I floated downstairs where I knew all of my favorite snacks would be in the cupboard. I know Andrea well enough to know that she cares about the kind of food she eats. There’s never any garbage in her house. The low sugar nut bars I like so much were in the cupboard so I ate two. These got me four hundred twenty calories closer to breaking even on calories in, calories out.

I was still too far from breaking even. I didn’t make any effort to keep it that way for weeks, a constant dieter knows what that feels like too intimately to mistake this for that, it was just how my life became. Food felt like this idea on the periphery of living that was entirely optional. Food was either a nut bar or a single serving of beef jerky to keep myself standing or a perfect plate of seared scallops over cauliflower risotto I spent too much money on to justify the dry martini on the side. Food was an excuse to march up to the host at a restaurant on the most posh street in Boston, after watching him reject a party of four, to ask if there was any chance a table for one was available. “But of course, right this way.” Food was an excuse to make too much eye contact with the bitchy blond waitress who still did her job perfectly, recommending just the right dish. Food was an excuse to test out the new confidence I felt upon fitting in a size 6 Theory blazer. 

Food, this idea that my life used to revolve around, felt safer on the periphery. Food felt like an accompaniment for fun rather than a substitute for happiness and love. But most importantly, thin felt safer than soft. As long as I felt strong, I thought, I didn’t have an eating disorder. As long as my muscles were visible, I was only headed closer to beauty and health, not further from it. It’s a spectrum, I thought. I was finally balanced on the spectrum. How libra of me.

This is how other people must treat food all the time, I thought. These are the eating habits that were out of my grasp for so many years.

I must be forgiven now. Just look at me in this size 6 dress. Just look.

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