Food. It is constantly on my mind. What am I going to eat next? Is that good for me? Do I really want that? Is it worth it?
Food. It is my addiction. The only problem is that it is an addiction I can’t kick. I need food to live.
Ever since I was little, my body, and especially what I put in my body, was always something that I worried about. I have never been able to pinpoint when in my life I noticed that my body wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be—it was just always a concern. But I do remember when I learned the phrase “eating disorder.”
Growing up as a dancer, I know many people who have struggled with eating disorders. I started hearing about my friends suffering from them when I was in middle school, and it shocked me because I couldn’t understand why someone would do that to their body. It was also confusing for me because the people that I knew struggled with these disorders were skinnier than I was.
I remember wondering if I would be capable of putting myself through that struggle in order to have the body that I so badly wanted.
The second that thought was in my brain, I realized it was just too difficult for me to either give up food altogether or throw it up after I eat. So, I just continued on and tried my best to eat healthy so that, one day, I could be skinny too.
Next thing I know, I was in my junior year of high school taking AP Psychology, where I studied the true definitions of the main eating disorders. There is anorexia, when people don’t eat at all. Bulimia is when people binge on food and then do something to counteract the nutrition/calories, such as throw up, do an extreme amount of exercise, or take laxatives. Then there was a new one that I had never heard of: binge-eating disorder. It is when you eat a large amount of food and then do nothing to get rid of it. Basically, you just eat a lot.
It just so happened that the same year that I took AP Psychology, I was having a rough year, and began bingeing on large amounts of food. Just like the first symptom of a binge-eating disorder. Therefore, I diagnosed myself.
The second I came to terms with my self-diagnosis, I told all of my best friends. I’m an open book, so I thought that was the best thing to do.
When I told all of friends, they didn’t want to believe me—it’s scary to hear someone you love tell you they think they have a disorder. But after it sunk in, they all tried their best to be supportive and helped when they could.
Since that time, I have become more aware of what I do when I binge eat. Do I really have a binge-eating disorder? Maybe. I’m not saying that I am 100% sure; I have never spoken to a professional to get help for my problems.
I just have finally come to terms with the fact that all of the issues that I struggle with are becoming too much for me to handle alone.
Having an eating disorder never has a black or white answer. Eating disorders come in various forms and are very personal diseases. Whether or not an eating disorder is diagnosable, that doesn’t make it any less difficult. I still don’t know what the clear answer to my problems are, but I know that eating is something that I struggle with every day.
When it comes to brands promoting or normalizing disordered eating, it makes my problems seem less than. The plates that were released by Macy’s are an example of how people don’t realize the seriousness of eating disorders. Some people may look at those plates as just another way to restrict their diet. But when brands make what seems like a mockery out of something so serious as an eating disorder, it makes other people feel like it is okay to make jokes or normalize those eating behaviors.
In my opinion, conversations about disordered eating should never be taken as jokes or made fun of because the disorder is something that affects many people, every day of their lives.
It hurts to see my eating habits being made fun of by a popular brand because it is something that affects my daily life.
At the same time, having an eating disorder does not mean that you can’t enjoy life or love the way you look. Every now and then, it is nice to have a delicious meal where I don’t have to worry about how many carbs are on my plate. And while I look in the mirror some days and see an image that I am not satisfied with, there are other days when I look in the mirror and see the beautiful woman I know I am.
I know that I am beautiful. Even with my curves, my body is beautiful—it just doesn’t always feel that way.
While I am very aware of my self-diagnosed eating disorder, I am also very aware of where I want to go from here. I keep imagining myself in a particular outfit that I know I would look so damn good in—once I achieve the body I am happy with. I know how to get there, and it takes time. I want to be able to combat my struggles in a healthy way, but at the same time, I don’t want to be unhappy with a diet that makes me sad to eat. Instead, I am changing my lifestyle.
I am determined to achieve my goals while also learning to love the way I look. I am aware of the journey I am on and know that the path to my goals is not always a straight line. Food is my addiction. Food is always on my mind. But that will never stop me from being the strong, persistent woman I want to be, happily living in the beautiful body I visualize for myself.