When I first started experiencing symptoms from my food intolerances, I was 11 years old. I would get really, REALLY sick when eating. Throughout middle school I was terrified of eating breakfast, I hated eating during school, and if I was going anywhere after dinner, I ate as little as possible. If I did eat, the food seemed to go right through me, without ever giving my body a chance to grow. I didn't break 100 lbs. until I was 14. By then, I was close to my final 5'11" height. I was bone thin, and everybody let me know.
I obviously hated food because it sent me right to the bathroom and caused me everlasting pain. At the same time, I had people vocalizing their envy for my "thin body" that they "used to have". If I ever mentioned getting sick from food, to this day, people openly beg the universe to get whatever I have. I had a great aunt who encouraged me to stick my finger down my throat if a family member ever "forced me to eat" (most people assumed I was anorexic, not physically sick). When I was 23 I lost 30 lbs. in a month from not eating, and while waiting for my GI doctor, the nurse told me that she thought I "looked great" and wished she had "stomach problems that kept [her] from eating".
It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why I developed disordered eating. For a majority of my life I had an incredibly unhealthy relationship with food. If I had an oreo, I ate the whole sleeve, and probably the whole bag. If I had ice cream, it was probably eaten straight out of the 1/2 gallon container, and I'd bet I finished it. Why not? I was going to get sick no matter how much I had. I never became overweight, in fact for a long time no matter how much shit I ate, I couldn't gain a pound. Until I finally started to gain weight and it freaked me out. People stopped commenting on how skinny I was. Suddenly I felt worthless without that recognition (it was all a lot of people talked about). My body started changing during high school and I felt like I was trapped in a stranger's body. Love handles? Not a size 0? Who was I?
My weight dipped in and out of borderline anorexia for a long time. Sometimes I got really sick and I'd just stop eating because it was painful. I would shed the pounds and my skeletal frame concerned a lot of people who care about me. When I see a picture of myself during those times, it scares me too. I look so fragile. It happens now too, just less frequently. When I work out a lot and try to eat more, I reach the tipping point and my body can't seem to find something to do with the extra food. For the last few years I've been trying hard to gain some muscle and strength. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose.
In part of accepting this, I have shifted a lot of my physical energy to yoga. It is helpful for my mind, my emotions, my digestive tract, and allows me to focus on what my body can do, rather than how it looks. At the same time, there is a lot of negative talk about the stereotypical "lean yogi", a description I happen to match- and not by choice. A lot of times when people try to show acceptance for "everyone", they bash skinny people. It starts to make me feel inadequate and like I should be ashamed of the body I can't help but have. I would never choose to be this thin. I accept it, but it comes with a lot of baggage. People openly shame those of us who are skinny, but they don't realize that I did not choose to be this way. I don't want to be envied for my weight, and I don't want to be criticized. I just want to be encouraged to be happy and healthy.
I choose to be healthy, and right now, the size I am allows me to feel the best. I eat when I'm hungry, I don't count anything, and I work out. At the moment I have a handle on my food intolerances, but that is not always guaranteed. Today I am grateful that I am not sick, and I am hopeful that tomorrow will keep me well, too.
I imagine I'm not the only one of us with these types of problems. If you have a similar story or any words of encouragement, please do share.