Counting Calories (Short Story)

 

She stared at her food, calculating in her head how many calories each and every item on her plate was. Could she really afford the 500 calories that stood on her plate? It seemed like a lot, more than she could handle and she knew that working off these 500 calories would be a lot. It didn’t help that she could hear the snickers surrounding her, she knew what she was. The school’s fat girl.

 

When she looked into the mirror, she understood how she managed to obtain the title. Her rolls spilled out of her jeans, her shirts were either too tight or went to her knees, and her boobs were just flabby. While they had the size to be attractive, they simply weren’t because she was too big to pull them off and they honestly just looked like pathetic globs of fat adorning her body. Instead of cherishing her boob size, they were her reminder of the size that she hated.

 

The snickers intensified as a shadow went over her food and something dropped onto the table, the clatter of plates hitting the table and the talk throughout the cafeteria almost seemed to quiet down to watch the exchange, meaning that the person before her was likely no friend of hers, or at least somebody who was friendly considering she didn’t actually have any friends. She didn’t want to look up, she was almost afraid of the interaction that was about to happen, she didn’t want to see what was dropped onto the table because she knew it wasn’t a tray.

 

“Hey,” The voice was sickly sweet but she recognized it to be more sinister than upon first glance. Because the girl before her was Heather, a girl with admittedly beautiful brown hair that seemed to have almost been kissed by the sun as it cascaded down her back and she knew that the girl also was incredibly skinny. An attribute that she longed for. “You looked a little hungry, so I wanted to give this to you,” The voice continued on as she finally decided to look at what was dropped onto the table. It was one of those Hostess cupcakes, the chocolate ones with the white swirls that she often dreamed about in her sleep. “I got in the mail by mom, she thought I should have something sweet to keep in my dorm but I’m watching my figure. I don’t want to end up looking like you,” The voice was as sharp as knives and the words cut deeper than she would have cared to admit.

 

“No thank you,” Came her weak response, her voice quiet as she continued to keep her eyes downcast. It was safer to simply look at the plate before her, the pathetic looking broccoli being her focus.

 

“Oh, but sweetie. You simply look ravenous. That broccoli couldn’t possibly be enough for you, here take it,” The girl continued to encourage, picking up the cupcakes and moving them closer to her plate. “They’re really good as I’m sure you know.” The temptation was strong, the memory of the delectable chocolate and the filling that she would surely find inside was haunting her memory. Perhaps one cupcake couldn’t be too bad? So she decided to hesitantly take it, her hand reaching out to the small package as the girl before her let out a laugh.

 

“See, that’s why you haven’t lost any weight. You have no control because you’re simply pathetic,” The words hit home. The same words she constantly told herself was now coming out of somebody else but she simply grabbed the cupcake as she pushed her chair back quickly and rushed out of the cafeteria. She tried to run all of the way back to the dorm, ignoring her body slapping against her own flesh as she ran, not even bothering to hold her breasts to stop them from jumping up and down. They were simply a reminder of her body, she ignored Heather’s words. Trying to block them from her mind. As she reached her dorm, she stared at the cupcake as she ripped open the wrapper, the scent of chocolate hitting her nose as tears welled up in her eyes and she realized that she wouldn’t be able to simply throw it away.

 

She picked it up with her hands, staring at it while trying to will herself to throw it away and forget about it. Ignoring the memory of the last time she did this, when she drove by a McDonald’s and couldn’t stop herself from pulling into the drive thru to get a McFlurry. When she had come back to the dorm, she stared at it as well, trying to convince herself that the vanilla ice cream and Oreo crumbles were not worth the five pounds that would come from this decadent dessert. She had eventually thrown it away, placing it carefully in the trash can encase she changed her mind which she did. Late at night, when everyone else was out partying, she found herself staring at the trash can, laying her bed as she debated it. Did the calories really count at night? Could she eat the McFlurry and not gain anything? Or eat a stick of butter without consequence like she had watched in movies?

 

She wanted to be stronger, in this moment, the thing that she wanted most was to simply be stronger. She wanted to have the ability to throw away the cupcake and she wanted to go to bed not thinking about that very same cupcake and she dreaded the thoughts of debating whether or not she could fish it out of the trashcan. She hated that she knew what would happen later in the day, when she found herself lost in her own thoughts. She was weak, she couldn’t resist the temptation as she brought the cupcake to her mouth and took a small bite. The sweetness of the cupcake erupted throughout her entire mouth, and she honestly could have let out a moan of pleasure at the delectable taste. It was something that she had craved for so long. All of a sudden, she actually was ravenous and all thoughts of how many calories this cupcake was completely left her mind, as she quickly decided that she would simply deal with it at some other point.

 

Once she finished the cupcake, she stared at the chocolate on her hands and she felt completely disgusted with herself and it almost felt like she could feel the weight that she had gained from eating that cupcake alone. Her stomach felt full and she felt nauseated, and she could feel the hate for herself bubbling up beyond comprehension. Her mind was racing with thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts that she hated herself for having.

 

She thought of simply not eating for a little while, there had to be no harm is skipping a meal or two every once in awhile. She surely knew that she had skipped breakfast and lunch throughout middle school after somebody had made a comment that it seemed as though she was losing weight. But maybe skipping meals for longer periods of time could be better? But no, she thought of her relationship with the cupcake and how the moment it stood in front of her, she couldn’t even stop herself from wanting it despite the fact that it was given to her by somebody who only wanted to make fun of her.

 

No, that simply wouldn’t work. She was too weak but as she stared at the toilet from one of the open stalls, she knew what she had to do. It was the only one that she would be able to feel attractive, it was the only way that she could ever hope to lose weight because she knew that the diet wouldn’t work and she knew that working out was never going to happen. She would take one step into the gym, see all of the attractive and skinny people working out and immediately turn around and walk away. This honestly seemed like the best option and she knew she wouldn’t lose all of the calories from this so maybe it could work? Maybe it was healthy enough to be able to pull it off and it was only until she stopped feeling so gross.

 

She thought back to Heather, and how they used to be friends before college. Back when Heather was at least 100 pounds heavier and unpopular, just like she had been. They used to bond over their weight problems, joking during gym class that it was just meant for pervy gym classes to stare at girl’s boobs jumping as they were forced to jump. She remembered a conversation, right before the summer of their freshman year.

 

“So, I’m thinking about trying to lose weight,” Heather had whispered to her in the middle of the night during one of their famous sleepovers.

 

She had stifled a laugh, “Good luck with that. What are you going to do? Eat a cheerleader diet and work out?” She had asked in a joking manner, genuinely thinking it was all a joke.

 

“No, of course. I was doing some research and I found some information. An alternative way to lose weight, I think it’s more feasible. You can eat whatever you want and you still wont have to take all of the calories.”

 

“What is this miracle drug?”

“Vomiting.”

 

She never thought Heather would actually lose the weight, she thought she had been joking and when she didn’t join her and she slowly began losing the weight, she became more confident and promiscuous until finally they were no longer even friends and in college, it was like they never even knew each other. After some time, she began joining in on the teasing and the joking.

 

She took a hesitant step forwards, convincing herself that it was a good idea as she knelt before the toilet and took two fingers into her mouth and shoved them until she felt herself gagging. Immediately she withdrew, questioning whether or not this was really a good idea but she wanted to go through with it, she wanted to prove that she was strong enough to do this. So, she took the two fingers once more and shoved them down her throat, ignoring the gagging sensation that went throughout her body as she felt the bile rise up her throat until finally she expelled it. She was strong enough to do this at least.

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Only Bones Can Be Beautiful

TRIGGER WARNING: This story will deal with anorexia and bulimia. This story is meant to bring awareness to the issue that comes along with these diseases, the expectations and beliefs that women are expected to deal with. However, if these things trigger you or hurt you, please do not read this story. I love you and you can get through whatever you’re dealing with.

 


 

I must be beautiful for I must be loved. I must be able to count the foods I’ve eaten and the calories that I have partaken in must be memorized. I must be able to feel the bones that look almost as though they are bursting through my skin.

 

Because bones are beautiful and I must be beautiful. The idea that my thighs might touch disgusts me and the image after eating a cupcake haunts me every time I think of giving into my desires. The sweet taste of the sugar as it touches my lips almost seals my fate of the ugly inside as my stomach expands.

 

For only bones can be beautiful and everyone knows sugar can only be free of the ugly it brings if you do not keep it inside. It started as a whim, curiosity that flooded me and I didnt think of the consequences that may come. I didn’t even look it up because I didn’t think the warnings would happen to me.

 

But then I noticed, the way it was easier after the first time and then even easier after that. I became scared of my own body as it began desiring that feeling of the food purging itself. I would eat more and more until I could not ignore the feeling anymore. The pit of my stomach and the burning of my throat was the constant reminder of what I had done and the way it made me feel.

 

I finally looked up the warnings, finally understanding that I am who they speak of on those warning labels and I wonder how nobody has noticed my fluctuating weight the way that I have. The body that I have once loved, watching it become smaller was now my biggest fear. I stopped the purging, I ignored the burning of my throat and the pit of my stomach as I pretended to believe that I was okay even though I knew I wasn’t.

 

But the feeling kept coming, a monster that wouldn’t go away as I noticed my body change. The way that my pants were no longer baggy or the way the shirt began sticking to my skin. The burning and the pit of my stomach had yet to leave and one day, I chose not to eat anything.

 

The burning went away, and I felt nothing in my stomach. The feeling was gone and it was a feeling I cherished so much that I didn’t feel the hunger that gnawed at me the next day. I continued to ignore the hunger, relishing in the beauty of my body as it seemed to shrink magically in the mirror. I wasn’t hungry but I was beautiful. Because bones are what make you beautiful and loved, and it was only after a time that I can not remember any more that I felt truly loved and it was long after my body stopped changing because I was no longer living.

 


 

This story was about 3 or 4 words short of 250, which was the word limit for the story which is why it is so short. However, I don’t think the length of this story matters but rather the contents.

 

The story was raw and emotional for me, and it is something that every girl has struggled with and perhaps for some of them, they don’t ever go as far as bulimia or anorexia however the idea of self image weighs down on all of us.

 

I thought this story was perfect during Women’s History Month, this story resonates with women and teenage girls. They can see this story and see the effects and I think it’s important during Women’s History Month to take notice in the expectations of women.

 


 

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If you want to check out some of my novels:

The White Butterfly

The Girl in the Cage

 

If you like this story, please check out some of my other posts:

I Am a Woman

Feminist Disney Princess Movies Ranked!

Why Do I Write?