Many people have asked me about how ED took over. They wonder how I let myself slip down to such a low weight without realizing it. Did I realize it? Did I not see that I was dying and losing weight so quickly? When did I realize that it was ED and not just losing weight for a healthy reason?
And they are all great questions...I hope I can answer them to the best of my ability.
Did I realize that I was losing weight? OF COURSE! I started off trying to lose weight because people teased me for being larger than they were. So, I came up with a great solution: decrease food intake = lose weight. And that is what I did. Eat less, lose weight, see number on scale go down, feel good, repeat.
But then days came where I would just stop losing weight - the body does this because it adjusts itself to the amount of food it is getting. Eventually, my metabolism slowed down to keep my body where it was because it didn't want me to lose anymore. So, I had to come up with a solution. Yes, you guessed right - decrease intake even more. And so the cycle continued - each time that I stopped losing weight, I realized that my body was being stubborn, so I simply ate less.
All the while, I knew that I was losing weight. Well, this was the point. But it felt so 'good' to be thin - just like all the people that teased me were. HA! I thought. Now they can't make fun of me because I am small, just like them.
But I was wrong. My 'thinness' spiraled into an illness that nearly took my life. I did not see it at the time, how sick I was. I saw the tiny number on the scale, but this only meant one thing to me - that I was skinny. The fact that I was being unhealthy or dying was clouded by ED's voice in my head.
You are thin! You are losing weight! But you must keep going. You need to eat less to lose more weight. Rememeber when people made fun of you? You do not want that to happen again. So, you need to keep losing. Do not eat. Keep losing weight.
It might sound silly to others, but ED is very smart. He played on my emotions - he knew how hurt I had been when others teased me because of my weight, so he threatened me with 'fatness' and the bullying that would come along with it. He made me believe that I would do ANYTHING - even starve myself to death - to avoid this.
But the truth is, you can never make people happy. I was big, and people made fun of me. I became thin, and I nearly lost my life.
The weight loss happened really quickly for me. And I did not feel any symptoms of organ failure (ex. that my kidneys had shrunk, that my diaphragm was so weak that it was becoming nonfuctional, that my lungs had nearly collapsed, that my heart was failing...). So, it was easy to say that I was okay - this weight loss was 'clearly doing more good than bad'. Well, at least that is what ED made me want to believe.
What's my point? I guess I'm trying to show how easily ED sneaks into his victims' lives. And I want to send a message to all people who are trying to lose weight: please, only do it if your doctor (and it has to be a smart doctor who really knows what she or he is saying) tells you to. Unless you are at risk for heart attack or some other illness, you really do not need to lose weight. I know that this is hard to absorb in a society where all the rage is focussed on weight loss. But it is the truth. And if you NEED to lose weight because of a medical reason, it should be done in a healthy way with the care of a competent healthcare team. And once you lose the weight that you need to, you should not continue to lose more. I'm not saying that all diets end up turning into an eating disorder, but it puts people at greater risks. And besides, the truth is that diets simply DO NOT WORK. Live a healthy lifestyle, enjoying all things in moderation.
And that includes food, work, play, obstacles, and joys. Life is too short to waste on 'the small stuff'.