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Ah, Yes, The Trauma Diet

, , , , , , , | Related | January 24, 2022

People: “Oh, my God, you’ve really slimmed down. Like, a lot. Can you please tell me your secret?”

When people say that to me, I have to resist the urge to slap them, which is rather problematic, given that I hear that line on average thrice a day.

I was on the pudgy side for most of my life. I was rather sedentary. And a liking for booze, dairy, and snacking meant that I wasn’t the slimmest person in the world.

Then, I got pregnant when I was eighteen, and my father disowned me for that. Oh, and my boyfriend literally fled the country to avoid paying child support. When I tried to approach his family, they told me to f*** off.

Still, I found myself a room to rent and a part-time job and tried my best to raise my newborn little girl.

When I first started out, I had a full bank account and summer sunlight behind me. I was confident that I could do this. Then, the costs started mounting and my bank account began growing depleted. Winter was encroaching, and babies were expensive, even with welfare.

I had a choice between coats or good food. I chose the coats and started eating takeout. The price of baby products went up. I halved my sleep and got a second part-time job. Babysitters began charging more because of the health crisis. I dropped ice cream and chocolate to afford them.

Then, my daughter fell sick. I dropped alcohol to afford the medicine.

The heating bill was more than expected. I used my food money to pay for it and spent a month eating my coworkers’ leftovers.

I had to buy new school supplies — textbooks and the like. I cut down from three square meals a day (plus snacks) to just one, convincing myself that it was about time I started dieting.

Final exams arrived. I took time off from my two part-time jobs to study for it, depleting what was left of my bank account in order to feed and clothe my daughter and myself.

My bank account was completely empty after finals. I took three part-time jobs during the school holidays to partially replenish it. Sleep was basically nonexistent by this point, and I was surviving off one meal a day.

But even so, no matter what I did, bills and costs were slowly but surely strangling me. I’d gotten to the point where I was seriously considering some… less wholesome methods of earning cash, when my grandmother passed away.

She willed me quite a bit, and although she was barely coherent toward the end, her last words were apparently for my father to reconcile with her favourite granddaughter, so that’s what he did. He rescinded my disownment and invited me to come in from the cold.

The first conversation we had went something like this.

Father: *Stunned look* “You’ve slimmed down so much! Can you please tell me your secret? I’ve got a couple of inches I’d like to lose from my waistline.”

That’s an understatement. I lost almost an entire stone and was pretty thin and haggard by that point. On more than one occasion, I couldn’t afford to feed both my daughter and myself, and every single time, I chose to starve so that my daughter had food.

And hearing my father ask about something as frivolous as weight loss really made me come THAT close to committing murder.

Me: “It’s called being a single mother with no family for over a year. Guaranteed results.”

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