Behind a light and slightly girly title, the book “Confidences of a former diet addict” by Mathilde Blancal narrates the strong dependence of a young woman on the dictates of thinness. Mathilde Blancal suffered from eating disorders for more than 10 years. Serious attacks of bulimia, anorexia, vigorexia, the young woman explored all the possible mechanisms of self-destruction before finding the path to recovery. Interview.
When asked, he was unable to pinpoint exactly when in his life he felt the need to lose weight. He only remembers that his descent into hell was very gradual and of incredible psychological violence.
Mathilde Blancal had no prior reason for wanting to lose weight. Fresh out of childhood, she doesn’t recognize this changing body. She looks at the women around her and she fails to identify with any representation of the image of women. Mathilde Blancal is the story of a young woman who, unable to eat, is devoured by the dictates of thinness.
“It made me vomit up to 6 times a day”
Mathilde proceeded methodically: phasing out food categories. Fat, sugar, starchy foods…the teen becomes a raw food eater. She eats only fruits and vegetables. Mathilde Blancal embarks on a race against calories. A race too slow for her taste. In the course of researching her on the dark web, she comes across forums of pro-ana anorexic young women exchanging advice on not gaining weight. On these platforms, she discovers a thousand tips to eat the least amount of calories. Among the proposed solutions, a correlation seems obvious and will continue for many years: “I told myself, if I make myself vomit, I will not keep the calories I eat.” This is the beginning of her relationship with the toilets, a toxic love that will mark entire years of her existence with hot iron. “When I first managed to vomit, I was quite surprised. There was a little side inside of me where I was like, ‘It’s not really that unpleasant. I had the satisfaction of feeling lighter.'”
And this is the beginning of another vicious circle: bulimia. Tired of the restrictions, Mathilde goes crazy eating and ends up in the toilet bowl. Relieved and hungry, her body needs food… And she turns off again.
“I forced myself to vomit so much that there was blood in the toilet bowl. By force, I had weakened my throat.”
“It smelled like vomit. It was extremely embarrassing.”
Not without a hint of humor, Mathilde Blancal evokes in her book the beginning of her unfortunate love for the toilet bowl. “It pains me to say this, but for years I had my head in the toilet. I even made myself vomit in a public toilet in the heart of the city. I won’t let you even imagine the state of hygiene of these toilets… Interestingly, the toilets had become a refuge. It was me and my suffering in the cup”.
In the same playful tone, it also raises a taboo, that of smell. “For all these years, I smelled like vomit. It was extremely embarrassing for me. I bought breath patches at pharmacies, brushed my teeth… before society and maintained the image of the smiling, kind and successful girl all the time “. weather. When in fact, no. Every time I finished my meal, I went to the bathroom to make myself throw up. She was stronger than me. It was a real addiction.”
Video. Mathilde Blancal: “One day we woke up, we made ourselves vomit 6 times a day and we went running at 3 in the morning”
“I was going to run at 3 am”
At that time, Mathilde was not only addicted to the act of making herself vomit. She also develops a severe form of vigorexia, an extreme and intensive practice of sports. It is the need to control her weight that locks him into her sports addiction. Excessive and progressive behavior: “The truth is that I was sinking little by little. You don’t wake up one day making yourself throw up 6 times a day and going for a run at 3 in the morning.”
In the space of a few months, Mathilde’s life was reduced to cravings, forcing herself to vomit and play sports: “I did almost 4 hours of sports a day. I didn’t know how to stop. I left very early in the morning.” in the morning, when I couldn’t sleep because I thought I had eaten too much, I would say to myself ‘well, well, I’m not sleeping, I’m going to go monetize my time, I’m going to go burn some calories. I put on my little tennis shoes at 3 am and went for a run. It was totally absurd behavior.”
These “absurd behaviors”, as she calls them, testify to a deep malaise that translates into a form of physical abuse: “When I really wasn’t well, he mistreated me. He kicked me a little all over my body. I was in so much pain that I had to externalize all this discomfort in physical pain.
In her book, Mathilde Blancal wonders why. Was her physical mutilation a way of making her psychological anguish visible? During all these years, the young woman’s entourage did not ask any questions. No more than the men who shared her life. One day, she confided in her partner about her problems and her overwhelming urge to throw up after every meal. The man points out that these little games make him lose money, especially when he invites her to dinner.
Video. Mathilde Blancal: “My life is hell and I’m not even 30”
“You’re pathetic if you eat French fries”
Dejected by attacks of bulimia and eaten away by her discomfort, the young woman clings to one hope: “not to be the same at 70”. Awareness will be gradual and healing will go through several stages. Therapists, alternative medicine… it’s ultimately food abstinence that will save her. “I had to deconstruct everything I thought about food. Before, I only ate zucchini because it’s low in calories and I thought it was virtuous. It’s fat. I said to myself, ‘You’re pathetic if you eat French fries.’ Well, no, actually. I had I had to relearn how to taste things. I picked up my fork, put it in my mouth, and analyzed how it tasted.”
Mathilde Blancal learns to eat “like a child,” she recalls. She forces herself to eat all the foods that she forbids herself. Her goal is to assess whether she appreciates what she eats for the taste pleasure it provides or for the taste of the forbidden. So, at first, she will allow herself all the cookies and cakes that her sick brain had banished. She first she devours the whole box. She then takes the time to analyze the taste of the cookies. Eventually, she discovers that her obsession with these cookies was directly related to deprivation and frustration that “cookies aren’t that good, after all.” “When I had the opportunity to eat as many as I wanted, I didn’t want to eat them anymore. Now I forget I have cookies in my cupboard.”
“I was a drug addict, today I am a normal person”
This long and painful weaning allowed her to heal from her eating disorders. “I used to be a drug addict. Today I’m a normal person,” she laughs. “I would always have a sensitivity but today I know how to identify the ‘little voices that speak to me and sink me’”. To definitively bury her demons, Mathilde Blancal listed all the benefits of healing her. “I am a queen” she reaps all the benefits of her recovery and she reminds him daily that the “young girl who stank of vomit” is a thing of the past.
“Because no great story started with a green salad”, as she likes to say, Mathilde Blancal hopes that this book will help women who, as she has been able to do in the past, “fight against their female body”. “Confidences of a former diet addict” is a necessary work to understand the dire consequences of diet culture.
Video. Mathilde Blancal: “Be careful if your son does this when he gets up from the table”
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