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Dear Dad

January 10, 2012

I went on a mini-vacation with my husband and family to visit my mom and dad this weekend. Oh the joys of familial visits! Also, trigger warning for ED, diet talk.

Dear Dad,

I don’t think you know how much I have always longed for your approval. I taught myself to read at three. You were so proud! I worked my way through your books, one by one. I remember how amazed you were when I read Mists of Avalon in third or fourth grade, and Dune by fifth. But then I hit puberty and I started gaining weight.

It wouldn’t come off. I did everything possible, I SWEAR, Daddy. I dieted. I tried every freaking diet we could afford to let me try, starting at age 12 or so (it was certainly Slim Fast sometime in middle school). Eight hours of swimming a day, three days a week didn’t make it come off. Hours and hours of Taekwondo.

“It’s simply calories in, calories out. It’s science,” you say, disparagingly. But why, when you eat what I do, do you stay skinny. Little do you understand how I threw up everything I ate for YEARS, but I stayed six feet tall and over 200 lbs.

“It’s not what you eat, but what and when.” Dad, you RAISED me. We were pretty poor. We didn’t have chips and junk. You guys hid the candy and stuff for yourselves. My siblings were ALLERGIC to corn syrup and I was fat. We didn’t have that shit in our house. HOW THE FUCK WAS I STILL GAINING WEIGHT? Where was it coming from then, Dad? If it was calories in, calories out, what the hell was I sneaking? I didnt have a job. I was 12 when i started dieting, and 16 when I developed an eating disorder.

Do you understand the number of years I have dieted? How well I can count a calorie, down to what was in  the dinner you served me last week? My serving of the Betty Crocker fajita was roughly 450 calories, by the way, and another 400 on the salad with egg, meat and cheese. The apple was 60.

Do you understand how your refusal to learn the actual science out there behind obesity hurts? You just buy into the popular BS. YOU are the one who taught me to follow the money and to use my head. Why is it that skinny people like my oldest daughter can literally eat twice the amount of food that I am eating AND THE SAME FOOD AT THE SAME TIMES, but not gain weight? But when I eat, it’s calories in, calories out, and I’m eating food at the wrong time.

I have explained to you how I am trying to beat my eating disorder, but you still find it appropriate to tell me it’s calories in, calories out. I HAVE SEIZURES due to LOW blood sugar, but somehow I am eating too much and that is why I am fat. Oh right, I forgot… I’m just not eating at the right time. /facepalm

I want you to understand that I eat better than 85% of the people I know. I do yoga three times a week. I swim with my kids, I walk my dog in the park. When was the last time you got your 30 minutes of brisk movement three times a week, every week?

Oh, but you are naturally skinny. You don’t really have to work to stay that way. You can drink heavy whipping cream in your coffee and whole milk with everything and ice cream every night and not get fat. But, right, it’s calories in, calories out. Or does that fall under the right food at the right time?

What really pisses me off is you taught me to be a skeptic. You taught me the phrase “Follow the money.” You, who are skeptical of global fucking warming because you think people are trying to make money off of it, won’t believe a 60 BILLION dollar a year diet industry isn’t LYING to us and skewing results? Like they don’t have a vested interest in using small, incomplete studies to push their agenda.

As I write this, Dad, I am shaking. I want you to be proud of me. I want your acceptance and love. But when you tell me that I could lose weight if I really wanted to I feel like you are smacking me in the face. You know I have an eating disorder, but I guess being skinny is more important to you than a daughter who is a vegetable because she had seizures from starving herself to lose weight.

Dad, here is the deal. I give up. I am going to link you the ACTUAL science, NOT funded by the diet, weight loss or weight loss surgery companies. I want you to read it and understand it. I want you to understand that if you tell me ONE MORE TIME that “it’s just calories in, calories out” I will stop coming to visit you.

It stresses me out too much. I can’t do it anymore. I want your approval and that phrase is nothing more than a convient lie you parrot when you don’t really understand the science. You have to stop the diet talk. I mean, come on, have you read anything about eating disorders? Or is it that because I’m not skinny EDs aren’t dangerous? You do realize that bulimia can cause ruptured stomachs, internal bleeding and electrolyte disorders (whose symptoms include seizures, WHICH I HAVE). As in, if I don’t get over this I could DIE. And shit like “calories in, calories out”  just makes it worse.

I love you very much, Dad. But I may have to give up on you and my whole paternal family for my own good, before I keel over, dead in a toilet bowl.

Or try some of these books, written by professors and researchers, based in science:

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2012 9:52 am

    What a heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing this. Does your dad know you feel this way?

  2. January 10, 2012 10:23 am

    I wonder how many relationships are destroyed because of these kinds of prejudices. My late father was a bit of a healthist and it didn’t help, but fortunately he never took it this far.

  3. vesta44 permalink
    January 10, 2012 11:03 am

    Trigger Warning for ED, Death:
    It’s ironic you should post this today. I was watching 1000 Ways to Die last night, and one of the episodes was about a model. She had to stay thin in order to keep her career, so she starved herself when she had a gig, and then when she wasn’t modeling, she binged and purged. One night, she ate more than her stomach could hold and it burst before she had a chance to purge after her binge. She died on the floor of the bathroom. The doctor who commented at the end of the episode was explaining about all the ramifications of binges and purges – pretty much everything you said in your post. I know the show is a dramatization and is sensationalized to draw in viewers, but this particular episode emphasized for me the dangers of disordered eating and didn’t seem all that over-the-top to me (it did make me wonder how many people have actually died because this happened to them, it’s not one of the more talked about dangers of the binge/purge disorder).

  4. January 10, 2012 11:26 am

    I’m so sorry. It cuts even deeper when it is someone whose good opinion means so very much to us. I hope that your father reads this, reads the research, and realizes how damaging his comments are to your relationship with him. I hope that your relationship gets a chance to heal and grow. I know that I don’t know you, but here’s a *HUG* anyway, because you sound like you could really use one.

  5. January 10, 2012 4:37 pm

    I am sorry that you have had to deal with this and I’m glad that you are finding your path to health in spite of it. Thank you for sharing this, no doubt it will help many, many people on their journeys.

    Big Fat Hugs,


  6. January 10, 2012 8:46 pm

    I was shaking by the time I finished reading this, being so familiar with these emotions and frustrations and all I can say is GO YOU. It took me a long time to realize that people who made me feel this way are toxic and have to go (yes, even family), that the most important thing anyone can do is what is right for them.

    You are in my thoughts. Take care of you!

  7. Fab@54 permalink
    January 11, 2012 8:12 pm

    ((((hugs)))) from me also. Other than that, I just can’t find the right words to say how I feel about this., because it hits so close to home on many levels of my own daddy issues….

    Thank you for sharing


  1. JUST SAY YES! | Leftovers To Go

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