Do you have an eating disorder because you want to be skinny?
Honestly, that might be one of the biggest misconceptions about eating disorders and I would like to debunk that myth right now.
If I go back to the very beginning of my sickness; the root, when I was a little girl, I did ask my mom how to effectively go on a diet, but at 7 I was worried about what my family thought, not if society deemed me as having a nice body. (Um, what is a nice body for a 7-year-old anyway?!)
When my grandfather told me I needed to cut out the ice cream cones because I was getting fat, I did so because I wanted his approval, I wanted him to love me, and thought if I continued enjoying my mixed cones with sprinkles I would no longer be acceptable to the people I looked up to the most.
When I realllllly started to lose weight and get sick in my senior year of college, things started spiraling downward as I trained for races, and my wedding grew near. Sure, I wanted to look good in my dress, but my behaviors were not driven by a desire to be a skeleton. They were more about feeling in control as so many changes within my life occurred, or punishment for my beliefs that I was unworthy as a person, and failing miserably as an adult.
Anorexia is not a disease of vanity, and it hurts me to think there are still people out there who believe that it is. Although I cannot give you concrete proof this statement, I can tell you when I looked in the mirror at the time when my weight was the lowest, I still saw the same girl from college that I perceived as overweight and gluttonous.
Because of that, I either a. avoided the mirror or b. just considered myself the most disgusting/lazy person in the world and tried not to draw attention to myself.
Now, I still have horrific body image, even though I don’t look like I am knocking on death’s door. Sadly, I am not alone. Most people in recovery, despite the fact that they look 84576746 times better than when they were frail and undernourished (you do not have to be underweight to be undernourished, BTW) will tell you they feel like a beached whale 90%+ of the time, BUT I can see things a little more clearly, and I am trying to use this to my advantage.
Vanity was not the cause or the driving force behind why I used ED behaviors, but it is now becoming my motivation to get rid of them.
Let me explain.
I spend a lot of time at clubs on the weekends.
Women at these venues are freakin’ hot.
Some of my best friends are beautifully built, wear the coolest clothes, and although have their insecurities in certain areas (who doesn’t), exude confidence I think is super sexy.
Anyway, I love fashion. I always have, but you would never be able to tell because the body of a child is not fitting into the awesome sequined dresses I frequently admire.
Many of my friends have gorgeous flowing hair that makes them look so feminine and can be styled in ways I could only dream of.
Mine breaks off at the end and has one option other than the boring, flat, variety I normally have going on.
And all of them wear shoes that belong on the runway, which I would have proudly worn as well, if you would have seen me pre-osteopenia; when I did not have back problems or constant pain.
Me Too Flats I love you, but I miss my favorite Patent Black Leather Wedge heels.
I am not saying you NEED to have the latest styles, tiny outfits and full locks to feel good about yourself, but if we are being honest, what female, or person in general, doesn’t want to feel physically attractive sometimes?
Of course it is the inside content, and our hearts that are more important, but like I said, if I am being completely open, I would like to feel pretty again.
Pretty to me is not always about body size…because as I have explained my perception of that is definitely skewed, or non-existent, but I would love to put on a dress and have it fit me in just the right places where I am excited to show my husband.
So my motivation for today; especially after I am feeling HORRIBLE about myself for chosing a very challenging breakfast, is that I want to feel strong, sexy, and maybe have shiny, rather than course and brittle hair.
Yes, the things I have written in this post are completely vain, and I do still believe confidence and a smile are the best accessories, but it is hard to look genuinely happy when you are cru-ngry and dead tired because you ran seven miles 6 days in a row.
On that note, time to take a little nap and start the weekend off right!