What is it like to have an eating disorder?
I used to be a happy, outgoing, carefree person surrounded by a loving family, wonderful friendships and a healthy relationship with food. However, I felt insecure about myself and had really low self-esteem. Then, I fell into diet culture, attempting to pursue a ‘masterpiece’ of my own body. Disordered eating had insidious effects on all aspects of my life including my relationships, my hobbies and my ability to think clearly. I woke up crying in bed. I quarrelled with my parents. I distanced myself from my best friends. I could not focus on my work and delayed my studies. I portioned every meal and was so afraid to dine out. I ran every morning even though my body was telling me it had reached its limit. I appeared to be frail and weak and could no longer engage in activities which I once enjoyed. Losing weight did not make me any happier. I kept questioning myself, ‘What have I gained from losing weight?’ Eventually I realised that people love us because of who we are and not because of how we look. I realised how worried my friends and family were, and how my eating disorder had taken a toll on my health and wellbeing. Recovery is not easy and I have to say that I am still on my recovery journey; yet it is definitely worth it, so hang in there.
Why is it important to recover from an eating disorder? Because you can…
- Enjoy meals with your family and friends.
- Enjoy food without guilt.
- Choose not to think about food all day.
- Eat when you need or want to, instead of starving yourself.
- Welcome changes in your meal routines, instead of becoming agitated.
- Have better skin, better sleep and a warm body.
- Protect yourself from weak bones.
- Have a more consistent mood.
- Have your menstruation back to normal.
- Focus on your goals.
- Stop over-exercising to compensate for what you have eaten.
- Know your worth.
What to take home?
It’s easy to deem that the cure for self worth should revolve around losing weight if we lack confidence in ourselves. But at the end, our weight does not reflect our worth. Our value does not go down because we have gained weight, and similarly, it does not go up if we have lost weight. We pursue genuine happiness from life by embracing our flaws and strengths. Take a moment to appreciate and accept yourself!