An Addiction by Any Other Name...

I'm still feeling like that smooshy-faced cat because of my tremendous desires to beat my head against my desk.

So. Here's the conversation I overheard with my "favorite" co-worker (she's on the phone with her boyfriend the UPS guy):

"I'm going to go running over lunch...then B and I are going to a spinning class after, I'm sorry. After that I have a basketball game...I don't know why I'm so tired anymore...last night my roommate made broccoli...I never realized how good broccoli tastes, you know?"

Yep. Broccoli will taste good if it's, like, the only damn thing you'll let yourself eat. Maybe she'll bring that to tomorrow's salad bar. Personally, I was going to bring in one of those microwaveable pizzas and sit in there with everyone. I'm kind of glad I'll be around for long enough to see them gain back all the weight they lost.

Here's the humorous/sad thing: they're talking about doing this again next year.

Which makes me wonder why. I mean, if this whole dieting thing really worked, why would they need to do it again? If dieting worked, you would only need to do it once.

If nothing else, this whole Big Fat Loser has taught me several things, namely how much of a pain in the neck I must have been while I was starving myself. Also, why I don't want to go back. I've only been really, fully able to commit myself to recovery when I understood that life without anorexia wasn't a scary as facing a life with anorexia. It doesn't mean that I necessarily wanted to get better- I didn't. Sometimes I still don't. But I'd rather deal with the fallout from recovery than think of living even longer with an eating disorder.

Yet I still can't believe that medical professionals would do such crazy diet stuff. It drove home the point of just how prevalent the diet mentality is in our culture. That no one would say anything of group weigh-ins, of posters with pro-ana slogans ("Nothing tastes as good as thin feels"), that people would talk solely of these topics. Think if it were an addiction. Like to crack. If someone proposed that we turn the break room into a crack den and had our dealer come in once a week, I don't think that would go over very well. Just think- we could compare who had the most hits, who spent the most, how not to get caught with the stuff.

Or we could all turn into a bunch of sex addicts. I could say to my co-worker "You should see the nice piece of ass I brought home last night. And I plan to do three guys tonight- I'm trying to break my old record of two guys." Or porn up in our cube walls. Nuh-uh. I can almost guarantee that someone would come in and counsel everyone and we'd all have STD testing. No one is giving my co-workers an eating disorders test. No one is saying "Enough. You're not being healthy anymore." They're just cheering each other on.

And not only do I worry about these women, I worry about their children. In a child's mind, if mommy's going to go on a diet to get healthy, then I should too. People with AN tend to think quite concretely about some things. If a food is healthy, then I shouldn't eat it. It's bad. A mother's diet doesn't cause an eating disorder in her child. But it could set off a series of events, especially when people so some crazy ass things like I've seen at work. Eating healthy is good. I love fruits and vegetables. I try not to eat processed foods, and I watch my salt intake. That's not bad. But exercising 2-3 times per day...don't you have anything better to do? More effective ways to spend your time, energy, and money?

I know I do.

1 comment:

mary said...

I'm glad you've used your writing to get some of the stuff out of your head that you've been witnessing!You can see too how it wasn't your fault, all the food centered thinking is a big part of the distorted thinking and where dieting is concerned it's difficult to escape. So in a way, even if not one of them develops anorexia, each one of them altered their relationship with food to an extreme that upset their freedom to simply trust their natural hunger and knowledge of what foods their bodies needed to carry them. It makes it even sadder that they didn't seem to know that good nutrition would have been the key. That nutra-sweet is ant poison, not people food! Trust me, if I listen to my natural cues I will eat something when I'm hungry and if I wait too long I start thinking about what there is to eat, then once I'm fed I can get back to what needs getting done, without rethinking of food. Our body is smart, it will remind us with thoughts. No alarm clock needed, ding ding...and we start thinking of what will hit the spot, pizza perhaps? Maybe we want tuna today or peanut butter and jelly. Listen, what do you crave? It's when we want to outsmart ourselves that we risk breaking that system. Each time you see someone diet you relive the part of you who outsmarted yourself...that's gotta hurt. You are such a brilliant young woman and yet you fell in that hole. But hey, you are climbing out. You are getting better. You will need time and work to accept the real authentic you, the one who deserves to eat, because your vehicle runs on fuel...just like mine. You stay the course Carrie!The day will come when you wondered how you gave so much attention to food. Why you ever worried so much.
Hope this makes sense. Keep climbing. You are stronger than you'd ever imagine and your real challenge is full recovery. Never look back while you are climbing!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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