Amy was referred to me by her GP for help with her eating.
Amy has Binge Eating Disorder, and has been living in a larger body for most of her life.
Binge Eating Disorder is a very common eating disorder and people have feelings of guilt and shame.
Living in a larger body is not easy when we live in a fat phobic culture.
I have given Amy a space to be heard.
She will write regular blogs and will be uploaded here.
This is Amy's story.
Tell me about your relationship with food growing up?
As far as I remember, it was pretty standard, food was food until I started to get fat, and then it became a comfort. I don't remember any attachment to food before that.
What was school like for you?
I was bullied a lot, not just by my classmates.
A couple of teachers decided on a "tough love" approach, which made me angry and scared.
Has diet culture impacted you in any way?
Luckily I missed the whole social media side of it all while I was in high school. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have been worse off. I can see Facebook and Instagram and see how sad photoshop is.
I have tried several diets, SureSlim, where I lost about 8kgs, and they charged like $700 for it.
Xenical, where you poop fat out, was so gross.
Weight Watchers, where I lost 17.5 kgs. I thought that one was the most doable but still expensive at $15 a week plus whatever food you bought.
Sadly, there's many pills/ fad diets/superfoods that all promise to make you lose weight for a low, low price, and it's all bullshit. People like Dr Phil or Dr Oz should be stopped from peddling this crap.
What would you like people to know about living in a larger body?
We are in constant pain more often than not, which is managed as best we can.
We live in constant fear of not being able to fit, and we are aware of the looks of disgust.
How would you like your future to look?
I would like to be able to run around, walk without pain, to be a mother someday.
To just be free of my body prison.
Bariatric surgery is an option for weight loss. What are your thoughts about this?
If it helps people, then fantastic. For some people, this is the only way. It is a lifetime commitment.
What do you think people get wrong about people living in larger bodies?
We are just lazy that it's simply don't eat as much or just exercise more.
People look at me and assume I'm just lazy and stupid and have then been very surprised after speaking to me and realising that I'm not an idiot.
My favourite is after meeting me after only speaking on the phone because I don't sound fat.
What support do you wish you had for your eating disorder?
The best support I have had, has been from my good friends and the strangers at the swimming pool. They admired my strength, stamina and dedication.
My family, on the other hand, don't admire me at all.
Do you think you might have recovered at an earlier time if you had had an earlier intervention?
100% yes, I remember the first time I was truly aware of becoming fat. For me, it started in the thickening of the stomach.
My father said I was "built for comfort, not for speed" when he felt charitable. He would walk behind me when he was nasty and make the fatty gestures holding his arms wide and stomping his feet while calling me dump truck.
I asked my mother what was happening to me, "Am I getting too fat?"
"No, that's just from where your pants have been sitting", she replied. My brain knew the answer was wrong, but my heart held on to that answer as if my mother was all-knowing and right, as I wanted her to be, so maybe she gave me the answer she knew I wanted and not the answer I needed but if she had would I still be where I am?
What barriers do you have to your health goals?
My own stupid depressed and anxious brain. I fight it constantly when it tells me not to bother or that I'm not good enough.
Why try if you are just going to fail?
Every day, I fight myself, and sometimes I lose. I feel like a big fat nothing, and then I pick myself up and do it again.
Your doctor recommended you take the year off to recover, how do you afford to eat? How do you manage?
I'm on a benefit, and it is hard. Healthier options are more expensive, and I get food parcels sometimes.
I try to meal prep for the week. A big salad as a side dish will last 3 - 4 meals along with some meat.
If you could say one thing to the people reading this who want to understand what it might be like for someone in a larger body, what would it be?
We already hate ourselves enough without your judgement. We see the looks of disgust and know what you're thinking.