The Ghost of Eating Disorders Past: A Thin Mom’s Reflections for Herself & Her Daughter


I’m a thin person.

You know, I wear like a 00.

They should have a negative size category for shrimps like me.

I also eat chocolate daily.

Basically, feel free to come stab me for my thinness.

Feel free, to hate me.

It seems like it’s been so easy for me, I’m sure.

I also have a decent set of boobs, natural.


I was always thin.

I never was fat or chubby.

I ate what I wanted.

As a kid, I went to McDonalds and ordered two hamburgers.

And large fries.

Life was good.


Today, I don’t eat McDonald’s or hamburgers.

I hope you like me a little bit more.

See the thing is, I used to have an eating disorder back in my 20’s. Oh those nasty 20’s.

After all I have written about: rape, sex-abuse, and self-hatred, writing this to you all, telling this to people, is extremely unsettling for me.

I am embarrassed, but it is time to come clean in the hopes that one person might find this helpful.

I fear that people will scrutinize my weight, which is why I rarely share this. Being a naturally thin person my whole life, this is not something people expected me to have succumbed to in my past.

I used to vomit my food–not usually, I hated vomiting. Way too high maintenance and gross for a girl who used to insist that her mother get her grass stains out of her jeans.

I mostly just ate the least amount possible, and worked out like a friggin’ nut job.

I was the 95 pound person on the treadmill giving you the evil eye if you dared to tell me I should go home.

I was the gloating girl who internally had a fiesta when people exclaimed, “You’re so thin.”

Damn right people, and I like it that way, so I thought.


It wasn’t because someone told me I was fat, or because I was on MTV and producers said I needed to be thin.

It wasn’t because I had to wear a bikini on television, or stand next to Carmen Electra.

It wasn’t because I thought I was fat.

It was because I wanted to be perfect.

Perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect.

I needed to be in control.

When I was in control, I could ration my calories, which was really what I did most of the time. I could never go a day without food.

Every hour of every day was spent planning my meals.

Planning where to go, and where not to go, depending on how tempting the place might be for me to eat foods I desperately avoided.

You know you’re really an anorexic when you binge on a box of Wheat Thins after barely eating, and then lambaste yourself for being a fat pig.

Of course, after weeks of eating small amounts, there I would be, alone at a restaurant, eating and eating and eating.

I remember when I was 25:

I sat at a fancy restaurant.

I ordered a salad, appetizer, pasta, and then the kicker–cheesecake.

I ate every damn last bit with vigor.

When I drove home, I cried. I cried until I went to bed.

“How could I be so weak?”

“How could I indulge?”

I’m going to get fat I feared.

I’m going to be disgusting.

I’m a worthless piece of shit I thought. Worthless.

I haven’t engaged in that type of behavior in 12 years, but it’s hard when I am stressed.

It’s hard when I am down on myself, and feeling as if I am not good enough. Ever since I went back to work and left my kid for a total of 60 hours a week, I have found myself panicking and worrying more about food.

I’m still eating a lot and exercising like a normal person and not a crackhead, but the changes in my life and the disappointment over my lessening role in my daughter’s life has made me very stressed.

I was once her touchpoint: I worked very part-time and only freelanced from home. Now being gone so long, I am a ghost in her life. A face she sees for just a little bit during the week. Some nights I don’t even see her.

It is heartbreaking for me as a mother.

I look at myself lately and find flaws that you wouldn’t  even know existed. I bash myself until there is nothing left to possibly say, unless I want to make fun of my ears.

Please don’t, I ask.

I eat chocolate daily. I eat 2,000 calories a day, and I exercise 4 days a week.

I eat more than some of the people I work with, that’s for sure.

I have a healthy lifestyle and haven’t felt better physically. Post-kid, I’m looking great, and I should have nothing to fault myself on.

I’m strong: I am woman, hear me roar.


That is, until I get stressed.

With the holidays, there are so many parties.

And food.

And more food.

I find myself worrying that I will eat out of control.

This only makes me feel worse because I know I am a midget. I am a 5’1 and a half midget. 100 pounds of mostly muscle, and to sit and waste my anxious brain’s time worrying about food when I could be worrying about something else more frivolous, like the fact that I hate my nose or how I am probably secretly a terrible mother or that maybe no one really likes me.

How can I worry about eating?

Only people who diet should do that. Only people who are unhealthily obese should do that.

Then I look at my little girl, who will be 3 in March.

I fear for her to know these things about her mom.

That I once, after getting “caught eating cake,” by a friend, threw the cake in the air, and ran to lock myself in a room.

That I found myself competing with others to “eat less.”

That I avoided gatherings because there would be food there.

That I held great joy knowing that I was thinner then my friends, and below 100 pounds.

In case anyone has decided how terrible I am, you might want to know that I am a pretty nice person, and like many victims of sexual abuse, I’ve had all the common signs:

depression, eating disorder, anxiety. Cutting.


Today, it’s been 12 years of eating disorder sobriety–avoiding alcohol is no small feat, but conquering a battle you have with food is even mightier. You’ve got to eat to live, my friends. Food was the enemy and I faced her every day.

I can only hope that I pass on good self-esteem and body image awareness to my child. It would pain me for her to think otherwise.

So please, the next time you see me, don’t tell me how thin I am.

Tell me I am funny, smart, or nice.

Tell me something about what makes me me, on the inside.

Feel free to lavish me with compliments at any point, but I don’t need any rewards for being small, just for being healthy.

I made the choice years ago to stop being a slave to what is really a disease of control, and it was the best choice I ever made. For 3 years of my life, being inflicted with exercise anorexia and periodic bulimia was a hell I am glad to be out of.

Every day I tell my daughter how great she is.

Size 20 or size 00, I will be sure to do that for the rest of her life.

It’s the best thing I can do for her.

Actually, the fact that I am a healthy mommy and not crying for hours over eating is probably the best thing I can do for her.

Here’s to another 12 years.



13 thoughts on “The Ghost of Eating Disorders Past: A Thin Mom’s Reflections for Herself & Her Daughter

  1. mik1999 says:

    I think it is really gutsy that you wrote this. I am sure it’s difficult to write about personal issues that people, otherwise, would have no idea you were facing.

    I think you give very good advice on making sure our daughters (I have two) know that their beauty and attractiveness runs far deeper than the physical; it is easy for them to forget that during teenage years I am sure.

    I have a close friend who had an eating disorder when she was younger and one of her big challenges now is how or whether to tell her teenage daughter about it, and how to tell her if she decides to.

      • mik1999 says:

        Well, I think you made a good choice. I think we often see eating disorders as those at the extreme where someone rushes to the bathroom to vomit after each meal. It is very useful to communicate that eating disorders can be more subtle and ‘invisible’.

        I also think that by ‘coming out’, it held to de-stigmatize the issue. I blog often on sexuality, and have developed a strong belief that if we were more open about our different natural desires, be they for sex, beauty, food…, we would be better able to manage them responsibly.

  2. Aysh Banaysh says:

    Amazing post! After having the same problem I really related. I used to binge when I was sad and then starve out of guilt and then I started to cut out the binge and just starve. I’d eat normal some days (If a bag a carrot sticks and celery can be called normal). I was so depressed and I just wanted control. I wrote a post about it too! These days I eat so much food (a lot of chocolate too), but I’m still underweight.
    I’m glad you got through it! Stay strong, and if your daughter finds out just hope she learns from it!

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