Counting by the Calorie

By: Tara Phillips

145: i looked normal for a girl my size, a little extra meat on my bones but nothing to make me despise the body i lived in. Until i started comparing myself to the girls around me. maybe i should lose a couple pounds see that’s how it started.
130: it’s september, a well visit at the doctor 
she asks me “do you realize you’ve lost 30 pounds in two months? that’s eating disorder level.”
an eating disorder level, not a disorder hell hole, not an eating disorder that’s in control.
i tell her i didn’t do it on purpose, that i’ve just been working out a lot this summer, that i’m sure it’s just the fat i’ve lost this summer
that i’m sure it’s not my mind i’ve lost this summer, that i’m sure it’s not myself i’ve lost this summer
that i’ve got it under control, i thought i had it under control, i think i have it under control.
125: telling lies that i ate dinner with my friends, “oh yeah mom we went to [insert first food place that comes to mind]”
i lie to her compulsively, i like her to think she’s close to me, so she never questions why my clothes don’t fit. she just doesn’t know what it feels like to want to eat but forcing yourself not to
it’s like wanting to fall in love but knowing you’ll get hurt so you don’t, so i don’t. so i don’t fall in love with myself or my body. so i don’t eat. 
and if i do i excuse myself to throw up my sanity in a bathroom stall
trying to crawl out of my skin out of the bones that have been given to me out of the body that’s eating me alive. “just eat one bite” they say, they don’t understand. 

it’s compulsive, it’s repulsive, it’s disgusting, i can’t stop myself

120: just eat, just eat, you’ll feel better if you just eat, i can’t just eat.

115: i’ve got it under control, i have it under control. i count food by the calorie, eat meals less rapidly, bones push through skin more graphically, i lose pounds irrationally, I’m a catastrophe. my oversized demise, look me in the eyes screaming at myself “WHERE DID YOU GO WRONG”

i can see my ribs through tight shirts, i don’t eat the lunches my mom packs anymore, i throw up in bathroom stalls of restaurants, i don’t know where i lost control. i thought i had control.

“when’s the last time you ate?” i step on the scale to calculate my weight
113.4: “i’m not sure, i’m just not hungry anymore”