Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The One About My Weight

Pin It The other day I ran into a friend at the neighborhood park.  We were chatting about this and that and the other and then she asked me how my 5K training was coming along.

I hesitated for a second, trying to decide what to tell her about it and she rolled her eyes and said, "It's o.k. Sue. Not everyone is meant to be an athlete.  You don't have to pretend you're training for a marathon just because everyone else in the neighborhood is. Nobody's going to think any less of you."

I didn't really respond, just sort of hemmed and hawed and changed the subject, but I've been thinking about it for days now, and here is what I wish I would've told her:

When I was a young teen, I was chubby.  Not tremendously fat, but chubby, as you can see in my picture on the last post.

When I was 14, I discovered the magic of vomiting up my over-indulgence.

I'd never really heard about "bulimia" other than in movies-of-the-week, and I didn't self-identify as a bulimic, mostly because in my mind what I had wasn't a disorder but rather a Magical Cure.  (Besides, everyone else was doing it - why should I be the only girl not benefiting from the beauty of the binge-and-purge?) (Seriously, interview ten mormon women and I bet you'll find that half of them have had an eating disorder at some point in their lives.  We don't drink, smoke or have sex before marriage, but MAN do we ever love a brownie.  Mine is not a unique story.)

Once I got the hang of the whole vomiting-on-demand deal, I chucked my tiny bottle of ipecac syrup (I cannot eat anything butterscotch flavored to this day) and enthusiastically embraced my new weight loss solution - only instead of getting skinnier, I got FATTER, because I would just eat MORE, thinking I would toss it up later.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I didn't really LIKE doing that, so I would procrastinate, and procrastinate and procrastinate until I'd digested most of it anyway and was basically throwing up remnants and bile.  (I KNOW - GROSS.  ALSO TMI.  Sorry.)  I was a lazy bulimic, in other words.  An underachiever in the eating disorder world.

It would go in waves and cycles - I would get serious about bulimia, throw up several times a day, lose 20 pounds, start to get attention from boys (who were, after all, the only valid reason to feel good about yourself) and then as soon as I felt happy and secure and accepted, I would stop throwing up and promptly gain it all back. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I worked in a yogurt shop and I would eat and eat and eat all of the frozen yogurt I wanted, periodically running to the employee bathroom to throw it all up.  I would drag home after a long shift, exhausted and sick, feeling like I was out of control but not sure how to stop it or if I even wanted to stop it.

When I met my husband I stopped, not because I got therapy or got over it, but because I didn't want him to know about my disgusting little problem. I promptly gained about seven billion pounds - but he did too - so yes, we were letting ourselves go - but we were doing it TOGETHER.

Like bonding, but grosser.

I eventually told him about it, about how at my worst I was throwing up four or five times per day. About how I was scared I would end up like Terri Schiavo. He was supportive and understanding and from then on I could tell he was sort of monitoring my time in the bathroom to make sure all was well, and in some weird way this was comforting to me.

I haven't been an active bulimic in almost fifteen years. I've managed to stay mostly away from those behaviors, although whenever I start dieting I start getting a little crazy-town in my attitude toward food and the temptation rears it's ugly head again.  I'll go through phases where I'll lose thirty or forty pounds and feel myself sliding back into eating disorder insanity. "Sure, I only ate 1200 calories today, but if I throw up it'll be like I only ate 600."  After a while I get completely freaked out about it and start feeling so out of control that I just give up the dieting efforts and resume eating whatever I want. (And resume gaining weight, usually at an even faster pace than before.)

I'm lucky that my husband has never pressured me about my weight, even during the times (like now) when he is physically fit and healthy, running miles every day and shrinking down to this skinny man I hardly recognize.  He's always understood how hard it is for me, how strict dieting and the inevitable cheating spells that come with it trigger urges to become one with the toilet.

Even now, whenever I find myself alone in the house, my first instinct is to run for the cupboard to see what I can snarf down before everyone gets back home - as though I'm doing something naughty - as though I'm GETTING AWAY with something, just because nobody can see me eating.  I realize this makes no logical sense - I'm sure people who have normal relationships with food will never in a million years understand it. I used to dream about figuring out how to permanently damage my taste buds so that nothing would taste good - that sounded like freedom to me. (Still does.)

What I need to do is stop worrying so much about food and dedicate myself to lots and lots of physical activity. I used to ski and rollerblade and walk all over the place.  I was running until I started the migraine inducing HCG diet, and now I'm trying to ease back into it, but running a mile-and-a-half every other day doesn't exactly peel off the weight - or make my issues disappear.

I know a lot of people who are dieting in prep for CBC and BlogHer, who want to look like Themselves But Better, and I will probably do it too.  But I also know that I probably won't be all that successful, that I will probably always struggle with this issue, that the odds of me showing up to BlogHer in a size ten are something approaching nil.

The fat acceptance people (and maybe even some of my friends) would have me stop trying, so that I would stop making what surely seem like fruitless efforts. They would have me try to be at peace with my current size and appearance - but I just can't do that.  I can't give up.  I'm NOT o.k. with how I look and feel physically.  I'm NOT o.k. with setting this example for my kids. I DO like myself, I think I'm pretty nifty in a lot of ways, but  - not this part.  What else can I do but continue to try?

So if you see me out somewhere, and I mention that I'm (STILL) working on running a 5K, please try not to roll your eyes. You may not see the results written on my frame yet, but that doesn't mean I'm not trying.

I am trying.  And I'll keep trying.

Just watch.


  1. Sue, thank you for posting this. Really. It meant a lot to me.

    I am bulimic and I am trying so hard to get over this. It's stupid how I started, thinking that I'd be able to quit. And now I am trying to quit, and it's so, so hard. It really means a lot to know that there are other awesome LDS women who struggled/are struggling with this. Thank you.

    I have a blog chronicling my issues right now at http://memoirofacheeseburger.blogspot.com if you want to check it out.

  2. I decided yesterday to sign up for Weight Watchers. I haven't done it yet.. I know this is crazy but since it's $40 a month I want to pray about it. Everyone says it works and keeps the weight off, which crazy diets don't do. I have PCOS which makes my hormones out of control. It's not going to be easy. At all. And I have health problems that keep me from being able to stand or walk for very long. I'm sick of the weight though, I don't feel like I look like me! I can't even find clothes that fit me in some stores. I'm single, I feel unattractive, and I'm not getting attention from guys. Etc. I'm here with you. I am hoping eating well and adding exercise here and there will help

  3. I love the refreshing honesty of this post.

    I like to run, and other runners can always appreciate the effort it takes to get out there, no matter the speed or distance. It's the people who don't run who might comment (but they don't run, so they don't get to have an opinion).

  4. Thanks for this. I could have written this post myself, only for me it was more the not eating, than the throwing up (fifteen years ago). It's true that people with a normal relationship to food will never fully understand how crazy-making a simple diet can be to someone with food dependency issues...

  5. I SO get the hurrying to snarf something down and get away with it thing - I mean, I have Butterfinger Eggs hidden in my underwear drawer (you know so my husband won't know of my affair with the chocolate).

    I have no doubt you'll do the 5K, way to go!

  6. I tried to throw up once (it seems like it would be such a simple solution) but I am not an easy throw-upper, so it didn't get off the ground.

    I love what Jennifer at Conversion Diary has written about what she calls the Saint Diet. Here's a post abt her realizations while pregnant (which, I know you're not, but I think it's an excellent mindset all the time): http://www.conversiondiary.com/2008/12/saint-diet-some-thoughts-on-food-and.html

    What I love best: "But, at 28 weeks pregnant, this time my motivation can't be weight loss. I have to want to change my diet for the impact it will have on my health (and by extension the baby's health) and my spiritual life, and nothing else."

    Substitute for "baby's health" the "kids' health as they see my example."

    I can't say the word fat anymore, bec. of my horror of hearing it out of one of my daughters' mouths.

    (I hope this doesn't sound like simplistic or condescending advice. I struggle often to balance this. But I think pregnancy helps -- it reminds you that your body is made for something more than looks, and that nutrition and exercise are important for health and mentally feeling good, not for losing weight.)

  7. I really admire your honesty in this post, I'm sure it wasn't easy to put out there. I wish I could say something totally encouraging and comforting and inspiring, but I will admit I'm not quite sure what the best thing to say would be. I can completely relate to being uncomfortable in your own skin. I feel the same way on a regular basis. It's wonderful though that your husband is loving and accepting, and you're right, you are pretty darn nifty in so many ways. I hope you are able to strike a balance that allows you to feel in control and love the way you look, too. I'm sure you can get there. The fact that you are trying is awesome. Good luck!

  8. I was always one of those hateful people who could eat anything she wanted and still be skinny. Then I turned 40. Sheez--I can't eat anything without gaining weight. I don't know how to diet and I don't know how to cope with my stressful life without sugar and fat (the food kind, not the love handles kind). I so empathize (now) with people who have had to struggle with this particular trial most of their lives. I do find that staying away from wheat helps b/c it makes most women bloat. I can get rid of, ahem, waste products more easily if I am not bloated and I look slimmer than the scale says I am. It's pretty good for the psyche. Too bad about it being the staff of life and all . . .

  9. Okay.
    This is the best thing you've written in months. I hesitate to say that, because you didn't write this for your audience. YOu didn't write it to be funny. Or clever. Or engaging. You wrote straight from (forgive me) the hip. Hard to do when you know you do have an audience, and you want to keep them.

    When I was young, I toyed with that idea - throwing up something you'd eaten (and enjoyed - until you realized that there were going to be consequences). I don't know what made me not do it. Dumb luck. Laziness. I don't know. But I didn't.

    In my mom's family - well, and to some extent, in my dad's - there are some gigantic people. My grandmother clocked in at over 300. Or at least, I think she did. My genes do not handle the sugar/insulin/cholesterol/fat storage thing well. My brother in law puts it down to an efficient metabolism - it doesn't over burn. It uses and then stores.

    Anyway, I fight this fight every day. I put on 60 pounds with my first pregnancy. I nursed off more than I had gained. THat little bit of genetic over-wiring, I appreciated. Right now, I feel like the Pillsbury Doughboy stuffed into my size 8 jeans. No matter how small I may get from time to time, I'm always kinetic energy. And I never love the way I look. ONly after those nursing bouts. Which is honestly part of the reason I decided to have my last baby. How low is that?

    We are too much in the body, Sue. Too, too much. It's a flipping machine. A bio/electro/chemical vehicle. That's all it is. With an operating system all its own (which is good, can you imagine having to remember to make your heart beat?) It also has a basic program called "the natural man." This program says "Me first - at all costs" and it is as much a paradox as the situation in Eden was.

    Because when I put me first, I lose everything that is most important to me.

    Somehow, your body - and probably, you cut some HUGE electrical paths in your brain when you did that for so long - you invented involuntary reflexes for your program, and it remembers them even now. Your body has a stronger response right now to its own perceived needs than it has to the spirit who is supposed to be driving it. LIke a horse with the bit in its teeth. You are hanging on, doing what you can. And you are telling it no. But you are not yet the alpha.

    You should NOT be at peace with a body that is putting a strain on heart and liver. And you should NOT become totally athletically oriented. You can't. YOu're a mother, and that's first. What you need to do is simply eat right. Enough protein. Enough veg. And not too much of either. Your kids will want you around for their kids, and you won't be if you don't kick that operating system in the backside, because you very well might die of heart disease when you're my age. Alzheimer's, too, now is tied to bodies that store too much.

    The point is - it's along the lines of, "Be still and know that I am God." Here the "BE STILL!!!!!" part? Because you aren't right now. You haven't been for a while. You need a time out. Five minutes. Five minutes to let the drive spin down. And then you need to breathe. What you need to come to peace with is your lovely and elegant eternal self. The one that is so bright, and wishes so much to be useful. The earth has hidden you from yourself. Maybe you, like all of us, just need a few moments to remember who you are.

    You can keep your hands away from the treats (and the kids don't need them either), and the treats away from your mouth, but that's just treating the symptoms. Look into your own eyes, baby. And you don't need to print this one, either. I always write too much, and too cheekily. We just need to talk.

  10. Melissa S.12:45 PM

    Thanks for such an honest and frank post. I think if you were to approach any woman, no matter what her weight, you would find that she's struggled with self-esteem and weight issues.

    I was always thin as a teenager, but after I went through some very difficult times I developed anorexia. I didn't do it to lose weight. The thought of food just made me feel like throwing-up, so I did what made sense - I stopped eating. I had to force myself to eat a few bites of something to keep from fainting everyday. When my size 2 pants started to slip off of my thin frame, I knew something was wrong, yet I was happy about it. No one noticed my problem, not even my once anorexic mom. I thought that even though everything else is wrong, at least I was thin. At least I had something other girls could be jealous of.

    I somehow got through that sickness on my own, to this day I don't know how, but I still struggle with it. I'm no longer my super thin teenage self and I still battle to lose weight in a healthy way. I could almost argue that eating disorders are genetic, but I think they a learned behavior. I learned it from my mom when I was very young, even if I didn't realize it at the time. We are all together in this though, and that makes me feel stronger.

  11. Okay. I have issues. I'm so proud of you for posting this. But the issue I have is that why in the world are women dieting for CBC and BlogHer? That is freaking ridiculous! I, for one, wouldn't even know if they had lost 10 pounds or a hundred pounds, and they shouldn't care either!

    I might buy a new shirt. But diet for a blogger conference? Heck no!

    Maybe new shoes, too, if we have the money.

    I applaud you for putting it out there. There are so many of us with issues that we struggle with, and feel alone and worthless because of it.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. You are so honest, Sue. I really admire that about you. I must admit that I don't relate much to this issue... not because I've always been super duper skinny and fit (or am now), but because even when I was a little chubbier I didn't really form unhealthy relationships with food. I just ate too much crap, but it wasn't really emotional.

    So forgive me for giving anything resembling advice when I haven't been in your shoes, but I'd like to share a little something. I have found that it is SO SO SO SO much easier to eat healthy most of the time if my motivation is my health instead of my size. Losing weight was just a natural outcome of that, instead of the goal.

    And I can't recommend Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman highly enough. It is amazingly motivating. I love his 90/10 idea. Basically if 90% of your diet is whole plant based foods, the other 10 percent can be whatever you want. I am all about indulging with that 10%...or more some days. :-)

    Hugs to you, Sue! I think you are incredibly "nifty". :-)

  13. I get it, honey. Email me anytime. And try to remember - the issue isn't about weight, or exercise - it's about how you feel about yourself and how you use food (and exercise and such) to cover that up.

    Weight Watcher's was good for me, in a way, because it freed me up from all the value judgments I was attaching to eating and exercising and all. A point is a point is a point - an apple is an apple, a brownie is just a brownie, neither is a reflection of how I feel or how I look. Because those of us recovering from food disorders have such a messed-up relationship with our own hunger signals and with our own bodies (most of us binge-ers/bulemics/anorexics actually have no idea what we really look like), using an external metric such as the Weight Watchers point system is the only useful guideline we have to know when we have eaten the right amount for our body size. I used to think that was normal; but someone recently made me aware that "normal" people don't have this problem!

  14. This is going to sound ridiculous but I'm sort of bawling right now.

    I never had an eating disorder because I couldn't give up food enough, not even to purge it. I'm pathetic.

    But what I relate to is the fact that I have come to terms that I will always have to work out, I will ALWAYS have to watch what I put in my mouth. I will always look for the next trend.

    Mý body seems to love the fat, it's very selfish with it.

    I hope someday when I get to a weight normal for my height that I will love my body more but I don't see that happening, like you, I don't want my kids to learn their body image from me. So I decided to do something about it.

    Wash. Lather. Rinse. Thing...I get it. It's a continuous cycle.

    Here's a quote I love, "Your Goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality." Ralph Marston


    "Your never beaten until you admit it." George S. Patton

    Or just go with this: "If nature had intended our skeletons to be visible it would have put them on the outside of our bodies. Elmer Rice

    Love ya girl! Great post!

  15. We have much in common with this post. Not only the same type of eating disorder past, but also the part where you can't accept yourself where you are now.

    For me, it's because where I am now doesn't feel like me. It feels like I'm trapped inside myself, hating the stuff that's holding me prisoner.

    Yet I'm doing better lately. Not only because I've lost some weight (though I'm well over 200 still) but because I feel in control. I'm exercising, watching what I eat. Bulimia was all about control, and body image. I had the body image problems of an anorexic, and the bulimia. When I feel even a little in control of my life I feel myself coming back.

    I love the honesty of your post. And when I get to meet you in person, I promise I won't laugh at your running plans. Well, as long as you don't laugh at mine! ;)

    You're a special gal, Sue. :) I've been thinking a lot about the weight loss journey and the whole "starting over" thing. You might want to read my latest post on that. It could give you something to think about.

  16. Thanks for sharing this.
    I get it.
    And I can't eat ice cream to this day.
    I am just now starting to "diet" in a healthy way (first time in my life) including exercise. Slow and steady. Do I still get all up in my head about it? Yeah.
    A little late in the game, but I'm doing it for myself, my husband, my children...I want to be around for awhile.

  17. Sue, you CAN do it. And you WILL.

    Hugs comin' your way...

  18. I was very thin--like VERY thin--until I got married, and somehow the words "I do" (or "yes" in my case) shot 10 pounds instantly onto my frame...and they just kept coming. I hate it because I'm short, so even though I don't actually weigh that much, it looks like I do because I'm only five feet tall. And I'm not okay with that either. I hate being overweight. HATE it. But I'm too lazy and self-indulgent (and have ZERO will power) to lose it. So I guess I'll stay this way until the resurrection.

  19. Thanks for your honesty. The funny thing is- is no matter what size, most women complain about their weight. Why can't we ever be happy?? We could all get together and talk about it, over; coffee, no, tea, no, oh, a diet coke. Even though, when I stopped drinking diet coke, I lost 10 lbs. over a few weeks.

  20. Sue, running is hard. And even when you get good at it, it's still hard. It's hard to get up and get moving, and runners know that better than anybody. So don't beat yourself up---every runner goes through waves of being in shape and then, um, not so much.

    I can not emphasize enough, however, that you need a running partner. You need to TELL somebody that you are going to meet them at a certain time, because nothing will get you out there like having somebody waiting on you. Trust me, it works. There is NO WAY I would go running by myself. I just don't have the motivation. I even hate running on a treadmill by myself--I'd much rather do a class at the gym with other people than run by myself. Plus, running with other people makes you push yourself beyond what you will do alone. The embarrassment factor and pride alone will carry you much farther than self discipline will. Or maybe that's just me?:)

    Pick somebody who is in slightly better shape than you are, and ask them to go run/walk with you. Running with a group or a partner is also a good way to bond. My favorite people in the world are the women I run with. We've shared some pretty intense stuff on the trail. Also, sign up for a race, which means PAY THE MONEY for it. It's really hard to blow off a race you've paid for.

  21. Diana H.1:56 PM

    Thanks for the always honest posts. I love you.

    I think we can all relate to having body issues. When the women I work with get together in the break room for lunch it is awful. They all agonize over what they are eating and how much they excercised that morning or when they are going to the gym. And these women are thin and fit. Some of them run MARATHONS, but they still obsess over food (WTF?). I avoid the lunchroom like the plague.
    After a recent visit to the MD with the girls, the doc said we all need to go on the God diet. If God didn't make it, we shouldn't eat it. So we are trying. I didn't go 100%, maybe 75%. More fruits, veggies and lean protiens. No more cupcakes in the lunch, no more dessert every night. We go out for frozen yogurt once a week and it is what it is supposed to be, a treat. I am losing about 1 measly pound a week. And I haven't started really excercising yet, just walking the dog, but I am trying. And the girls are learning about healthy eating habits. Everything in moderation.
    I have also come to terms with the fact that I will NEVER be less than a size 12, and even that is a long way off, and I think I am ok with that. You should be too, because you are way more nifty than I.

  22. I've never had an eating disorder, but I've always struggled with my weight. I lost a lot of weight right before I met Adam, and have put some back on.

    Weight played such a huge part in my lack of self esteem, and friends, I believe, when I was in high school and early in college.

    Thanks for sharing. This is why I love you!

  23. Where's the thumbs up/like button for this post?

    I admire you for being able to talk about this so candidly. luv u

  24. I loved this post. I have a lot of food issues myself, although I have never been brave enough to make myself throw up, which I am thankful for. I have lost 40 lb twice and 20 lb several times, but it always creeps back on (the 40 lb weight losses came back on with pregnancies).

    I actually was a skinny teenager although my mom was always telling me to watch what I ate, since apparently I was borderline in her eyes. I packed on the freshman 15 freshman year, lost it that summer, gained it again sophomore year, gained more when I got married, and it's been a battle ever since.

  25. This post really resonated with me (and probably will with a lot of your reads but hey, my comment, so all about ME). It's pretty much my story except for the throwing up part. I was REALLY lazy. I did the bingeing but never got around to learning how to make myself throw up. So yeah, totally one upped you on the laziness front.

    When I blogged about the binge eating last month it made a huge difference because suddenly it wasn't a secret anymore. And in some bizarre way the secretiveness helped maintain this crazy relationship with food that I have. I'm still struggling majorly but...less so. I still feel this urge to snarf all the junk food the second I'm not being watched, but MOST of the time I resist the urge.

    I don't think that urge will ever, ever go away. I think I'll always struggle. But fighting is completely essential to my self-respect. I'd rather fight and fail than not fight at all. At least this way, success or not, I can say I tried, you know?

  26. You do what you have to do but stay out of crazy town.

    Where do you live? I wish we could walk together. Wouldn't that be so fun?

  27. I feel for your struggle. At least you try to think about losing weight. I scarf down three donuts and tell myself "Oh, I 'll lose the weight one day. Just not any day soon. One day I'll be HOT. Just not today." So I never even try. I've been lucky that for some reason I haven't ballooned to 400 pounds with this mentality, although part of me thinks that's why I don't care. "Sure, I'm fat, but I'm not THAT fat. So I'll take care of it later." I worry that later will never happen sometimes.

  28. I think all of us relate to this on some level. I have had the same back-and-forth with my weight, and while I tend to go crazy with the restriction instead of the binging, it's still a really unhealthy place. It is hard for me to diet without going bezerk.

    I actually trained for and ran a half-marathon this winter, and my pant size remained in the double digits. I think I lost like 3 pounds total. So I am trying to focus on the idea of being fit - which for me, might also look a little chubby on the outside.

    But really, can't we all put our hands together and promise not to diet our asses off before these conferences? That would be so much more fun.

  29. Your post made me talk to my 8 year old daughter about eating disorders. I told her I was super skinny like she is when I was little, but now I'm not.

    I told her not to let it matter too much.

    Which is hard to do when I'm looking at 50 pounds of baby weight to lose (after I deliver the baby. Next week, I hope.). And I know if I do it right it will take a year to get it off.

    P.S. I hate running. Nobody can make me do it.

  30. I also love food (will hide yummy stuff from the kids) and have said that the perfect "diet pill" would be one that disabled my taste buds. If Ice Cream tasted like water then what would the point be? I have also thought that a parasite would be cool... eat all you want and still lose weight. BUT then a friend told me she got one while on a mission and though she did lose weight she had to take awful meds when she returned to kill the thing. Ewww.
    I know you can do it. (we'll do it together) Just take it a day at a time and if you binge one day all is not lost just start fresh the next day. Oh and stay out of crazy town.

  31. Thanks for being so honest! This is a great post - thanks for the insight. Also, good luck on running the 5k! Don't get discouraged. :)

  32. You know what I think? You are a really strong person. You are funny and self-deprecating and witty. I think you will do this and win because you will muster the inner resolve to just get it done.

    Something tells me I wouldn't want to stand between you and your goal once you really set your mind to it. I mean, anyone who can wear mushroom hair for years has a will of steel.

  33. Sue, I've never been bulimic, but I know what it's like to struggle with weight-loss. It seems like the last 6 years have been the hardest for me. Repeated pregnancies, coupled with eating myself into a stupor, have left me wondering who that person is in the mirror on many occasions.

    This year I've decided to change all that. I'm not dieting, but implementing a lifestyle change. The road hasn't been easy at all, but like you...I'm trying.

    Hugs and Mocha,

  34. Melissa S.4:32 PM

    Has anyone noticed that several people here have commented that they are "pathetic" because they don't have the "strength" to starve themselves or make themselves throw-up? It's really sad that our society has caused us to see eating disorders as a kind of strength and positive attribute.

    It's not a strength, it's a disease that cripples you.

  35. I had an emergency surgery a few months ago and for about a week, food NEVER sounded good. My friend, who owns a Cold Stone store, came over with several free gallons for us during that time and I was like, "Meh. I don't want any." I gotta say, it was the most liberating feeling I have had in a long time. I was secretly hoping it would last.

    It didn't.

  36. You are awesome. Seriously, thank you for being so bare bones honest. You've finally gotten me to delurk!

    I've struggled with something similar all my life. The only things that have helped me:

    Never limiting what I can eat (I was vegan for a couple years, which provided a handy social excuse for a rather sparse diet).

    And, lots of physical exercise. I started hiking ~5 years ago and I've done some long distance hiking (1,500 miles last summer!). It's helped me to see my body as a tool, instead of an object.

    Good luck. I firmly believe you can become a marathon runner - and it doesn't matter how long it takes.

  37. You are so brave!
    I was chubby (not fat) as a kid as well, and the (very unhealthy) way that was handled in my family led to me having a lot of guilt/weird relationship with food, my body, and my weight throughout my life. I am a "sneaky eater" as well, and can binge off & on, but only when I am alone; I still have to force myself to eat around other people (something that feels like a blessing sometimes, just as purging does).
    I can't express how much your words resonated with me. Thank you so much for posting this.

    Best of luck finding your own peace with your body & food, and good luck with your 5K! Never give up, regardless what any rude & thoughtless eye-rollers blurt out.

  38. GO SUE GO!!! (And don't worry, you are not alone. I do the scramble and snarf maneuver when I'm home alone too... it's a weird little habit, huh?)

  39. I have so much to say on this subject that if I say anything, I'm going to end up writing an entire post in your comment box.

    But thank you for being so honest. This is a topic we don't talk about enough. You are courageous as well as nifty.

  40. Running hurts my boobs. Also, I just hate doing something because everyone is doing it, but, getting healthy? That is muy importante. That's what I'm trying to focus on. I know you can do it.

  41. Thanks for posting this - it helps us realize that you are real, and its okay for the rest of us to be real.
    I probably would have thought about getting skinny for CBC, thought "It's pointless" and eat a piece of chocolate cake. Mmm. Cake. I think I will. Maybe, I will exercise tomorrow to make up for it.

  42. I never comment but I had to say something. What an amazing and honest post!!! Thank you. Know you are not alone on your journey. We have all been there and we can all make each other stronger, I know you have strengthened me. If you need or want a running partner, I am here.

  43. Wow, super gutsy post. Way to go, seriously!

  44. DANG....just one more reason to find why I don't make a good mormon (even though I am one).....I HAVE SEX. S'posed to be a calorie burner.

    good thing I won't be able to attend the CBC or BlogHer conferences after all---I don't have to worry about trying to get into my SMALLER sized jeans.
    since I have moved out here....I have blossomed. (lovely way of putting it eh, yuk)

    keep running.........it just makes us feel good. Clears our head.
    I don't run----just WALK, far and fast
    Does that count??

  45. Kelsey9:24 PM

    I just came across your blog and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I can relate!
    Thank you!

  46. Love ya! Everything else has been said.

  47. There's a part of me that wants to see if ipecac tastes like butterscotch. Did you experience all the side effects I have read articles about? The problems with your teeth, etc?

  48. I dont understand why it can't be ok to work towards a goal (like this person you were talking to). Isn't that the purpose of a goal? To work towards it? It's something that most likely will not happen quickly, will take work and dedication and will have a good pay off.

    I decided last year I wanted to run a 5k too. I haven't done it yet but I'm doing my 2nd 5k this weekend (even though I'll be walking this one too), but at least I'm working towards it right? :)
    Great post.

  49. In high school I wrote a 2 page poem about bulimia and kind of the mind frame some one who does it is in.

    When I stood up to read it in front of the class, I announced that this was not a "cry for help"...which probably made it look like it was even more. Even though it wasn't. Not even a little. I read that Jack Weyland book about that bulimic girl...so I wrote a poem lol.

    Anyway, that is really great that you snagged such a supportive husband! I will probably try to lose weight for those conferences too, but if I don't, it really doesn't matter. It won't stop me from enjoying the people there. I can't wait to meet you :) Good luck with your 5k! xoxo Jones

  50. deb roby12:28 AM

    I have never read your blog before - it was recommended by Kristy Sammis. I love it.

    I get the body image problems - the challenge of weight. (I don't quite get the vomiting- but that's me).

    As a 50 something woman, I gained 50 hormonal pounds. And lost it through exercise. Now, as a personal trainer, I work every day with young women -teens and 20s- who need to lose those 50 pounds and more.

    I STILL can't run. I HATE IT. I can walk -which is fine- I can laugh. I can pick up and carry 100#.

    I hope I get a chance to meet you BlogHer (I'm speaking on the panel about fitness).

    Still won't be running...

  51. The only reason why I ever "struggled" with bulimia was because I really sucked at getting it right. I hated throwing up, so bulimia really wasn't something that I could ever commit to.

    I am now attempting various forms of excercise in an effort to feel and look better. I often joke about my failure to complete a 2 kilometer jog, but it's true. I can't do much more than that at the moment, but like you I will not quit.

    Thank you for this wonderfully inspiring post. Loved it! :)

  52. I always hesitate to comment on weight posts, because my story is so hardcore and so frankly gross, but here goes: I was a total anorexic when I was a teenager. I was 5'7" and weighed 85 pounds. My hair fell out in patches, I did permanent heart and bone marrow damage to myself, and it was just hideous. I was in therapy forEVER about it.

    When I was in my 20s, my weight went up into the 120s and stayed there. I was still slim but didn't see myself as that anymore. Then I had kids and gained more weight with each baby and now I'm heavy (and still see myself as a stick bug so every time I walk by a mirror - aiiieee!) and yet I'm so afraid of falling back into my old anorexic ways that I'm terrified of seriously dieting.

    So that was a long way of saying thank you for this post.

  53. Thanks. You are great.

  54. You win the March MOXY Award, girl! And just remember, for every person who takes the time to comment because they were touched, there are countless others who won't. So kudos for the courageous writing. It has inspired me, too.


  55. I'm so sorry you struggle with this and am impressed that you share it so bravely. In high school I struggled with anorexia, but for a different reason. For me, it was the only area of my life that I felt I could control. I was lucky enough to get past that stage quickly, but it's always there in the back of my mind. It's an odd sort of comfort/back up. But a supportive and aware husband is an even better back up. And I hope I get to meet you at the CBC, 5k or not. ;o)

  56. You are a brave, brave woman, Sue. How it is that you can be pants-wetting funny in one post and then tearily serious in the next? I totally have a blog crush on you.

    And despite the interesting Couch to 5k program you shared, I haven't started. But yesterday, I did dust off the treadmill. So maybe today, I'll actually use it.

  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. Oh COME ON. Did I need to insert a parenthese saying (NOT FACTUAL STATISTIC)? Do I need to start adding disclaimers to every post? I'm sorry if I didn't address the subject with your preferred level of gravitas. I mean, you've read the blog before, right? You know I use humor to deal with even very serious issues?

    OBVIOUSLY that wasn't a factual statistic. My point is that many, many mormon women suffer from eating disorders. Yes, of varying levels of seriousness. But it is an epidemic. It is. You can't convince me otherwise.

    I'm not going to change my whole silly personality just because I'm talking about my eating disorder. I'm not going to sit and write out the details, sans lightness, of all the times I sat sobbing in the bathroom. That isn't me. That isn't how I write. Feel free to write your own post in the tone that you like best.

  59. HCG Diet = badbadbad!!!

    You probably got migraines because starving yourself on the HCG Diet saps your magnesium reserves. Low magnesium = migraines. :(

  60. Oh Sue! I know exactly how you feel. I have been in this same dark place. I finally checked myself into an eating disorder clinic as an outpatient. It was hard. I cried a lot. I went there for 8 months. I left there feeling like the world was okay again. I was able to learn to listen to my body, stop the dieting nightmare and eat what I want. And I even managed to lose weight. Something I thought would never happen if I wasn't on a diet. It changed my life and gave me hope.

    You are probably wondering why I am telling you all of this...I just want you to know there is a place out there between the diet crazies and the fat acceptance people.

  61. I, like others, could say "ditto" to so much of this post ... I'm a crappy puker, fortunately, so I've always mostly binged and skipped the purging. But the racing to eat everything I can while I'm home alone? And the hating my body? Yeah, been there. Done that.

    There's got to be a way to love yourself the way you are while simultaneously trying to improve. Sometimes I think I've found it, but not always. I wish you the best of luck with it all. You ARE pretty nifty.

  62. wow! so raw, so real. i too am always stuggling at being a better me. I'll never be skinny and I need to face the fact that my baby is 1 and this "baby" weight isn't going away on its own. thanks for the transparency . . . i need to be that honest with myself.

  63. Like Deb Roby, I got here by twitter reference.

    I've never been a puker, but emotional eating definitely runs in my family. I've hidden treats before so I could have them all to myself.

    Wonderful post.

  64. "There's got to be a way to love yourself the way you are while simultaneously trying to improve."

    Thanks, Fig, for saying it so well. I think that's the goal. I think self-love (especially in the sense of feeling God's love for us, as opposed to narcissism) is such a better starting place than self-loathing for any self-improvement goal.

    I'm largely in the fat-acceptance camp (get it? largely?) with a few caveats, but I think I'll have to save my essay on the subject for a blog post someday (it's been an imaginary post for ages now).

  65. I think you're brave for explaining this. I haven't struggled with an eating disorder but I due struggle with my weight. I weighed a 115 pounds until I was 24 no matter what I did and now I couldn't get back to that if my life depended on it. I'm trying to figure out what my happy weight is and what I'm willing to change in my lifestyle to achieve it. I guess the post baby weight shedding time is a good time to think about stuff like this.

  66. Hey.

    I love you.

  67. i love you. (i know ~j already said it, but it's what i had to say).

    i applaud you for courageously keeping it real.

    all the best--

    p.s. if it makes you feel any better, i get the same look when people find out i'm training for a triathlon.

  68. I just wanna give you a big ole hug after that! {{{Sue}}}
    Bravo for keeping the eating disorder @ bay. It's harder than anyone can imagine. I know.
    Pray, pray, and pray some more. Oh, and don't vomit. ;)

  69. This is a long comment. Sorry, but it hit a nerve.

    I have 4 daughters. All have been raised here on the east coast. I have no idea how we escaped the eating disorder dysfunction. I also know their friends that they are close to, also do not have an issue with eating. They are all around too much to not have noticed if there was a problem.

    However, as someone who works very closely with nannies (majority coming from UT and always of the LDS faith) we end up sending a few of these young women home every year who suffer from some sort of eating disorder. It is a disease that some suffer from a majority of their lives and often die from it. I wish there was some kind of instant fix, cure, or happy ending. If not caught in the very early stages (and it often is not)it takes a very heavy toll on the person as well as those who love her...or sometimes him!

    What always amazes me are the mothers, when I call to tell them their daughter is coming home and why, have no idea their daughters had had an eating disorder. Sometimes, it has been going on as young as age 10.

    Don't even get me started on "cutting!" Had to send a girl home with this a month ago. It all makes me so sad.

  70. I too applaud you Sue.

    If I wasn't the most loud throw-upper (it's a word) then I probably would have been in the same boat.

  71. I so love you for sharing this. You've met me, and you know you are skinnier than me. But my problem is that I'm a little too happy with the way I am most the time, and then I'll be like wow, I really am fat, I need to get in shape. So I try for a bit, then fail, and then I'm back to square one. I really think I will do it one of these days, but until then I'm not going to give up, well, maybe not trying, but wanting to try. Yet. You go girl! You can do anything!

  72. Anonymous9:27 AM

    You just described my life perfectly in this post! Glad to know I'm not alone. I'm not training for a 5K, but I am hitting the gym everyday to lose my 100 lbs. Good luck! You can do it.

  73. I used to weigh 300 lbs. I lost more than half of that and have kept it off for over 10 years...until recently. I've suddenly gained about 30 lbs. While it's not a big deal to some, it's a major deal to me. I'm so afraid I'll start overeating and be 300 lbs again. So. I get it. We're in this together.

    And I'm training for a 5K too.

  74. Oh this felt good to read. I wish I could write out my experiences like this. Since I am to closed and can't I am glad I can read it. I threw up my food until the day I found out I was pregnant with my 1st baby (4 yrs ago).

    And as you know via twitter I am still addicted to horrible diets...oh like just drinking lemonade for 10 days...which if we are being honest isn't really a cleanse, its me probably getting back into an eating disorder once again.

    I really really hate this weight thing. Why wasn't I born with the skinny gene?

    Good luck with your 5K!! :)

  75. I LOVE this post and I love your honesty. I can relate to the weight struggles and I totally understand the not giving up. Thanks for sharing - you've given me hope. Sometimes it feels like we are so alone in our struggles - like no one else in the world struggles with food the way we do. You've touched my heart today.

  76. Love this post, and reading all the comments. Very eye opening. I've got to second the recommendation for Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live book. It's really really good and informative.

  77. I, and all of the women in my family, have been very blessed genetically. We are all rather on the thin end; and yet we are all annoyingly obsessed with thinking we're fat or heavy or unattractive. And boy do we love food! I totally hear you on the wrecking my taste buds so food doesn't taste good. My husband thinks I need to see a therapist, and he may be right. Why is it so hard to learn to love yourself?

  78. Ahhh... it's so nice to read that so many others have bad relationships with food. I have always, always struggled with my weight. Right now I'm about half-way from my fattest to my goal weight and I'm having such a hard time. But you're right -- we can't give up, we just have to keep putting one step in front of the other. If we never get there, at least we ARE giving our kids a good example of "fall down seven times, stand up eight," right?

  79. Anonymous4:52 PM


    can anyone tell me which is the best counter strike guide ? :)...i found this one :


    What do you succeed up with beside it ?

    Thanx in advance

    Sorry for my bad english :s

  80. Kim Martin5:45 PM

    Found you through GAT rss feed. I am looking foward to reading your blog posts!

  81. Thank you for your honest and simple assessment of a very real situation.

    I never quite made it to the vomiting part of things, but I definitely had the binging part down. It's still something I fight today.

    My husband still doesn't know about this side of me, and I really don't know how to tell him. But I know that when I feel bad about myself I eat. When he and I fight, I eat. When I'm bored, I eat.

    It's a vicious cycle, but there it is.

  82. This is hard. I am thinking about this too since I haven't lost all the baby weight. I am trying to get back into running since the snow is now all gone. But I don't want to push too hard. When I am pushed I dig in my heels and then I no longer want to do something.
    One thing I have been thinking of is running in Central Park when I am at BlogHer. You can run with me! So don't think of it as trying to run a 5K, but run enough so that you can make it around the lake once. :-)

  83. Rhonda, what the heck was that comment on cutting about? That is also not an easy thing to beat - I went almost 4 years without doing it and one day, after a week of horribleness, my mom yelled at me over something stupid and that was the final straw. It's a lifelong addiction and it takes a lifetime to break, even with help.

    I personally feel that LDS young women are prone to self-injury and/or eating disorders because our faith seems like it demands perfection. It doesn't, of course, but as a teenager I sure felt like it did and I believe our youth program needs to be revamped or SOMETHING in order to let these young people know that the gospel is not about being perfect!

    ClistyB, as for me, I haven't had any side effects from bulimia...yet. In fact at my last dentist appointment (in November) I had zero cavities, despite not going to the dentist for 3 years, being pregnant and barfing 5+ times a day (I called that involuntary bulimia) and then 3 years of bulimia as well. I was pretty impressed with myself, but I know it's not going to last forever.

    I second the recommendation for Geneen Roth's books. They are awesome. I read "When Food is Love" and had a huge freaking breakthrough last month. I haven't read her other stuff as thoroughly but I really like how she writes.

  84. Oh, fetch - I came back here, wondering if I'd written too much - and I found that reply of yours and was TERRIFIED IT WAS FOR ME!!!!!! (Pant, pant - hand pressed against heart). Would I be out of line saying, "Good standing up for yourself?????" If you need somebody to beat up somebody for you, I'll do it. even if it's me, I would.

  85. Good for you, Sue. Good for you for not giing up.

    I haven't ever suffered from an eating disorder, but I sure do know the Yo Yo Diet Program like a really sucky best friend. And trying and trying and trying some more is all we can really do, right?

    Thanks for the honesty and inspiration.

  86. I just found your blog and you are amazing! I had and still sometimes struggle with anorexia. I have a dear friend of mine that dealt with both anorexia and bulmia. She almost died a couple of times. She finally after a LONG year of counselling and treatment is finally getting better. You will never really be over the disorder you just have to learn how to manage it. If that makes sense. She instead is a trainer at a gym and is using her food as her supply of energy. It is strange to me how she looks at food now. But it works for her!!! I felt like you should know that you are not alone on this road! You have tons that are standing by you to root for you! Something that might help is just start out walking or running (whichever) for 5 minutes for a week and the next up it to 10 minutes. It doesn't matter how far you go just that you did it!