In past years, I had been fortunate enough to get down to 130 lbs, which I called "touching gold." But at a mere 5'4", that's still 20 lbs. overweight.
To attain this golden victory, I had spent five months working out daily, doing hours of cardio every day, sometimes not even taking my allotted one day per week of rest. For months at a time I went vegetarian without even meaning to - I just didn't get any meat in my diet. I absolutely starved myself of calories... on the "best" days I took in less than 500 calories, sometimes as low as 250 calories. I got very good at structuring my eating so that I was "munching" on something all day (such as an apple cut up into 8 pieces, eating one piece every hour) to convince myself I could not possibly be hungry. If I thought I was becoming hungry, I would punch myself in the stomach or force myself to do crunches until the wretched craving for food went away.
I drank 5 liters of water per day (and no other liquids) to try to maintain that "full" feeling, but hating the reflection in the mirror that clearly looked bloated.
I had a steady active job in which I was able to remain active (on my feet, standing and walking) for up to eight hours per day. My co-workers also cared about me so much (it's touching!) that they never bothered to ask about my lack of taking lunch, my mood swings, my silent depression, my refusal to speak for days at a stretch; no one even reported me, nevermind questioned me personally, when I showed up one week with bandages wrapped around my left wrist from a failed attempt at a bloody slice job. Just as long as I stayed productive at work.
When I voluntarily reported my suicidal thoughts to a company in-house therapist, I thought for sure my "cry for help" would at last be heard. But the kindly brainless nurse just advised me to, "think happier thoughts," and let me return to work. I was simultaneously appalled and jubilant.
Once I had reached 130 lbs, I finally started to hear comments from people like, "You look great - are you doing it the right way?" These people were kind to be concerned, but they had no idea how deeply I was into it by this point. Their comments only made me work harder to get thinner. I planned my days before I went to bed. I woke up knowing how little I would eat, but vowing to eat less if I could stand it; and knowing how much I would exercise, and vowing to go further if my body could stand it. Every minute of the day was accounted for by what activity I was doing, and meticulously calculating how many calories those activities burned. That total was then compared to the total number of calories consumed.
I weighed 130 lbs. for about one week. And then I got the call that would turn all that around.
I got a new job, out of state, where my meals were prepared for me, and forcibly fed, and I was constantly in the public eye. Counting calories was impossible. Exercise was limited. And I could only weigh myself once a week, not daily. Within three weeks I ballooned back up to 140 lbs, and with great anxiety, I was able to maintain that weight for six months. I had to take in a standard amount of carbs just to be able to execute my job without getting sick (which would expose me and get me fired). And I began lifting weights because there were time limits on the cardio machines.
When that job was over, and I came back to a home with a daily scale, I was devastated at the number there, although physically I was more muscularly defined than ever. The weight I had lost in fat had been replaced by muscle, but I didn't care. I just knew that I was still 140 lbs, I still didn't have a flat belly, and many many of my co-workers, including those competing for my position, were still much thinner than me. It didn't even matter to me that my talent had just been recognized as one of the best in the WORLD in my line of work.
I went back to a strict eating regimen, as best I could without getting caught by those around me. I quit lifting weights, which were making me "bulky," and started running, something I'd never been able to succeed at before. I forced myself to wake up early so I could get in as many "moving" hours as possible. I kept my residence absolutely spotless, hoping that the efforts of cleaning would contribute to my daily expenditure of calories. All to no avail. I ran nearly 500 miles in 4 months, and remained at my dismal 140 lbs.
At the end of four months, I endured a great personal loss - the death of a dearly loved one - and grieved with a three-day fast. I neither ate, slept, nor removed myself from my bed and my bedroom for a solid 72 hours. At the end of this time, I felt I had been "enlightened," and within one week, I had again moved to another state.
In my new location, I gave up many luxuries to be able to afford to live alone and join a local gym. Smiling on the inside, it was no sacrifice at all to give up the "luxury" of food. In seven weeks, I happily watched the numbers plummet again... 138... 135... 132... and then that elusive golden 130. I was 130 lbs for six blessed days. And then I got another call.
God has been with me through this all. I have prayed and prayed that He would make me stronger to avoid temptations. "Lord, bless this meal to nourish my body so that I maybe thinner tomorrow than I am today." When I gained a pound, I begged for strength. When I lost a pound, I praised Him for His mercy. But try as I might, He has always remained in control of me. Just when I was beginning to feel successful at wasting away again, He intervened. I got another call.
Again, out in a place where the scales are scarce and unreliable, the food is pre-prepared and forced on you, the gym hours are limited, and the public scrutiny is literally 24/7. Nowhere to hide but my lonely room, where I was unable to stay active or stretch out at all. I don't know how I maintained 140 again, but I did, just barely. But not as I had done the year previous. This time, it was all fat, and my muscle tone disappeared.
Now, here again, my job is done, and I have returned to square one. I am 5'4", and a dumpy, squishy 145 pounds. I am disgusted with myself. I am surrounded by a culture that encourages you to "love the way you look" and "enjoy life!" Which means to weigh whatever you want and encourage everyone else that "I'm ok and you're ok." A sedentary lifestyle with three huge meals a day is not only normal, but it is considered "ungraceful" if you indulge in anything less.
For the past four weeks, I have attempted to remain mobile at best, though the running has not been easy to get to. I have had to turn a blind eye and a forced smile to what goes in my mouth, as my choices are limited when everyone else is watching me. I have two weeks left in this abysmal rut, until I can return to my lonely, foodless lifestyle in the next state.
I am scared about the prospect of moving again, not knowing what lies ahead. But at the same time, I am desperate to return to a place where the public does not know me and cannot scrutinize my choices. I long to try a new method of fasting, and I want to dedicate myself to a higher calling to distract me from my own reflection. I hope to one day simply catch myself immersed in my new lifestyle and see a body that has benefited from evil abuse.
I have used internet blogs and pro-ana sites as encouragement all along my journey. But lately I have grown increasingly weary of the losers who far outweigh (no pun intended) the true Anas. The critics who insist "but you're not healthy!" The wannabe tweens whose fasts only last for 2 days before they give in to binging without purging again, lamenting in pathetic prose about the boy who won't notice them. And the web-combers who insist on cleaning up the internet by shutting down the good pro-ana sites.
I thought it only fitting to finally dedicate a blog of my own to the true Anas. We all share the same affliction: ironically, feeling that we are all alone in our quest to become the thinnest we can be.
Ana is a choice, a lifestyle. It's not something you do for a little while and then it's finished. It's a way of being. For LIFE.
I can't tell you what I hope for this blog. To be noticed but to remain hidden and anonymous? To share my journey in the hopes of encouraging another Ana? Or just to reinforce my own goals?
I don't care if you like it or not. If you've read this far, something about me must have intrigued you. All I care is that I become thinner tomorrow than I am today. I'd die to be thin.
I will die to be thin.