One morning my father caught me spilling my breakfast down the sink. It would not have been a big deal, except that he happens to be a pediatrician, and I happened to have just lost twenty pounds in the last two months. He put two and two together, and freaked out. Welcome to Parentsville.
The confusing thing is, everyone, including my mother, has been telling me how great I look lately. The woman whose kids I take care of in the evenings said that I was her "inspiration" to go on a diet.
My grandfather told me that I looked sleek and pretty. (Didn't know grandfathers noticed that stuff, did you?) I had expected good reactions from my friends, but adults have complimented my new body even more. And then my dad tells me I'm hurting myself! It's not like I was starving myself, or anorexic - just dieting. Since when is weight loss bad? Isn't that exactly what adults are obsessed with?
When I confronted my dad with this point, he called up a friend of his, a nutritionist, and asked her to speak with me about balancing a "healthy, weight-maintaining diet" - - without "starving" myself. As if.
I have to confess that I was pretty rude to her when she came over. I felt totally invaded. Who was this chick, telling me what to put in my body? She did have a few very good things to say, though, and I had to listen, to be fair.
We ended up negotiating a diet that would add calories (and we wrangled over every single calorie, believe me) but that would mainly just put the calories which I do eat to better use. That part is cool.
I have started this new diet with many doubts. First of all, for a while I was still angry at my parents and at this strange woman for intruding on my privacy. I've tried to get over that part of it, though - - I mean, everyone's got to do their job, right?
The part that still haunts me is gaining back any of the weight - every time I take a bite of food - especially food that I had out-ruled on my original diet - I can see the scale creeping up, see my new clothes getting tight. I am so nervous about gaining back the weight that I cannot think of food without feeling anxious. I don't want to disappoint "my public" (I'm not conceited, just honest), and mostly, I don't want to let myself down, to lose this control I've had over my body for so long.
However, since I have always claimed to be a health-nut, and never want to be a hypocrite, I am trying to do the "truly healthy thing" (says the nutritionist ) and I'm sticking to my new, "Doctor Dad Approved" diet. I hope I can succeed at this and still stay thin. For the time being, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And my breakfast out of the sink.
Editor's Note: This girl was lucky - she was "caught" before things started to spiral out of control, and is getting help. If you recognize yourself here, get help! Tell a parent or trusted adult that you have become anxious or obsessive about food, and that you are concerned about your health.
Therapist's Comments on Eating Disorders I