People say that those who have a weight problem are lazy. They say people who eat a lot are greedy and have no respect. Many say they even deserve to die. Some people who read that probably don’t believe it, but many more of you know it to be true because you actually be someone who says it. But what if you met someone who is active and eats a lot? What if they go to the gym for an hour a day? What if they told you they played sports for almost their entire life and on certain teams was actually the star player for several undefeated seasons?
I’m sure you wouldn’t believe them. Hell, it doesn’t sound remotely true at all. But it is. And that person is me. I’m 5’3,clinically diagnosed Bi-polar, and weigh 172lbs. And it’s not because I’m lazy. I lift every day. I do squats all the time. I do cardio 4 times a week. When I swim laps in a pool, I do it for a minimum of 90 minutes. And I was a halfback soccer player for 17 years. I wasn’t always overweight. In fact, only 4 years ago, I weighed 135lbs.
I have an eating disorder. A binge eating disorder. I can out eat every guy I know and probably the guys reading this. I’m sure your laughing. Laugh at this. On August 2nd, 2015, my new fitness trainer told me to eat like I normally do, write it down, and bring it in to our first session. Here are the results:
- 1 entire roast chicken
- Domino’s pan pizza with triple cheese and pepperoni, entire pie minus crust
- One 2 liter Coke
- 1 20oz Coke
- ½ Marie Calender Key Lime Pie
- 3 Cheese coney’s
- 1 Big mac w/ Large fry, Dasani water 16oz.
- 1 Arby’s medium roast beef sandwich
I’ll never forget what my trainer said to me when I brought in the list. “I said write down what you eat in a day, not a week.” I told her that was a day. And she said she couldn’t believe I was the size I was eating like that. And just when she thought it couldn’t get any worse, I told her I tend to eat like that 3-4 times a week for the past 5 years. She then told me to go to the doctor make sure I had no diseases or diabetes or high blood pressure. I went to three for good measure. And all three came back with the same: other than my weight, there was nothing wrong with me. Everything came back normal
At this point, you are either on two sides. You either are completely flabbergasted at the amount I took in or you don’t believe that I really did that. If you are part of the latter group, feel free to discontinue reading at any time.
But for the former, I’ll let you know why I ate like that. If you remember, I mentioned at the beginning that I’m clinically diagnosed as Bi-Polar. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 20 years old, even though I was showing signs at the age of 13. My parents thought I was just moody and would grow out of it, so they didn’t think much of it. And I was very socially awkward. I wasn’t pretty. I’m not white. I don’t have long blonde hair and blue eyes. I had my tonsils taken out when I was 2 which resulted in my having a boring, monotone voice. And I was bullied a lot in high school and college. So how did I cope with the rush of emotions and rages? I turned to food.
At first, it was just an extra Hostess cupcake or a couple stolen fruit roll-ups from atop the refrigerator. No big deal. In high school, no one noticed my food intake. I hid the evidence all over my room. The top of my closet, in between my mattresses, in between the pages of my yearbooks, and when I got a license, I even started hiding the boxes and wrappers in the truck underneath the spare tire. I had no friends at school, no boyfriend, I had a sibling with an addiction to something else, but I had food and music class.
Then college came. I weighed 117 at the time. I thought I was going to start over, be different, be more girlie, and more outgoing. That shit backfired with a quickness. First, I made the mistake of going to an HBCU, which are infamous for hazing, but since I went to a white high school, I didn’t know that. I was hazed so bad by the marching band my first year of college that I lost my academic scholarship because my GPA dropped below a 3.0. I got section leader of the clarinets my second year and all but 3 upperclassmen quit my section because they didn’t want to be under someone who didn’t ‘cross their section’, especially since I was a sophomore. Then I was blamed for one of our graduate assistance being fired for hazing when the band was told to stop doing it. First, I never hazed anyone a day in my life nor would I ever. Second, I had no clue he was still doing it. To this day, I actually have no idea why people blamed me.
But they did. No one talked to me. My section wouldn’t listen to me. The dancers were threatening to jump me and told me to keep my eyes open if I didn’t want my ass beat. The band director’s did nothing. So every day, before band, I had a Burger King Double Whopper with bacon and cheese. And after band, I had a Burger King Double Whopper with bacon and cheese. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, that’s what I had. And when I got home, I ate a box of oatmeal crème pies to help me sleep and study.
I transferred back home. Weight: 130. I even had a boyfriend, for a month. I knew the guy since 6th grade and he always made fun of me for being so ugly and having terrible hair and horrible acne. I ended up asking why he changed his mind and he said I got hot. I asked what he wanted for Valentine’s Day. He said nothing and he wasn’t getting me anything because I didn’t do anything to deserve it. He dumped me 3 days later, the day before Valentine’s Day and a week before my birthday. The night he dumped me was the first time I ate a whole pizza by myself. And I ate a whole pizza every day for 3 weeks straight before adding in multiple burgers and liters of Coke several times a week. My weight didn’t change.
Then I started my intern experience. That’s the moment in my life where I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar. I was having black outs at the internship. Some days I’d be talkative, others I’d have to call off because I really thought I was going to strangle someone. But every day, without fail, I had several burgers or a pizza or 5 cheese conies all washed down with liters upon liters of Coke or Mountain Dew. I almost didn’t graduate because of it. If my supervisor hadn’t recommended me to see a psychiatrist, I probably wouldn’t have graduated. Of course, she never recommended me for anything else. Not like I expected her to.
This is where the weight begins to pile on. I weighed myself the day I graduated. I went from 135 to 147. Really not a big deal. 6 months later, I get a job. A job where I’m told I suck. A lot. A whole lot. Like, a few times a week. And it wasn’t just me. Every staff meeting, we were all told how terrible we were at something. It didn’t matter what it was, they’d find something.
So I ate. I ate a lot. I ate through the job. I ate through the failed relationships. I ate when my ex threw me across the room and injured my shoulder. I ate when I was told I was ugly. I ate when I was told my hair was horrible.
Food food food food.
Food didn’t call me ugly. Food didn’t hurt me. Food didn’t make fun of me. Food didn’t care that I wasn’t tall or that I’m monotone or that no matter what I did at my job, it would never be enough. Food isn’t mean. Food doesn’t forget my birthday. Food doesn’t demand sex. Food doesn’t judge.
Food was my friend. It’s there for me when I need it. It doesn’t leave me. It fills the empty hole that has consumed me for as long as I can remember. It began getting to the point where I bought food just so I could sleep next to it. No, I’m not kidding. I would buy 2 pizzas: 1 to eat and 1 to sleep next to until it started to rot. Or I’d eat a burger and leave the container on the pillow next to me. Sounds gross, but my apartment was impeccable besides my bed. My mom saw it once and offered to clean my bed and wash my sheets and I almost flipped. I thought I was going to have a panic attack at the very thought of the containers and pizza crusts and chicken bones not being there.
Don’t worry. I don’t do this anymore, not since I got my trainer. My highest weight was 183 a month ago and I’m down to 172. I haven’t had a burger in I have no idea how long. I have no desire for pizza. Cake is a turn off. Now I’m craving salads and baked chicken breast and fish and fruits and that’s what I eat.
But I just wanted everyone to know that overeating is not always a result of greed or laziness. While I ate, I went to the gym, I played sports, I ran track, I did marching band, I swam all the time. I wasn’t necessarily trying to out exercise my diet. I just don’t like laying around. I have to be doing something. But when it was time to eat, it was time to EAT. And eat I did.
So next time you judge someone for overeating, find out first why they do it. There’s no excuse why someone eats like that, but there’s always a reason. And yes, there is a difference. I may not be a fat 300lb person (only by the grace of God), but I can eat like one. Every day is a struggle, at least, for me it is. But I’m still going to push back and find some purpose in my life and break my addiction to food.