I have been overweight since I can remember. Or at least I have considered myself to be overweight – I remember thinking to myself at 8 or 9 years of age, “Right, that’s it. I will NEVER weigh more than 6 stone” Obviously, I got older and heavier. Even if I hadn’t got disgustingly huge, I’d still have grown – I’m 24 now, can’t stay 6 stone forever.
But the point is, that from as early as Primary school I have been obsessed with my weight. This has not changed. I still obsess over my weight, weighing myself 10+ times a day – in the morning, after food, after using the bathroom and so on. Unfortunately no matter how many times I looked at those scales over the years, it didn’t halt the weight creeping on. By the time I started University in 2008 I weighed in at just shy of 20 stone.
The problem is, as obsessed with weight as I was and still am, I am equally obsessed with food. I would never feel full. I’d eat so fast that my plate would be virtually empty before I’d got it from the kitchen to the sofa. And then there’d be seconds, and thirds. I’d eat until I was fit to burst and then some. But I can’t say it was because I was hungry, I don’t think I even really put any conscious thought into the ‘fork-to-mouth’ process.
And I’d eat in private, I still do. I didn’t want anyone seeing me. I’d turn in to an animal, shovelling food in as quick as my podgy hands would go. And it’s not even real food. I’m not a chocoholic, not a crisp-lover, nor is it sweets, cake or any of the typical binge-foods. I will literally eat anything.
A typical pre-binge shop would consist of; a block of Brie, couple of packs of crisps, a tub of pate, a box of crackers, some pasties off the hot counter, a box of stuffing off the rotisserie. And it would all be gone in the car outside the store, or before that – on the back of the school bus home where no one could see me.
In 2010 I’d had enough I guess. To be honest, I can’t actually recall my ‘turning point’ which in hindsight seems awful. In April, at the age of 19, I had a Gastric Band fitted. At 19, with a death rate of 1 in 200. And I can’t remember what made me finally do it. It’s awful that in my late teens I had given up on the potential of any diet and just resigned myself to drastic surgery as a natural progression. There was no mortifying moment, no heart attack fright. It was just what seemed to be the next step. So that’s what happened.
Since then I have dropped from 20 stone to 13 stone. I know that’s a huge achievement but my head won’t let me enjoy it as it’s not enough. I’m not entirely convinced it will ever be enough. What happens when I hit that magic weight? Maintain? I have spent 15+ years of my life obsessed with losing weight, and I am suddenly expected to just stop. That’s scary.
Not that that’s on the horizon at this point. For the last 18 months I have remained 13 stone 7lbs. I’ve gained a few, lost a few. Never dropping past 13stone. And the galling thing is, I can see the problem and the solution. But that’s not enough to make a difference. While the Gastric Band has stopped my weight from hitting 30 stone or even 40 stone, as was highly likely, it brought it’s own special set of problems.
I am sick after every meal. I’m sick during every meal. Another wonderful childhood memory of mine is searching the internet for ‘thinspiration’ via Anorexia & Bulimia websites. I did try and make myself sick after eating on several occasions, convinced that would be my solution. But I couldn’t physically do it and ended up feeling like a failure yet again. I couldn’t even make myself sick.
Well now I can. And it is not something I am proud of, and it’s probably what has halted my weight loss as the majority of my meals end up in the toilet. I still have binges, but now they come with a bucket and a bottle of Pop to wash the food out. I am fully aware of the amount I can physically fit in my adjusted stomach and I can’t make myself adhere to it. I’m not hungry, that’s the point of the Band, but my head is telling me I have to keep going.
There are risks, more so due to the Gastric Band as I risk band slippage, stomach ulcers and ruptures and potential death. But I’m in control, and it seems that’s more important. I shovel food in, swig a drink, up it comes. I’ll repeat this until everything is gone. There’s a sick sense of achievement when your bucket seems to contain more than you ate.
That’s not to say it’s not tiring. I’ve had enough. Enough of being sick, of spending half the family meal in the bathroom, of forking out £10 a time every time a binge takes hold, enough of not losing weight because I can’t keep my mouth shut.
The thought of having to put a name on it is awful. You really must be messed up to spend £6000 on buying yourself an eating disorder. But then that’s what it comes down to. I eat, I make myself sick, I eat some more.
And I’ve had enough. I don’t want this anymore. I just want to be healthy. I just don’t know where to start.