Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Am a Ping-Pong Ball

My cart squeaks as it rattles down the aisle.  One wheel is bent, making every step a fight to stay in line.  I picture the metal death basket veering into a shelf, causing a chain reaction that ends with a store full of disaster.  Bodies and baked goods strewn across the floor.  The morbid thought makes me smile.

I grab a protein bar off the shelf, pouring over the nutrition label.  Strict standards must be adhered to: one gram of protein per 10 calories.  My teeth grab at my lower lip, a look of concentration creasing a line between my eyes.  This is serious stuff.  After reviewing several more brands, I decide on an old standard.  With a sigh, I toss a handful of bars into the cart.

Next is the snack food aisle.  A quick glance finds the cheapest treats.  Even on sale, the national brands can't compare to the store brands.  Two bags of cookies for less than three dollars.  I don't even look at the nutrition label.

My mind wanders as I pick through the apples.  Each one carefully inspected for discoloration, bruising or broken skin.  One, two, three, four... into a plastic bag, twisted and tied.

On the way to the checkout stand, I swing through frozen foods.  A shiver tingles up my spine as I open the freezer door to grab a box of chicken nuggets.  The little pseudo-chicken bits are on sale for $1.30 an ounce.  As an afterthought I throw a bag of frozen curly fries on top of the pile.  Those too are on sale.

I'm giddy as I slide each item across the scanner.  Self-checkouts have made my shopping experience much more pleasant.  No more shame about my purchases.  No more wondering if the store clerk is thinking me a fat, fat, fatty for buying cookies and fried food.

My mind flips with ease between ordered and disordered thinking.  It no longer seems strange to shop for binge eating and for normal eating in the same grocery store trip.  My mind categorizes food as it falls into my basket.  Cookies are for binging.  Apples are for fuel.  Each category has it's rules and restrictions, drastically different for each.  Tricks to make myself feel in control.

During the day I eat like a sane person.  I fill up on produce and lean meats.  If a coworker brings a treat to share, I partake in normal portions.  I snack on healthy bits when I am hungry and never skip a meal.

During the night I eat until I feel sick.  Then I purge until I feel empty again.

It's not even about weight anymore.  I haven't stepped on a scale in well over a month.  Some days I feel like I've gained 20 pounds.  The next day it feels like my clothes hang off my frame.  Surely I am wasting away.  Surely I am an enormous cow.  Back and forth, more confused than a ping-pong ball.

I am so tired.  So sick.  So done.


  1. Wow hun. This is very well written. I too, enjoy the self checkout since no one is there to judge me for what I am buying. Especially when I buy my diet pills or my laxies. Hang in there hun.

  2. This is really well-written. I read it once and had to come back the next day to read it again. It makes me miss grocery shopping, in a nostalgic kinda way. I'm sorry you're struggling so much at the moment. I wish I knew what to say that would help, but sometimes there are just no words. Keep hanging in there as best as you can.

  3. Oh I hate it when I get the crummy cart at the grocery store. the one that won't steer straight and squeaks so loud everyone in the store can hear you coming!

    Oh yes, self checkouts! I almost never use the regular checkout anymore! That way no one can silently judge me for "buying cheesecake while fat".

    Anyway, I'm sorry things are difficult right now, and I hope you are able to keep your head above the water. hugs!

  4. Thank you, all, for your kind words and support! You guys are an amazing community to be a part of.


Thank you for the comment! Your input is always appreciated :)