A Day In The Life of My Eating Disorder
TW: Purging, Bulemia, Eating Disorder
2016 was a significant year for me. I moved to a new city and began dating someone who I quickly fell in love with. Like most new relationships we spent all of our time together: exploring our adopted city, bonding over music, hobbies and food. I also cultivated a new social group of wonderful people. Of course moving to a new city is always an adjustment. And for me, the greatest adjustment was finding that my boyfriend and new friends were not very well informed about mental illness. This meant having to confront the 'baggage' I was so eager to sweep under the rug. Although I'm in a much healthier place now, the recovery for an eating disorder is a slow, and often lifelong process. So, for the first time in my life, I had to explain to another human being what it felt like to struggle with my food anxiety on a daily basis. It was confusing and scary.
Growing up, I knew of many girls, some close friends, who struggled with eating disorders. However until I experienced it myself, I was incapable of understanding how someone could deprive themselves of food, a social life and happiness. I didn't know what it meant to have body dysmorphia. Yet soon, in the darkest moments of my disorder, I was incapable of understanding how anyone could encourage me to eat 'scary' foods, or look down on my (possessive) need to purge after a binge. And so, I pushed people away.
The truth is, an eating disorder is not a choice. Those who suffer do not make the decision to starve themselves, over exercise, or purge. An eating disorder is a mental illness, a disease, that affects a person’s every thought, action or decision. What follows are some of the daily thoughts and struggles I experienced while in the darkest moments of 2015. Although this piece is specific to my experience, anyone with a similar disorder may unfortunately have similar thoughts.
I’m bloated again. I haven't gone to the bathroom in 3 days. My stomach looks huge. After work I'll go pick up those laxatives from the store but l need to hide them so my parents don't see. I'll have some lemon water because that's supposed to speed up your metabolism.
Hmmm, what should I have for breakfast. I only want to eat 800 calories today so maybe some eggs. 1 egg with 2 egg whites and avocado should keep me full until lunch. That's only 150 calories. The only bread we have is 120 calories and that will be 270 calories. Way too much. Just eggs and avocado it is.
I'll do my workout now while I still have energy. The goal is to burn 400-500 calories today.
I'm starving. Oh my god, I'm so fucking hungry. I feel like I'm going to pass out. Okay, I'll just drink some water or tea. That should fill me up. Only 2 more hours until lunch.
1 more hour until lunch. I need to eat something. 1 or 2 almonds should only be like 10 calories. I'll eat those and then go for lunch 30 minutes early. I’ll walk around the block after eating to burn off the almonds.
Okay for lunch I'll just have a ton of vegetables. All together they will probably be like 75 calories. And I'll add some avocado on it for a healthy fat, but only a bit. This should keep me full for a while.
I guess I’ll check Instagram while I eat here alone. All of these girls are so beautiful. How can they eat so much and look this perfect. Look at their abs. How am I constantly working out and I still don’t look that way? This is depressing. I feel like I’m going to cry. I can feel my stomach rolls as I sit here eating. I’m disgusting.
Fuck, I'm so bloated now. I should have known this was going to happen. I look pregnant in this dress. It's like 30 degrees but whatever, I'll just wear my jacket and cross my arms for the rest of the day and hopefully no one will notice. I wonder if there is some supplement I can take to help with bloating. I’ll look when I go get my laxatives tonight.
So the girls just texted and they want to go out for dinner tonight... pizza. I can't eat pizza it has way to many calories and I can't eat carbs. Maybe I can convince them to go somewhere vegan or healthy. No the last time I suggested a healthy restaurant they were so annoyed. Maybe I can suggest sushi then. That's much easier to purge, especially if I drink a lot of water.
I don't know if I should go.
Fuck, they are all waiting for me to respond. I'm gonna cry. This is so stressful. I want to see my friends but I really don't want to eat. And what if I throw up in the bathroom and they all know? Maybe I'll go and not eat. I can just get something to drink.
Alright, I'm going to skip this one. I'll tell them I have plans already.
I'm starving again. I have an apple in my bag. I'm going to Google how many calories are in an apple. 80-150 calories? And it’s full of sugars.
I'll wait ten more minutes and if I'm still hungry I'll eat the apple. At least it's a small apple.
Okay, I'll eat the apple but I'll walk home from work so it won't technically count. I think I can burn at least 200 calories in a 45 min walk.
What should I have for dinner? Parents are making pasta. Definitely can't eat that. I'll just cook my own meal. Maybe I'll have a piece of chicken and a ton of vegetables. Or a smoothie, cause I feel like I've eaten a lot today. Let me figure out what will have more calories.
I'm starving. Can't wait to eat dinner. But before I cook, I want to do a body check. If I stand up straight my stomach looks flatter. My hips are HUGE. Well, If I stand this way and pull my underwear up in a v-shape you can’t really see my hips. Ok I can't look at myself anymore.
It smells so good in here.
Of course the parents are making my favourite pasta. Why would they do this to me, they know I can't eat it. Maybe I can just have one bite....no obviously not I'll just want to eat the whole thing. Actually... my parents are going out tonight so I'll just wait until they leave. Then I can eat as much as I want and purge after without anyone knowing. We also have ice cream and cookies. So I guess I'll just binge and purge tonight and then eat less tomorrow. I'll even do an extra workout.
I’ll eat the pasta first and that will be my marker. What other goodies do we have in the house.
I cant eat anymore, but I cant stop. I feel horrible. My stomach is going to explode. I am disgusting.
I’ll turn the water on just incase someone comes home while I’m purging. This way they will think I’m taking a shower and wont be able to hear me.
I can't stop purging. I want to stop but I can’t. If I don’t finish I will hate myself. I already hate myself. Just a few more times. I feel horrible. I am disgusting. Fuck, my glands are swollen now and all the blood vessels in my face have burst. This better go away by tomorrow.
Okay, done. Time to take my laxatives and then I’ll go to sleep.
Anna Leo is a fashion stylist and proud dog mom. Graduated with an Arts degree from Western University, she pursued her admiration for fashion early on. Throughout her career Anna has collaborated with numerous magazines, fashion philanthropists and art organizations. Some of her other passions include helping others achieve confidence and self love, travelling, cooking and talking about her dog.