Sunday, May 13, 2012

Eating Paste

"Ana?" I whisper. "I want to start the ABC Diet again."
"Good!" She says happily, and sits down on the sofa next to me. "You want to look better before the pool opens?"
"Well yes," I start, "But realistically, It opens in a week, and I don't think I can get rid of every ounce of fat on my thighs in a week."
"Well, you can always try." She shrugs, and I can see she's holding a box of something in the hand farthest away from me. "Besides, summer school starts mext week, so you probably won't have a whole lot of time for the pool anyway."
"That's true," I admit, "but I'll be able to work out in the fitness center right after my class gets out every day for six weeks."
"That you will." She says slightly commandingly, "You had better make the most of that last hour and a half before the fitness center closes."
"I will. I promise."

She says nothing, but she hugs me. Then, she hands me the little plastic box she was holding.

"What is this?" I ask skeptically, "Did you get this out of my refridgerator?"
"Yes." She grins. "Your mum has been buying it a lot recently. I'm surprised you weren't aware."
I'm not quite sure what she means. "So, what is it?"
"Hummus." She says quite matter-of-factly.
"Its been so long since I had hummus. . . "
"Which is why I'm surprised you haven't eaten any!" She looks at me as if its the most obvious thing in the world.
"I can't remember if I like it or not." I say, half to myself. "I don't evern remember what it tastes like. . . " I trail off, thinking to myself. Suddenly a thought occurs to me. "Wait, you are actually trying to get me to eat something?"
Ana laughs. "Funny isn't it?" I'm really not sure what to think, so I don't say anything. Marking my silence, she continues. "I knew you've been wanting to start the ABC Diet again. I know everything you think, remember? I'm in your head. . . literally." I look at her blankly. She continues again. "Well, last time you did the ABC Diet, you survived almost completely off of yogurt and cottage cheese."
"But I'm vegan now." I interject. "I don't eat milk products anymore."
"Which is where the hummus comes in!" Ana smiles like a teacher whose student is finally understanding the lesson. "Eating high protein foods helps you loose weight. . ."
"And hummus is a high protein food." I finish for her.
"So I want you to try hummus-"
"So that it can be a staple for the next iteration of the diet?"
"Exactly." She clasps my sholder with her tiny, graceful fingers. "Brilliant, aren't I?"

I stare at the container in my hands. I open the lid, and stare at the beigeish paste inside. Ana hands me a tablespoon measure. I look at the side of the package. A serving is 70 calories for 2 tablespoons. So, one tablespoon would be 35. I carefully scoop out and level one tablespoon. "Here goes nothing." I think to myself as I cautiously put the measuring spoon in my mouth. Its really not bad. Granted, plain is a little overpowering, but I can easily palate this, and maybe even grow to love it.

"See?" Ana giggles with pride. "Was I right, or was I right?"
I grin. "The ABC Diet is looking up!"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

To Tiny to be Real

I can only recall flashbacks of what was going on behind my closed eyelids. It was a vivid dream at the time, but as most dreams invariably do, it faded from memory moments after waking. What I do remember was that first of all, I was skinny. I remember knowing that I weighed less than 75 lbs. I also remember that I had a baby. I don't remember if the baby was a boy or a girl, but it was to tiny to be real. The baby was smaller than my hand, but, at least in my dream anyway, it was very much alive. I don't know who the father was, or even if the baby had a father at all. I think it was the later, as laws of nature don't always apply in one's subconscious.

I snap back to reality and my eyes blink open. I lie there, still,and ponder what crazy things I had just not actually done. The things that really stick out to me are my low weight in my dream, and the baby who was to tiny to be real. I dwell on this a while, still motionless, and decide that I want to be too tiny to be real. Then I remember why I am not. 

"Ana?" I plead silently, as not to wake up my sister in the bunk bed above me, "Where are you?"
"I'm right here, darling." Ana coos as she gently massages my stiff neck. "You should really find a way to sleep other than on your side. Its crushing your shoulder."
"That,"  I think, "Or just take stronger pain medication before I go to sleep."
She smiles and sits up, straightening from her sprawl. She crosses her legs, and I realize that even when she lies flat and spread-eagle, she hardly takes up any area at all. Jealousy tingles the edges of my mind, and I silently resolve to try harder; to do better. She, of course, knows the thoughts running through my head, and smiles, echoing my thoughts to reinforce them. "That, or lose more weight so that you won't weigh enough to crush your shoulder in the first place."
I smile forlornly, because I know she is right. "Ana," I say mentally, as my thought process begins to shift back onto its prior train track, "My dream last night. . ."
"Was triggering?" She isn't guessing, because she knows. It must be one of the advantages to her being a figment of my imagination - that she already knows what happened in my imagination, subconscious or not. 
She slides a few inches to the left, in anticipation of me rolling from my right side onto my back. Absent-minded, I rest my hands on the corresponding hip bone. This draws Ana's attention to them, though certainly not intentionally. "I think your hip bones are sticking out farther than they used to." She says encouragingly.
"Maybe." I shrug. "But you can only tell when I'm lying down."
"Well, you know, the art teacher seemed to notice yesterday that you had lost a bit of weight."
I snicker, aloud, but softly. "She's losing it, and everyone knows. I don't put any stock in a word she says, or anything she thinks she notices."
"You should weigh yourself and find out."
"I'm scared to." I whisper. "I'm afraid that I won't have been able o work off any of hat ridiculous weight I gained over the break on my birthday binge."
"I know you are, sweetheart." she says, stroking my forehead. "You need to though. Even if you are still fatter than you used to be, you need to know so that you can have a starting point to get rid of all this."

I sigh, because again, she is right. I pull myself out from underneath the covers, and the two of us traipse downstairs to the scale in my mother's bathroom. I prod the offensive white box with my foot to wake it up, and wait while it zeros itself. I cringe and step on, wincing at the numbers that begin to climb. What hurts most about the experience, is that I am right. I have gained back some weight over the holidays; curse them. I begin to ponder which diet I will need to chose for optimal results before Prom. If I had things Ana's way, I would be completely weightless before then. But seeing as starving myself literally to death is a good way to ensure that I don't go to Prom at all, I chose not to fast for 3 months straight. 

I decide to fast for the day whole I make up my mind as to which diet I will begin. The process is difficult, because meals at school are the main times I can see my college friends, and you have to pay to get into the cafeteria, whether or not you eat anything. Between wasting my parents' money and seeing my friends for an extra hour, and not seeing my friends by skipping my lunch, I reluctantly choose skipping lunch. Besides, that way, I can get extra homework done during that hour and I won't have so much to take home.

"Good choice, sweetheart." Ana pats my shoulder. "The benefits of skipping that meal clearly outweigh the costs." She giggles and adds, "No pun intended!"
I chuckle. "Yeah, besides, I would be saving money on my school bill, so my mum wouldn't notice that I am still charging coffee almost every afternoon."
"Coffee is good." Ana admits. "The way you drink it has very few calories, and it boosts your metabolism."
"Yeah, caffeine keeps me running on the little amount of sleep and little amount of food I eat."
"Then you should switch to all of that. . . hm. . . What was that stuff called?"
"Starbucks Blonde Roast?" I offer.
"Yes! That's it!" Ana claps her hands gleefully. "Its practically twice the amount of caffeine as regular coffee, and you can drink it black!"
"Not always," I sigh. "Sometimes I have to add a little Splenda and soy milk."
"Still, that's less than Cafe au Lait or Mistos that are half soy milk."
"True." I consent, "But, they don't have Starbucks coffee at the coffee shop at school."
"Maybe you should try borrowing a coffee machine from your friends who live in the residence halls."
"I don't know if that'll work." I shrug. "I'll give it a shot though."
"Oh!" Ana winces playfully and fake-punches my in the arm.
"What?" I say, not understanding what just happened.
"'Give it a shot?' As in a shot of espresso?" She giggles.
"Oh!" I laugh, my eyes brightening, "I didn't do that on purpose!"
"I know." Ana says. "But espresso is delicious."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I WILL be Skinny

"Ana!" I say as I burst through my bedroom door, "Look what came in the mail today!"
"Deja vu." Ana shakes her head, blinking, "Last time it was your laptop... What is it this time?"
I wave my treasure above my head, showing it off like I have a winning lottery ticket. "Teen Vogue!"
Ana walks to the doorway where I stand and traces the lettering on the cover delicately. "The bible..." she says, smiling, "Delicious."
"I haven't read it yet," I shrug, "but there is usually some great thinspo in the photo shoots. Models are so inspirational."
"That's my girl!" Ana hugs me. "Its good that they rarely include plus-sized models, otherwise you'd be screwed."
"Hey now," I mock offense. "Fat girls don't make me want to be fat. They only make me want to be skinnier."
"Good." Ana says flipping over the magazine and letting it fall open to a page with a chubby actress on it. We both glance down, and I literally have to cover my mouth to keep from gagging at the image. I am not acting at all. I am genuinely disgusted at the picture.
"Ana..." I groan in repulsion, "How do people let themselves go like that? Its sickening!"
"I know, child." she closes the magazine. "And as to how- people try to convince fat people that they are normal, even when a doctor would tell them that they are overweight. Then, when they're size is no longer deniable, people tell them to embrace who they are, and to be happy with the way they look! Its despicable."
"That's gross." I am still mentally gagging.
"Agreed." Ana whispers at she strokes my hair soothingly. I know she knows what I am thinking. "If you just do as I say, you will never have to look like that."
"I love you, Ana." I say as I turn into her arms. "I trust you."

Her arms have never felt better wrapped around me. The way that her bony arms cradles my rib cage, I could feel the pressure every single rib. I have never felt as thin as I do in this moment. Even though I know my weight hasn't dropped significantly from my low weight, I know I look thinner, and I am wearing a smaller size   for my clothing. An epiphany strikes me like a bolt of lightning.

"Ana!" I gasp, "I don't feel hungry!" She looks at me unsure of what I am saying, so I continue. "I haven't eaten in 3 or 4 days because I just forgot! Lunches I have been doing homework, so I have just grabbed coffee. Breakfasts have just been peppermint tea to take my medicine with. and I have just completely forgotten dinner!"
Her embrace tightens, and I wonder if my ribs are cutting into her arms as much as hers are into mine. "I am so proud of you." she says, "You will be skinny, yet! See, darling, never loose hope. One day, you will be as thin as me."

I look down. My thighs are massive. My calves are not fat, but they are too muscular. but I know muscle won't break down until all the fat is gone. There is too much flab on my stomach. my upper arms still have too much jiggle. my face isn't as sharp and angular as I'd like. I can't count my upper ribs like a xylophone. The only thing that has improved is my lower rib cage, my clavicle, and my lower arms. Ana is too kind- too generous. Granted, her generosity is encouraging because I know I don't deserve it. But, on the other hand, I know I don't deserve it. But Ana doesn't lie to me, so I know, that one day, I will be skinny.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reality Check

"Ana!" I say as I burst through my bedroom door, "Look what came in the mail today!"
She glances up and dances over to me, her thin frame and ethereal manor striking jealousy into my heart at its very core. She inspects the package I am delicately holding as to not damage the trophy inside. Her silence encourages me to continue speaking. "Its my laptop." I offer, "Remember, it had stopped working and so I had to send it back to the manufacturer?" She nods, but still doesn't say anything. "Well, its back now, finally. I'm going to put all my thinspo back on it!"
She smiles, and radiates warmth back into my heart. "Its about time you looked at those pictures again."
I am not sure exactly what she means by the comment, but I don't think too hard about it. The excitement I am feeling overpowers the negative thoughts that begin to creep into my head. "I want to collect some new pictures too!" I tell her.
"Good!" She says as she plugs in the backup memory drive into my computer. "More is better. Maybe It'll help you focus on losing more weight than you have been."
Now I know what she meant. "Why is it that I have been getting skinnier but not losing significant amounts of weight?"
"Well," She says patiently, "Its probably a combination of two factors." It is my turn to silently anticipate what she will say next. "You have gotten taller." She looks me over quickly as a mother evaluates the changing height of her pre-teen. "That means that if you are staying about the same weight, even though you did lose a couple of pounds, but you got taller, your BMI has shifted. It means that you have less fat, because more of your weight is now going into making you bigger vertically, not horizontally."
"And the other factor?" I press for the remaining answer. "What else is making me like this?"
"You have been exercising, and generally burning more calories, but eating a little more because you're burning off more calories." She pauses for her words to sink in a little bit. "Your net calorie intake is about the same, if not a little less." When I don't respond verbally, she continues again. "Your body is converting the fat you have into muscle."
"I don't want to look muscular." I wine. "Maybe I should stop working out so much."
"I wouldn't say THAT." Ana looks at me, "You do still need to exercise so you can burn calories and lose weight. I would just eat less too. Maybe you should change your workouts to more cardio and less toning now that your surgery scars have healed a little more."
"Or maybe just add the cardio without getting rid of the toning?" I suggest hopefully.
"If you think you'll have enough time to do so." She shrugs. "As I recall, you've been spending a lot of time talking to your friends recently."
"That's not a bad thing." I defend myself, "If I were to spend ALL my time working out, people would get worried and notice that I don't eat much either."
"That's true." She relents. "But maybe you should take 10 minutes out of talking to your friends to do workout videos?"
"Or, I could stop 'eating dinner' with them as often." I hear myself saying, "Then I could do a workout video or take a walk or something while they are still eating after I get home from school."
"There you go, love!" Ana says, wrapping her arms around me, "I knew you'd come up with a good compromise."
"Thank you." I say, barely lifting up my tired limbs to support her tiny body. 
"Now," She says, releasing me from her surprisingly tight grip, "Do the pictures help with this little reality check you've been having?"
I glance over at the screen, and notice that the pictures are rolling through a slide-show. "Damn." I say, "And I though I was doing so well."
The two of us begin pinching fat all over my body and pointing out all the areas I need to lose weight in. I silently resolve to do much better as the year progresses.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Decisions... Decisions

"Ana!" I moan, "I feel like I am going to vomit."
"What's wrong sweetie?" She rushes to me quickly, "Are you okay?"
"I have no idea." I mutter, "drinking my coffee made me feel nauseated, "Eating this wrap is making me feel nauseated..."
"You didn't put real milk in your coffee did you?" She asks, "And no lactose in the wrap?"
"No, and No." I say. "Its all clean."
"Maybe you're gluten intolerant too." She suggests, "The doctor did say that was a possibility."
"Yeah." I admit, "The wrap bread does have gluten in it I think."
"Or maybe," She eyes me closely, "You're eating too much?"
"Only if part of a wrap with a scrambled egg and veggie chicken strips, containing less than 250 Calories, most of which I fed to my cats is too much." I look around to make sure there is a trash can near me just in case. "Though I do feel disgustingly full."
"The fullness is probably because your wrap had so much protein and fiber in it." She offers, "Veggie pseudomeats, eggs, those diet wraps you use..."
"...All are either high in protein, fiber, or both." I finish for her. "You know what?"
Ana looks at me expectantly, "What?"
"I think that this time through ABC, I am not always going to eat exactly the amount of calories allowed." I say, "No, I am going to try not to eat anything if I can help it, and when I do eat... the limit will be the maximum, not the exact number."
"Yay!" Ana looks happier than I have made her for a long time. "But are you sure you can do it?"
"Of course!" I shrug, "I have gone through the WHOLE ABC Diet before following the numbers EXACTLY. What's to say I can't cut back a bit? There is nothing wrong with eating less on a diet huh?"
"You're right, love!" Ana flings her arms around me and hugs me tightly. "And I have been waiting for you to say those words for a while."
I hug her back, enjoying the moment. "Ana," I say when she finally lets go, "You'll never believe what happened when I checked Pretty Thin! Actually... you probably will."
"Oh?" she says, "Will I now?"
"I got a reply back," I grin, "And there is a girl who wants to do the ABC Diet with me!"
"Good!" She is practically dancing with glee. "It's about time you gt a new buddy. After all, I am already perfect, no offense, so its not quite the same as if I was someone trying to lose weight like you."
"Oh, none taken!" I know she isn't trying to be offensive. "I just wish I was already as beautiful as you."
"You will be, baby," She whispers, "You will be. Just keep trying. Oh, and remember to bring water and a bowl for your sister's puppy when you take her running today."
"Oh trust me," I laugh, "I will. I don't want to have to carry the poor thing because she gets too tired."
"Speaking of tired," she says, "You should take a nap dear, you look exhausted."
"I am." I say, "I woke up early to go to the gym, but my mom wasn't going today."
"Aw." She says, "that's disappointing."
"Yeah." I sigh, "But her hip is bothering her again."
"That's too bad." She says, and I have to agree.
"I don't want to grow up." I whisper, "Not when all that comes with age is more work, and more pain."
"Well, darling," Ana looks at me seriously, "You have to get older. That's a fact of life. And you have to mature, but physically, you don't have to age."
"You're right." I smile. "I want to freeze my body in time as a child, and never get 'womanly curves'. That's just a term meaning FAT."
"That's my girl!" Ana claps proudly, "That's my girl."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Close Call

My eyes open, and I look at the clock. 6:15 AM. Far to early for anyone to be getting up on summer break. Far to early. I groan and flip my blankets off of myself. I know it is too late now, and I won't be able to fall back asleep, no matter how hard I try. I had fallen asleep in my little sister's room the night before, so I try not to wake her up as I tiptoe into the bathroom. I step on the scale, and I am immediately disappointed when the scale reads no different from yesterday, or the day before. I sigh a little. I thought I had done so well yesterday! I meander down to the kitchen and begin getting out medicines and vitamins. And then...

"Period cramps!" I whisper as I drop what I am doing and crouch, trying to rid myself of the pain in my abdomen. "Damn! I remember why I hate this."
"Because its a sign of your weakness, and a clue that you haven't lost enough weight yet?" A familiar voice sounds in my ear as Ana materializes from around a corner.
"Well, that too." I sigh, ashamed, and stand up. "But also... it just hurts."
"Hmm." She agrees, leaning against the kitchen wall as she holds out a warm cup of green tea to me.
I accept it, and look up. "Sweetened with fiber enhanced Splenda?"
"Always." She nods. "Anyways, you may be relieved to know that your current pain is not, in fact, period cramps."
"No?" I turn my head and look at her sideways.
"No." The corners of her lips turn up in a knowing grin. "That's the last of your laxative working before-"
I practically drop the tea on the counter and sprint to the nearest bathroom.
"- before... well... that happens."

A little while later I am standing on the scale again. Only this time, I'm not so disappointed. I am nearly two whole pounds lighter. I know that's not permanent weight loss, but I can't help but be proud.

"I am proud of you too!" Ana squeals with delight, "Now you just need to keep that off."
"Yeah." I agree, "The only way to keep off that weight is to fast as planned, and then start ABC."
"Good girl!" Ana's eyes light up. "Keep this up, and You'll be skinny before school starts!"
I smile, a happy warmth filling my heart.
"It feels better than food," Ana smiles at me knowingly. "Doesn't it?"
"It does." I say. "Thank you."

My resolve is tested, however, within a few minutes. My parents wake up, and my dad starts making biscuits. The smell of the fresh bread fills my nose and I immediately want to eat one. As he relocates them to a bowl with the spatula, I reach out and grab one. I split it in half, and pull out my fat free butter.
"Lactose." Ana whispers in my ear.
I don't care. I tell her mentally, I'll take a lactase pill. And I open the lid. Clearly, this butter substitute has passed its prime, because the second the lid of the tub is gone, a horrible stench fills my nose. Ana gags. I wrinkle my nose and replace the lid. I feel I am going to gag as well. I cough and drop the tub into the trash. Normally I would have recycled the plastic tub, but that REALLY smells. One good thing comes of the rancid I can't believe it's not butter however, the incident gives me enough time to snap out of my blind food frenzy before I ruin my fast. I clutch my stomach and hand both pieces of the biscuit to my mother.
"I don't feel good right now." I say to her catching her eye and mouth "PERIOD." because my dad is in the room. She doesn't question me, and for this, I am grateful.

Ana and I walk back to my room so I can find a hoodie to put on over my tee because I am absolutely freezing. I can't really say its because of my incredible weight loss, however. My mom just keeps our house really cold. Terrible for the environment really, but I can't get her to change her mind.
"That was close." Ana looks at me solemnly.
"Yeah." I drop my head, thoroughly ashamed again. "Thank you for letting me stop myself though."
"No problem!" She smiles, "I knew you could do it! You just got a little closer than I would have liked. Much further, and I would have stopped you."
"I need to re-inspire myself." I lift an eyebrow. "I think I know what we're going to do today."

Friday, July 22, 2011

A New Excuse

"Well, Ana," I say looking up from the paper I have been studying, "It's official. I'm lactose intolerant."
"That's lovely!" She says, glee filling her eyes as she flings her skinny little wrists behind me. "Now you have a new excuse."
"You are so right!" I practically shriek, and then I look her straight in the eyes; "Though I highly doubt that people are usually this happy about finding out they have a restrictive dietary health condition."
She giggles. "True. Which means you must act disappointed, or even irritated when it comes up."
Her suggestion makes me laugh under my breath. "Good thing I am an actress!"
"That you are, love!" She smiles as she pats my shoulder. "Be a good girl and take these." She hands me a bottle of appetite suppressants. "Its really too bad your period came back."
"I know." I lower my head in complete and utter shame. "I'm getting so fat again!"
"You grew an inch." She shrugs.
"I grew an in inch." I mutter antagonistically, "Lovely. But its no excuse for munchies."
"Very good." She smiles again, and kisses the top of my forehead. "That's my girl!"

Her words echo in my ears. That's my girl. That's my girl. My girl. My... When a thought hits me. What if I'm changing? What if...? I have been using laxatives more recently; trying to make up for eating too much. I gained weight again. What if...? This idea which has squeezed its way into my head reverberates from all the corners of my mind in a resounding failure. Suddenly I can't take it anymore.

"Ana!" I cry out in fear, straightening up, and rising to my feet, "Ana, what if I'm becoming bulimic?!?"
"Don't worry, my love," She whispers tucking loose hair behind my ear, "I've been listening to you struggle with this subconsciously for some time now. Remember, I'm in your head, so I know what you are thinking."
"Why didn't you say something?" I am on the brink of tears. "Why didn't you tell me what you suspected was happening?"
"Because it isn't." I don't quite grasp what she is saying. "It isn't happening. Darling, You aren't turning into a bulimic. You are mine, and I will never let you go. Just because you have used a few laxatives doesn't mean you are weakening."
"So I'll still be ok?" I ask, "I'll still be ... like I am?"
"Yes." She says lifting a burden that I had barely just realized was there. "You still belong to me."
"Ana?" I begin to propose a new question. "Is it bad that I don't like saying the word... you know... 'anorexic' out loud?"
"NO!" She says, "That's quite alright. You don't want anyone to know. And they can't know! That is OUR secret. That word makes you uncomfortable. It always has."
"Yeah, It has." I admit, "Its so demeaning. It makes it seem as if we are some sort of filthy lepers."
"Society is so cruel." Ana sighs, looking like she too is on the verge of crying. "Everyone wants to be thin and beautiful, so when someone finds a way to get that way, and they know that they aren't strong enough to do the same, they hurdle cruel names at them. They tell everyone that the beautiful ones are sick." She is spitting her words now, anger forming from the sadness of a few moments ago. "Jealousy makes people do such horrid things. You of all people would know, my love."

My thoughts flit to the past school year when I was down to my lowest weight and people started ridiculing me. I lost everything. I even lost love. Not my boyfriend's fault. No, I broke up with him. I literally lost my capacity to love because of all the pain they caused me. Then something else redirects my thoughts.

"There is a girl." I start, "A girl at my school, who used to be really fat. Then one school year she comes back from break, and she is thin and beautiful, and likes to run and play sports. She NEVER liked running before that summer. And no one thought anything of it! I was the only one who saw right through her charade, because I am like her. I saw her never eating. I watched as she shrunk even more to be a size zero. No one else saw... because it happened while everyone was gone." I take a breath. "Ana, that's it! Tomorrow, I fast. Damn beach trip screwed my diet. Everyone noticed that I wasn't eating enough. The other girls thought it was because I didn't have enough money. But now that THAT is all over, I can try again! Tomorrow, I will get all that stupidity out of my system. and then, I start the ABC Diet all over again."
"Care to come up for air?" Ana stops my tirade. "Good girl. I'm proud of you. I know you did what you had to do. And now, You are fixing things. You need a buddy. You have a day of fasting to find one. Hopefully, you can. If not, You are going to have to try going this alone. But this time, no feast day of celebration for finishing. No, this time, you start over as soon as you finish. That, or you start the 2468 diet until you can get a  solid system set up. Rules. Limits. That sort of thing."
"Ana," I smile at her, "I love you."
"I love you too, sweetheart!" Ana kisses my cheek, "That's why I want to help you."