The Untold Story: Anorexia (Part 3)
If you’re struggling from anorexia, you’re probably really scared that someone will find out what’s going on. I was, too. I was scared they would force me to eat, tell me I was stupid, and make me stop. I think I wanted them to make me stop, but at the same time, I didn’t.
The one piece of advice I have for anyone--not just those who are anorexic or bulimic: that loving your body is all about building it stronger, not tearing it down.
Eating so little that you feel foggy and weak all the time isn’t building your body up; and stuffing your face with unhealthy food every chance you get isn’t either. And when you’ve already gone to these extreme ends of the spectrum, it can be really hard to come back.
Trust me, I know.
I never really told anyone what was going. I was too scared of their responses. That wasn’t one of my smarter decisions, because it made the following weeks and months a huge struggle, with no one to lean on. But my first step was to stop exercising (and I use that as a nice term for what I was doing to my body) so much. Every time I ate something, I felt guiltly. Even if it was something as healthy as a piece of fruit or cheese. All of my spare time was spent “working it off.”
It was too much emotional and physical strain on my body, and I had to stop. I got down to working out once a day, five days a week. Of course, my diet was still a mess, but this was a step in the right direction.
Eventually, I stopped doing so much cardio, and moved to weight lifting. Maybe you’ve heard other people who’s stories are sort of similar to this. And this may sound cliche or fake, but it’s true: weightlifting changed the way I viewed my body.
I was building it up, making it stronger. Somehow, this made me feel mentally stronger and more confident about myself. I also found it so much more fun. Because I wanted to build my body stronger, I came to the realization that I needed to be eating to provide for the muscle growth.
It was hard, forcing myself to eat more than I usually did. But I don’t regret doing it at all.
Another thing I had to do was change my mindset. There aren’t “good” foods and “bad” foods. (Obviously, some are healthier than others). It’s not the foods themselves that are bad, it’s the amounts you eat.
Sorry if I rambled, I just had to get this out there.
The Untold Story: Anorexia (Pt. 2)
You hear about the children starving in third world countries. People do food drives and fundraisers, take mission trips, donate money...
You don't hear as much about the people starving in America--people who are starving by choice.
While I, myself, have not been diagnosed as anorexic, I was certainly very dangerously close, teetering on the edge. I obsessed about every single thing I ate or drank, and was doing an unhealthy amount of exercise.
It's a recipie for disaster, let me tell you. My body constantly felt weak due to the large amounts of intense HIIT and cardio I was doing, and added to the fact that I ate very little for breakfast--if I ate breakfast--wasn't helping.
There's also the amount of mental strain, from counting and re-counting calories, figuring out ways to get rid of food without people noticing, finding time to fit in long workouts...
Self-loathing and guilt would set in whenever I missed a workout, ate "too much" or something that was "bad", or the clothes I thought by now would fit.
The entire time, I wanted to quit. I just wanted to be like those genetically blessed people who could eat whatever they wanted and never gain a pound, never had to workout or buy bigger sized clothes.
And at first, I convinced myself that it was fine, I wasn't doing anything unhealthy...I could only ignore that little warning voice in the back of my head for so long, before I finally just had to face that fact that my obsession with calories wasn't healthy. Or that my fitness regime was wearing ym body down, not building it up and making it stronger.
It was hard to stop counting calories, to cut down my exercise to thirty to forty five minutes of cardio, instead of an hour and a half, six days a week. I was so scared to eat more than 1,200 calories, convinced it would make me fat.
I did gain weight back, and that scared me even more. But I just couldn't shove away the fact that what I had been doing was slowling destroying me. And even though I wasn't to the point of anorexia, I still feel such immense shame about what I did. I feel shame abotu my body still, and about how it looks. But I'm done going to extremes to get it. What's the point of being skinny if I'm miserable, weak, and tired?
I don't have abs, a thigh gap, or a big butt. But if that's what it takes to be beautiful...then I don't want to be beautiful.
The Untold Story: Anorexia
It's something you don't talk about. It's something that happens to broken people, not you. Something that doesn't happen to smart people, just those who are desperate to fit in with society's standards of beauty.
No one wants to talk about it, no one wants to tell the story.
So I will.
It starts out innocent enough--you want to lose a few pounds, get healthy. You stop eating junk food, you start looking at labels and counting calories. But things get ugly fast.
Now, you can't eat anything if you don't know exactly how many calories in it. Maybe you dump half your food in the trashcan when your parents aren't looking because it's too many calories, too many carbs, too much fat...
You finally cave in, have a couple pieces of chocolate or a pint of ice cream. You don't understand how you could fail like this. You realize how fat and ugly you are, your weakness and weak will.
Perhaps this cycle only repeats itself once before you correct it, or maybe this is a pattern that makes up your months, you weeks, your days...
You are only proud of yourself when you are strong. And that is when you're hungry, your stomach so empty it could be mistaken for a black hole in space.
Eating is a sign of failure, of weakness. And weakness isn't beautiful.
Anorexia destroys the real lives of real people, some of which you come in contact with everyday. It doesn't just happen to broken people or desperate people or stupid people.
It happens to regular people, regular teens...who just want to be accepted and beautiful. People who see past society's "Love yourself the way you are" to the skinny models and stars promoted as beautiful.
Society is anorexic, it is empty and starving of true beauty, the beauty that runs deeper than face value. One that isn't created using makeup, lighting, starvation, and editing software.
You are beautiful when you are yourself.
Forget society's standards. Forget people's judgements. Just be, just do...you.