Artwork by Beatrice Boyle
This past January I was sitting in Toni and Guy down on Stasikratous Street in Nicosia, I was drinking my green tea, waiting for my foils to be removed, and came across this article. It just made so much sense to me at that time and answered so many questions I had. In a way, it helped me to get to know myself better.
Two days ago, I was sitting in Toni and Guy down on Stasikratous Street in Nicosia in the same seat I sat in this past January. I was drinking my green tea and once again waiting for my foils to be removed. Deja Vu, I came across another article that made so much sense to me. It made me feel more at peace with my problems.
Yes, I am going to type out a majority of the article.
What Price Skinny?
"I have lived on meat and orange juice, supplemented by strange little pills dispensed from an expensive Harley Street clinic. I have gorged myself on pure red protein and fat lumps of cheese. I have forced down pounds of raw chopped vegetables and boiled cabbage into a smelly, inedible soup. I have fasted, juiced and more or less starved. I have gone low fat, low carb, low sugar, low everything. I have counted calories, restricted and limited my daily intake, turned healthy behavior into an unhealthy extreme. I have used food as comfort as punishment, as therapy. And, oh God, how I'm bored of it all.
Yet still I find myself here, not fat exactly, nor even overweight. Just not thin. Still, for years I've had an ill-defined discontent with my body, a constant unhappy simmer that's hard to reason. I don't suffer from a disorder, it's not a problem lurking deep at some physiological or psychological level. I wasn't even a chubby child.
It's just that I've always wanted to be thinner. Half a stone, maybe even a stone... Hell, let's make it two. Doesn't everyone secretly think they'd look better like that? Well, don't you?
Unless you were born genetically, blessedly thin, this curiosity about what it would be like to get much thinner is up there with fantasies about being rich. For most women, the chances of fitting into a size-two Phillip Lim is about as likely as being invited to open a Coutts bank account. But still we keep hoping.
And so I go from a voluptuous size 12 to a sinewy size eight, from jutting angles to abundant curves, then back again. And again. On some days, I contemplate the fat content and carb load of everything I put in my mouth. On other days I just consume, mindlessly, unthinkingly, without worrying about where those calories will go. Sometimes I lust helplessly after food; at other times I am a careful, conscientious eater. Despite this schizophrenic behavior, the seductive allure of thinness has not become an all-consuming compulsion. But it is something that I think about a whole lot more than I should.
When I have been at my thinnest, it has been neither accident nor long, slow slog of moderation. At school, I swam and ran and revelled in an athletic prowess that denied the possibility of teenage plumpness. Years later, I left my job and suddenly had time on my hands. Bored and directionless I took up running again and was soon pounding out a marathon on eat London pavements each week. I dropped several sizes within a short month; I was toned and taut and, for the first time since adolescence, properly thin. I went to an all-night party in a sheer Roland Mouret dress and remember coming home in the dawn light, barely wrapped in a borrowed jacket. It looked good; clothes do when you're thin. But, of course, none of this lated. I started working again and my interest in exercise waned. Thin became not-thin.
Although I have had varying degrees of success with increasingly restricted eating, when I've been at my thinnest I have always exercised to extremes. If intensive weight loss involves power and control, a battle with the body, I enjoy turning it against itself. In an S&M sort of way,obviously. The thing is, I'm not really interested in diets. The steady drip-feed of deprivation isn't for me. When it comes to weight loss, I need a short, sharp shock, rather than attrition warfare. As with all my beauty adventures, I want gratification quickly - however much it hurts."
For the past 23 years or for as long as I can remember, I have lived with this ongoing battle with food. I too have gone from gorging my face with every edible matter to merely starving myself. Food was my outlet, my punishment, my comfort, but also my greatest source of depression. I always felt this frustration inside because I could never keep it under control and never put it into words in order to understand...and there I sat in Toni and Guy and had it so perfectly defined on that white piece of paper I held in my hand.
I am not saying that this power struggle between me and food has been conquered, but I definitely feel more at peace with this internal battle and almost as if I took a huge step forward and became a little stronger along with the realization that I AM NORMAL.