Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Do I Have a Problem?" (from the book)

It is difficult for me to pinpoint where my compulsive eating started. At age two my dad purchased a case of bananas from a produce bargain store. Apparently he decided to take an afternoon nap since the children passed out in front of the television. Being the little fatty, I woke up early to discover the abundance of sweet fruit calling my name from the kitchen. My dad later found the near-empty box on the floor, along with me rolling around over the empty peels, grunting and holding my bloated belly.

My obsession with food and compulsive eating (we might as well use the word “disorder”) got a little out of hand, where at age 21 I was 285 lbs. I can recall eating a whole large pizza, then going to the kitchen for a wedge of cake and pint of ice cream about an hour later. Nothing angered me more than being full with delicious things in the house to eat. I started a diet every other week and went off the diet later that same day. It was not until the New Year’s Eve after my 21st birthday that I finally had enough of being a fat loser. The self-realization of a compulsive eating disorder made sense after the hours of drinking alone and listening to suicidal music: It all seemed so clear. I had to do everything in extremes! Nothing about my life was in moderation and the only way to get a result that I wanted was to obsess and make it dominate every other aspect of my life. For about a year I starved myself to 800 calories a day and reduced my fat intake to 10 grams or less. For legal reasons I should state that: while I did count my protein and take a multi-vitamin, this was obviously not recommended by any physician. Birthdays, cook outs, holidays, dates, and any other occasions where a bunch of people get together and eat involved myself just drinking water and saying “No Thanks”. I lost 50 lbs the first three months and another 50 in the 9 months to follow. For the first time in my life I was actually thin! I went from a size 40 to a 34 and was able to see bones though my skin; I felt so elegant!

While the weight loss did not last, and I only remember feeling thin one day in my life. I do, however, remember that sense of accomplishment for having achieved something I set myself out to do. So while my weight went up and down in the years to follow, part of which I blame on the year I lived in Las Vegas (city of extremes), I began to search for a healthy lifestyle option. I remember thinking, “If I could only find something rational that would allow me to eat excessive amounts of food and not die of heart disease”. One day I found it, however, I still thought I needed one last meal. I drove to a burger joint with a cow on the sign and ordered a big juicy hamburger and fries. I took one bite, a bite I was barely able to chew and swallow, so I threw the rest of the greasy confection into the trash. I sat alone in my room, tears running down my face, as my brain raced though thoughts of what I had learned earlier that day. I empathized and mourned for the animal that died in a slaughter house. I cried for the injustices caused by factory farms in our fast food nation. I thought about the negative impacts caused by my years of apathy, laziness and selfishness. I woke the next day a Vegan.

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