I am not going to sit here and act like my issues with my body have been the worst in the world or they’ve gotten so bad that they landed me in the hospital. I have not gotten under 100 pounds or have made myself throw up after every meal. I wouldn’t even say I have an eating disorder. Instead, I would call it disordered eating. Regardless of what it is or isn’t, my experiences with my body, weight, and food have taken up way more time than need be. That is why I am writing this. Because it is Body Week and National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, people need to know that (whether they want to admit it or not) disordered eating/eating disorders are all too common, in men and women alike, and the only way it is ever going to change is if we are educated, aware, and make the conscious choice to stop perpetuating unrealistic body ideals for any human being.
From the ages of 5 to 18, I was told repetitively that I was fat. Who knew one word could be so traumatizing? I heard everything from “beached whale” to “you look like a pregnant woman.” I played sports, I was active, and most importantly I was A CHILD, but people still felt the need to put these awful words in my head. Words that still haunt me to this day. Words that have made me hate myself. Words that have stripped me of a self-confidence that I am still working to put back together.
Like a lot of other humans, I internalized these words, but ironically, the only way I felt comfort was by binge eating. I got up to 200 pounds during my senior year, and was rudely awakened by my weight when I couldn’t find a homecoming dress to fit me. I felt awful and wanted to die. I looked around and saw my beautiful classmates, girls that were noticed by all of the guys due to their physique, and knew that would never be me. I blamed all of my shortcomings and loneliness due to my body weight. I kept telling myself that if I could just be skinnier, all my problems would fade away.
When I came to college, I worked hard to get healthy and, as a result, lost 5o pounds. I did not lose my warped sense of self though. My problems did not just fade away like I had hoped.
Instead, I became obsessive. I thrived off of the “you look so skinny” comments and knew I could never go back. What I ate took up so much of my brain space. If I ate a cookie, I would obsessively do crunches in my room and ridicule myself for being so careless. In my opinion, the worst thing that could happen to me was gaining the weight back and being disgusting again, even though my mind did not even appreciate or recognize my new physique. My clothes got bigger, but I still viewed myself as overweight. I still called myself fat. I was still putting way too much emphasis on my weight and not my inner worth.
My obsession to keep the weight off caused me to abuse laxatives and purposefully throw up. Thanks to my friends though, I was able to realize just how dangerous those habits were and eventually put a stop to them.
All of my concerns didn’t just evaporate though-
It has been a constant battle. It will forever be a constant battle.
I have this idea that my weight is the most important factor in determining my self-worth.
I still obsess over the scale.
I still call myself “ugly” and a “fat ass.”
There will be days when I feel so uncomfortable in my body and wish more than anything in the world that I was someone else.
That will never happen though.
I have been given the body I have been given, and as long as I am making healthy choices, that is all that should matter.
Our society is obsessed with these images of what a female’s body and what a male’s body should look like, and these images are so unattainable for most human beings. Our society thinks it is ok to judge people on their weight and criticize people for having cellulite or stretch marks.
My weight is no one’s business.
My physical appearance is not something that should be criticized.
Women are starving themselves to be seen as beautiful when really all they’re doing is making themselves disappear. Is this what we want? People killing themselves and trying to take up the least amount of space? We are here and we should live our lives with purpose. I don’t want to shrivel up; I want to be seen. We should all be seen. We are all special.
Struggles with body image don’t disappear. They lessen, but they are always present. It is an unfortunate truth. It is a harmful truth.
Let’s try and stop these ideologies. Let’s realize that everyone is beautiful and weight has nothing to do with it. Let’s try and create a world where our children never want to cry and curl into a ball over their pant size or feel unworthy of love and respect due to what a scale says.
Let’s put an end to eating disorders and disordered eating.