Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I Am a Ping-Pong Ball
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.