Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health

copyright © 2006 Betsy L. Angert

Today, I read “Vegetables of Mass Destruction – Obesity Redux” by OrangeClouds115.  The author wrote of food and how it affects us.  S/he spoke of obesity and whether this nation’s current crisis is due to genetics or is a result of marketing, manufacturing, or the manner in which the medical profession works with those afflicted.  This article offered an excellent assessment of a very sad situation.

As did many, I commented in a place or two.  Then I stumbled on an observation by Rees Chapman.  This person’s remarks hit me where I lived, not in the Zone© by Dr. Barry Sears, as the writer mentioned, but in the zone.  My zone encompasses years of struggle, and an ultimate realization, a resolution.  Mine was not one of those you make on New Year’s Day; nor was it one that was left my the wayside.

My resolve lingered; I think it will last for a lifetime.  Actually, I know it will.  In truth, I did not consciously choose to change the way I interacted with food; I did not think I could.  I committed to nothing, I only thought about it, as did Chapman.

I wondered, how does the body store fat, react to self-imposed famine, and by extension to feasts.  I pondered this for years.  I took steps to heed my own warnings.  Still, while seeking success with food, I found none.  Instead, I continued to find solace in my habit, eating.  Nevertheless, when I read the remarks of Rees, I related.  The themes took me back.

They resonated deep within my psyche.  Apparently, Rees Chapman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.  One might think it logical; the words of this professional would reverberate within me.  However, in truth, it was not what this writer said that stimulated this sharing; it was where the words took me. After reading, I reflected.  I decided to write this exposé.

In my own battle with bulge, bulk, and bulimia, traditional therapy did not reap the results I craved.  Treatment did not curb my cycle; though it did form a foundation that was favorable, not with food, but with me, myself, and I.

OrangeClouds115 wrote of the empathy she feels for those that watch their weight and explained that she cannot pretend to understand what it is like for those that do; however, I can.  I have been overweight, fat, and obese.  I have seen super skinny, slim, and slender.  My body has experienced zaftig, buff, and built.  All of these have been my reality over the years of my life.  I yo-yoed, was stable, and still I was not satisfied.

I dieted; and I did not.  Anorexia was my companion; eventually bulimia became my friend.  We were best buds for a very long time. I was obsessed, and yet; I wanted none of it.  Finally, my feeling was, this is my life.  I resigned myself to what I do not seem able to control, my eating.

In the last year or more, I wrote of this, six times thus far.  I offer these links.  Interestingly, until moments ago, I did as bulimics do; I hid the truth.  While my words are out there on the Internet for the world to see, until moments ago, I never included a category called “Bulimia” on my site.  Today, with thanks to OrangeClouds115 and her stimulating essay, that changed.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming© [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge © [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self © [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me © [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight © [Chapter Six]

    On Be-Think, I wrote of food and all its follies, for I had experienced them first hand.  Since I am no longer consumed with my own consumption, I have time to notice what others think, say, do, feel and how they interact with their victuals.  In my earlier writings, I referenced an article on the affects of “Food on the Brain,” By Daniel Fisher, Forbes. January 10, 2005.

    This research piece offered an interesting perspective.  The affects of sugar and trans fatty acids can be as powerful and problematic as alcohol.  I never drank alcohol, not at any age and I was and am thankful for that.  Could you imagine where a choice such as that might have taken me?  I binged and purged on food, endlessly, for hours each day.  If indulged in wine or whiskey as I did with food, what would have become of me?

    A human can forego alcohol; however, food bears a different fascination.  We cannot go without sustenance.  I had to eat to survive and contrary to what some expert espouse, I had no desire to die.  Repeatedly, I wondered, “What am I to do?”  I was so entrenched in my habits.  I recognized the attraction was not purely physical, it was psychological.  Actually, that is what conventional science wants us to believe and I did, for a time, or tried to.  I was like many preoccupied with food, I tasted the basic ingredients, and I ignored the recipe.

    Thinking that the chefs or the clinicians knew what was wrong and what would help, I tried therapy.  I sought out the best of physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists.  Medication was prescribed; however, it might as well have been a placebo.  The cost of the drug was far greater than the rewards.  The expense was huge; the benefits were nil.

    Attempts were made to curb my habit.  I tried, and tried, and cried in vain.  Interventions were attempted.  Tough love had its limits; behavior modifications had more.  Classic caring was helpful; however, it too was not the cure.

    As others do, I blame the food and beverage industries for much of this predicament.  I find the practices of the Food and Drug Administration deplorable.  I believe fast food corporations think more of capitalism than they do of health, food, or services.  Diet book publishers clearly want their pound of flesh.  Archer Daniels Midland the creator and among the many manufacturers of “high fructose corn syrup” must look at their role in America’s weight gain.  Nonetheless, I think these are not fully responsible for our obesity epidemic.

    Yes, there are the schools, the parents, and a term I disdain, “personal accountability” to consider.  Still, for me, these too only hint at what is the deeper problem.  There is the media, the message, and the masses.  We all want to mirror what society teaches us is ideal.  However, I think there is more.

    The physical, the psychological, the physiological, the neurological, chemical reactions, and sociological factors all play a role.  As I read most of the comments posed at Vegetables of Mass Destruction – Obesity Redux, I was overwhelmed.  Many mirrored a philosophy that permeates society, people want short-termed solutions.

    Some asked for recipes, others offered anecdotes.  Numerous persons sought solace at Weight Watchers; all were consumed with weight or the longing for less of it.

    As a former anorexic and bulimic, I was told I was too.  I was not.  I understand how on the surface it seems that way; it looked as though I wanted to be thin and would do anything to achieve that goal.  Nevertheless, I experience that weight was not my “issue.”  I wish it were that simple; I wish that anything were.  However, for me, the problem of obesity is not a weight issue, though it is weighty.  I think it is a question of balance.

    In this treatise, I will share some personal stories, I will, as I do, reference many articles.  However, on a subject such as this I think personal ponderings may be more meaningful.

    I will share my supposition before I plunge into the history of purging.  I have concluded that life is complex.  Eating habits are learned. functions in our families teach us.  Some may surmise it is the dysfunctions; however, I agree with Joe Ancis, The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.”  Therefore, no matter what your family history, it informs your life.  What your folks eat, cook, gobble, and crave helps you to form habits.

    These can be good and, or they can be deadly.  Society also leaves its trail.  Magazines, television, the Internet, and books help to mold “who” we are and who we will become.  The library within our homes is a fertile stomping ground.

    Our relationship with siblings can offer signals to the future.  Our connection to love and loved ones will influence our “destiny.”  In my family, food was a celebration of life; it was never mere nourishment.  When we were happy we ate.  When we were sad, we nibbled.  If we felt lonely, food was a friend.  If others were about, we gorged together.  Food was there through the good times and the bad.  Our cuisine was our comfort.

    Though my grandfather was a chemist and very interested in physiological reactions, he too was human.  He ate his flax seed and drank his Manhattans.  Life in my birth home was inconsistent, as far as food was concerned.

    My Mom was a gourmet cook and enjoyed cooking and baking more than many people do.  We would dine on such savory dishes; however, that was on special occasions.  Normally, life at the dinner table was erratic.  My father ate large steaks; they more than filled the plate.  I noticed this because I thought it disgusting.  I often begged for Chicken Pot Pie, Swanson’s?¢.  I have no idea what my mother or sisters ate.  I was too focused on my own plate.

    During those years, beginning when I was two years of age, I used to sit in the den, and draw on my legs, where I wanted the flesh cut.  I thought I was fat.  Perhaps, having two older sisters influenced my body image.  Possibly, not. when I was two, my sisters were seven and nine years old.  Maybe the media was to blame.

    Even then, I knew that if I lost that weight, I would still be dissatisfied.  I wanted a skeletal transplant, muscles included.  When I looked at the form of my bones and tissue I was displeased.  They were never right.

    Years later, my Mom remarried.  My Dad entered the scene and eating habits changed dramatically.  This was a shock to my system; however, I adjusted.  Now we were a family of connoisseurs.  My Mom had a calendar hanging in the kitchen.  At the beginning of the month, she would fill in the boxes for all thirty or thirty-one days.  She would describe our meals.  On Monday the 1st we might eat a Russian meal, on Tuesday, if could be Italian.  Wednesday dinner  she made a recipe from Germany; Thursday we ate Thai.  On Friday, she felt a need to make an Indian meal and on Saturday or Sunday, well, one never knew.

    We all ate together, we chatted intensely, and the fun filled the room, most of the time.  I hated tomatoes and my Mom grew these each year.  She counted each one she picked.  She kept track of these gems.  There were thousands, every years there were thousands.  My Dad insisted I eat these.  I rebelled.  Often, I ran away from home.  I refused to eat those tomatoes.

    I, as you, can go on about the food, the fabulous entrees, and the family events that surround these.  However, I will stop here and ask you this.  Is it what you eat that is the problem or is the reason you indulge playing a part in your weight?

    For me, I ate well and I did not.  My feelings often governed my choices.  The amount I ate was rarely tied to hunger.  Actually, until I stopped eating all packaged food I never really knew what hunger was.

    I was exposed to very different diets and patterns that bore no similarities.  What was the same was “I.” My life was in balance and out of sorts.  My food choices and the quantities I ate were as well.  Though I long prided myself on coming from a family that was consistent, at least after the second marriage, what was said was done, my habits were inconsistent with my beliefs.

    I believe in the importance of balance and in many parts of my life, I appeared stable and steady.  Surprisingly, I later discovered, few knew.  However, what was inside was not always reflected on the outside or in my choices.

    In both family circumstances, I had developed a love of sugar, trans-fatty acids, grains, and caffeine.  Whether I ate what is classically considered healthy or not, these were my staples.  I trust they would have been had I not chosen bulimia.  Fortunately, for me, my “condition” was so painful. I decided to do research.  I read, and read, and read.  I listened. I talked.  I had a Grandfather that knew chemistry.  He put me on a regime of vitamins and minerals, anything to preserve my health.

    I found friends in my doctors and they trusted my intelligence more than I.  They did what they could to compensate for my purging and knew that I would do more.  I chose to consider the cellular reactions.  I heard Nicholas Perricone and he reminded me of my Grandpop.  He spoke chemistry.  While I was unwilling to eat the wild salmon that he spoke of, since I have been a vegetarian since the age of sixteen, I was willing to make greater changes.

    After years of slow and subtle progressions, after doing a balancing act for so long, after adopting habits that might override my truer patterns, I changed.  Ultimately, my compensation became my routine.

    What I am saying to you is this.  No one can do it for you.  Food is only an aspect of what ails you.  You can read diets, copy recipes, blame the industries, or your ancestors.  Still, what will work for you, must be of your doing.  No one else’s solution will bring you happiness.

    Attend to the details.  Study the Glycemic index.  Eat what “feels good” to your body.  Experiment.  You might try eliminating certain foods and notice how your body reacts.  Tailor a plan that suits your needs.  You might be surprised.  The foods I was most enamored with and never thought I would leave behind, no longer interest me.  They have not for years!

    I do not salivate at the sight of any of the things I once inhaled.  I am not “white-knuckling” my routine.  I never crave candy, cookies, caffeine, or other “sinful” combinations.  I do not feel a need to turn to food for fulfillment, excitement, or joy.  Eating is still a thrill; yet, different.  I wish I could begin to describe what I now experience every minute. Actually, I will.

    I eat and enjoy.  It is not food that gratifies me; it is that I, as I whole, am happy with me.  I relish the food for the health it gives me; I love the way it tastes.  Food is not used to satiate my soul. it provides balance.  A healthy body breeds a healthy heart and mind.  A healthy heart  and mind begets a healthy body.

    For me, once I stopped eating any food that was pre-packaged, everything changed.  I could eat unbelievable quantities with no worry.  Food tasted so amazing.  Weight was not a worry. I realized I had never really known hunger before.  When people would say, “Eat when you are hungry,” I had no idea what they really meant.  I just ate.

    There were meal times.  People prepared for these, spoke of these, spent hours engaging in these.  Food is ubiquitous,  look around.  For years, I did not shop in a typical grocery store; I did not need to.  There was a small market that sold fresh fruits and vegetables daily where I lived.  Now, I live elsewhere and need to go into conventional grocery stores.  I am flabbergasted.  Eliminate the aisles of frozen, boxed, bottled, or canned food and see what is left, little.

    As I often say, we learn habits when we are very, very young before we realize there are other options.  If you worry about obesity, consider alternatives.  You need not do what others are doing.  Be you; seek balance, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.  It might work wonders.

    A Few of The Zillions of References I might offer.  Please, Indulge and Enjoy.

  • UPDATE: What we risk for taste: Trans fats make fast foods delicious but dangerous, By John Fauber. Knight Ridder Tribune May 15, 2006
  • It’s your health, By Helen Bishop MacDonald. Chatelaine. June 2006
  • Food on the Brain, By Daniel Fisher. Forbes. January 10, 2005
  • Grassley renews calls for FDA reform, By Steve Mitchell. ScienceDaily November 18
  • Obesity: Should Food Industry Be Blamed? By Marc Morano. CNSNews.com February 26, 2002
  • The health effects of drinking soda – quotes from the experts, By Mike Adams. NewsTarget Network. January 08, 2005
  • Fast Food Nation. NewsHour. April 4, 2001
  • Top 8 Best Self-Help Nutrition Books About
  • The dangers of female athleticism, By Sarah Karnasiewicz Salon.com
  • Childhood Obesity. Adult On-Set Diabetes. Osteoporosis. Soda Betsy L. Angert. Be-Think
  • Fast Food is Not Fast, Betsy L. Angert. Be-Think
  • EAFUS: A Food Additive Database U. S. Food and Drug Administration. Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition. May 8, 2006
  • Food Additives and Preservatives Megaheart.com
  • Sweet but Not So Innocent? High-Fructose Corn Syrup May Act More Like Fat Than Sugar in the Body, By Sally Squires. Washington Post. Tuesday, March 11, 2003
  • History of Corn Refiners Association Member Companies
  • Farming Is Falling, Effecting Our Food and Families By Betsy L. Angert.  Be-Think
  • Glycemic Index – A new way of looking at carbs  Canadian Diabetes Association. Revised June 2005
  • American Obesity Association
  • Bulimia Nervosa Internet Mental Health
  • Anorexia Nervosa and Other Related Eating Disorders, Incorporated
  • The Official Website of the Glycemic Index and GI Database The University of Sydney
  • How can America end its obesity epidemic? Time Magazine
  • Fast Food, Fat Children CBS News. April 21, 2001
  • Overweight children and obese adults remain a major public health concern News-Medical.Net. Tuesday, 15-Jun-2004
  • Are you supersizing yourself with fast food? By Karen Collins, R.D., MSNBC. January 12, 2006
  • Site of anti-aging expert Nicholas Perricone, M.D. Dr. Perricone
  • Balancing Body Chemistry, By Dr H K Bakhru. PharmaBiz.com. Saturday, October 14, 2000
  • How To Use Fruits and Vegetables To Manage Your Weight Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • International Background on Food Ingredients Food Information Council.  May 2004

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming© [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge © [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self © [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me © [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight © [Chapter Six]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]

    copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

    She has to admit it to herself; there is no denying it, she is “bulimic.”  What does that word really mean?

    She looks it up.  Merriam-Webster offers the etymology of the word “bulimia.”  The word bulimia comes the Greek word, “boulimia” meaning having “great hunger.” Apparently, according to the dictionary, a bulimic has an abnormal and constant craving for food.  That is interesting.  She does not “truly” crave food.  She is consuming ample quantities, quantities that are unimaginable.

    The food she eats in a single day could feed at least eleven adults.  If she “craved food,” would it not follow that eating would satisfy the hunger?  It did not. For food was never the longing.  Food fills the space, the time, and the mind. It was only as a distraction from what she truly craves, a sense of connection, knowledge, and dare she admit it, the yearnings for a sense of wholeness.  These scare her.

    The definition continues; bulimia is a serious eating disorder. “Disorder?”  What does that mean?  If “disorder” means there is a lack of “order,” a messy state of confusion, then she can agree with that.  However, interestingly enough, no one believes her confused.  Others do not see her as puzzled or perplexed.  People often state she has it all together.  At least, it seems so to them.  Yes, she knows what she wants and she asks for it.  She is well aware of her beliefs and opinions and offers these freely.  She is not baffled or bewildered; she seems so in control. Outwardly, she is, and inwardly she is not.

    Yes, she does do as the dictionary declares; she compulsively overeats.  She controls this, sort of. She does buy the food, inhale the provisions, and this pattern never stops.  She chooses it.  She reads on.  The characterization continues. Self-induced vomiting, laxative, or diuretic abuse follows this gorging. She knows that she does nothing to physically bring on the vomiting.  Her habitual well-trained thoughts prompt this action.

    Webster’s states, a bulimic will feel overwhelmed by guilt or depression and she does often feel beleaguered by the ways in which she spends her hours, days, and nights.  This cycle seems so out-of-control and that “reality” brings her down.  Consciously, she would wish to change it.  Intellectually she knows that engaging in these activities causes her such pain, greater pain than she ever felt before.  Yet, change is as all else, easier said then done.  How did this begin and why? She recalls the time and the place; yet, she does not fully understand why it all began, at least not yet.

    Many say that she does as she does, or more correctly, bulimics do as they do, for few know of what she is doing, because they are concerned about their weight.  This is not about weight.  Her weight is not more easily maintained by being bulimic.  Consider nothing more than the volumes of food she eats.  Consider chemistry, physiology, physics, and know that what we consume, eliminated or not, leaves remnants.  All that we engage in leaves a trail; when bulimic, there is a trail of destruction.

    She wants the destruction to end!  Therefore, she reads and researches.  She learns of muscle memory.  She learns of neurology and how behaviors become physical patterns etched into the brain.  She is experiencing these truths.  She surmises if she can stop for days, she can develop a new pattern, the old pattern.  She will be able to eat her food and digest it fully.  Not binging and purging will become her habit again.  It does not. She tries this many times and still . . .

    She wants so much to quit and yet, after so many attempts, she believes that she cannot change.  She continues trying regularly.  There are days and days when she is successful.  She suppresses the urge to purge.  However, on those days, as on every other, food in her belly brings on a seemingly involuntary response.  She can control it for a time.  Nonetheless, ultimately, at some point, she does again flush out the fare, all that she can.

    Experts say, she has a choice; this habit is self-inflicted; she thinks it is and it is not.  They say it is about food; she knows this is not true.  It never was!  They say she does it because she wants to feel in control.  She has never felt so very out-of-control in her life!  Some experts profess that bulimia and anorexia are acts of defiance, indifference, and deep depression and yet, she never felt any of these.  There are those that profess to know that bulimics and anorexics are suicidal; they wish to die and this is their chosen method.

    While it is true she feels her body is dying slowly, death is not her desire; life is.

    She wants to embrace it; she wants joy to fill her void!  Yet, she feels as though, she thinks, this will never happen.  She is not worthy!

    She muses, if only she were a drinker.  According to Webster’s and other sources, bulimia “occurs chiefly in females.”  There is much debate about this and it may or may not be true.  However, she speculates.  What of men?  Do they not feel as she does? Do they frequently indulge in alcohol, binge drinking, because they experience as she does? This, however, is often done socially and considered acceptable.  If only she could do what is acceptable, proper, and appropriate.  She never has or does; She does not fit in once again.

    Her motivation does not even match the dictionary definition of a bulimic. Nor the conventional wisdom and yet, she is a bulimic!

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health
  • The Satiated Stomach, The Study of Food © [Chapter Five]

    copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

    She filled her home with food.  She shopped daily.  Her cupboards were full.  She back-stocked; yet, there was never enough.  What food would tickle her fancy?  Which delicacies would she desire most?  What might she indulge in and would these cause her stomach to bulge, even after she emptied it?

    She studied food, the way it sat in her stomach and the smoothness with which it came up.  Once downed, was she able to bring it all up again?  Would parts linger in her belly?  If the morsels did not come up in full, how long would they remain within?  Would she be able to rid herself of all the food or only portions?  What nutrients would be absorbed and what calories?

    One day she overheard a neighbor speak of bulimia.  Why was this woman discussing this?  The young lady mentioned that bulimics destroy their teeth.  Is that true?  Would she be different?

    She recalled how her habit had almost immediately affected her hair.  She once had very, very, very long hair; it was extremely thick and wavy.  A short time after she started satiating her stomach and then emptying it, she noticed that her hair changed.  It thinned.  It went straight.  She had always wanted thinner and straighter hair, though now that she had it, she realized that it was not as she preferred.  However, it was too late.  She was locked into this habit, or so it seemed.

    She wanted to stop and yet, she did not believe that she could.  She tried.  She cried, though rarely.  The best part of eating endlessly and then throwing-up was that it took time, a lot of time if it were to be done well.  She was a very thorough person; she would do it well.  This left little time for thinking.  Well, that had been her hope.

    It was not true.  She found herself bingeing and purging for hours.  Nonetheless, there was still time.  No matter how many moments were spent focusing on food, there was still time to think.  She thought.

    Initially, the process released her from feeling; however, ultimately, it left her feeling more, more cautious, more fearful, less fulfilled, and less perfect.  Knowing or thinking that she could not stop, oh, that was another feeling.  That feeling never seemed to fade.

    [Chapter Five in a Series.]

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]

    copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

    It began so innocently and it grew so rapidly.  It was a conscious decision in a moment and yet, I never thought that it would become a way of life.  I could not have anticipated what was to come.  Initially it took no effort.  It came so easily; actually, the food came up so easily, smoothly.  Morsels slid in and slid out.  Later, it was a chore, the chore of my life!

    No, vomiting was not difficult.  My throat had become an amusement park for food; however, I was not amused.  I did not want to share this adventure with friends, family, or acquaintances.  I wanted to hide.  I wanted to hide my food, my feelings; I wanted to hide “me!”

    I did not want anyone to know who I was, what I was feeling, or what I was doing.  I was a failure!!!!!  I was not pretty enough, smart enough, successful enough; I was not perfect!  Nonetheless, I survived.  Oh, there were those that said I was wonderful, saw me as smart, even brilliant.  Some believed me to be beautiful, however, they were not “I.”  They did not know the real me.

    They were not in my head, my heart, my body, or my soul and they did not know.  They did not know what I hid.  They could not; I was hiding that from myself.

    [Part Four in an Ongoing Series.]

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]

    copyright © 2004 Betsy L. Angert

    Did she consider what she was creating, what would come of this moment?  Did she consider how a moment, frozen in the cold of the evening would become frozen in time and yet would begin the story of a bulimic?  Did she think through what she was doing or why?  Did she consider how this choice, this coming, this purging would effect her friends, her family, her life and her self?  How would she see herself from this moment on or would she ever be able to see herself again?

    Had she just separated the parts of her life?  Was she now the person that she presents to the public, to people that she passes, or was she now a different person, a person beginning on a path that she could not, would not wish to imagine?  Again she was haunted, although now more deeply, with the questions of “Who is she?”  “What would she become?” and now, there was the additional query, “What had she done?”

    At the time she did not consider what she had done, what she was doing, she just did it!  That evening, she continued walking to her class and indeed; she was so very separate from the whole scenario.  She did not give it a thought.  She, to this day, does not recall thinking of it in depth and detail for quite some time.  She was uncertain as to why she chose to continue doing as she did.  It did not give her pleasure, it did not feel good, and it did not bring her feelings of being better or furthering her desire for betterment.  She continued without conscious awareness for what she had done, for what she was doing, or for what was to come.

    She hesitated, or did she, on the next occasion, the time in which she partook of the same, eating and then throwing it up.  She no longer even thought of whether she felt full, uncomfortable in her clothing, or with her circumstances, she simply did, just as she had done earlier.  In retrospect, she cannot recall, did she throw up her next meal, did days go by, was it only hours?  All she knows is that it continued, endlessly, or so it seemed, for years, and years, and years. 

    How?  When?  Why, and would this process continue on, into infinity?  Once it began, it certainly seemed to.  She was out of control or was it that the cycle was out of control?  Was there a control, a cure, and a consequence for all that ailed her.  She did not know, nor did she even consider the possibilities, the probabilities, the precepts, or the parameters.  She blindly did as she did.  It began with a bit, a bite, and then it became a burgeoning binge, after binge, after binge.

    What was she doing and becoming and why?  Was she so willing to “perfect” this process?  Oh, yes, she was, and she did perfect it.  She began slowly, throwing up her food on the sly, gathering food, hiding food, and hiding what she was doing.  She hid from others, she hid from herself; she was hurting and hurting herself.

    [Chapter Two in a series]

    Please peruse Chapters One through Six, if you choose.

  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]
  • Bulimia. A Bit Becomes a Binge [Chapter Two]
  • Binges Build A Being, Separate From Self [Chapter Three]
  • Hiding the Food. Hiding The Feelings, Hiding Me [Chapter Four]
  • The Satiated Stomach. The Study Of Food [Chapter Five]
  • Bulimia. Wait! It is Not My Weight [Chapter Six]
    Or Similar Discussions . . .

  • When Will I Be Right? Is It Ever Okay To Be Me?
  • Weight. Balancing Fat with Feelings, Habits With Health
  • The Beginning. Bulimia and Becoming [Chapter One]

    copyright © 2004 Betsy L. Angert

    For her, it began one evening, one cold winter evening in Wisconsin. She felt so empty and yet so full. The emptiness was for her future . . . and for her past, her present.  The fullness was a feeling in her stomach, in her heart, in her mind, a fullness experienced through all her feelings.  She was empty; she was full.  Her experiences and emotions left her feeling empty.  Yet, she was filled with food, fear, and thus, the folly began.

    Who was she? Where was she going in life? What of her relationships, past, present, and future? Did these fill her life with meaning and or fill her with fear. She was in her senior year at the University and knew that she had pursued a study that was not her passion, not her desired choice for a profession and yet, she intentionally had chosen this pursuit because the profession that was her truer passion would place her in a situation that was too scary to consider.

    She was not competitive then and she still is not. She shuns and shies away from any such pursuit. The profession that she felt more passion for than the one she pursued was that of her parents. Thankfully, her parents never pushed her; they may have had no idea that she had not chosen her purest passion. For after all, she was passionate about learning. She loved all learning and so it appeared as though she was pursuing her passion, and she was.

    She was pursuing learning. Nonetheless, she knew and she felt empty. Beginning her senior year and knowing or believing that graduation was inevitable, she wondered, “What would she do?” “What would she become?” “Who is she?” and “What had she done?” Then there is the “Why?” of it all.

    She had eaten too much, minutes and hours earlier. She was full, stuffed, and suffering. She needed to prepare for her evening class and yet she was so physically, or was it psychologically uncomfortable, in her clothes, in her commitment, and with her concerns. She did finally dress for the cold and drive to campus. She parked four blocks from her class and began walking the dark streets. She was destined to continue on this path, [or so it seemed.] Was this the path to class, to career, or was it the path to a calamity? Had she chosen this path, the one that she was creating? Had she consciously chosen this or that path?

    She was not comfortable with all the feelings, the food in her now too full stomach, or was it that she was not comfortable with all the food that filled her thoughts. She stopped. She threw it up, the food. Yes, the action was voluntary. The stomach was not reacting to illness; throwing up the food was a totally conscious choice, a decision to eliminate what was bothering her, the feeling of fullness. Now, I ask, was she full of food, or full of fear, or both.

    [Chapter One in a series]

    Please peruse Chapters One through Seven, if you choose . . .