I had forgotten how much smoking a pack of cigarettes a day kills your appetite. I quit smoking years ago, other than an occasional relapse at Happy Hour and a few weeks here and there in times of stress. I've been smoking like a fiend since Friday night. On Saturday, I had dinner at my favorite restaurant. The servings there are not huge and we always finish everything we order. This time, we brought home at least half of every dish. Last night, while staring at the second half of the burrito that I could not possibly eat, I had a sudden realization. This is why I weighed 105 lbs. all through college.
I never had any kind of eating disorder, but when I went to college (and started seriously smoking) my weight plummeted. I just looked it up, and 105 is an average weight for a small framed person who is 4'9" tall. I'm 5'6". Weighing 105 at 5"6" is not attractive. It means collarbones that stick out so far they cast shadows, being able to clearly see your ribs - all of them, even the floaters at the bottom - from the front and the back, and a pelvis that collects puddles in the shower. It means swimming in size 2 clothes. It means strangers walking up to you and telling you to eat a sandwich.
I weigh considerably more than that now, although I'm still fairly thin, I suppose. I work out a lot, but I never diet. I look better and I feel better, although there are lasting health effects to being that underweight for that long. Body image, however, is a whole different story. People frequently comment on how skinny I am, and I am still occasionally advised to eat a sandwich, but my image of myself was set at 105. I always feel like I'm overweight. On a good day, I think I need to lose 5 pounds, on a bad day, I think I need to lose 20. Last night, when I realized that smoking had probably caused my weight loss, I stopped to consider for a minute how much weight I could lose if I started smoking again.
I'm back on the wagon again, no more smoking. But I wonder sometimes whether anyone really has an accurate and healthy idea of their own body. And if anyone does, I really wish they would tell me how they did it.