She wakes up in the morning before the alarm, because her bladder is full. She has been up and down two or three times in the night already, and is feeling tired from lack of sleep.
Now that she is up, she drags herself to the kitchen to have a cup of tea. She wishes she liked coffee so that she could get a proper caffeine hit, but instead she takes one of her emergency ‘energy’ tablets that she has never told anyone about.
Her stomach is empty and rumbling. She ignores the discomfort and heads to the gym. She pushes herself for an hour or more because she knows she isn’t allowed breakfast until she is done.
Back at home she devours her oats and protein powder. It doesn’t fill her up or satisfy her because she is still hungry. She could eat twice what she has measured out but she stays within the rules. With another cup of tea she swallows the variety of vitamins and supplements she needs to ensure she is healthy.
When she has finished eating, she plans her food for the day. She carefully calculates her calories, protein, carbohydrate, and fat grams and divides them into 6 meals. Once she is satisfied with her plan, she puts together the three meals she will eat while at work.
She doesn’t have a handbag any more, she has a sports bag that she packs with plastic containers full of food and pills. She can’t leave the house without having all her supplies for the day.
By the time she gets to work, it is almost time for her second meal. She realises that she has a meeting right when she is meant to be eating and meal #2 requires heating in the microwave. She decides to eat early, knowing that now she will have a long wait until lunch.
When lunch time finally arrives, all the people in her office head to the staff canteen. They sit and chat over canteen food that she has not touched in three years. Most of the time she sits at her desk alone as the smell of chips and toasted sandwiches in the canteen is almost unbearable.
The afternoon stretches out for an eternity. Her fourth meal is scheduled for 4pm but she never makes it that far. Most of the time she has finished all her prepacked food by 3pm.
By 4-30pm she can no longer concentrate and she is getting frustrated with work. She longs for the day to be over so she can get home for dinner. On the way to the ferry she tries not to notice the food shops on her route but the muffins and dim-sims catch her attention. She looks away. As she walks home she wonders why she can barely make it up the steep steps from the jetty while everyone else seems to stride ahead of her without any effort at all.
At last she is home and sets about cooking her evening meal. She cannot pat the cat, water the veggie garden or discuss her day with her husband until she has eaten her dinner. Her anxiety escalates until at last her meal is ready. It is gone too quickly and she feels unsatisfied.
She decides to forfeit her bedtime snack because she still wants more. She uses up her final meal’s calories on another serving of dinner, or a small piece of chocolate. If she is desperate she has another bowl of oats.
She has now reached the point where all her eating is done for the day and it is barely 7.30pm. She smells her husband cooking his dinner and then watches him eat his food because he is never hungry as early as she is. Sometimes he orders takeaway and she always assures him she is completely stuffed or not feeling so well so she doesn't want any.
As the evening rolls on, her hunger returns. She opens and closes the kitchen cupboards and the fridge looking for that magic food that will fill her up without any calories. Her search is in vain. So instead, she drinks cups of tea and water to fill her stomach.
Instead of relaxing with her husband and enjoying her leisure time, she is driven to distraction. If she has to be asleep by 9.30pm anyway she may as well go to bed now to divert her attention from her discomfort.
She is exhausted and falls asleep easily, but wakes a few hours later to go to the toilet. Her broken sleep and rumbling stomach will herald the start of another day.
And so the cycle continues ...
Until the weekend ... when she binges.
And she can't understand why she has no will-power.