The Most Ridiculous Tears in the World

I think my nutrition appointments are more emotionally charged than my counseling appointments these days, at least in the aftermath.  My nutritionist, when I first started seeing her, took a fairly laid-back approach with me.  The approach that said, Well, you’re not in danger of being hospitalized yet, so we’ve got some time to take this slow.

Last week was the beginning of a new approach, a slightly more forceful one.  An approach that meant action and now.  An approach that said, We are working with a body that is deteriorating and being abused on a daily basis and won’t last much longer.  My nutritionist, who initially told me I could simply maintain this weight, started in last week with telling me that I am, in fact, “too small.”  That those last few pounds I am so desperate to lose will put me on the border of being clinically anorexic.  That I would be lucky to complete last Saturday’s half marathon without dropping dead or at least injuring myself.  My heart, she said, was compromised.  My liver, muscles, body tissues, all unhealthy.  But good luck, she said.

When I got to her office today, she asked about the race, and seemed somewhat shocked that I finished in the time I did and did so without injury. 

So now that we’re done with that, we need to decide what will be a reasonable amount of exercise for you, she says.

I’m confused.  Why can’t I just keep running what I’ve been running?  I’m eating more now, it should be fine.  Heck, I even took two days off after the half-marathon!  I try to tell her that I want to run another long race this fall, that my counselor said no dice on a full marathon, but maybe another half.  Maybe that would be okay.  I need to keep my mileage, need to keep in training mode.

No, she says.  Do you understand that your heart cannot take this?  You have heard of runners just dropping dead, right? Oh, I know, “That couldn’t happen to me, K.” (I laugh a little.  This is exactly what I was thinking.)  That’s what they all say.  I haven’t lost a client yet, Jessica.  You darn well won’t be the first.  No.

Fifteen miles a week is all I get.  No long runs.  Five runs, three miles each.  If I only do two miles one day, I can’t do four the next.  And if I exceed that three miles, I have to call her and tell her.  So we’ll see who’s really in control, yeah?  You…or the disorder.

I am still reeling from all this information, this acknowledgment of hours in my schedule that just opened up, when she drops the second bomb.  And if you’re going to be running three miles a day, we need to increase your calories to reflect that. The string of obscenities I thought to myself is still running through my head.

We discuss where we’re going to add these calories.  12 almonds at breakfast.  Another piece of fruit (dear God, by the end of this, I am going to hate fruit).  Then bomb number three:

One ounce of cheese.  Or one egg.

But I don’t eat either of those.

It’s time to add them back.


It seems a little unfair that I should have to increase calories, decrease exercise, AND incorporate forbidden food all in the same week.  This is just setting me up for failure, right?  Maybe, maybe not.  Time will tell, I suppose.

I came home to dinner.  Ate with my father while we watched Jeopardy!  He eats his rice and salmon and spinach.  I eat my salad and tofu and half a pita.  I am, not surprisingly, still hungry.  I consider starting tonight with this new calorie count.  Reconsider.  Reconsider again.  Make lunch for tomorrow, but stop short of packing snacks.  I want to cry just thinking about all the new food, the new calorie goal.  I go upstairs, sit in the shower, pray and tell Jesus very genuinely that I love Him, but this sucks.  Get out of the shower, cry.  Decide that there’s no day like today.

I sit at the kitchen table, out of my parents’ sight.  Peel an orange and cry.  Wonder when that day will come that I will enjoy eating again, when it doesn’t make me feel like a failure.


10 thoughts on “The Most Ridiculous Tears in the World

  1. once again… sooooooo relate.

    thank you so much for sharing. it helps knowing that one person — even one whom i’ll never meet — seems to understand.

    and believe me… Jesus definitely heard me today as well, when I told (yelled at?) Him that, though I love Him so much… this whole thing BLOWS.

    • Are you a part of a support group or group counseling? I just joined one a couple of weeks ago and it seriously has been the most helpful thing in recovery thus far. It IS nice to know that other people understand this and to walk into a room and not have to explain what you mean by certain terms, or how the “logic” of an ED works.

      ANAD has free support groups around the country – you should see if there’s one in your area. :) (

      • thanks for the suggestion… i know there are a few in my area, so i really have no excuse to check one out at least once…
        however, i am a bit relunctant to go to an ANAD group because of my weight… i’m so “normal” i feel like it would be almost triggering for me to possibly be the fattest girl in the room. i know that sounds crazy, but… yeah…

        my therapist gently suggested i go to some sort of group, and said pretty much what you said — that it could be one of the best things for me. thanks for the suggestion…

      • I inquired about some ANAD groups in my area, and set a goal of going to one next Monday! Eek!
        Thanks for the suggestion :)

      • Aww, thanks for following up!
        It was interesting… only two other girls were there. The only other group I’ve been a part of was through my church, so I know I’ll have to get used to the fact that it is not focused on God at all… silly, I know. But it will be difficult for me to adjust.
        I’m going to another one today that’s down the street from my work, so I’m hoping I’ll like it a little better.
        Thanks for asking! :)

  2. just to add…the first 10 recorded runners in history died right after they completed their runs… chronic running(and 15 miles/wk is chronic) IS really bad for you. i use to do it too….3-15 miles every single day…anorexia struck and i kept it up… i thought i was fine… i never in a million years actually thought my organs and heart were off or slow because i completed everything i ran/lifted and i ate…

    long story short. i have 2 immobilizers on my knees for the next 10 days from years of running. itll catch up with you. ask about taking up weight lifting instead of running.

    about the food… eggs and cheese are like the bases of most of my meals… with the “one egg” you could and should try deviled guac eggs… just hardboil an egg and cut it in half and smash the yolk with avocado and put it in the white… salt/pepper and yummy!

  3. Hey Jessica,

    I’m sorry things have been so rough lately. I remember what this felt like and it SUCKED. I wanted to try to help you a little bit. You posted,

    “It seems a little unfair that I should have to increase calories, decrease exercise, AND incorporate forbidden food all in the same week. This is just setting me up for failure, right? Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell, I suppose”

    right after

    “I would be lucky to complete last Saturday’s half marathon without dropping dead or at least injuring myself. My heart, she said, was compromised. My liver, muscles, body tissues, all unhealthy.”

    Try to take a step back and read these words like I (Sarah) or another friend was writing them instead of you. Pretend they’re in the same post and at the end of this imaginary post I wrote, “what do you think I should do? Tackle the challenges or no?” You think I’m a pretty strong person and you’re worried about my health. What advice would you give me?


    • Sarah,
      Thanks for the perspective. You are, of course, right – if any friend of mine had written this, I would certainly encourage her to grab the bull by the horns and do this thing. And remind her that we serve a great God who has already overcome death and all evil – an ED is nothing.

      Thanks so much for being so helpful in this crazy journey. I definitely owe you an e-mail. (You know, to reply to the one from like, two months ago. Where did time go?!)


      • I’m glad if anything I say is helpful. I also know it can be hard to apply my own good advice to myself though so I understand if it’s difficult to do :) I think when it comes to ED recovery, Nike’s right–“just do it” is the best motto. Endure the anxiety. You’re going to feel anxious whether you eat enough or don’t eat enough, so you might as well choose the action that gets you closer to your goals and lines up with your values, right? Sitting with the anxiety sucks so feel free to fire off an email anytime you need the support–I’ll write you right back!

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