“I want to start eating clean, whole, healthy foods so I can develop and eating disorder!”
“I want to start a new exercise program so I can develop an exercise addiction!”
“I want to cut back on sugar & carbs so that I can feel deprived and get stuck in a cycle of being eating and purging!”
“I want to lose weight just so I can get to my lowest and then gorge myself uncontrollably with the development of binge eating disorder!”
Does any of that sound familiar?
Probably not. Because not a single damn person thinks those thoughts before developing an eating disorder.
Somehow we end up with 30 million men and women who battle eating disorders in the US, and about 70 million people who battle eating disorders world wide (and those numbers are just the ones who have been diagnosed). None of these people SOUGHT OUT the opportunity to develop an eating disorder, or ever expected their lives to be flipped completely upside down because of one.
Hell, I developed my first eating disorder because I was *trying to be healthy*. I had perfect intentions. I wanted to eat ‘super healthy’ and maybe lose a couple pounds to tone up a bit to be a better athlete… but somehow I fell down the slippery slope of diet culture & the thin-ideal. Somehow I ended up at the point in my life where I wouldn’t wear a seat belt while driving in a car, and my biggest concern of getting in a car accident was that the police/EMTs who would pick up my lifeless body off the ground would see that roll of fat on my stomach. Somehow, I transformed from a girl who dreamed of becoming a veterinarian to a girl who dreamed of having a six pack and no cellulite on her body. My role models changed from people who impacted the world to people who impacted magazines, movies, and Instagram. My time spent learning in school was spent learning about ‘super foods’ and ‘eat this not that’ on Pinterest. My time spent reading intriguing novels was spent calculating calories in MyFitnessPal, even though I ate the same 6 foods every meal every day. My nights out with friends turned into nights alone, working out for the third time of the day in my bedroom. Family dinners turned from fun conversations into me making my own ‘healthy meal’, staring in disgust & judging my family for eating anything other than vegetables and lean meats.
I did not ask for an eating disorder. I did not know on that first day of my attempt to ‘eat clean and live healthy” that I was taking my first step down a road of pure hell. I did not think that one day I would scream at my parents that I hated them and that I wanted to kill myself because they were taking me to get help. I didn’t know that I would one day cry myself to sleep because I ate a single Oreo. I did not know that in the future, AFTER getting initial help for anorexia, that my still shaky relationship with food and my body would have me ending up binge eating in secret for a year and a half filled of pure self hatred and innumerable attempts to purge. I didn’t plan to get to the point where I didn’t even know what my body looked like anymore.
I did not seek out developing an eating disorder.
Nobody seeks out to develop an eating disorder.
I asked for happiness and I took the wrong route. A route that over 45 million people chose to take each year. A route that Americans empty over 64 BILLION DOLLARS into. The route that promises that weight loss will give you the life you’ve always dreamed of, and that carefully planning your food will give you power and peace. The route that sells itself as just a “healthy lifestyle change! Not a diet!” The route that promises control.. but in the end, controls you.
As this NEDA week kicks off, I hope you will hug a recovering warrior extra tight and tell them that they are strong. I hope you will challenge your co-worker to rethink that diet. Challenge YOURSELF to rethink that diet. I want you to look at your body in the mirror, and appreciate it for being your home, and not for what it looks like. And if you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with food and/or body image at ALL, please, reach out for help*. No one asks for an eating disorder, but with the weight obsessed and ‘health’ crazed world we live in, it happens. But there is HOPE and there is HEALING.
* Free Resources for Help *
NEDA List of Resources: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/resource-links
NEDA Hotline: 1-800-931-2237
Click to Chat
Crisis Text Line: text “NEDA” to 741741
Feel free to send me a message as well.
**slightly extended addition of my already long captioned Instagram post 😅