7/14/2012 10:03:00 AM

Food for Thought

Myth 4: Anorexics look in the mirror and see a fat person.

Of course they don't. They're not stupid, however much they might give the impression of being so. You look in the mirror and see your ribs with their thinly stretched coating of papery skin; you see every hump of the spine if you bend over; you see the elbows thicker than the arms above them, and the dark hole between the bee-stings where your breasts might have been.

You see all this, but what you care about will be some tiny, specific aspect of your body that has always to be more and more pared away: the inner thighs must be more and more fleshless, say; or you have to be able to encompass your wrist with the other hand with more and more empty space to spare; or, as for me, your tummy has to be flatter and flatter, more and more concave, less and less like a tummy at all, in fact. Anorexia isn't body dysmorphia; the focus on minutiae is what lets you look in the mirror and still be spurred on further in your quest for a bodily ideal that involves thinness. (When something does force you to see the whole, it can be shocking: one of the steps in my progress towards ‘saying no' to starvation was trying on a ball gown in a changing room and seeing the Dachau contours of my spindle arms and scrawny neck and bony bust emerging from the rich chocolately shot silk of a dress I could never wear without horrifying anyone who saw me, nor could ever have any occasion to wear, since I never went out of an evening, because I needed all the evening hours for my bleak lonely routines of drinking and eating. It made me cry.) (Source: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hunger-artist/200908/five-anorexia-myths-exploded  - Added bold for emphasis)

I think this is very true, at least in my experience. Not that I've ever actually gotten low enough to be anorexic... but at my lowest I had a waist of 25" and yet the image of myself (specifically my inner thighs and hips....) made me feel sick to my stomach [which was a good thing, less desire to eat haha]. And now, that I'm a bit bigger... all I need to do to spur myself to exercise or keep up with my promise of a fast (today is one btw, may temptation stay at bay!) is go look at myself in the mirror.

And like she says in the article, it isn't that you don't see other things... I see that right now, I look tired all the time. I see that I have dark circles under my eyes. In the past, I saw that my sternum was prominent and that there were hallows that didn't belong... Sometimes these things, these signs of thinness made me happy, but there were occasions they disturbed me... but when I was disturbed rather than feeling accomplished, it was quickly overshadowed by the fact that my inner thighs still touched... that there was excess skin on my upper arms... etc. Focus quickly shifts to the 'trigger points' on my body, and then nothing else matters.

Anyway... that's it for thoughts today. In other news, -2.1 lbs overall, -0.7 in fat from Wednesday and that's without a BM... Here's hoping for revised goal #1 by next weigh in! (Monday or Tuesday...)


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