Way deep down inside, that’s where my eating problem was. It wasn’t what I ate, when I ate it, or on the surface why I ate it. Deep within me were the seeds of my eating problem, ever since I was a child.
The nearest I can come to reconstructing it starts with my mother telling me I have a skinny body. So what’s wrong with being skinny? Nothing really, except it was the way my mother said it, with such derision. And it was when my mother said it; when she was angry with me, when she was too frustrated about something or other and took it out on me. This, I think was the beginning, or at least part of the beginning.
There were other parts at the beginning too. I was great in my mother’s eyes as a baby, a toddler, a little girl. But as I got older my mother was less patient with me, definitely not doting like she had been early on. You see, I think my mother preferred little kids, very little kids. As I was getting older, I was no longer the special one in her eyes.
So there I was with my skinny body, which I knew my mother didn’t like. I was getting older, more mature, which I also knew my mother didn’t like. I tried to make it up to myself and to her by being smart and clever, charming and engaging, collecting honors in school for being such a good student. I was always on. I was fun and cute and had winning ways.
But inside of me, in my skinny body where it really counted, I was unsure of myself. That’s why I was doing all this compensating on the outside of myself—being smart, always on, things like that. I was a whirlwind on the outside and a big bag of wind inside. I wasn’t real. I wasn’t substantial.
I stayed skinny into my twenties, all the while not being able to throw over my insecurities. Oh, I accomplished all right, on the outside of course. My first big weight gain in my 20s was not my last. There were many more weight gains (and weight losses). More weight on my bones was my ‘outside’ way of feeling substantial. If I looked more substantial, I was indeed substantial, as a person, mind you.
For twenty more years of my adult life I gained and lost weight, worked hard to lose it, had no trouble gaining it, all to feel that I was a person of substance, all to deal with insecurities that started when I was a child. You can see why I say that way deep down inside, that’s where my eating problem was.