If you know me, or if you’ve been following me, you know that I am passionate about a lot of things, coffee, food, my husband, but mostly I’m passionate about self-love and letting others know their beauty and that’s why I feel so passionate about Eating Disorders Awareness Month.
Many think that if you’re plus size or curvy that you can’t have an eating disorder because it’s “very evident you eat”.. some think someone who is thin can’t have an eating disorder because they “look healthy” and many think men can’t have an eating disorder because they’re “men”… ALL of these things are the root of the problem and ALL of these things are why people like me hold their tongues in silence in fear of judgment…. see how much of a vicious cycle this is?
That’s why this year I chose to speak up, It’s not something I don’t talk about very much because one I thought who would care? and two, because I didn’t think it would matter. But now I know if can help just one person with my story, then I’ve done more than I could ever hope for.
Since I was little I’ve let the number on the scale determine my happiness, I let the sizing of the clothes I would buy determine my self worth, and I would let the food I ate hold weight over me (pun not intended). But as I’ve grown into my twenties I’ve learned that none of those things determine who I am as a person.
I used to look at food and see calories, fat, carbs, and the number on the scale go up. I don’t want to go into the medical diagnosis of whether or not an eating disorder was at play but I know had a very unhealthy relationship with food, it controlled me and the image in the mirror only amplified it, and with that came body dysmorphia.
For a good 2-3 years in high school I became obsessed with how I looked and the numbers on the scale dropping, it was like a high to see the numbers drop and it was an all-time low to see no change at all or for the numbers increase. I would get excited to see my workout calories outweigh the calories I would consume and I would thrive when I ate less than my “allotted” calories for the day. This carried on for years until about my freshman or sophomore year of college. Every food I looked at was a number, it was an extra pound, I never saw the nourishment it held I only saw the negative power it held over me. And it wasn’t until about my junior/senior year of college that I learned the numbers in the scale had NO comparison to my health and well being. I lost my period, I was depressed, I would cringe reading sugar content or carbs or calories, I would restrict myself and then binge, and I would deny myself of joy and fun with friends because of the calories I knew I would consume and I went to extremes to make sure I hit this unrealistic weight for my body type. All because of what? I thought it would feel good to be tiny or what I thought society deemed as worthy?
I write this to be transparent and vulnerable with you all. To any girl, or guy, who thinks their body is not beautiful and strong just the way it is. Eating disorders and body dysmorphia does not discriminate against body type, gender or age. I think it’s time we learn kindness over judgment.
When you say to a thinner girl “you’re so skinny, eat a burger”
Or to a thick girl, “you’re so curvy you must get to eat whatever you want”
Or to a male that “he’s thin and lanky” or “can’t have body dysmorphia, he’s a dude”
Those are not compliments, those are not healthy, those HURT and those evoke the issue.
We have to learn to give ourselves grace, we have to learn that it’s okay to eat pizza at 10 o’clock at night because you’re HUNGRY, and to go on that ice cream date with your husband and treat yourself, and it’s okay to miss the gym for a couple days because LIFE happens. And it’s also okay to love the gym and love eating 100% clean. It’s okay to care about your body in a healthy manner.
Some days is harder than others and it’s been a long road to get to this point in my life, but I am finally healthy. To me working out and my health has become more about appreciating my body and the things it is capable of and the gym has become somewhere that I can improve my body to grow STRONGER, not thinner, or skinnier, or “beautiful”, because it is ALREADY all of those things.
We have to remember that our body is made to live in, not be tortured in. We have to treat our body like a beautiful vessel that holds our soul.
Every BODY is beautiful and every BODY deserves to be loved by its owner, it can take days or weeks or years to learn to love the skin that covers your soul but treasure it, nourish it, love it. Before you speak negative words about your body or others, imagine it as a young impressionable child, taking every insult like a leech to their self esteem.
Love your body like you would tell your child or younger sibling to love theirs. Why do we preach self love to our younger ones when we can not even do it ourselves? We deserve to see our bodies in the beauty that God created them in. Every curve, ever tiger stripe, every cellulite and every “flaw” all was crafted with a reason. Use those reasons to bring beauty to this world. Your body is more than just skin and bones, it’s a story, so tell it.
Every day is a struggle, some days are easier than others, but it’s about the journey and the strength that it gives me with every passing day. And I think it’s conversations like this that ignites change.
Some days I think back to the young girl who always pulled at her shirt to make it bigger, who tugged at her face wishing it was thinner, and who would let her mind become a negative place for thoughts and who thought that making fun of her body was a defensive mechanism to make sure no one else would make fun of it first. I think back to the girl and wish I could hug her and tell her she is beautiful, tell her she is WORTHY, and tell her that those numbers on the scale and the clothes don’t define her worth. Who she IS as a person is what matters, her heart, her kindness, her soul, THAT is what shows worth and beauty.
“Don’t apologize for the way the flesh covers your bones, celebrate it.”