Fat Girl with an Eating Disorder
“Does this have anything to do with what you ate today?” - My 600-lb Life
Baking myself is a disgusting act, since I am two-hundred pounds of processed sugar, garlic salt, and regrets. Shove them behind some butter cream teeth. Buttercream goes with almost everything—cookies, cakes, yeast filled pies. I can be anything, if I am what I eat, and lord knows I have a sweet tooth.
Cooking myself, on the other hand, is a practiced science. The same daily five-thousand calories processed through a liver that has had enough; enough of chocolate filled croissants and gooey mac and cheese, of me drinking Dr. Pepper by the gallon. Ripping pepperoni scabs off the bleeding face of pizza, I find room for more food because I am a bottomless, gelatinous pit.
Leftover lettuce is for the bad days when protein makes my stomach turn. My tongue knows that cheese and chocolate don’t go together and vomit turns to pink spit if a finger goes deep enough down your throat. I’ve learned how many shades of fecal matter can stain the underside of a Dollar Tree toilet. Most of all, I know how many times a bigger body can be stapled back together after so many rounds of abuse.
Binge. Cook. Bake. Purge. Repeat.
At home, I pig out but I try not to eat in public because the battle of the bulge is not won in front of a massive audience. I can’t tell my friends I’m hungry, even on the verge of fainting because I’m 200 pounds. I can’t be crying for food. Outings are torture because my mouth will not open. Disney World with friends, I take invisible bites of ice cream. McDonalds with family, I do not eat a single french fry. Valentine’s dinner with a partner, I pick at a donut and hope she doesn’t stare, because others most certainly are.
On some days, I falter, as I am made of weak moments and held together with “cheat day” duct tape. Diets don’t work. Exercise does not work. I have been binging and starving myself since the age of eighteen but still gain and lose the same thirty-five pounds, just like every other woman in my family.
I come from a line of big women with massive, firm thighs and breasts reaching parts of the alphabet not meant for clothing labels. Still, most of them were pretty in their younger days. I was less fortunate, all of my fat is in my stomach and clinging to the underside of my chin.
Food is life, and I need to eat. The problem is, I don’t know when to stop.
Moderation is an underlying issue in my family; gambling, alcohol, sometimes drugs, food, especially men. We make babies and teach them that food is the enemy. There are lots of enemies in this world, but like food, we learn to make friends with all of them.
I am the anomaly. I cannot have kids and being bisexual, there is only a 50/50 chance of me marrying a man. I don’t like the taste of alcohol. I got clean of my pill addiction years ago. All that leaves is food.
Lots and lots of food.
As a toddler, I was an incredibly fussy eater to the point I was given what I would eat, just so I could eat. My favorites were croissants fresh from the Publix bakery. It was often joked, “You’re going to turn into a croissant someday.”
But I didn’t turn into a croissant; I became the whole bakery.
I am a fat girl. This is the dirtiest thing in my mouth, the only word I’m forced to wash out with soap. It’s hard to tell if others judge me harder than I judge myself. If I had a dime for each stranger who’s called me some variation of “fat” or “pig,” I would have enough for gastric bypass. I’m not sure if I need it, less sure if I want it.
When I was a child, I was sexually abused and refused to eat for almost three years. At age eight, I was still anorexic but refused to eat food but still gained a copious amount of weight.
My psychiatrist knows of my history with bulimia nervosa but still tells me at each appointment that I look pregnant. She knows I am infertile and gay; it is a pointed dig as she looks at my chart and reminds me, “You’ve gained some weight.”
I know I’ve gained some weight. I’ve always gained some weight. The numbers might not always reflect the pain coming from all sides, forcing an anxious blob down to my hips. No one wants to believe me, about the supposed disorder, because all any doctor sees when they look at me is a fat girl.
In the 80s, my mom was a phlebotomist, a man had such high triglycerides when separating the plasma from the blood, it turned bright white. For some reason, I see myself as that. Sitting in a doctor’s chair, my pounds pair up like splitting cells but they never divide. They ferment and rise like yeast. I get skeptical looks when speaking of my eating disorder. The swift gloss of their eyes is its own language.
I want to tell these doctors that the fat is just the half of it—my innards are dirtier than a McDonald’s garbage disposal, and my esophagus is the corroded drain just waiting to burst. No doctor wants to hear this, least of all my psychiatrist. Instead, she gives the same advice about cutting out the cheeseburgers and regular sodas.
I want to tell her that food is the problem. But what I eat isn’t the enemy.
I talk to my best friend about all of this. She tells me, “Journaling helps,” but I don’t want to think about my blubber on paper. I get enough of that; BMI charts and cholesterol tests, stickers on test tubes full of iron rich blood.
Instead I want to think of my favorite things, those that in more ways that one are slowly killing me. I like Five Guys burgers with extra bacon and cheese, Domino’s pizzas with extra alfredo sauce and cheese, donuts full of Boston cream and McFlurry with Reese’s and gallons of Donald Duck pink lemonade to wash it all down.
I don’t like to throw up but I have to throw up. All of this food can’t stay inside for long. I do love the release, the empty and lightheaded feeling of emptying my bowels or stomach. The heat rises in my cheeks. I can’t tell if I’ve baked or cooked but for a minute, my brain tingles, and I feel light. I feel, for the first time, that I have done something right in causing this harm.
Then comes the downfall: I am hungry again. The fat girl’s gotta eat.
Binge. Cook. Bake. Purge.
I don’t like this. Repeat.