It is a crazy phenomenon that when people find out or hear me talking about my eating disorder, that they, for some reason unbeknownst to me, want to discuss their diet and lifestyle choices with me. I have spoken to people also in recovery from an ED and they have told me they experience the same thing. Ew, shocking.
I am writing to let you know you are the bane of my existence. I want you to know, that doing this is not only annoying but it’s downright rude, disrespectful of a persons recovery and you need to check yourself.
Anyway now that I got that out of the way- let’s talk about our cultures fascination with dieting and being thin and why this is problematic and annoying and what you should probably stop saying to people in general. (Yeah not just people in recovery from eating disorders, nobody wants to hear about your diet Karen)
We live in a world that praises weight loss. We are obsessed with it. News flash, take it from me, a magical number of pounds lost or calories burnt is not going to make you actually happier. Maybe the compliments will feel good for a minute but they fade. The good feeling of those first few pounds and first few weeks then turn into a scramble of how can I maintain this. Our bodies have a set point where they comfortably want to stay naturally.
I do think physical movement, exercise and eating a balanced diet are great. However, these things as a way to morph your body into a shape it does not want to stay in can be detrimental to health. When we diet and then gain weight- we are not failing- this is proof your body wants to be somewhere else. It needs to be. It is doing what it is supposed to do, which is keep you healthy and alive, and if that means a bigger body- so what? This is when we can see more clearly that the problem is not that we are obsessed with health and want to be healthy- it has to do with body shape and size and this cultural ideal on what is acceptable and a “good body.” Because if you cared about health you would not do everything in your power to fight against your body and keep it small.
A shocking revelation, but it is also significantly more detrimental to health to be just five pounds underweight versus twenty pounds over weight. So weight and health need to stop being in the same sentence or paragraph or room or discussion. Thanks for coming to my tedtalk.
Diet companies make millions of dollars exploiting your fears or becoming “fat.” I have asked myself personally time and time again why I would be more afraid of being fat than being considered a bitch. The truth comes down to feeling like I would be treated different. People have bias when it comes to weight. Fat people are oppressed. They are ignored when it comes to healthcare and told weight loss could fix any problem they have. That is scary. Fear keeps us buying in to bullshit teatoxes and skinny wraps and keto books and meal plans some instagram influencer is selling. How wild is that shit.
So anyway. To the things that people need to stop talking to ED survivors about.
I want it to be clear that I do not have self control. I have an eating disorder. If I had self control I would probably be able to stick to a meal plan that my nutritionist provided and not relapse every six weeks. Eating disorders are not self control. They are a mental illness. You saying my anorexia is self control further perpetuates an idea that I am somehow doing better in life by keeping myself small, hungry and sick. The idea that eating a cupcake is equivalent to no self control is literally the most alarming and psychotic shit I have ever heard and I do not understand how people can truly believe that I am somehow doing well in life by forcing myself to eat depressing heads of lettuce instead of something of actual substance that I would probably enjoy a lot more. Get a grip.
Next up on the chopping block: shut the hell up about your intermittent fasting. That is literally an eating disorder and you will NEVER change my mind. I am truly curious if people think this shit is okay. I am bewildered. Not eating for prolonged periods of time for weight loss purposes is practically the definition of anorexia. Let me please explain something to you- anorexia is awful. If you think not eating will make you lose weight I urge you to google symptoms and side effects of anorexia. Hair loss. Dry yellow skin. Swelling of arms and legs. Growing fur on your arms to try to keep your internal organs safe and warm. Eroded teeth. Heart murmurs. Does this sound fun? If it does please continue to intermittent fast and ignore everything I am saying but also seek professional help. If it does not, please know that when you talk about this fad diet this is what you endorse and it’s time to drop this shit.
How much weight you lost on your new diet??? Why. Are. You. Talking. To. Me. About. This. First of all TRIGGERED. My gut reaction is to laugh in your face and let you know that you are an amateur. You dropped X pounds in a week? I could double that, maybe triple if I tried hard enough. My second reaction is the one that is more sane- and it’s to listen to you and nod my head and when your done talking ask you why the number of pounds lost matters so much if you are truly doing this for your health?
I read this thing once and it said “If you couldn’t lose weight for exercise and “healthy” eating- would you eat and exercise the same? What would you change.” And I was shook. And I really think more people should really take a deep look and ask themselves- would you still drink that kale and celery juice and run 10 miles a day if you knew it meant nothing for losing weight?
Last but not least- “oh I had an eating disorder too this one time.” And I’m just gonna add in “what eating disorder did you have?” For shits and gigs. This might be a more personal one but whatever this is my place and so I’m gonna share my thoughts and feelings. When you ask me what eating disorder I have- I don’t hear that. I hear “you do not look sick and you don’t look like you are anorexic so what the fuck is even wrong with you?” I personally have not ever been this far into recovery and that statement hurts me and somehow my brain turns it into “you are fat now.” I know that isn’t what you said- but it’s what I hear. It’s rude and disrespectful and also invalidating. When you tell me that you had an eating disorder once too when you didn’t eat for a week because you were getting ready for spring break or you had an eating disorder once but this diet helped cure you, you are invalidating a lifetime struggle that I have to face every day and also telling me that a diet will cure me. Do you hear how crazy that sounds? My ED has never been a diet to help me lose weight it has been my only coping skill, my best friend, what keeps me safe. My mental illness is not a spring break diet. So stop.
I am sure a million other things belong on this list. I can’t even begin to get into the comment “just eat!!!” Thanks I’m cured wow. But for now, I guess this is where I stand and if you are still reading thank you for entertaining my rant and I hope you learned something. If you are thinking “wow I definitely do that,” then maybe I hope you can stop? If you have any questions about how to talk to people with ED- shocking revelation- but ask. Ask “can we talk about x, y or z. Are you comfortable talking about this or that.” I can speak for myself and say if you ask I will either be like ew no or open a real dialogue about a very misunderstood disorder.