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You Wouldn't Have Noticed an Eating Disorder

by Braulio Fernandez 4 years ago in health
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As most wouldn't...

Out of the many types of eating disorders that people have, I rarely see it discussed in the light that I would like to bring it to. Some people struggle with being unable to control their portions, while others struggle to eat anything at all: Bingeing, bulimia, purging, anorexia, eating addiction, the list goes on, though I don't think there are that many eating disorders either.

You simply never know what someone is going through mentally, physically, spiritually, or otherwise on mere glances. Perhaps you can make educated guesses, but to know the full story will require getting to know a person.

I've seen people deal with eating too much, or eating too little, but at the very least, you can tell that they might be dealing with such based on their appearance. A person might seem a little heavier than when you first saw them over time. In another instance, you may have seen someone who eats so little, not because they want to, but because that's all that they have cravings for. It's a struggle for them to get the calories that they need in order to appear healthy, as being thin isn't everything—but what about those who do have eating disorders but others would never guess?

All of my life, I've been labelled a "growing boy" because of my ability to eat everything in sight. "The Black Hole" and "The Human Garbage Disposal" have been pervasive nicknames for me as well. Standing at a mere 5 feet and 9 and a half inches, and only weighing 147 to 150 or so lbs, it'd be difficult for anyone to guess that I had any type of eating disorder.

I can eat virtually whatever I want, whenever I want, and pay no consequences other than having to dispose of it rather promptly, though most of it goes the next morning. I'm in good shape, I have relatively clear skin, and I appear to be doing fine in nearly every regard of my physical appearance.

But the truth is, I'm not much different from anyone else, and as flawed as everyone else, if not more so. I'd be lying if I said I didn't use food to fill a void in my life that I knew was present. Food tastes good, and it makes me feel good. I'm not a picky eater either so I'll eat almost anything you place in front of me, which started at childhood. The best thing my sister and I could do was eat what was place in front of us because the options were limited as our budget. I liked earning the approval of my mom or grandmother when they saw I ate all my food like a good boy, so that habit has stuck with me ever since then. Eating good, not eating bad.

It wasn't until some close analysis in which I realized that just because food didn't impact my weight in a negative way, that didn't meant that I didn't have a problem. For context, allow me to demonstrate what I am capable of in a day. For breakfast, I'd eat several bowls of cereal until I was full. At lunch time, I'd have a double hamburger, a large order of cheese fries, a chicken sandwich, and an Oreo shake. I can't imagine how many calories that is—probably like 2,000. That would keep me full for a good amount of time, then at night I'd eat whatever was leftover from that meal, and finish it off with a chili dog. For someone my size, that is a ridiculous amount of food to be eating. Anytime I ordered a pizza, I would eat most of it in one sitting and have fries on the side. I exercised too, so that averted any other risks I would've been taking. You might be thinking, “Well that’s just your amateur self-diagnosis,” but eating this much nearly everyday would have to be some kind of disorder of overeating. It’s definitely not orderly, that’s for sure.

With every get together with family, there's no noticeable change in my appearance, but to mention the thousands of dollars I blew over my lifetime eating out so often and the sluggishness I felt from greasy food, there was no way I was doing myself any favors physically or financially.

There was deep sadness within me that I kept trying to fill with different things, and food was one of the biggest for me. I didn't have to suffer weight gain like everyone else, so that meant that it was okay to be gluttonous. It was okay to only partially eat healthy.

And then to balance it out, I would go long periods of time without eating at all because I didn't care. I got tired of food. It didn't taste as good as it used to. The novelty of the same restaurants wore thin quick, and there aren't a lot of places for me to eat where I live, so I'd just snack instead, then I'd be so hungry that I would go for food with a vengeance, rinse and repeat.

In the end, I want to make it clear that if you're someone who is overweight, or perhaps has a slow metabolic rate, you don't have to envy someone who eats a lot and is still in shape. That also unintentionally rhymed. "I wish I was like you," relatives would say to me, but it's not always great being me; and don't think that because someone has a high metabolic rate that it's okay for them to eat like there's no tomorrow. It's not okay. Gluttony is gluttony, whether it's noticeable or not because, even after an amazing meal, I still didn't feel great about myself. Being thin doesn’t mean never having to deal with crippling depression or low self-esteem, so eating could be a way for me to fulfilled myself. It felt like I was close to achieving that fulfillment I was looking for, but somehow I missed the mark each and every time. The only solution was to try again and hope I hit it next time.

I still deal with it these days, though not as severely as I used to, so the battle is daily. God gives me the strength to confront what it is that's eating me, no pun intended, and I go from there. I was overweight once upon a time as well, mostly due to not eating enough, and not eating the right foods, so there is a balance. I can't say that I've been terribly balanced since I lost the weight, as I might as we’ll have been making up for lost times, but I try. Also, there’s the steady reminder that just because you can break food down very well, that doesn’t mean you should abuse your body. You can still be at risk for high blood pressure, cardiac, or digestive issues. I had to accept this fact as a part of my growth.

Is what I’m offering a solution to a problem? Yes and no. The solution is easier said than done, but simple to know: Be wise, because being wise will lead you to eat healthy, control your portions, and exercise—but I just want those who struggle with doing those things to know that I’m right there with you, and that someone who does or doesn’t perform their due diligence isn’t somehow better than you. I’m not superior because I’m in shape. Character is more important and, believe it or not, plays a role in your health. It’s heathy to be wise, and wise to be healthy, but wisdom is the best way to start. Assuming you don’t have some kind of medical condition that keeps you from doing what needs to be done, the right mindset is what will take you to your goals. Achieving your goals will not always get you to the right mindset, however, and I consider myself proof positive of the latter—in that I became what I wanted to be, but my mind was a wasteland filled with clutter, trauma, and depression. I kind of did things in reverse, but I’m winning the battle more than I am losing it. So pray for wisdom, and God will give it.

Just don’t give up hope...


About the author

Braulio Fernandez

God bless. Freelance writer from Chicago. Any and all support is greatly appreciated.

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