“Why are you so afraid to gain weight”, I asked my anorexic friend, Lila.
“Because I’m afraid people won’t like me.”
I didn’t need further explanation. Like me, Lila was a heavy kid and teenager who was mercilessly teased in the world. Kids are cruel. So are adults.
Lila’s family was desperate for her to lose weight. She was taken to diet doctors and therapists and behavior modification specialists. Lila tried EVERY diet – Weight Watchers, Atkins, Paleo,juicing, detoxing….but none of them worked long term.
One day, Lila decided the easiest way to lose weight for good was to stop eating. As the pounds fell off, Lila was overwhelmed with compliments. The praise rained endlessly. Even vague acquaintances pounced, heaping compliments AND begging for tips – how could they lose tons of weight too?
Lila’s parents showered her with new clothes to reward her great accomplishment. Her parents and sisters beamed with pride when she modeled her skinny jeans.
Lila began to put great stock in her weight loss – after all, she’d never gotten such compliments. But starving wasn’t easy – it took a lot of effort and concentration. And food thoughts grew to consume her. She focused endlessly on all the foods she’d never allow herself.
Finally, Lila couldn’t help herself and started to eat. Not a whole lot, but some. Terrified that she’d gain back all the lost weight, as she had in the past, she began to purge, relying on vomiting and laxatives to keep her fully empty.
Until of course, Lila got too thin and then way too thin and everyone freaked. Soon, family and friends were begging and pleading with her to eat. But it was too late, of course.
So, here we sat yesterday. Lila is now 26. She dropped out of college at 20 – she was too weak to go attend classes or focus on school work. (Besides, by this point ALL she thought about was food and weight.)
Two months ago, Lila got out of her third eating disorder rehab. She works part-time so she can focus on treatment and therapy and not push herself too much.
Lila showed up at my door because she’s starting to slip again -restricting and purging. She’s scared to gain weight.
We know why.