Never Skipped Breakfast

The other day I was hanging out with Chris, Lana, and Laurie. Laurie’s dad had ordered us a pizza, and we were talking about how hungry we were waiting for it to come, and how I was particularly hungry because I’ve been sick and had no appetite.

Lana said something along the lines of, “Well you should at least try to eat breakfast.”

And I said, “I never skip breakfast. It’s the most important meal! Even when I wasn’t eating I never missed breakfast.”

Lana gaped at me. I realized that, while I don’t really keep it a secret, my quote-unquote eating disorder is not what you’d consider common knowledge. I had already told Chris, although he didn’t know the details, and at some point I had also told Laurie. But me and Lana aren’t incredibly close and I had never wanted to worry her.

“When weren’t you eating?!” I couldn’t believe the look of shock on her face.

I shrugged and tried to laugh it off. Chris and Laurie looked really, really uncomfortable. “You know, for a few weeks last year or so. I’m over it now.”

Then I had to correct myself. “I mean, a couple weeks, in seventh grade.”

Honestly, the details are a little foggy.

I have what I like to call a highly selective memory. I block out bad things or things that I don’t like thinking about. I know that it happened, but I’m honestly not sure around what time or for how long I could really be counted as having a “disorder.”

It started when me and Cara, who had then only recently become friends, started religiously counting our calories the summer after seventh grade. I don’t know if she was trying to lose weight or trying to get healthy or what, but I figured, hey, a thousand is a nice round number! That must be how many calories a person is supposed to eat in a day. After all my problem I had had the past year, I finally had a real best friend! Anything she said, I went along with.

So technically I had a disorder (albeit and accidental one) for a while, it just took a while for the results to show.

Eating disorders are diseases of the mind, not the body. Their symptoms manifest physically, yes, but an eating disorder comes from a place of self-loathing deeper than simply wanting to lose a couple pounds.

No one purposely becomes anorexic, or bulimic, or a binge eater, or any other number of things. It’s not like all eating disorders start the same—I’m probably on the stranger side, what with my misunderstanding of the meaning of calories. But just like a drug addict doesn’t want to be dependent on heroin, a person with an eating disorder doesn’t want to watch their body waste away before their eyes.

I get called thin a lot. And I am thin; it’s not like I have a problem with someone simply stating a fact. What I have a problem with is someone calling me thin as a compliment. In today’s world, everything is about having a tiny waist and big boobs. If you don’t look like that, then, well, you better figure out a way to make yourself look like that because, in the eyes of society, no one is going to want you otherwise.

It’s disgusting, and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do about it.

I hate being called thin as a compliment. The other day I was at a speech and debate tournament. After the tournament we had a pizza party, and I ended up talking to this girl Pat who’s on my team.

She was complaing about how greasy the pizza was, to which I responded that I love pizza grease. If my food comes with grease on it then for god’s sake I’m going to eat the greasy pizza.

She answered, “But you’re so skinny! I would KILL to be able to look like that.”

Ignorance is bliss. Sometimes, I wish I could be so blissfully deluded to think that, yeah, a thousand calories is plenty. Sometimes, I wish that I could still think of eating disorders the way I saw self harm—something that happens rarely, to people that are really, seriously ill.

I wish that I could pretend these things don’t happen. I wish I could keep them from happening to me and to the people I love.

Sometimes I wonder if Chris looks at me and thinks about it. The other day he picked me up and carried me up the stairs and said “Wow, you’re so light!” and I wonder if the thought ever crossed his mind that, yeah, I’ve got a rocking metabolism.

But somewhere down the road, I’ve also spent a few weeks of my life not eating much of anything…except for breakfast.

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4 comments

  1. Personally, I find the idea of “counting calories” and stuff as….a useless measure. Everyone’s body runs differently. Yes, there are certain things that you should not eat in great quantities, because it contains nothing that your body can actually use.

    But I’m small. I’m considered thin (Not by my sister, who sees how “soft” I am muscle-wise. But she is also my sister.) And boy is my appetite weird. I’m friends with an awful lot of big girls. Most of them claim that I’m just as big inside, because I’m not a particularly picky eater. This is why we’re friends; I don’t act like their around to make me look better and I’ll eat whatever is offered. Okay, they wouldn’t care if I was vegan or some shit because that’s my choice. But it’s not one of those “eww, a burger. how fattening” moments.

    But I don’t particularly eat a lot. I cook dinners for my family, and I’ll only eat about half before I put it away for a bit. I just can’t eat more than a kid’s serving or so at a time. And I only run on like, 1,000 calories a day naturally. I might have two meals a day, and some snacks if I feel like I need to nosh on something. Meanwhile, that sister of mine is a bottomless pit, and probably runs on like 3.000 calories a day – while still being thinner and weighing less than me. Both my sister and I are naturally thin, whereas our parents always fought the overweight struggle.

    Naturally, what does your body feel like? How (not what) do you eat? A lot at a time? A little? Do you lean more toward liking veggies and proteins or are you a carb-y sort of person? (My boyfriend loves his carbs. I want veggies and fruits more often than not.)

    Also, fun fact about breakfast! (and more evidence why it’s important) When you awaken, your body starts producing bile in your gallbladder so that you can be prepared to digest when you break your fast. If you don’t do so within about 2 hours of waking, that bile stores up in your gallbladder and you risk it crystallizing and getting gallstones. I am forever yelling at my friends and coworkers to eat breakfast!

    [I’ll stop commenting now I swear. I just like the way you think and I wanna pick your brain]

    1. My eating habits are kind of strange, though they’ve stabilized a lot since writing this post. I don’t bother with tracking my calories at all. I honestly just eat until I’m full, but the amount of food it takes for me to be full varies greatly from day to day which is kind of frustrating and weird.

      There are some days when all I want is carbs, but sometimes I crave vegetables or protein-rich foods, it just depends on whatever nutrients my body needs at the time. I basically just eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Sometimes, I’ll ask for seconds, but sometimes I can barely finish what’s on my plate. Like I said, it varies from day to day.

      My metabolism is lightning fast and I’ve never really understood it, but I can totally pig out without gaining any weight. I don’t count, but on average I probably eat roughly 1500-2000 calories a day, and I weigh in at a whopping 92 lbs (I’m 5’3″). I’ve been at a stable weight for a couple months now. It’s much more important to me to maintain a stable weight, even if that weight is just barely within the healthy range, than to lose or gain weight. Attempting to gain weight never works for me, and I lose weight far too easily. So I basically just try to maintain a stable weight and it’s been working pretty well for me so far.

      Like basically everyone, I find comfort in cookie dough ice cream. I just went through a kinda shitty breakup (actually, it was with Chris, the guy from this post) so I’ve basically been living off of cookie dough ice cream and chai tea for the past two weeks. That’s just what I happen to be craving at the moment and I am able to eat kind of poorly for a while without feeling scared of gaining weight or feeling any guilt. And for me that’s a really great way to feel.

      1. [Sometimes, I forget to check this place.]

        THAT, I think, is exactly the way to do it. Listening to your body is probably the best thing you can do for yourself and your health. Your body knows what it needs when and it will tell you. Eventually (when you’ve stopped puberty and everything insides you settles down) you’ll probably gain a bit more weight to get you to your “natural” weight but I pretty much never go by numbers. The highest I ever was was at 125 (and I’m 5’0″) but I’ve gone back down to about 120 and not because I was trying or anything. People who end up grossly overweight are that way because they stopped listening to what their body says.

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