Dear diet culture, I hate you.
Trigger warning: this article has content that deals with the sensitive nature of topics such as eating disorders, weight loss, self harm and suicide, reader discretion is advised.
When I disappeared I never imagined the applause I would receive for my return. When my body shrank three times its size, when 42 pounds faded away, I never imagined I would be beautiful. Beautiful in a way that the world would appreciate my bony ribs and emaciated body, or the number on the scale dropping dangerously low, every single week. Only the harsh reality is, the world is a shallow place and as long as you fit what everyone wants you to look like, you will be praised. That is where the damage begins.
The world is a shallow place and as long as you fit what everyone wants you to look like
Instead of questioning the fast and rapid change in my appearance in less than a year, I found myself being greeted with congratulations and compliments. What I was really being complimented for, was the subordination to a beauty standard as old as time and giving individuals the ability to manipulate me to believe that I was nothing without my weight loss. No one ever asks how you did it, not really, and well you would be too afraid in the first place to tell them the ugly truth. How many hours of abusive self torture of working out until you pass out, or starving yourself down to the number of calories a toddler is supposed to consume, or when you messed up how much you ate, you purge and now your throat is burning, all because you’re competing with yourself and how far can you take it before it kills you.
No, I did not use pills or quick fixes in the beginning, I started off healthy, but being healthy was not fast enough for me, or in better words, for my eating disorder. It was never the compliments I needed either, I did not need to feel attractive or good enough to be valid in terms of my looks, it was the validation of friends that I clung onto. I was no longer alone, people wanted to talk to me, people wanted to get to know me, to go out, to get drinks.
But the reality is, that now, I just feel more alone than ever.
People with eating disorders are not vain, are not invalid and need support
I have always suffered with my eating for a very long time, and whether i was underweight or overweight it was still always a battle. Despite that, the girl I was when I weighed 42 pounds heavier was so beautiful and I miss her. She loved herself because her weight did not define her, and it should never define anyone. I felt beautiful, it was only until societal expectations really got the better of me that i did not want to exist anymore, that i was so fed up with living because I was at war with my own body. I still am.
All eating disorders can kill.
My eating disorder destroyed me and still does, every single day. But I am getting help.
People with eating disorders are not vain, are not invalid and need support and love in order to heal and recover.
Dear diet culture, I hate you.