I recently read an article which claimed eating disorders are affecting children at an increasingly young age - even a five year old kids are apparently not immune. Early Onset Eating Disorder (EOED) is commonly linked to teenage girls was now becoming increasingly prevalent in Australian girls, and boys, aged 10 to 12 and even younger. An incredibly sad and worrying read, it caused me to reflect on my somewhat complicated relationship with food.
You may have noticed that I'm rather fond of my food...cooking it, eating it, looking at pictures of it. Unfortunately, this devotion has led to my body being somewhat more...er...padded than what I consider ideal. It's as if all the things I shouldn't eat migrate and live on my thighs and arse so that they can give me a good talking to every time I look in the mirror.
At this point in my life I'm ok with being a little bit overweight. Yes, I'd like to lose five or eight kilos but it's not something that keeps me awake at night...but that wasn't always the case.
I was one of those lean, no-hipped kids who spent their entire life running around at 100kmh and had no time to put on weight. I actually have a vivid memory of a shop assistant saying to me, when I was around eight years' old, that all the food I ate would catch up with me one day. Damn her for being right.
At about 16, the amount of exercise I did dramatically decreased and the weight started to creep on. By the time I went to university, thanks to dedicated pubbing, I'd probably put on five kilos...by the end of my first year, that had increased to 11. Surrounded by gorgeous, thin friends, my self esteem plummeted.
During that first year I started throwing up when I'd eaten too much. That soon became the norm after EVERY meal. When that seemed to be keeping my weight stable, I started taking laxatives as well...at first, just a few, but eventually a small handful at a time. For about three years this was my shameful secret.
I eventually clawed my way out from the clutches of Bulimia...it wasn't easy and it wasn't without relapses. But even though I am probably weigh much the same today as I was at my heaviest university weight, I'm ok with it.
To me, the fact that I CAN eat that almond croissant without thinking of the calorie content or enjoy duck confit without surreptitiously disappearing to the Ladies' Room immediately after means that my mind is in good shape (even if my butt isn't).