Lovers & Losers
When I was 17 my boyfriend was in the Army
and stationed in Germany. I'd
met him while he was on leave
and fell madly in love. I had
a nice curvy build and at that
time I was about 36 - 26 - 36.
Nice curves. Busty. I waited months,
writing passionate letters and
telling him I'd wait for him.
After the tearful reunion at the
airport, he turned and whispered
in my ear, "You've gotten
fat." Oh, that was nice.
It was also the first time I'd
seen who he really was. Too bad
I was too dumb to notice.
"You've Gotten Fat,"
said the Food Cop
I had to pretend I was never hungry whenever
he was around, because he'd make
rude comments about how fat I
looked. Because of this we hardly
ever ate out, and even if he stopped
for something to eat, I'd usually
say I didn't want anything and
watch him eat. It was painful
and humiliating and I put up with
up it because I was young and
stupid. Maybe I should have found
a boyfriend that liked curvy women,
but I wasn't thinking straight
at the time.
Get started now:
End Emotional Eating Workshop
It got so that I couldn't wait to get away
from him. If he bought beer, he'd take one
out of a six pack and buy five cans. That
way he could have three and I'd only get
two since I was, yes, "already fat
enough," he said. Besides having a
control problem he was a cheap as they get.
My friends and I started calling him a pretty
rude name behind his back (why don't we
ever listen to our friends?). What a jerk.
Soon I started to obsess about food. Thoughts
of all the things I could eat when he wasn't
around filled my head. It was like having
a secret lover on the side, only mine came
with ketchup on top.
I ate very little from 17 to 19-years old,
and took amphetamines (speed)
to control my appetite. I drank
beer but never ate any food when
we went out, so I guess my primary
food source at that time was hops
and malt barley. I slowly melted
Having a boyfriend who wanted me slender
wasn't the problem. The problem was that
I'd bought into the idea of trying to live
up to someone else's ideals instead of my
own. When I reached 120 lbs (I'm 5'7")
he asked, "Couldn't you just lose five
more pounds?" That was when I realized
it was his problem, not mine.
It shocks me now that I I tried so hard
to please him by starving myself, using
amphetamines, anything to lose weight, and
I was already far too thin for my height.
You Can Too Be Too Slim
I enjoyed being slim, but once I reached
118 lbs my friends started to comment on
how drawn and tired I looked. "Do you
feel all right?" they'd ask. What kind
of fresh Hell was this? I couldn't believe
it. I thought I looked incredible, as I
saw only lovely hip bones, a very flat stomach,
and incredibly thin profile. Plus my boyfriend
wasn't calling my a fat cow anymore. It
was sad, really. I've seen photos of myself
since, and I'm alarmed by how small I was,
yet I thought I looked fat.
It took many years before I finally realized
my day-to-day habits were the problem. It
wasn't a control issue anymore. This boyfriend
was long since out of my life, yet I was
still living as if he had control and I
was trying to win it back. I needed to stop
trying to prove I was in charge and simply
My boyfriend had even bigger issues than
wanting a skinny girlfriend, I just didn't
know it at the time. He preferred slim women.
Very slim. He once showed me a photo of
a woman he thought was very pretty and she
looked like a starving war victim. Her arms
looked like sticks. That's when I finally
understood -- 15 years after our romance
Finally Free and Rapidly
Once he and I finally broke up I was finally
free to eat again, and eat I did. I quickly
gained weight going from a size 9 to about
a size 14+. This was where I hit my weight
plateau, and stayed for a few years. It
was larger than I wanted to be but I couldn't
seem to break my new habit of eating everything
in sight and ordering far more food than
I needed just because I could. Now that
I was free I was feeling more trapped than
At that time my day-to-day existence revolved
around food. My first thoughts when I woke
up were, "What will I eat today?"
I felt a sense of power in being free to
eat whatever I wanted, and how much I wanted.
I can eat whatever I want. And I did. I'd
buy bags of candy, hoards of food. Food
for ten sometimes. I'd make it look like
I was having a party, only I was the only
At the local Chinese restaurant I'd order
dinner for four or even six people. Remember
With Six You Get Egg Rolls? Well,
it's true. The more people ordering, the
more choices of dishes, so I'd happily order
enough for six, bring home two huge bags
of food and dig in. It usually took me two
entire days to polish it all off, but I
could do it, if I tried. I'd heap the plate
as full as I could, then go back for more.
Battered fried shrimp, egg rolls, barbequed
pork, sweet and sour anything. Heavy on
the grease, salt and sugar -- my favorite
McDonalds didn't open until 11:00 AM and
on Saturdays I'd start craving a cheeseburger
and fries by 9:00 AM. It took all my will
power just to wait. Sometimes I'd stop at
the grocery store and stock up on goodies
for "after." Once 11:00 AM finally
rolled around, by then I'd be so hungry
I couldn't decide between the "special
sauce" on the Big Mac or the "quarter
pounder" so I'd order both, one with
fries, one without, so the clerk would think
I was ordering for someone else too. For
a treat, I'd get a milk shake since I remembered
when I was a kid my mom said, "No.
You can't have a milkshake. You won't finish
your food." So what?, I'd think.
Hawaii - Staying Heavy
with Little to Eat
After graduation I moved temporarily to
Hawaii and lived like a beach bum. Money
was scarce as I didn't have a job, so my
grocery splurges were completely curtailed.
In fact, popcorn was a meal, or a can of
soup poured over some steamed rice. I had
no more drug connection, so no more speed
to help keep my appetite at bay, but I don't
recall being particularly hungry. I had
begun listening to my body's true appetite
without realizing it.
When Health Issues Strike
a 20-Year Old
High blood pressure, ringing in ears, no
strength. Finally it all came down to my
crappy health. I was heavy, about 30 or
40 pounds over weight. I had high blood
pressure discovered during a routine exam.
It took all my strength just to make the
walk from the hospital back to my car, up
a steep hill, which obviously the other
patients could manage, why couldn't I? I
was huffing and puffing like it had been
a 10 mile uphill climb, instead of about
two blocks. My ears would burn from the
exertion. I felt like I was dying.
Thanksgiving Day Diet
My moment finally hit me on the eve of
Thanksgiving, 1975. I'd had enough of lugging
the extra weight everywhere I went. I was
tried of saying I was unhappy with my body
but not doing anything to change it. I
decided that day, from that day forward,
that I would not eat unless I was hungry,
and I would stop when I was full. Period.
That was the plan. I had my new diet.
The next day was Thanksgiving. I didn't
despair over the injustice of
it all -- on the contrary, I considered
all the food choices and chose
the foods I wanted. I took small
amounts, and didn't overload my
plate. I knew I could have more,
if I wanted. I kept repeating
to myself, I can have more later,
if I want it. I ate slowly, chewing,
savoring each bite. I tasted my
food, and watched others gulping
theirs like it was their last
meal. I enjoyed that food like
I hadn't in a very long time and
realized that this was how normal
When I finished the first plate, I realized
I was quite comfortable. I could have eaten
more, but I didn't need or want more. I
felt very satisfied. I pushed my plate back
and decided I wasn't going to have seconds.
What a revelation! No one noticed, or cared.
No one asked what was wrong, or why didn't
I want more? It was so freeing to be in
control, and there was no pressure to overeat
from anyone else. I'd always had the power,
I just hadn't realized it.
I had dessert that day. There were several
pies to choose from, and usually I'd had
some of them all, maybe a few cookies, some
fudge, whatever there was, I'd have some.
This day I chose what I wanted and ate it,
not finishing it all, as I realized I was
becoming over full. I left dinner that day
feeling wonderful. Not deprived. I thought,
this is only a turkey dinner, not something
I couldn't have again. I can cook a turkey
dinner any time I want.
Discovering the Non-Diet
After that day I continued to eat in this
manner and over the next few months I melted
to my natural size, about a 10, somewhere
around 130 135 lbs. My reading in
books such as Breaking Free From Compulsive
Eating taught me that weight wasn't
as important as size, so I was no longer
weighing myself, instead paying attention
to how I looked and how I felt. How my clothes
felt. How I really was.
I read and studied everything I could find
on eating disorders. I attended
workshops on bulimia and anorexia.
But that's not the end of the
story. I still hadn't discovered
my true passion.