all together. I have gained a few of the pounds back, but I feel that it’s better this way. I am proud of the way I look, but I think it may be awhile before the war is over. Until then, my food fight continues.