“How did it all start?” I get some form of that question a lot, referring to the onset of my struggle with anorexia. My relationship with food has always been turbulent, like a wide flowing river, twisting and turning through compulsion and ease, restriction and moderation. But there are moments that that stick out clear and bright, moments I wish had come with a flashing neon sign that said “Beware! Danger Ahead!” Not that I would have paid any attention.
“Hey Sher, my dad asked me casually one afternoon when my youngest son, Brennan, was six months old, “when are you planning on losing the rest of that weight?” We were standing my kitchen while I was slicing strawberries and with his question my fingers froze, mid slice, crap he said it.
I grew up with my dad’s constant comments about my weight, and everyone else's weight for that matter. I was used to it (recall the potato sack comment mentioned in post March 18, 2019, In My Genes), so the fact his question hit me with such force on that particular day has been the topic for many therapy sessions over the years.
“Oh, I think I’ll lose about ten more,” I answered him much more casually than I felt, as if I hadn’t really thought about it, although in actuality I thought about it every day. “I’m working on it.” Shit, my dad thinks I’m fat. That’s what I heard anyway.
That’s the thing. I HAD been working on it. At two years old Dylan was in a playschool a few
mornings a week and I couldn’t keep my mom and grandma away from Brennan, a cherubic, joyful easy going baby. The luxury of “me” time was always just a phone call away. Time to hit the gym, go to the grocery store without the distractions of little “I wants” and “gimme those “, and time to cook healthy, well planned meals. I took advantage of it. I had amped up the intensity of my exercise routine soon after Brennan was born, adding some strength training to my Stairmaster routine. I bought a double jogger and started pushing BOTH boys around the hills of my neighborhood (with Zoey-dog still trotting along). It felt like enough. Yes, I did want to lose those last ten pounds but I was wearing sweats all day and singling Yellow Submarine while bribing a toddler with M&M’s to poop on a potty. My appearance took a backseat to Play-Doh, park swings and finger paints, and without those flat front Gianni’s calling my name, I found I was able to chill out a little on the weight loss timeline that plagued me after Dylan's birth two plus years earlier.
Until my dad's question. Granted, it was a dick question to ask, but I wonder, had I not already been feeling uneasy about my weight would it have impacted me so much? Maybe my dad was just asking the question I was already asking myself. Was I going to lose the weight? It had been six months so, why hadn’t I? Regardless, the river was raging again, and any hope of finding ease and moderation went straight out the window.