Sunday, 12 June 2011

Binge Eating

There are numerous advantages to not being fat; reduced probability of heart disease; reduced probability of appearing on Jeremy Kyle; reduced probability of attracting the fancy of cannibals.

My resolve to shed my girth was found in far shallower waters. I was seventeen and tipped the scale at 20 stone. I wasn’t exactly bullied; the worst I received were delighted cries of ‘BOOBIES!’ whenever I removed my shirt before PE. The last year of school had started, and on an October weekend I attended a university open day. The sun shone and birds sang amid the leaves of abundant trees; and there were girls everywhere. For six years I’d attended an all boy’s school. The University tour guide (another girl, who actually spoke to me) informed us that the ratio there of girls to boys was 6:1. It was too much. I could not attend university as a fat blob. I would not.

The process itself was a rather lifeless Rocky montage of eating better, jogging under the cover of darkness to avoid embarrassment, and verbally abusing myself until I wept. I lost 6 stone in ten months.

More than anything, this blog entry is a precursor to forthcoming stories. Being slimmer did little to boost my self-confidence. Defensively I grew my hair long and adopted a poser hippy image. Girls remained repulsed and I remained terrified of their very presence. Key themes all of the tales I plan to tell.

The curious point on this occasion is that, despite my success in losing weight, it was at this time I took up the delightful hobby of binge eating. It began as accompaniment to the World Championship Snooker final. Soon the excuses grew ever more frequent: good film on telly? Binge eat! About to complete Final Fantasy X? Binge eat! Made it up the stairs without getting out of breath? Binge eat!

Midway through Uni this took a darker turn. An incident of heartbreak (yet another story) saw me refuse food for seventy-two hours and hit the gym hard. To this day, any rejection is blamed on being fat. In seven days, I dropped over a stone.

In response, the binge eating upped its game. Let’s quantify this for effect. A typical binge saw me put away two large bags of crisps, two packs of biscuits, a loaf of bread, three large bags of sweets, two bottles of Coke, and a variety of small confectionary. At its peak, this happened twice a week. On the odd occasion I was caught purchasing this much munch, I’d claim it was to take in for everyone at work. A more appropriate lie would have involved stockpiling for the apocalypse.

Naturally, the guilt hit hard. So any other day, I starved. I threw down the gauntlet to the Special K diet and survived on a bowl or two a day, while still attacking the gym. On one occasion I blacked out on a treadmill and came round pressed face first into the wall as if the Blair Witch had caught me.

Like any good story of hardship, this one has a silver lining. Although I still occasionally binge, it tends to be within the realms of decency. The terror of removing my top in front of anyone still leaves me awaiting the cries of ‘BOOBIES!’, but copious work on sculpting my guns in the gym is starting to alleviate this fear. My future plans are either to model underwear for some rapper’s fashion line, or appear on Jeremy Kyle under the topic: ‘I fell on my family and killed them all.’

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