“Skip dessert.” “Order a salad.” “One cup of whole milk has the saturated fat of a Snickers.”
I read these “tips” as I sit in the dietitian’s office for the first time for my eating disorder.
If you have read my previous “Fucking Monday” post, then you are right where you need to be. I got done running, missed my doctor appointment, but made it to my dietitian appointment. I sat there, signing my life away, fees, privacy, no show policy. It was the spot light effect, I felt like I was in a bad rip-off scene of Juno.
My back facing the entrance, that way nobody would recognize me. In my head everyone who walked in knew immediately, “Fat ass is here for an eating disorder.” It was plastered on my face, it was sewn into my clothes. A small wooden box sat on the receptionist’s counter held an enticing assortment of colored condoms with a scribbled sign “Only take 2.” with a printed sheet of “How to use a condom” beside it.
I began to feel panicky and nauseous, feeling light-headed. What had I done. Why was I here. My name was called. Time seemed to freeze and speed up simultaneously. I saw her, but she didn’t see me. She towered over everyone and I saw her eyes scan the waiting room of college kids with a sore throat, getting a flu shot… then me, not moving. I hesitantly got up and made my way to the door she was holding open. I made it to the room where one couch bench thing was, and a chair. I put my bag down next to the rickety scale and immediately thought, “Oh hell no.” and had a seat in the chair.
She began by introducing herself, we will call her N, and explained that she didn’t have any of my information yet, that it was up to me to start from the beginning.
I tried to keep it as brief as possible. “I went to the doctor, she referred me and set me up with a therapist, S, and I guess S set me up here with you.”
She began to pry and attempt to lure me in. “Why were you at the doctor to begin with?” “Leg cramps, chest pains. I’m fine. Was my gallbladder, the cramps are ok.”
Ok guys, I just want to take a moment to set the scene for you. Here I am, had gone running this morning, I’m wearing my running leggings, two long sleeve shirts, and my thirteen year old brother’s hoodie over top of it. I was freezing, yet comfy. We are in this small room, very small, institutionalized vibe, with plain walls, one window, very high up, these two rickety looking seats, and a shelf of nutrition books. There is something that might possibly be a full length mirror, but it is covered with a sheet, one small coffee table to my left with a lamp, and a sink on the “far” end of the room. I say “far” because I could probably spit further than the wall.
“So, you’re here for….disordered eating?” She asked, her long legs stretching and crossing her arms over her. “Yeah…..” “Anorexia?” What the hell, I’m not even small, plus I am wearing three long sleeves! “I’m not sure. My weight isn’t super low, but that’s the term that I keep hearing get thrown around.”
I briefly went on about Dr. M, how I was in outpatient, but quit going, Dr. M scheduled my appointment with the therapist, and low and behold now I’m sitting in a dietitian’s office.
We begin to talk about my running. I explain how far I run, she asks me if I lift, I say I used to more. She comments on how tiny I am and I just shake my head. I explain that unless I just completely quit lifting I don’t see my weight drastically going down. We briefly hit on the topic of antidepressants, and talked about the neurotransmitters, and receptors, I understood and was following. I asked if she thought they would help and she thought so. N asked me if I was really depressed or thought about killing myself. I told her, “Depressed? I guess a little, but not suicidal. I have little siblings and I would never do something that selfish to leave them.”
One thing N was concerned about was that she didn’t have a “starting point”. I explained I thought I was apathetic, S disagreed, but I just didn’t really care. I mentioned the oh shit moment, even though I had already had small issues with my body. I shared that I didn’t feel “sick”, but knew what I was doing wasn’t healthy. N was/is a runner, she understood. She was really patient and tried to reassure me that it isn’t necessarily “apathy”, but now my eating disorder had become more of a lifestyle. I agreed and said that I didn’t want to be stuck in this hell hole rut, but was scared of letting go of this.
After talking for quite a while, she sat up, elbows meeting her knees, her fingers laced together sat against her chin and lips. “I think it would be a good idea for us to work together. I have a lot of experience with eating disorder patients and I think this could be very beneficial.” I nodded and agreed. She asked about getting weighed and I said no. “Even if you step on backwards?” I repeated my first answer. I asked her a question that had been bothering me, “Is BMI reliable? S told me my weight and BMI, and I wasn’t happy with either.” “Oh really? Well what was it?” Hesitantly, and with a coaxing look being thrown from the lengthy dietitian, I told her what it had been a couple months ago. She explained that it really wasn’t and was based more on stereotypical body types. She told me that my BMI would technically be considered “low or undernormal”.
I expressed irritation that others were more concerned about me than me. She agreed and also said, “Well, I don’t care. Why should I care about you if you don’t?” Trying to make a point. With that she also said in the same breath, “You are in a serious place though, and are very very close, if not should probably be in, inpatient right now.” N then said she wanted me to see a therapist there and was going to schedule me for that, I guess this one’s name is K, and is a runner too….
N also asked me what I wanted from her and that, “You’re in control here.” I was brutally honest and said I am scared, I’m not sure how much you are going to try and get me to eat, I don’t want my running taken away. I don’t smoke or party, running is my outlet. I want to get better, but I am scared and nervous. When I was finished she gave me a small goal of, “Well, if we can plan on you eating, let’s say half a banana…” I began to frantically shake my head, “I don’t eat bananas.” “What do you eat?” “Fruit, besides bananas. Greek yogurt, spinach, I don’t know.”
“Ok, how about this. I don’t want you running between now and Thursday, but I don’t really see that happening.” I gave her a reassuring look that said “Damn straight that isn’t going to happen.”
“How about a spoonful of Greek yogurt six times a day.” (no question mark, because it was said in more of a telling tone than questioning.)
Oh sheezus, I thought to myself. That is more than I eat in a fucking week. With a disinclined look, and a reluctant tone I agreed. “Don’t say ok if you don’t plan on doing it.” “It isn’t that. It is just scary and a lot. 6x a day?” “Yeah, two in the morning, two at lunch, you know.” “I’m……I’m willing to try.” “Is six overwhelming?” “Oh yeah.” “Ok. How about 4x.” “Deal.”
First appointment with my extremely tall dietitian, N, and I am practically being put on a:
“Eat. to be taken 4x a day” regimen with a side of,
“I don’t want you running.” to be taken as needed.