Unbearable Lightness: A Story Of Loss & Gain
These days it takes a lot for me to become completely obsessed, immersed and absorbed in a book – to the point where you literally can’t put it down and find yourself reading at traffic lights and turning pages as your walking along the street, hoping that your peripherals offer enough side-sight to see anyone or anything incoming.
I read ‘Unbearable Lightness’ by Portia de Rossi in 2 days, spending approximately 8 hours engrossed in her poignant memoir, which was one of the most candid depictions of an eating disorder I have EVER read. Reading it was eye opening, confronting at times and devastatingly honest. It was impeccably written and her ability to divulge information in a way that made the reader both understand and relate (even if we never had a disorder) is highly commendable.
I would recommend this book to any women, she says it is for any woman that has ever been on a diet but is that not every woman? Without generalising (I totes am), I think it is.
So here is my candid diet confession…
I escaped from the ‘female dieting trap’ fairly easily in life but that’s not to say I did not suffer my fair share like many other young women.
The lack of confidence began when I was young and would get bullied for being plain and tall and thin. I looked like a boy and that didn’t win me many friends. It did win me a few black eyes and stolen lunch boxes.
When high school started I quickly became the best friend of the prettiest girl in school and to this day she is my all. BUT when you are an ugly 13 year old with a history of being dumped by all your boyfriends and a ridiculously attractive 14 year old best friend who was ALSO smart, good at sports and popular with the ‘big kids’, my self esteem took a bit of a hit. So I dieted.
What began as a simple act of taking dry cruskits for lunch and throwing away the cheese and pickles sandwich my dad had lovingly made me quickly escalated into something more sinister.
Upon awakening at 6am to coat layer upon layer of makeup on my ‘ugly face’, I would then proceed to skip breakfast and turn up to school with an empty tummy. Then I would forgo lunch (usually to makeout with my super un-cool boyfriends) only to get so dizzy by late afternoon that I would eat a skittle on my way home in the bus (proffered to me by a concerned friend), which would freak out my already unstable sugar levels making me nauseas to the point that I would sometimes have to stop the bus and throw up. (Which is mortifying I can assure you.) When I got home, my parents would usually beg me to eat something but I refused and would go for a long run. I would poke at my dinner and come 9pm I was so hungry that I would binge on desert and welcome 10 chocolate biscuits. Cue awakening in the morning feeling like a bloated fat piece of shit again.
It got even worse the older I got and at 15 I became a vegetarian as I thought it would help me eat less (whilst simultaneously pissing my parents off), I also joined a gym. What followed was a 3-year period in which I would get up at 5:30 am BEFORE SCHOOL to jog, I would pretend I was eating by pouring crumbs from the toaster onto a plate or swishing a bit of milk in a bowl with some corn flakes. I would take things to school that I KNEW I wouldn’t eat because I hated the taste or that the boys in our group would scoff up before I had a chance. When I got home I would go to the gym for an hour or so with my Mum and Sis but I would THEN jog a long way home and proceed to do weights and boxing in the garage sometimes for another 2 hours. I would usually only accept a bowl of veggies for dinner and at this point I usually had a headache. On Fridays I would treat myself to a frappe on the way to school and a Pepsi max in my lunch break. And on the weekends I ate what I wanted but ONLY if I ran a 2-hour jog generally on top of a netball game.
My periods stopped, I developed that downy hair all over my body and all the while I managed to hide it from everyone cause my binging on the weekends disabled me from ever losing THAT much weight.
I hated school life and how shit I always felt. I was the Nicole Riche and my best friend was Paris Hilton. She had the perfect body, she was so pretty and she never had glasses or pimples. She always had perfect boyfriends and tons of friends and she simply looked amazing in a bikini! I remember so many occasions where we would be camping or at the beach with our male friends and I always felt like this fat gross mole next to my beautiful and effervescent best friend. The boys fawned over her and to an extent so did the girls. She was batman and I was robin. And it sucked.
At uni I PILLED on the weight, and really started to ‘yo-yo’ as they say between 60 and 67 kilos. I was in a fresh new relationship and said seeya to my old workout regime in favour of cuddles and snacks; partying ruined any good food choice intentions, and loneliness made me alternate between not eating for days at a time and stuffing my face with copious amounts of comfort food as I discovered the SATC delights.
When I moved back home I was in a horrible state of neither here nor there and after a comment on my weight by my skinny sis I decided to take control of the one thing I could control and started to slowly starve. It was pretty easy as I worked at a store during the day where I would eat only an apple and a coke zero for lunch, I would then go to the gym for 2 hours before driving straight to my night job. I lost weight and I lost it fast. I lost 12 kilos in 2 months and everyone kept saying how lovely and thin I looked. But I was miserable.
The last few years have been better, but what really made me change my perception was a point this year in March when I a) ended up in hospital and b) quit my gym membership. After having a gym membership for the past 8 years and never being seriously sick before, it was a shock. I began eating what I want, when I want and I wasn’t berating myself anymore about not making it to the gym that week. Almost 5 months later I am the healthiest and happiest I have been in years; my weight does not fluctuate, I have an extremely healthy appetite and I am finally accepting me.
So this is me.
I will never be the girl with the firm abs and the perfectly proportioned breast-to-stomach-to-hips ratio. That’s not me. I have a booty and I have small breasts and I couldn’t care less. I like my body and whenever people say things to me like “Kel you know you could lose weight if you just stopped eating this” etc I get confused as I don’t want to lose weight? I like my food and I like being active without exercising. I like being the same size when I try clothes on and I like my ass getting watched while it walks.