It has taken a major event in my life, good event, nothing serious, to finally pull my finger out and write what I want to write. I am 40 years old and only recently have I ever admitted to anyone other than myself about my eating disorder. What can I say? I hide things very well. I still hide many things well in my life, mainly my emotions.
Fat Nat… fat Nat.
The first time I heard fat Nat I don’t think I actually thought it was for me. I was one of the cool kids. I had lots of friends, all from different ethnic backgrounds and in a variety of shapes and sizes. I was only a little child in statue but with a big, loud personality. I was blond, tanned skin with a pretty, rounded face. I thought I looked just like everyone else I knew. It wasn’t until the words ‘fat nat’ echoed around the play ground and hundreds of little eyes faced me with a glint of playfulness, that I realised they were actually talking about me. I had nowhere to run, no one to hide behind as every child surrounding me was chanting those words, ‘fat Nat’. Even my best friend Lydia was giggling as she chanted and pointed in my direction.
I didn’t run. I didn’t scream back to the crowd. I stood still, searching the crowd for one friendly set of eyes. One person who would take the position beside me to be my wingman. As I scanned frantically trying to find anyone who was on my side, the words got louder, clearer and more mob like. That’s when I shut my mind down. I can still see the faces, all their faces and their words will forever be etched in my memory.
This memory was the beginning of what would be a 15 year diet and food obsession. My first diet started at 8 years old (I have an 8 year old now and dieting would be the last thing on his mind) and my last diet ended when I gave birth to Ashlea (well almost I still fall back into the diet mentality).
Bulimia was my choice of eating disorder in my teenage years but I always wished I was strong enough to go all the way with anorexia. I use to hide food in my room so no one would see what I was doing. I use steal food from the supermarket so mum wouldn’t notice food missing from the house. I would gorge, indulge, devour food like it was my last ever meal. Once the euphoria of eating had subsided, I needed to be punished. I was disgusting, I was fat. I was not worthy of having friends. I was being eaten alive from inside.
I became an expert at making myself throw up, relieving my body of the poison I had stuffed it with. Hiding my illness (mind you at the time I didn’t think it was an illness, I thought I was just a stupid, insecure idiot) was also easy. I had a constant supply of gum in my pocket and I knew the time I needed to wait for my eyes to stop watering before I left the bathroom.
Unfortunately, bulimia is still a common illness amongst teenagers and young adults, and becoming more prevalent within the male community. Teaching our teens that they can eat everything but in moderation is the first step in avoiding this binge/starve mentality.
I now have 4 children and I refuse to let them look in the mirror and not like what they see. There are days and weeks I still struggle, I still punish myself but after 15 years of dieting, it can be a difficult habit to break. I now like what I see in the mirror because I can see the real me, what’s inside is more important. When I die my family and friends will not remember what I weighed, they will remember how I made them feel, and that memory will last forever. It’s idiots like Kate Moss saying “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” that make me feel sorry for the next generation of children. Everyone is different, everyone has struggles but everyone can help each by accepting what we have and loving ourselves from the inside.
Linking up With Some Grace