The least I’ve weighed as an adult was 82kg.
At 7 years I was 52kg and twice the size of the other children. At 12 years I was 63kg, an inch shorter than I am today and I felt twice the size of the other children. By the start of my first year out of school and out of home I was 106kg and I looked like the love child of Roseanne and Santa Claus (in my mind). I couldn’t close the tray table of a university lecture hall seat over my stomach and I would grip it with one hand, white knuckled, and take notes with the other. In that year I reduced myself to 86kg and started in earnest a cycle of yoyo dieting that ends with me here, now, telling you about it.
The stars aligned in 2007, my first year living off campus, and I found myself working in hospitality, in an emotionally abusive long distance relationship, with access to Duromine and Reductil. I was studying, working, gyming and slowly isolating myself from the people around me as I let my boyfriend grind me down by oscillating between lavish praise and gentle criticism of my body or sexuality. He was addicted to pornography. I think he hated women. Days off I would spend alone, shopping, reading, and sitting in coffee shops nibbling on tiny beautiful cakes. Being absent, my boyfriend had no negative influence over my eating habits and being on my feet all through my working hours in addition to the time I spent in the gym I shrunk to 82kg. I fit into size 14 jeans for the first time and I felt amazing. And terrible. But beautiful. And desired.
We can talk about sex and men another time.
When S went back to Germany I was back to 102kg. Around the highest it had been since my first year of university. I’d been close to this point before and desperately terrified I would retreat into diet and exercise. I saw S’s departure as an opportunity to recreate the set of circumstances that had taken me to 82kg. My memories of that time are all cast in shades of rose. I remembered how beautiful it felt to be wrapped up tight in denim, the feeling of a lover’s hands on me. I remember how it felt to inhabit less space.
So I got a prescription, a second job waitressing and gently let my social life run through my fingers like water. Apple for breakfast; work at 8:15am; 2 boiled eggs, carrot and celery sticks for lunch; work at 6:30. Did I eat dinner? I don’t remember clearly. I remember once standing next to the ironing board in the stifling heat of the unventilated staff room, peeling a boiled egg. I remember having trouble finishing it. Often there were chips, sushi, noodle boxes or other things left over from functions in back of house that I picked at like the rest of the wait staff. Lemonade and diet coke would get me through to 11 or 12. I would walk half an hour in the cool night to my car parked on the edge of the city. This is the loneliest I can ever remember being. Walking alone led to my car by golden pools of street light punctuating the dark quiet. My chest and throat constricted in grief.
I told S that I was feeling lonely. That I was feeling very lonely and I thought it might be a side effect of the duromine. Never mind that the person I loved was in another fucking country. That couldn’t have anything to do with it.
S asked if I thought it was worth it. Duromine is not prescribed in Germany and S had concerns. I told him I would think about it and then I didn’t talk about duromine or my loneliness to him again. I made it through by promising myself it was only for 3 months.
I loved and hated this time. The depth of sadness I felt told me that my efforts were working and I saw the numbers on the scale falling away. I lost the first 7 kilos in the first 2 weeks. Eventually it stalled and I found myself double dropping someone else’s prescription; 60mg of duromine, 20mg more than the highest legal dose. By 3pm I would experience something not unlike a speed come down at work. I would walk to my car with my head swimming. I sent Br picture msgs on my way home so I would be easy to locate if I passed out. By the time I went to visit S I was 92kg and my clothes were fitting again. Duromine and coffee in the morning and I was euphoric. By the time I went to bed I was choking on my sadness.
Happiness gave me 6 kilos in Germany. Happiness was chocolate, jubes, fruit juice, pork ribs and roast chicken, fresh rolls with remoulade, kraut salat and smoked salmon or ham, pizzas, sausage, cheese fondue, homemade jam, cold cuts, booze. On my return to Australia my sadness gave me another 6 kilos. I don’t even remember the food. Then I decided I was angry and stopped caring and I went up to 109.
It didn’t feel like my body anymore. I felt betrayed by my hunger.
When I was younger the first few weeks of weight loss were an exciting time. Enthusiasm and motivation was peaking and I was able to watch my weight slide down as a clean function of my effort. Over time I’ve come to trust my body less and weight loss is accompanied by a feeling of dread. How long will it last? How long until I plateau? How long until I won’t care what I put in my mouth or how often I go to the gym?
In a perfect world I wake early to go to the gym and it elevates my mood and clears my mind. My body and digestive tract feel clean and hunger is an uncomplicated physical feeling. I reward and care for my body with good, clean, simple food. I eat until I am satisfied and I think nothing of putting leftovers away for another time. Food is not the focus of my social life and I think little of it. Hunger does not terrify me. I love my body and though it is not perfect I feel affection for my imperfections. My body is my home.
The implant has taken away my brain hunger to a large extent. I know I need to eat when there is a gnawing in my stomach and I start to feel lethargic and a little grumpy. Hunger lives in my body and not in my mind. I don’t exactly know how a kilo of saline next to my stomach can make this happen. I don’t care too much really.
Now that I can eat solids I do need to plan for good choices. Cereal, lean meat and vegetables. I think I’ll be able to exercise again soon.
There is little dread this time. I’m hopeful.
Start weight: 112.5
Last recorded weight: 105
Weight lost: 7.5
LT goal weight: 75
ST goal weight: 99