You know what week it is?
Disordered eating, poor body image, low self-esteem, and exercise addiction run around our society like it is absolutely no big deal. We as a society allow these issues to go until they reach the extreme and then we see people speak up. A physician can look at the same person with the same behaviors and not think they need help until they are 40 pounds lighter with a body that is just about to give up. A friend will compliment another friend on her “good efforts and amazing discipline” for being able to eat basically nothing, but when that friend is hospitalized it’s “we were worried about you.” I know, because this happened to me at 15.
While I have been on the other side of recovery for >3 years now, my anger towards the diet industry has only grown. The industry is wearing a guise of ‘helping people get healthier’ while profiting off their fears and insecurities. Every time a diet fails, the industry only gets richer as that person looks for the next big thing to try. Meanwhile, dieters continue to feel worse about themselves.
Among women, we find ourselves promoting feminism yet at the same time following restrictive diets, counting calories, and striving for unattainable body sizes. Rather than celebrating women for all that they are, women are fighting their bodies to take up less space!
People are obsessed with being healthy to the point of missing the point of having a healthy body. People find themselves “fit” yet too worried about consuming too many calories to go out with friends. Rather than their healthy bodies enabling them to live more fulfilling lives, their brains are filled with thoughts about calories and macros and ways to get to the gym.
And hear me out, I am not blaming the people. I’m blaming our society. It’s quite easy to fall into disordered eating in the age of social media, photoshop, cleaning eating, and calorie counts plastered on every menu.
And since I’ve been there and lived it, I want to share with you a few things that helped my recovery:
Without a doubt, the biggest thing for me was accepting my identity in Christ rather than searching for an identity somewhere else. My eating disorder stole my identity and left me longing for something to fill the hole once I chose recovery. Discovering my identity as a child of God set me free from trying to define myself and be anything other than myself. “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.” Galatians 5:1
I learned about nutrition from a scientific stand point. When I started my schooling to be an RD, I anticipated that I would be taught the right way to eat. However, what I learned was that there was no right way and that there was no such thing as a perfect diet. Proper nutrition is extremely flexible and personal. I talked a little bit about this when I went on the Nutrition Matters Podcast.
I began fighting the urge to engage in any behaviors that mirrored my life in my ED. I no longer weigh myself or count calories. No foods are off limits. I continue to work on accepting my body each day.
I took antidepressants. I can’t forget these. I hope you’ll read the post for a better explanation, but in short, these made recovery possible.
I learned the impact of choosing my surroundings. I cannot overemphasize the importance in choosing people to be around that do not focus on body size or diet talk. Sometimes it is inescapable (like if you work in an office or if this is how your family is), but if you can choose a strong group of friends who don’t entertain this talk for long, you will find it so much easier to live a diet-free life.
Lately, my motto has been something I’ve heard from a handful of anti-ED voices out there- I’m done trying to control my body size. That’s not my job- my job is to feed myself with lots of nourishing foods, enjoy the eating experience, go to bed at a decent hour, and move my body in ways that feel good. Just like my temperature, my body will regulate my size.
And for those struggling to recover, I just want to say that I never thought I could be where I am right now. It was impossible for me to believe that I could see the other side of recovery while in the midst of it all. So please, keep fighting for your life. Feel free to reach out to me.
Lastly, if you suspect that you may have a problem, you can take an anonymous screening here. There is help for you.
And don’t forget- it’s time to talk about it.