Backgrounder

Before I launch into why I don't like the idea of Starved I guess it's best if I tell you a bit of my history. I struggle with food. I'm not sure what to call it. It's some sort of disordered eating pattern. It's about control. It's generally brought on by stress. Usually when there are a lot of things (read bad things) going on in my life over which I have no control. I don't cut carbs or count calories or fat grams or any of that - I just simply don't eat. Stress really kills my appetite and even when I do eat things taste like sawdust or I'm just simply not interested in food. I eat when I get hungry and when I'm stressed that's honestly not often. If I realize that it's suddenly 5 in the evening and I haven't had anything to eat, yeah I will force myself to eating something. It may not be a lot but I do my best to make sure I eat something. I've never gone a full day without eating although I have been known to go until 6 or 7 or even 8 in the evening without food. When I used to drink a lot of coffee (coffee seems to kill my appetite) and I used to smoke (killed my appetite and my taste buds) it was a lot worse. Then again - when I used to drink all that coffee and smoke cigarettes I also was going through a lot of stress. It's really not a conscious decision, it just sort of happens.

I also want to point out that these stressful periods - it's not normally just one thing going wrong. It's a bunch of things. The whole "it doesn't rain but it pours" type of scenario. The fall of 2000 strikes me as a great example - it was probably the worst episode. I didn't secure an apartment before I left Montreal the previous spring which normally wasn't an issue. But that was the year the housing crisis first struck so I got stuck in the middle of it. I spend the first week at one friend's place and then moved to another friend's place and me and Piper spend the next three weeks sleeping on the hardwood floor of her studio apartment (and I still owe her big for this kindness - I did give her a few hundred for rent but that doesn't even begin to pay her back for that).

During that time I got sick (2 ear infections and a sinus infection - all at once) and since I'm allergic to common meds had to pay a small fortune for antibiotics. I broke up with my boyfriend of just over two years (this was a good thing - but still stressful as he continued to call me for weeks afterwards). The student aid office messed up something on my student loan form causing a delay of about a week or more on my money (this was already the second week of school). I had spent most of the money I did have on books and medication so I had about $50 in my bank account when I found out. Because I had no money and had no idea when I was getting money I really couldn't look for an apartment. I didn't have all the books I needed for my classes. I was starting to get behind. Then the third week in September I finally got my money and found an apartment. I moved in the next week. The lady wanted me to pay her for the last few days of September for which I was taking over her apartment and that was fine. She then lost the envelope with the money in it (supposedly) and tried to get more out of me (ha!).

Two days after I moved in my mother or sister (I can't remember which) called to tell me that a cousin on my dad's side of the family had been missing for almost a week. No one had told me because I was too stressed out about everything else. I went away for two days and the after I got back his body was found and I went home for the funeral - he was just barely 19 when he died. I was home for four or five days. On the train back to Montreal I was studying for my mid-terms as it was now Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanskgiving). On the way to that train I had to go to a mall and buy a pair of jeans 'cause none of mine fit anymore. I'm 5'5 and I was down to 100 lbs. I bought a pair of size 24 jeans that 2 months later would not go up any further than my thighs. I looked sick. I had no energy. That year didn't get dramatically better for me. It was the year of the evil ex. The following summer was another low point and although I didn't get as low in weight or as size, I probably wasn't that far from it. When I started working at the Bookstore that August I was thin. I was stressed. I was in the process of ending yet another crappy and complicated relationship (the complication due the fact we were living together at the time and neither one of us could afford to leave). One of the Shippers later commented that when I started he wondered if I was anorexic because I was "too thin".

It's true that my current fighting weight isn't a lot. I range anywhere from 104-116 depending on the scale. I think I tend to even out around 110. I honestly couldn't tell you how much I weight right now. But I can tell you I can't get a size 24 anywhere near to my waist. I don't own a scale and I don't really want to. I judge by how my clothes are fitting. After a week in Montreal and a weekend at the cottage I would guess that I'm toward the upper end of my range because my clothes are feeling a bit snugger than they usually do. (I had been stressed out before going to Montreal but they got me eating regularly and then I had my appetite back by the time I went down to Vermont and proceeded to pig out all weekend.)

It took me a year to thrown out those size 24 jeans (coincidently about the time my evil ex finally moved out). I called them my “skinny jeans”. When I threw them out I vowed I'd never be that thin again, that I'd never let myself get to that point. I'd never let myself get that out of control again. I said I'd find a way to deal with things.

I haven't done a perfect job. When I'm really busy, or I'm stressed out about things, or I'm depressed - I still skip meals. I don't always eat when I should. But the difference - now I notice. I see myself doing these things and I'll realize that I haven't eaten for 12 hours and I'll go to the fridge and grab something. I'll make myself a Carnation Instant Breakfast and I'll drink that along with my meal to get those extra calories. If I catch myself doing it a lot I start food journaling. It forces me to pay attention. I often only have to do it for a few days or a week to get back on track. Even though I'm not aware enough to not do it, I'm aware enough to catch myself doing it and do something to rectify it.

I've never gone on a diet. I try to eat healthy. I try to exercise, not to lose weight, but to feel good. For awhile in Montreal I was taking a dance aerobics class because it was fun and it felt good (and most often I bought stopped and bought a chocolate bar on the way to the subway, lol). It was great stress relief. As is yoga when I remember / have enough floor space cleared to do it. And those that know me know that I love food. I'm a foodie.

I'm just getting this out there because I know a lot of you either haven't heard of my issues at all. Or those that have probably don't know the whole deal. So that's my story and I'll be back later to talk about Starved. Right now I really need to go buy groceries and kitty litter.

(And I'm bolding this - let me know if it's too hard to read like this and I will.)