Member Submission: Body Image

The following is a member submitted story from “Grateful Upper West Sider.” If you would like to submit a piece of writing to be published on our website and in our newsletter, please contact:

Too often we look to fashion magazines for health information, which is wrong, but not simply the mistake of compulsive overeaters. Much of the Hollywood-loving universe has bought into this collective insanity.

I’ve had four significant relationships in my life. All of my boyfriends/husbands thought my body was just fine. I’m the one who always thought I was imperfect, and hid in the dark, even though I really love sex.

I was severely hooked on amphetamines and was thin in my early 20’s after being a fat teen. During those years I ate mostly nothing until about 5:30 every day, then binged my way home from work, told my husband I was dieting that day, so didn’t want any dinner, and went upstairs to bed, too full to move. Speed made me lose all interest in sex, and so broke up my early marriage to my high school sweetheart. Got divorced at 25, lost my supply of speed, began living alone for the first time in my life and gained 65 pounds in 18 months. That takes a LOT OF ISOLATION.

Did not have any dates for several years at 210 lbs. Figured out bulimia and then kept my weight between 160-170 for many years. (I’m 5’4” so I was clearly overweight but not in the medically significant category.) I met my second husband at that weight and was married for 25 years before he died young, when I was only 59. He thought I had a wonderful body, soft and curvy. Yet, I was a slave to my addiction, and rarely stopped to enjoy life and sex. Without the insanity of compulsive food behaviors, I might have enjoyed life even though I was modestly overweight.

I was in Program for a short time in the 1980’s, lost weight, but somehow thought I could “control” it with bulimia, and left. I returned in April 2015, after about 2 years of binging and purging hell, and have been graced with abstinence since I walked in the door.

I believe that I have finally figured out that my size doesn’t matter. Today, only my health matters. I’m 68 years old and among my 4 serious relationships, I’m the only one who thought I was unattractive. I’m a size 12 and physically very fit for my age. Clearly, no one looks at me on the street and sees a fat person. The sad irony is that I like my body better now, as I approach 70, than I have ever liked it in my life. Also, sad are the emotions coming up, now that I’m recovering. I’m often angry at myself for having wasted so much of my life and my soul buried in this obsession.