Dear Special K,
I’ve seen all your commercials with the perfectly made-up woman sitting cross-legged in her pajamas eating a minuscule bowl of Special K cereal before she hops on the scale and does a victory dance.
I’m sure that replacing two meals a day with a 120 calorie bowl of cereal is PERFECTLY healthy–if you’re a carpenter ant. Maybe a mouse, if you eat the cereal with whole milk.
Most of all, the ever-so-creative slogan, “What will you gain when you lose?” really inspires me. To answer your question, here are a few things I personally gained when I lost:
-Dry hair, skin, and nails. Also, hair that falls out in chunks for no reason.
-Anemia. Potassium and magnesium deficiencies. Thyroid hormone problems. Slowed metabolism.
-A heart rate in the low 30s–don’t worry, it went up to the high 30s when I walked or ran.
-Anxiety disorder and extreme panic attacks.
-Osteoporosis. Lucky me, only 20 years old but the bones of a the post-menopausal woman!
-A lot of warm clothing. A necessity when you are cold 24/7 even in the California summer.
-Bi-weekly doctor’s appointments. Countless blood tests, DEXA scans, EKGs, nutritionist appointments, therapy sessions.
-Referring to the previous item: a lot of stress about how much money my parents spent on me.
-Guilt. Excessive guilt for everything. Food, not working out, and mostly the guilt of knowing that I was hurting everyone that loves and cares about me but I was too sick to stop.
-Body dysmorphia. No matter what, I will always see myself differently than I really am.
-Heart problems. Knocking on death’s door several times.
-The “satisfaction”? of being 5’6, 20 years old and 75 pounds. And STILL. FEELING. FAT. Feeling unworthy. I gained a sense of hopelessness, loneliness, and sadness.
I will spare you some of the more disturbing things I have “gained.”
Well, Special K, I’m here to tell you some of things I am gaining by gaining.
Though I have not yet restored the 30 pounds that I need to, I am well on my way.
So far, I am gaining:
-An understanding of what really is important in the world.
-The knowledge that the health and fitness industry seeks only to make us as consumers feel so bad about our bodies that we buy into their false claims and products–just to make a good chunk of change.
-Real, deep-belly laughs.
-Sleep. Rest. Also, energy.
-A future. My emaciated body could not sustain a real job, have a family or be successful. My new body will be able to do all of these things.
-Peace of mind. Food nourishes the body and helps me think clearly. It is repairing my broken brain and re-wiring my emotions.
-Yeah, emotions. I have those now. Other emotions besides anxious, hopeless, upset, and exhausted?! Unheard of.
-Time. Time not spent excessively exercising, avoiding food, avoiding everything.
-Life. A personality. Happiness.
-Ice cream. Bagels. Cookies. Granola. All the foods.
So, Special K…what will you gain when you lose? I would love to hear.