The Diet Life

When I was around the age of 7, my mom left the country for an extended amount of time during the summer. At the time, I had no idea where she was, or what she was doing – I had just really missed her. I remember my dad made mac ‘n’ cheese for me and my brother almost every day, and I was so desperate to eat her cooking again.

Eventually, around the end of July, she had come home, but she wasn’t the same woman I used to know. My mother was half the size she was when she left.

My dear mother went to our native country, the plastic surgery capital of the world at the time. While there, she had undergone liposuction and a breast augmentation. She had come home with bruises, scars, and confidence. Before this, I had never thought about my mother’s weight. It was something that never came to mind, something that was neither positive nor negative to me. I never judged her for it, which made me rethink the value of size once I had seen the measures my mom took to attain a more ideal body. This carried on with me, and at a very young age, I saw that skinny was better.

Growing up, I was never overweight, but I was never the skinniest girl in class either. However, I wished to be. My mother always warned me not over-eat, so food became something I always had to stay cautious of. It progressively got worse once I entered the 8th grade. This was when I became friends with my crush, who I’d admit was way out of my league. I thought that maybe if I was prettier (skinnier) he would like me. I began to look at myself in the mirror more often, critiquing myself from head to toe. I would grab at different parts of my body and wish they weren’t there.

Soon it turned into an obsession. I would draw dotted lines on my body, around the areas I wanted to be surgically removed. I begged my parents for a full body surgical make over once I turned 18, as a sort of birthday present, and they had agreed. This was more of a culture thing, but it did horrible things to my self-esteem.

I’ve tried all the different diets there are to try, from veganism to low-carb. These diets have resulted in sharp fluctuations in my weight. One month, I would only eat 1200 calories a day. The next month, I would only eat 1000. The next, 800, and after that I would be so hungry, I would just eat everything in sight. Only to throw it all up after. The summer of 2017 was the worst by far. I spent every waking moment thinking about food, fearing it, and craving it more than anything.

My attitude towards food however, was completely indifferent from an outsider’s perspective. No one would ever guess through my patterns of behavior that I struggle with food. While with friends, I let loose, and ate like a normal teenager, so as not raise any suspicion. I never wanted to admit to myself that this was an actually a problem, but it was. It really, really was. At gatherings, I would take a mental note of everything I ate, so that later I could deprive myself of other meals. Food became my worst enemy.

I believed that my weight was what kept me from being pretty, and I never saw myself as beautiful. The worst part is, I was very aware of my problem, and I knew that it was unhealthy, but I continued to starve myself because I hated my size, even though I was at a healthy BMI.
Recovery has been difficult. I never had a sort of “ah-ha” moment – it’s more of a slow and painful journey. I still struggle with body image today, and there are weeks I still count calories. But the road towards self-love is a very long pilgrimage. I am now working on myself, for myself.