I’ve struggled with body issues for longer now than I haven’t. I remember there being a time – around 8 or so – where I still scampered about in the blissful ignorance of the here and now, a roly poly butterball in hairy legs and lycra bike shorts. At 8, I didn’t yet realize that my body ‘belonged’ to society.
At 12, I was still covered in puppy fat but I had already begun to understand this meant I wasn’t as worthwhile as all the naturally thin, athletic girls around me. How could I ask anyone to love me when I was so repulsively unattractive? I put myself on a punishing diet; everything became about the limited calories I allowed myself to eat, and the rigorous order in which I could eat them.
A 100 calorie yoghurt for breakfast at 8am. Walk the 30 minutes to school. Diet coke for lunch, and nothing else. Walk the 30 minutes home. Force myself to do 30 minutes of exercises before allowing myself ‘lunch’ at 5pm, which was 4 ryvita crackers with a scrap of jam on them. Dinner at 8pm, eat half of it. Lie in bed at night with my hand on my stomach, enjoying the feeling of hip bones growing more prominent daily.