Tag Archives: weight

Chubby – Part 1


She remembers the first time she ever pulled her t-shirt down to cover her stomach…a new outfit, baby blue leggings, matching t-shirt with tiny pink flowers, she was pleased, had twirled to show off the shiny newness to her mother, her baby brother……but later…..at the park………..aware of a new feeling that she had no words for, she looked down in dismay at the rounded swell of her belly and tugged harder and harder to cover herself up and later still, trew the top into the far corner of her wardrobe and pulled out the hand me down hoody, passed on from a far older cousin.

She remembers her first book of calories – a free gift with Jackie or My Guy or Blue Jeans, carefully unpeeled from the front cover, trying not to tear Davids’ perfect smile. The book lived in her school bag, consulted daily, within 6 weeks, she had memorised the calorie value of everything she ate, might eat, could conceivably ever come into contact with. The book outlasted David and Bryan and even Donny.

She remembers the aching of her budding breasts, pads of fat on already padded flesh. She tried to disguise them from classmates, pulled her vest this way and that, learnt to hunch her shoulders, be the last to unpeel her sensible airtex top, undress under other clothes and prayed for a miracle, an over night sea change, back to what she used to be.

She remembers the agonies of saturday mornings, Bust Stop and Snob and Top Shop, she the designated holder of coats, grabber of hangars and all the while hoping against hope that she would find something, anything to fit, so that she too could walk along the high street, swinging the coveted new clothes bag, ready to dissect their purchases in the Wimpy bar, burgers eaten with a knife and fork, trying hard not to finish the food on other girls’ plates.

She remembers the phase “puppy fat”, forever confused in her mind with the Osmonds’ song

“This is not some puppy fat lalalalal”

Her mothers’ casual tone betrayed by tightened lips, a poorly held together sigh when she, starving, always starving, reached for another biscuit, another slice of bread.

She remembers another song

“Hey fatty boom, boom”.

The rough boys at the bus stop, the ones from the estate, the ones who went to the new comprehensive would sing it as she, easy to spot, green gaberdine, brown school bag, waited for the bus that went the other way.

She became expert at hiding in the shelter of the co-op, eyes peeled for the bus, ready for a split second dash across the road.

It didn’t always work – sometimes she got it wrong, missed the bus and then of course, it was far, far worse.

She remembers her mothers’ purse, blue leather, gold metal clasp, which had to be teased apart to avoid a tell-tale click. Then, hand in, grab loose change and jump away as if the purse itself was red-hot. Money hidden in her pencil-case or later still ,the special purse, the curse purse.

And after school, the walk down Bond Street, into the sweet shop.

Aztec bars

Star Bars

Spangles

White and brown jazzies

Pineapple chunks and acid drops.

Bags and wrappers jammed into her school mac pockets, hand, dip, reach, mouth and repeat and repeat and repeat.

Then rubbish dumped in the bin not near their house.

She remembers the family wedding. Her outfit, bought 8 weeks before, smocked top, blue Oxford bags and hessian heeled red wedge sandals….but somehow everything outgrown before the date and the loaned dress, mohair, pea green, a- line. The only thing her 30-year-old cousin had that fitted her and her mother fussing round, pulling the fabric, bright, brittle smile, the offer of a scarf to jazz it up and the overheard/half heard/half denied comment

“Perhaps big pants would help – flatten everything out”

She remembers starting to smoke – leaning against the chain link fence at the back of the tennis courts, she and Claire Allen, whose parents had got divorced and who had to eat 2 Sunday lunches every week.

Claire said that cigarettes killed your appetite, killed it stone dead and so she smoked and coughed and wheezed and walking home, afterwards, wondered if she felt  a little lighter, a little thinner.

She remembers school dinners, so easy in the junior school, dinner ladies who saw her hunger, relished in her appetite, happy to dish up seconds, even thirds, if no-one was looking. But now, in big school, it’s a different landscape, another country.

Girls who eat only yogurt, the rebel who has declared herself a vegetarian, the others, already thin, became masters of the re-arranged plate and she took to eating on her own, hands shielding her food, head down, load and leave.

She remembers the Christmas discos – her girls school bussed out into the Norfolk countryside to provide the female interest at a well-known boys school and how when the coach pulled in and the fuggy comfort of Charlie and Tramp and bubble gum lip gloss were swooped for the cold night air and the boys stood either side of the doors and when she and Claire – 2 dinners Claire – stepped down to a chorus of oinks and piggy noises and she knew they were trapped there until the coach came back and fumbled in her bag, fingers discovering Sobranie Cocktails and sugar mice.


lost week-end – Part 2


And then, there is a pause, a moment of perfect still, complete calm, a sense of rightness.

Nothing to reproach herself about, nothing to make her fall into the abyss of self-hatred which she knows will follow.

At this point, she could, she knows she could, turn it all around, simply pick up the still packed grocery bags and with one decisive, beautiful movement,  dump them straight into the bin. She has done this before and lesson learnt, now knows to spray kitchen bleach onto the packages.

She could still save today, coke zero, peppermint tea, an hour of net surfing, seeking out thinspo – the perfect collar bones, the thigh gap, jutting hips to make a bikini bridge and then the gym.

After all, now she has the whole week-end, no ties, no commitments, she could, really she could make the whole week-end a 48 hr coffee fast.

She stands in the hallway, body twisted around itself, a pretzel of indecision, of contradictory longings and is unable to move.

Time passes

And then, she walks into the kitchen.

First off, there  is housekeeping, minimising the damage that the next few hours  will inevitably  bring.

This is, if she is being honest and honesty plays such a small part in these lost weekends , so much lying, to herself, all to X, Ys, As,Bs and Cs, hell she even lies to women in supermarkets who don’t even care, but this, this is  big lie, the one she doesn’t even admit to herself.

She tries to not even notice what she is actually doing, as she sits here, right here, right now….fingers popping out a pile of tiny yellow pills, 7,8,9,10. It is becoming more difficult to buy laxatives locally. She fears that  the pharmacy staff will start to recognise her, dreads an altercation, even questions, a request to account for her actions.

She has started using unfamiliar pharmacies, choosing the busiest, the most impersonal and squirrels away, hoards away in drawers and cupboards that she generally tries to pretend don’t exist, little boxes and packets. She finds them worryingly comforting, even if she can, almost, pretend that she had nothing to do with their presence there.

Now she is, like a junkie with a bag of fat rocks, edgy, wanting to make a start. The day, less face it, the rhythm of the weekend, this lost weekend, is already set.

All she is doing now is delay, she opens the kitchen door, regards the mountain of food, the just beginning to melt ice-cream, the cakes, pizza box and flanking it all,  the super sized sugar free drinks.

First things first…ice cream in freezer, oven on, cake sliced and resisted. It’s not time yet, there is still some pretence of control, of eating like normal.

She even sets the table, fills a glass, gulps down the first glass of cola, washes  down a handful, two handfuls of diuretics.

She waits for the pizza, the Indian ready meals….mouth salivating , she paces in front of the oven, one ear open for the microwave ping.

And the first 6, 7 minutes of eating is glorious, she has been so hungry for so long , stomach empty, always cold, skin too thin to cover bones.

She knows, tries not to know, that she is making that noise, a keening, moaning of physical pleasure, as she dips naan bread into chicken tikka and crams the bread, chicken combo into her mouth.

And every time, at this moment, she wishes she could stop now or in 2 or 3 or 4 more bites. This would be normal eating, a little greedy, but salvageable. She even tries a pause, wipe the sauce up, licks her fingers.

She could stop now, but smell of warm cheese, hot dough is filling the kitchen.

It’ s all too late now…..she knows how this will play out

Minutes later, the first onslaught is over, she licks her fingers, sucks the spicy, sweet processed food, mops the plastic containers with another piece of naan bread. There is no room for social niceties, for crockery, cutlery.
Not during a lost weekend.

Her stomach feels full, warm, she rests her hands there and then disgusted, punches hard, enough to almost wind herself
“Disgusting, useless, fat bitch”
She needs to wind herself up, get up a stream of hatred, stop feeling comfortable.

Grabbing and chugging the first bottle of coke, she checks her watch…12 minutes…..no damage done yet.
Upstairs, bathroom, do what needs to be done and afterwards, sitting on the bathroom floor, tears, fat tears, well what else would they be?
Experimentally, she tastes one with the tip of her tongue, warm, salty.
She wonders if tears have calories and the irony of that thought, pushes her to her feet.

The pizza will be ready, needs to be eaten, eaten quickly, fast enough to risk a burn to the roof of her mouth.
Real, external pain, a reminder of just how bad she is, how there can be no pleasure in any of this.

Later, much later, she huddles on a kitchen chair, its wooden back pressing into her spine, she presses hard against it, hoping for bruises, more pain.

Her throat hurts, burns, eyes sting and she can feel her stomach churn, waves of discomfort with the threat of more pain, her body, her desires brought down to simple, shaming function.

She is reduced to hunger, shit, puke….and tears.
Almost new-born but with no hint of promise, no hint of salvation.

Just 2 more lost days until Monday morning.

And before that, late, very late on Sunday night, she will creep from the house, face swollen, stomach distended, body hidden in an over-sized sweat shirt and take the bin bag full of empty packages, boxes, tins, wrappers and drive a safe distance from home before shoving the bag into an empty bin and pushing the evidence far away, far from home, far from her.

 


lost weekend – part 1


Lost weekend

She knows, the moment she wakes, tastes dream food on her lips, remembers a sleeping feast, a table piled high, a dream so real that just for a second,she wonders if somehow she has eaten, more than eaten, gorged, at some point  between 200 leg lifts, last weigh in and half a cup of sugar-free hot chocolate.
She rolls back the duvet, cold biting into flesh, checks thighs, hip bones, counts ribs, can see no evidence, no proof that her body has betrayed her.
4am, first weigh in, standing naked in the bathroom, best of 3, a half articulated prayer to the gods of scales, needs to see good numbers, reward, payback.

The scales are implacable, impervious to any prayer, deaf to her needs, her real hunger.
The numbers stare back….blue digital display, a truth that cannot be argued with and so she trails back to bed, already bargaining in her head, looking for a logic when her own body has moved beyond the realms of reality.

But…like an itch, once noted that cannot be ignored, the dream has woken the kraken of hunger, reminded her, yet again, that the body will have its way, will survive.

It’s Friday and she knows that this will be a lost weekend.
There are plans to be made.
Arrangements to be un-arranged
Things to be done.
And while she says this, maybe out loud, maybe not, she is already bargaining, negotiating, the calorie counter in her head, always ready, ever ready has begun to kick in.

The space, time left is enough for something else to happen, some rescue,  some ambush of her desire, it may still be alright.

She emails….tells X that she is seeing Y, Y that she is laid low with a stomach bug ( she rationalizes that this, if nothing else is almost true), informs A,B and C that she is out-of-town until Sunday and then sits back, appalled by the ease of her lying, the weekend, empty, clear.
A lost weekend.

More plans, rehearsed, familiar in their balletic routine and rituals.
Cash point, lost weekends must be paid for in cash….no paper trail, no bank statement to choke her with shame, recriminations, 1, 2 weeks down the line.
And besides, cash, she has learnt, sets a limit, an end point, imposes some control.

Into the car, lost weekends cannot be provisioned too near home, the fear of her and the trolley of shame, bumping along beside her, laden with foods of colours that no food should be, meeting a friend,neighbour, even a colleague, is paralysing.
The very thought makes her limbs twist with shame, she is the girl who never eats, who sits at meals, an apple sliced into tiny, tiny pieces, while she watches the others eat. She is the one that people no longer offer cake to, no longer ask if she wants anything from the drive through.
She is the girl who never eats,whose body is a silent reproach to those who cannot, will not share her iron control.
And so, the supermarket, this one 5 miles from home, safe enough, but near enough to home that the drive will not last forever, will not cause her self-control to snap, car pulled over, face buried in the first, still warm bakery bag.
There is a routine, a rhythm, a ritual to a lost weekend shop.
First stop
Pharmacy aisle ….
Laxatives
Diuretics
Paracetamol.

Next….
Sugar free chewing gum
Coke zero, 2 litre bottles times many

And then,
The food shop
Today, the fruit and vegetable aisles ignored, no careful weighing out of 4oz bags of grapes, bananas chosen based only on size, miniaturised, apples defined as less than medium.
She knows from experience that it is better to pick the ice cream first, fear of defrosting, of spillage sets a time limit, a sense of urgency, keeps her moving, heading towards the check-out.

In her head, the litany of a list
2 tubs of ice cream
Macaroni cheese
Cauliflower cheese
Pepperoni pizza
Chicken tikka masala
Prawn korma
Chocolate cheese cake

And then a pause….finds herself in the biscuit aisle, knows from hard experience that biscuits have too many sharp edges, too many corners, will stick,catch, hold up the smooth movement.

Instead,cakes, chocolate fudge cake, ripples of icing, she can already imagine her finger nails disturbing the perfect layers of sugar, butter, cake.
Her mouth puckers, waters, she grabs the box before the other shoppers can see the naked hunger, over powering desire.

Final aisle
Toilet cleaner
Disinfectant
Facial wipes
Toilet tissue.

Check out, she is nervous, bounces from one foot to the other, jingles car keys, smiles too much.
She starts a complicated story to the bored checkout girl
A family shop, bring and share supper, birthday celebration, a story for someone who has already forgotten the thin woman and her half filled trolley.

 

The drive home is a blur, it’s always a blur on lost weekends – mind, mouth, stomach already lost, full of anticipation, already calculating the guilt, the self loathing and everything that will come with it.

She parks the car neatly on the drive, grabs the carrier bags, doesn’t look inside and once the front door is opened, the shopping dumped in the kitchen, she goes back and carefully locks the front door.

[ to be continued]


Hunger 11 – hunger logic – part 1


Sometimes, she wakes convinced that somehow during the night, fast asleep, she has crept downstairs, raided the fridge, the biscuit tin, shoveled handfuls of raisins, dry cereals, lumps of cheese into her mouth.
She can almost feel the ghost of food in her mouth and has to run her tongue over her teeth, the roof of her mouth, not once, but many times to reassure herself that nothing has happened.
But, the feeling of unease remains, the seed of doubt, once planted, cannot be completely removed and so she does a triple set of crunches, sit ups and decides, just to be on the safe side, to skip breakfast anyway.

She worries that the fat from moisturiser, sun block, lip balm will be absorbed into her blood stream, she visualises the little blobs of fat travelling down veins, attaching themselves to organs, dimpling the skin.
She compromises, avoids lip balm, all too easy to lick, to chew, but allows herself a dab of cream on her face every other day.

She weighs herself 5 and 6 and 7 times a day, bows down to the absoloute tyranny of their rule , but chooses to ignore any weight but the heaviest each day. This is the true weight, the weight that must be acted upon, recorded in the notebook that she uses just for this purpose, pages upon pages of numbers, a mapping of desire versus control.

She hears the phrase ” I can put on weight just by looking at food” and despite a good degree, wonders if she should google to check the truth, the likelihood , the outside possibility of this being an actual, verifiable fact.
She knows that late one night,when logic vanishes and the walls crowd in and life comes down to numbers and bones that she will search the internet, just in case.

She loves to bake, loves to watch you eat, takes pleasure from your pleasure, your satedness, the dash of cupcake icing that remains on your chin, long after the cupcake is gone. She urges you to eat more, but when you balk, stomach full, all caked out, she leans forward and runs a finger over the top of the last remaining cake and after
wards, when you, replete, walk home, she carefully carries the cake in to the bin and then, quickly, while she still has control, pours vinegar over it.

She considers cutting off her hair, long, dark curls. The hair she hides behind when her face is simply too ugly to show to the world, the hair that keeps her neck warm, when the cold creeps into her bones and cannot be shifted.
But, the hair has weight, mass, presence. Cutting it off must make a difference, must influence the numbers.
It’s loss will feel like an offering, a sacrifice.
It will be worth it.

She is trying to make herself invisible, trying to become so much less than she used to be. She feels herself diminished.
Dreams of a time when she will be so tiny, so perfect that she will, finally, vanish, become just the ghost of the girl she used to be.

The thinner she becomes, the more people notice her.

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Hunger 3


She’s doing the maths in her head, being careful to round down, not up.

Small banana, say 50 calories, coffee, well, that’s nothing really, rice and salad, can’t be more than 200 calories, so that leaves 300 calories for her evening meal.

Gym after work, 20 minutes on the cross trainer, that must be at least 500 calories, power walk and then 20 lengths, gotta be over 1,00 calories in total.

So, that gives her 1,300 calories for the rest of the day or, she does the sum again, if she can keep this up until Friday, that would be 3,000 spare calories….she pauses for a minute, checks the calorie counting app on her phone, is 3,00 calories enough for a pepperoni pizza, she can taste the warm cheese, feel the heat of the box as she carries it from the front door to the kitchen.

It’s ok, she will be good, no garlic bread, no cookie dough ice cream and besides, she’s 3,000 calories ahead and she will definitely go to the gym on Sunday morning.

So, 300 calories for tonight, inside her head, she reviews the contents of her fridge.
Tomatoes – good
Cucumber – good
Low cal, fat free dressing – very good
Lettuce – good

Let’s say 100 calories for a salad, another 50 for a banana, that leaves 150 even before she gets to the gym, so she can have a 2 fingered KitKat with her afternoon coffee and stil be ahead.

She smiles to herself, if she can keep to this, this time she will definitely loose weight, more counting, this time she has to use her fingers to help.
If she sheds 2lbs this week and really, she can probably call it 3 lbs, especially with all this gym going, thats definitely , completely going to happen.
3lbs this week, let’s say 12lbs over the month, that’s nearly a stone, so she shrugs to herself, let’s call it a stone, by October she will be 4 stone lighter, she will be slim.

She closes her eyes for a moment, the better to visualise this new slim self and smiles.

More counting, so, if she’s a size 18 now, each stone lost should mean at least a dress size down, lets see she thinks

One stone – size 16
Two stone – size 14
Three stone – size 12
Four stone, and she can hardly say it, does the counting again in her head, just to make sure.
In October, she will be a size 10, it will all be worth it.

3.30 pm – time for a break, time for a KitKat, she hopes that the vending machine has the small ones, but then she shrugs, it’s all ok, she’s 1,000 calories ahead, it won’t matter if she gets a bigger one and besides she’s starving.

As she walks through the office, she wonders why she left school thinking she was bad at maths, she seems to spend her whole life counting.