Even though I am a few years recovered from bulimia, I still have disordered eating habits. I check the size of my stomach at least a dozen times a day. I nonchalantly pinch the skin of my waistline, a few inches from my little white scars, to check my “fatness.” I turn my head to see if the bone between my neck and shoulder sticks out enough.
Once in a while, I walk past a mirror and realize, “Hey, I’m skinny!” and it makes my day.
Sometimes, I realize the American truth that women are constantly picking apart their bodies and wishing they looked differently. Maybe I’m not obsessing over my bulimic past; I’m just about normal. I like to think that. Not everyone is 100% happy with their lives or bodies.
When I catch myself stressing out and craving chocolate – and lots of it – I wonder, Am I about to have a relapse? If the thought of eating a big meal, dessert, and a couple glasses of wine makes me worry about gaining weight, does this mean I’m not not “recovered enough” to let loose and enjoy my food and myself?
No. I’m pretty sure it means that I, like non-bulimics the world over, crave sugar when stressed/tired/overwhelmed/sad/lonely/PMS-y. Everyone gains weight if they eat large meals all the time and don’t exercise! The world is not picking on me; I just have a mortal body.
Sometimes I do get an incredible urge to stick my fingers down my throat. I realize this is a red alert situation, and I call a friend to talk me out of it. Just saying “Tell me again why I shouldn’t throw up” breaks the stranglehold of isolation and brings me back to reality.
Reality is nice. It’s a place where I can screw up, fix it, and not be perfect. I can worry a little about holiday weight gain (who doesn’t? It’s the season where carbohydrates are the new oxygen!) and know it doesn’t mean I failed at recovering from bulimia. Maybe I will have little daily wrestling matches with the bulimic demons that used to control my life. That’s ok. We all have our demons and our strong points. My strength is in the Lord, and He will fight ’em off for me until the day they nail the lid shut. I’m safe 🙂