This post deals with eating disorders and might be triggering for some readers.
Today, when I stepped on the scale, the read-out was lower than it was six months ago.
The knowledge at once energises and horrifies me.
My relationship with my body over the last three decades hasn’t exactly been healthy.
Watch: Kasey Chambers on what it’s like to have an eating disorder. Post continues below.
I’ve lived most of my life paradoxically both believing I was fat and in denial that I might be fat. I would refuse to be seen in a bathing suit while at the same time wearing clothes that were too small because I couldn’t take the psychological torture of going up a size.
My relationship with food hasn’t been that hot, either. I’ve been through countless weight-loss cycles. Each time, I felt a quick shot of confidence early on, when my face started to slim and my jeans began to fit better. Eventually, though, the honeymoon wore off.
Frustrated I couldn’t seem to attain my idealised body as quickly as I’d hoped, I sabotaged my progress time after time by bingeing. After my transgression, I’d bury the familiar and unwelcome guilt under a burrito or a slice of tiramisu. And then another. And another.
The negative self-talk would inevitably follow, playing on repeat in my brain and setting me off on a long downward spiral of denial, despair, and binge after binge.
I can’t do it. It’s not worth it. I’m a failure.
It became my self-destructive mantra and, time after time, it managed to roll back every advance I’d made.
I am not a failure; I have an eating disorder.
It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I realised I actually suffer from an eating disorder. Knowing this one fact turned my search for a way to lose weight into a search for a way to improve my relationship with food.
For my particular eating disorder in my particular body, the two go hand in hand, but the kind of help I needed to learn about and begin to recover from my eating disorder turned out to be vastly different from the kind of help I’d sought in previous attempts to lose weight.