The Miserable Ramblings of a Teenager with Serious Disordered Eating

I just found a food journal in my room at my parent’s house filled with reallllly neurotic diet ramblings. This journal spanned my junior and senior year in high school during my desperate successful and unsuccessful attempts at rigidly controlling what I ate.

I find it fascinating to look back at how I treated myself before I became aware of how hurtful it was to my mind and body. At the time, I really thought I was really being responsible by beating myself up.

Most of the things I was doing I learned from diet books written by doctors and the internet forums associated with those diets, with a strong dollop of obsession on top.

A nice “warning”

Only 600 calories (in one day), that is. I thought that cycling was supposed to be good for your metabolism and weight. Also, I never did 600.

Oh, nice. This wasn’t about food. We had a “stink bug” infestation. I called them banana bugs.

 

118 lbs. Tragic, apparently.

All of these pictures are taken from a book spanning a whole year and a half. I had LOTS of pages- and on one half of the pages was a meticulous calculation of every single thing I ate- then it was all added up and the total was put in a box at the bottom. Then I would write notes to myself on the rest of the page- and whatever my current rule list was- I would write all those thingies down too. Very dysfunctional and messed up.

But…. I couldn’t help but laugh a little as I read the whole thing out loud to myself last night. WHAT THE HELL?

I wrote to myself in the 2nd person. “YOU are not allowed…” Like I am the benevolent dictator.

 

I am “disgraced”

(1200 was my goal.)

(Notice: “Fact: I have new teeth.” I had in fact just gotten new temporary caps put on my teeth that day.)

Sometimes, besides eating perfectly, I had “tasks”. In very tiny letters near the top you can see: “Nice Thing: Agreed with Dr. Lee” . He was my dentist. I took out my frustrations on him, I guess.

Wrote: throwupy. Thankfully not actual throwuppy. No Bulimia- but … clearly brain-addled. “Reminders before birthday dinner: no cake, no caffeine, no cheese. Salad and Sparkling Water.” —- Nice. Happpppy Birthday!

Gave myself an F for the day. Did ‘no nice things’. And…. 161 crunches? Specific much???

Sad but sort of entertaining.

I was very dramatic.

And I was very miserable.

9 comments

  1. Camila says:

    I could have written these.
    Do we all ‘look’ the same?!
    I part laughed, part cried, as my journals from those years are filled with the same things, even the same squiggly-equals signs (what the hell are those called?) to reference “about” this or that many calories. Tallying up the 20 cals from a half a piece of diet bread, or the 75 calories in 3/4 piece of string cheese.
    Ridiculous.
    It’s like…manic crazy bizarro…I even used words like you did: ‘unacceptable’ an ’embarrassment’. Disgraced is a little funny…I mean terrible, but also funny. I also calculated ‘maybe’ amounts and then ‘real’ amounts, and translated it into how much weight I ‘definitely’ lost versus how much I ‘potentially’ lost.

    • Camila says:

      I forgot to mention the most important part: THANK YOU for your bravery, in all regards, from recovering and sharing it, to posting these.

  2. Amanda says:

    I could have written these too, but I was more dramatic and less mad at myself. When I look at old journals I can not believe how much of my life was wasted in the pursuit of weight loss. It’s really sad, and when I am tempted to go there again I remind myself about that. I tracked my activity the other day, for fun, and was amazed that I supposedly burned 3700 calories that day. So weird, and not something I want to make a habit of!

  3. Daisychain says:

    It’s brave of you to post these, it must be both painful & funny (in a morbid sort of way) to look back at your obsessive writings. I never documented my eating to that extent, but I did write new “good/bad food lists” each time I started a new diet, which would sometimes be a couple of days after starting the last one, lol. Thankfully I’ve left such behaviours behind. It’s such a relief to simplify your eating and just “eat the food” as Matt Stone would say, like a normal person.

    Also, I read your previous blog entry, and I wanted to say I can so relate to feeling relaxed and happy in myself, and then having it all go down the drain when I try on some clothes which I love but which don’t flatter me at all. You’re right that we can fall into a routine of eating ‘naughty foods’ like icecream just for the sake of rebelling against diet mentality, rather than eating them because we actually WANT them. But more importantly, it’s so not worth getting down on yourself because of an item of clothing. Much of what’s considered ‘fashionable’ today (ie. inspired by the catwalks,etc) is not designed to look good on the classic female figure, with hips and breasts. It doesn’t mean you can’t wear amazing clothes and look gorgeous. It doesn’t mean you have to always stick to ‘flattering’ black. It just means you might have to forego certain clothes, which are designed for people built differently than you are.

    I hope you continue to write this blog, because I’m really enjoying the posts and the general vibe of your site! Keep up the good work!

  4. Mary says:

    This was so funny. I have many journals just like this. Are we all doing this nutty tallying behind closed doors? Sometimes, recognizing yourself is great therapy.
    Love your blog!!

  5. Grace says:

    wow- thank you SO much for posting such inner/personal thoughts. Thank you for sharing, knowing that others are going and have struggled with exactly the same things. I too, have a few pages like this (when I was trying to lose weight) then it transformed into 24/7 thoughts in my head for the last 4 years. The calories, tallying up calories from diet breads, every chip, cracker and piece of food that went into my mouth. Feeling guilty and anxious about food and everything surrounding it.

    Your blog is amazing, so thank you so much! Thank you for sharing such personal expiriences and your own thoughts, they help me so very much!

    Recovering now from EDNOS (exercise addiction whist eating 1800 -2000 calories per day). Have been recovering for 5 months eating 3000 at least every day. Now, realizing that my body can maintain on at least this amount without exercise every day is amazing.

    I will never have a journal like this anymore.

    Again, thank you <3

  6. Joslyn says:

    Yeah, I agree with a lot of what has been said. My journals over the years are full of very specific lists of calories and usually less than 6 foods that I let myself have, but mostly foods that I was absolutely forbidden from having until I was thin again. Such bull shit, right? Yeah, and of course those were the exact foods I binged on and wrote about afterward how messed up I was and how I had to try a more strict approach. But I’ve been experimenting with keeping foods in the house that I used to be terrified of and even though I’ve been bingeing on them at times, I can feel a sense of ease and relief washing over me just knowing that restriction is a thing of the past. Thanks so much for everything you’ve written!

  7. jessica says:

    this is such a brave post: so funny and so sad at the same time! i like to remind myself that as dramatic as i was a teen, and as much time and energy i’ve wasted with stuff like this, it was the best that i knew how to do when i was living it. thanks so much for sharing and for your blog… it’s really resonated with my own struggles with these same issues!

  8. I love this post…I’ve probably read it 5 times over the last couple years. It’s crazy going back to our old journals. I just read mine from my last attempt at intuitive eating – last winter – and was shocked to see the old diet mentality creeping in about day three…and I mean creeping because I had NO idea at the time. No wonder that attempt failed!!

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