I’m pretty sure I have reverse anorexia. If I understand the word correctly, someone who is anorexic truly believes they see fat on their body where there really isn’t any. I have the opposite problem. Apparently, I don’t see fat where there is a LOT of it. When I look down at my arms, they look slender…just like when I was much younger and only weighed 110 pounds. Okay, maybe they don’t still look THAT slender…but they don’t look chubby in the slightest when I look down at them. When I tip my face down, I don’t feel a sense of doubling…of my face creasing together to create a blob of fat that hangs below where my chin really is. If I stretch my leg out in front of me, it appears slender, even if I turn it to the side and look at my calves…I don’t SEE fat. Glancing down at my stomach (sucking it in, of course) it doesn’t look to be horribly distended with blubber resulting from birthing two children and a bad marriage that caused me to eat out of frustration and boredom. I really don’t look fat to myself at all when I’m just looking down at my body.
And then I’ll see myself in the mirror or in a photo.
This is where I freak out. It is that image of me...not glancing down at my own body…but looking at myself from the outside…as others see me that throws me into a tailspin of disbelief, disgust, and irritated wonderment at the reality of what I actually look like these days. I gasp when I see the rolls and lumps where there used to be smooth, toned muscles. I tear up when I realize that, no matter how hard I work at it or how much I exercise or how healthy I eat, I will probably never be that teeny 22 year old again. That was the best I was ever going to look and I didn’t appreciate it when I had the chance. How did I GET like THIS??? How did I let my tiny, in-shape, tan little body turn into this plump, unfit, distorted version of my former self?
Somehow I am able to avoid this hefty realization by not looking in mirrors for anything more than applying mascara and ninja-diving out of the way anytime someone brings out a camera. But, every so often, someone will “tag” me in a candid photo on Facebook and I will almost pass out with embarrassment knowing people I’ve been so desperately trying to “hide” the current state of my body from now see me as I really am. Every so often, I need to look at my whole body in a mirror to see if my shirt looks right before I head out the door and I am again floored with the knowledge that THIS is what people will see when I step outside. Those moments suck.
I know anorexia is a serious issue for some people. All I’m saying is that having “reverse anorexia” and NOT seeing fat where there is plenty of it can be just as jarring to a girl’s self esteem. I’m usually able to blissfully deny that I’ve let my body get like this as long as I’m only looking down at it with my own eyes. Any other view is just disturbing. I wish I could go back to that 22 year old version of me and say, “Hey you…skinny girl…put the quarter pounder DOWN. Someday you won’t be able to eat whatever you want without gaining an ounce.” But, since I can’t do that, I’ll just stick with trying to avoid mirrors and cameras.