I was listening to a podcast recently called The Hunger Trap and wanted to share a specific episode that really spoke to me. It’s called “There’s Nothing ‘Atypical about Atypical Anorexia”. I was absolutely riveted to every word said because the guest was telling her story and it sounded so much like mine.
She started gaining weight during puberty (NORMAL THING, btw, and also so did I). Her mom was always on a diet and they did Weight Watchers together. My mom wasn’t really on a diet, but in the 80s and 90s during the Fat-Free-Low-Fat-Sugar-Free-Low-Cholesterol Diet fad, that was ALL the food we had in our house. For the longest time I HATED mayonnaise–because I’d never actually eaten REAL mayo. It was diet, fat free kind that tasted nasty. It wasn’t until I was an adult and had the real stuff I realized it was actually good!
The speaker also talked about how there were no snacks in the house–my house was like that, too. And so she–like me–would binge on all the stuff she wasn’t “allowed” to eat whenever she went to friend’s houses or could buy junk food with her babysitting money (and hide it in her room). ME. ME. ME.
My therapist recently asked me if my mom was always on a diet when I was a kid. I said not really, but explained the above stories. I said, she was always doing exercise though. She did aerobics and jazzercise and eventually became a teacher at the community center. So I grew up around that stuff.
The guest on the podcast talked about how in her adult years she was very rigid in her exercise routine and never went out during the week with friends because she was in the gym (me, again, I never deviated from gym schedule). And then she’d go out on the weekends and would binge because she had extra WW “points” from all the exercise. So when she told her friends about her anorexia they didn’t believe her. They said, “But you eat!”
She said her hair was falling out (that was me when I did keto), she was tired all the time (me), she was cold all the time (me again!). And–the biggest “wow” moment for me during the podcast was when she said her metabolism slowed so much that she was never hungry. She basically lost the ability to recognize basic hunger signs. That was me, too. During the time I was losing weight and the 10 years I kept it off, I wasn’t usually super hungry. Why? Because I had trained my body to eat such a low amount of calories it no longer mattered. I was eating 1400 calories or so for like a decade.
You aren’t “sick enough.” That’s what Atypical Anorexia is like.
If you get a chance to listen to the podcast, they have a lot of interesting topics!