So my doctor put me on a diet. It’s not a weight loss diet – but it’s very restrictive. I resisted at first, knowing that a restrictive diet is like a gateway drug to me, but I have chronic sinusitis apparently made worse by acid reflux and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to not be sick.
I’ve been on the acid reflux diet for a year and a half and am just now getting off Prilosec (because it made me anemic). Here’s what I had to give up for that: coffee, chocolate, citrus, wine, beer – everything with bubbles including seltzer, spicy food, tomatoes, deep fried food, and here’s one I’ve only embraced recently to get off the meds – no eating at all 3 hours before bed.
So I’m really hungry. All the time. My acid reflux has gone from severe to moderate – it’s a slow process. My willpower is fueled by my fear of getting sick. Even after surgery, I’ve had maybe 10 sinus infections in the past year. It’s like I have MRSA between my eyes, right on my brain. I’m terrified of tomatoes, so I’m not tempted to touch them. I don’t want coffee even, which used to be my favorite part of every day. I will do anything to beat that infection.
About 3 weeks ago, my doctor added dairy, sugar and white bread to the list. Sugar! So, even when I’m really down, I can’t sooth myself with a bag — even a small one — of Swedish Fish. I always had a bite of something sweet after a meal and now, that’s gone too. I was someone, who even in this blog, bragged about always eating the dessert. Now I have to ask waiters to put the sauce and the dressing on the side, I have ask: “Are there tomatoes or lemon juice in that? I have to read labels because there’s dairy and sugar in everything. I have request the almond or coconut milk. It reminds me of being 13 and cringing at my dinner options, not wanting to break my diet, always afraid of the food. I’m amazed that I’ve stuck to it, but also a little alarmed. The no-food before bed means I’m hungry all night, but I still won’t risk it. Even though, I’m still pretty much, just as sick and am currently on yet another round of antibiotics.
I’ve lost weight. And I can’t lie, I like to lose weight. I know that’s bad. I’m aware that I can’t lose too much, which means I have to weigh myself again. It’s like being forced to smoke a cigarette after quitting. For years I’ve avoided scales, but now I have to check at least once a week. Maybe it’s like how they say the fear of heights is really the fear of jumping off? I don’t want to be too thin, but there’s part of me that’s scared that that will change and I will jump off the ledge. And it’s really hard to gain weight on this diet. I’m practically living on avocados. Plus now I have to deal with the anemia. My doctor prescribed 1000mg of iron a day. Ha! I can barely choke down 150mg. So I’m cooking every single (absurdly plain) meal in an iron skillet. So much for the carefree no diet no restrictions lifestyle I worked so hard to achieve.
Here’s the Ana part: while I don’t want to lose more weight, I don’t want to gain it either. I like that my clothes are loose. I do. That’s what I meant when I told my doctor I didn’t do well with restrictive diets (though there was also a part of me that thought deprivation would make me want to binge). Turns out, I don’t want to binge. Turns out, when I’m not hungry, I’m now sort of uncomfortable. And my willpower is so strong. It wins every battle. I’m not having hard time not eating sugar, because my willpower is in charge. Yeah, I know — I’m on thin (no pun intended) ice.
One quick note for those who might be wondering: every time I go to a new doctor, I mention my eating disorder history even though it was so many years ago. Mostly they blow it off. For real, I was bulimic for seven years and my doctor does not think that’s related to my acid reflux. But I think it is. I think it’s like how sports injuries show up years later as arthritis, (Can’t wait!), that the way I mistreated my body, is coming back to haunt me now.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorder Association toll free and confidentially at 1-800-931-2237 or go to nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-help-support for help.