In May of 2018 my primary care doctor told me she was fearful of me experiencing organ failure. She looked at me, with her eyes full of expression, and told me I was atypically anorexic. Atypical because I didn't think I was fat - I knew my exact weight and knew how my thoughts and actions were contributing to my continued weight loss. I wasn't ignorant - but I also didn't know how to stop.
In May of 2017 my primary care doctor told me I needed to diet and exercise because I was obese. My weight had moved 1 pound into the range of obesity and she was concerned. Due to my weight, I had high blood pressure and didn't feel my best much of the time. I asked her to repeat the word - and she did - "obese". Devastation has an expression - and it was written all over my face. Her words were fucking devastating and I immediately became more focused on a goal than at any other time in my life.
May 2017 - May 2018 was a whirlwind of a year. I, initially, reduced my daily caloric intake to 1,000 calories a day (from over 3,500). Then to 700...then to 500 and, when that wasn't working fast enough, I reduced my diet to 300 calories a day. And, unfortunately, that worked. That was the magical number I was looking for. Without exercise, my weight began to drop off of me - and I never cheated on my diet - not once. Those who have gone down this road may understand what I mean by that.
In one year I traded my Men's sized large and x-tra large t-shirts for x-tra large t-shirts in the Boys department. I traded my big-boy pants for sized 29" (waist) jeans. I began to shop online because I thought an adult male shopping for clothing in the children's department was/is creepy. And it is.
I'll tell you something about this time of my life you probably won't hear from any story or documentary that deals with the topic of anorexia. I was happy. I was insanely and constantly happy that I was able to defeat obesity when everyone expected me to fail (because almost everyone fails at dieting). My roommate at the time, with his own personal demons and bad habits, encouraged the weight loss. I lost 56 pounds - and counting - and celebrated every day.
In July of 2018 I visited a very close friend who I hadn't seen in many months. We were to have lunch - but I knew, in advance, I would move my food around on my plate, but eat nothing. By this time I had become an expert at deception. When I walked into her home, she took one look at me and said words that changed my entire world. I won't repeat them because the words, at the time, devastated me. They devastated me much more than the words from my doctor in May of that year (anorexic) or the words spoken the year before (obese). Her words made me pause and re-evaluate. Two days later I ate half of a cheese sandwich (for me, that was a lot to eat during a single meal) and called my doctor for an appointment.
By February of 2019 nobody was avoiding me because they thought I was HIV positive - I had regained enough weight that I was "slim", but not skinny. Yeah - when you're gay and lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, nobody thinks you're dedicated - they think you're sick. I learned a lot about how people think of and treat "sick" people during this time - and it's disgusting.
It's now late April of 2021. I'm certainly not anorexic and am a few pounds away from the initial diagnosis in May of 2017 (obese). And I'm totally okay with it. My face is fuller, I'm less wrinkly, and I can find my size (shirts and pants) everywhere I shop - in the Men's department.
With all that said - please know I'm doing okay. I'll lose weight (because I'm a bit heavy) when I'm ready to do so - or I won't. Whatever. I'm happy with how I feel and look - and that is what is important.
I ran across this video several months ago - and it made me pause. I hated that I relate(d) to the content - but, it's quite powerful and, I hope, it has made people who strive towards being unhealthfully skinny to reconsider.
It's poet Blythe Baird (who is always amazing) with her poem, "Relapse" - and I relate to every word of it. I am appreciative that I am not where I was before but, if you're there right now, I'm here for you and will listen. For real.
Here is Blythe Baird with "Relapse" - and I hope you enjoy it