When most people think of anorexia, they think of those people with distorted body images who restrict their food intake to the point of starvation. This disorder has wide ranging consequences and is terribly difficult to overcome.
I can reassure you that I don’t have that kind of anorexia. I love food, I love eating, and, except for when I was much younger, I’ve never much believed in dieting. Eating thoughtfully and healthfully, maybe, but not dieting.
But right now, I am anorexic in the medical sense of the word, i.e., I’ve lost my appetite. It’s a strange sensation and one that arises only when I’m really sick. During my hospital stay, I was not allowed to eat for a few days, and the doctor advised me to reintroduce solid foods slowly to give my body time to heal. Also, I felt pretty sick after I ate, so I lost an interest in food. I know, anyone who knows me would find this particular turn of events unfathomable.
I hate that I celebrate the few lbs. I’ve lost through this ordeal, as if that’s an accomplishment. I’d say I can fit into my skinny jeans, but I can’t since I don’t have skinny jeans; I gave those away long ago so a skinny person could wear them. But I can see my body shrinking before my eyes and I can understand the appeal of intentionally restricting calories. And I’ve heard many people revel in the few lbs. they lost when they got the flu.
I think about how eating disorders develop, how they give a false sense of control to people who feel they don’t have much control at all. I’d sure love to feel in control right now, I’ll admit, since finding out I have a few new disconcerting problems with my health that need to be followed up on. But lots of things happen in our lives that we can’t control, and we have to find ways to face those things head on rather than harming ourselves through disordered eating.
I’ve been testing out this slippery slope all week. A few more days of underconsumption and all my clothes will be loose. Why not stick with this for a few days longer? Because I know it’s not good for me. My body is tolerating food again, so each day, I’m trying to eat a bit more. I know I need to eat to get well.
Thankfully, my unhealthy fantasies of continued weight loss were interrupted this past weekend by yet another unexpected gift of a low-sodium multi course feast from our friends, the Groovies. Couldn’t very well let all that delectable food go to waste, could I? That would be rude!
To my relief, J. has been eating the delectable spoils too. She develops sympathetic anorexia when I can’t eat, and trust me, she has no weight to lose. Jelly, on the other hand, is unwavering in her devotion to her kibble. Imagine eating the same food every meal–just the thought of that is enough to make me lose my appetite. But not for long, don’t worry.