I wondered how they did it. How they could skip meals and fast for days at a time without no one taking notice. I thought it was ridiculous, won’t their parents notice, what about their friends and teachers, anybody.
Nobody does, you know why.
I’m a liar, compulsive liar. I got so good at lying, and pretending that it eventually become second nature, I’ll do it without thinking. Now, in recovery I do it and I don’t even notice.
I don’t understand. I never did. How a person could let themselves get that far, how could they let that happen to them. How could their family and friends allow it to happen.
As I’m on the other end of the line I can see how. As a recovering anorexic I struggle everyday in being honest with my family and myself, and in staying focused on my goal.
During the early stages of anorexia my family and friends told me I was getting skinny, I would brush the off and tell them I was eating, I was just losing a couple of kilos, nothing to worry about. Later on when mum noticed I wasn’t eating enough she would watch me eat, but I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve.
Sure, I’ll eat breakfast. A quarter cup of oats every morning for six month, then 2 weet-bix, water, no sugar, cereal without milk measured to the gram, 2 plain slices of bread with slice of vegetarian deli slices if they were around and the bread was low calories.
I knew my way around food, which was safe, which was not, what brands had the lowest calories, I could eye ball the amount of food I was eating and estimate the calories, lunch wasn’t higher that 500, dinner 200 same as breakfast. I had a calorie limit of 800 calories a day, if I ate more in one day I’ll cut it out of my next day’s food. If we were going out for dinner I’ll skip lunch and breakfast all together, do a water fast so I could eat at dinner and not feel guilty.
My family saw hints here and there but I don’t think they ever really realized what was happening.
When we traveled to Malaysia in May 2012, I got worse. We would eat take out a lot, and take out equals calories, to make up for it I would skip meals, If we were going out for dinner I would fast the whole day, and pretend to eat in my room.
I would look up the calorie content of the restaurants or the takeout we would order and choose the lowest calorie food and work my day around the meals.
Once we went to a restaurant and I fasted the whole day just so I could have a meal and pretended I was eating.
It was around this time that my parents noticed how thin I was getting and insisted I eat. So eat I did.
Breakfast: wake up early; pour cereal in bowl some milk. Throw it out.
Bread crumbs on plate, cheese smeared on knife. Done.
I ate didn’t I, the evidence is right there.
Lunch: this was a meal I was watched with if I got ‘lucky’ I was allowed to eat in my room or if no one was looking, I’d put my food back or throw it in the trash.
Dinner: I’ll have my 150 cal worth of bread, I’m not hungry had a big lunch.
I would find excuses to not go out and eat. They probably have nothing vegetarian, or I’m too tired. I woke up early.
At some point my dad brought dates and milk and made me eat 7 dates a day with a glass of milk. I would take the dates to my room or sit in a corner of the house and pretend to eat them, by pretending I mean I would put the date to my lips then stuff them in my bra, go to the kitchen and put them back in the box. I would bring the glass of milk to my mouth keep it closed and ‘drink’ milk; I would later pour it down the sink.
I lied, threw away, and hid my food.
Now I understand how they do it, how they can fast for days in a row, skip meals and pretend everything is normal.
This isn’t easy, it actually quite hard, you always have to be on your toes and worrying, looking out for anything odd or new that will jeopardize your food plan.
I apologize to my family and friends who I have lied to and hid things from.
I’m sorry I hurt you and made you worry, whilst hurting myself in the process.
Forgive me oh Allah, for I have harmed this amana, this body that you have blessed me with.