Eating Disorders Are Not A Joke, Stop Treating It As One

Eating Disorders Are Not A Joke, Stop Treating Them As One

It's easier than you think to fall into an unhealthy lifestyle.

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It didn't start out as anything major, I was simply starting to not eat as much as I used to. "Counting calories," I would tell myself, "that's all this is." At the time, I was not denying myself food, in fact, I was continuing to eat everything I liked, from chicken tenders to burgers and beer. I was feeling great as if I could finally enjoy my meals without feeling guilty afterward, and only because I went from having three meals a day, to one meal in the middle of the day. To me, this seemed normal. My logic was simple, if I have one big meal in the middle of the day, I will have enough energy for the evening and rollover energy for the morning." Looking back, I don't understand how someone did not punch some sense into me, because it is obvious that I was simply making excuses to hide behind the fact that I have slowly stopped eating.

With weeks passing, I began noticing my pants fitting just a smidge loser, and my thighs getting smaller. This observation was what jumpstarted my going down the rabbit hole. Can you believe this? A pair of jeans and my obsession with the mirror were the starting points of my eating disorder, and that just shows how engraved into society being thin has become. Soon after, I wasn't just eating once a day anymore, but with every day I made an attempt to eat less than I did the day before. Eager to see a flatter stomach and thinner figure the following morning. What is 'hunger' to some, that quenching feeling at the bottom of your stomach, became a sense of comfort and accomplishment for me. I couldn't go to bed without wanting that feeling, I soon started craving the emptiness in my stomach as opposed to actual food.

Months have passed, the scale now reads about twenty pounds lighter, and as wonderful as it feels to look thin and feel thin, I cannot help but have a hatred of all foods. I have reached a point where I barely eat anything in a day, enough to have fainted and lost consciousness. The sight of food makes me nauseous, and an immediate feeling of guilt and remorse wash over me, even if I haven't even touched the said food. Almost as if on instinct, my body simply hates food. For someone who used to turn to food for comfort and enjoyment, not even being able to look at food without wanting to cry and walk away, is a low point. Without even knowing, I have let myself become enemies with food, and with my body. I am no longer able to go out to dinner with my friends, or lunch dates with my boyfriend, or even a late night ice cream run. I have broken myself from the inside out and it shows.

You do not have to be fifty pounds lighter and have every bone showing to have an eating disorder. I learned that the hard way.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


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Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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