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January 2, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

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Nicole Richie had nothing on me. For well over a year, I would never finish a plate of food, no matter how small. What I binged on instead were skirts, pants, and dresses — all size 4. My once-starved closet was now full to bursting.

I could slide a pair of jeans with a 27-inch waist over my hips to the floor — without unbuttoning them. (Conscious of how scary this was, I was secretly satisfied at the same time.) I was maid of honor at my best friend's wedding, and on the actual day, I felt sexy and beautiful in that silk bias-cut (read: clingy) slip gown. But the photos told another story. I had no ass and no arms, and my complexion was sallow — the picture of unhealthiness and unhappiness.

Fortunately, one very close fashion-stylist friend, intimately acquainted with the female form, took notice. We were at a boutique where I was modeling a hip-hugging Miu Miu pencil skirt and cropped sweater. In the mirror, all I could see was how perfectly it fit. My friend had a different opinion: "You're too skinny for fashion. You need to eat."

He was right. My appetite was mirroring my emotions. I was starving.

Recounting the sacrifices I had made — from the missed birthday cakes to the skipped Sunday brunches — I finally realized that fitting into that wispy size 4 was not worth the mental and physical stress. So with the support of friends — and my own concerted effort — I gobbled up burgers, pasta, and desserts as best I could. I gradually regained the energy I needed to campaign for a new job — which I got — and then left that horrid apartment to move in with my younger guy. The dual victories helped my appetite return. In a year's time, I was back to a happy 145 pounds — size 8.

But what about going forward? When life throws me a curveball in the future, will my weight remain steady? Well, maybe not always. But I can accept that. Coming to terms with my emotional eating was winning half the battle. And in hopes of conquering the rest, I gave away the scale.

This Is A Developing Story
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