Sunday, January 28, 2007

How Did I Get Here?

I ask myself this question a lot. What happened to me to make me so messed up about food and body image?

It is a pretty easy question to answer because I can clearly see how food and losing weight have been a huge part of my life since I can remember.

I was always over weight, even as a baby my mum was taking me to the doctor because I was gaining weight too quickly and the doctor put me on skim milk- my first diet. This didn't help and my parents continued to be concerned and take me to doctor after doctor. I was only young, so I was eating the same food as my brothers, yet I continued to gain weight.

My gran was particularly concerned and would never let me eat any sweets and was always criticising me. I couldn't understand what I had done wrong and why she was always punishing me. I can clearly remember her telling me one day when I was 5 that I should suck my stomach in really hard and one day I would just wake up and I would be skinny. I now know that this was because she was embarrassed of my round stomach that stuck out, but I believed her at the time and for weeks I made myself sick from sucking my stomach in so hard. Every morning I would wake up and be so disappointed to see my stomach was still fat and that the weight had not miraculously disappeared over night.

Then when I started primary school it became clear to me that I wasn't like everyone else. I was teased merclessly and kids didn't want to play with me because I was fat. I was too young to understand this compleatly, but I did know that the other kids teased me when I ate, so I should stop eating. So I started starving myself from a very young age. Then binging.

I was too young to have any concept of what foods were healthy and what foods were unhealthy, so I just didn't eat any food during the day. Then I would get home from school and be so hungry, so I would lock myself in the bathroom under the pretense of having a bath and binge on roll-ups, muesli bars, chips, cakes and other snack food. My older brother used to get the blame for all the missing food, no one would have suspected that it was me.

This went on until high school, when I got better at starving myself. During this time my parents also got divorced and my mother was hospitalised on and off for a number of years because she is manic depressive. This was of course ideal conditions for me to starve myself. I had very little adult supervision so no one noticed that I didn't eat anything. I remember one day at school a guy telling me that I looked like I was on drugs and I took it as the biggest compliment. I thought that I must really look thin!

I would go through periods where I would lose weight, but the binging continued and I was never able to keep the weight off and I got fatter and fatter after each diet.

When I was 20 I was finally diagnoised with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome and at 25 I was told that I am also Insulin Resistant. It seems that this is why I have always gained weight and struggled to lose it. I now know that I need to eat low GI foods to keep my in insulin stable and to lose weight. I know this, but unfortunately the damage has already been done and I find it very difficult to do what I know is right.

I am 26 years-old and I have spent 20 years depriving my body of the food it needs and now I am obsessed with food. I think about food and dieting all the time, I watch other people eating at work or on TV and I am envious of them. I have very little control over myself when it comes to food and more then anything I would just like to have a normal relationship with food. I still find myself wanting to starve myself and then binging. It is a cycle I just can't seem to break. That is what this year is about for me. I may not lose a stack of weight, but I want to at least maintain the weight I lost last year and forge new healthier eating habits and break this cycle.


  1. Tully, firstly, here's a huuuuuuuuge hug from me.

    {{{{{HUUUUUUUUGE HUG}}}}}

    Thank you for sharing this with us; it was horrible about how your gran treated you, though the person that I'm the most disappointed in was the doctor! Thats horrible that they put you on skim milk and thus gave license for your family to treat you as you were some weight-gaining-freak, rather than telling your mother to calm down and let you grow into your weight.

    As for the starving yourself - I felt as though I could have written most of what you experienced. I used to go through most of my day without food to show the other kids at school that I wasn't a glutton - yet when I got home I would raid the fridge (and I was the first one home out of the family, so it was free license to binge)

    I hope that in writing this post you are able treat the past as it is and move forward without repeating the same behaviours.

    Thank you for this post, Tully.

  2. This must have been a tough thing to write. Good for you for doing it.


Awww thanks so much for the comment!