What does an eating disorder look like?
For most people, you would imagine an eating disorder to look like thigh gaps, being able to see someone's bones through their body, someone who looks ill and who cannot function in society.
I used to fit this image, for the most part, I had the thigh gap and the visible rib cage and spine but most people weren't even aware, or they didn't say anything to me, if anything I received more compliments about how amazing my body was or how great it was that I lost the weight. I guess that speaks to the extent that society indoctrinates us, that we think people who are medically ill are considered 'goals'.
Eating disorders don't always look like this. I don't have an 'eating disorder' anymore, but I do have super weird habits. It's still abnormal and it still nags at you as my disorder did.
I managed to gain the weight back but to be perfectly honest, I cannot comment on my size because I'm not really sure how I look to other people. If you asked me, I would say that no one would look at me and think I had a problem with eating because of the layers of fat in areas A, B, C all the way to X, Y and Z but if you ask the people I talk to about this, they would probably say I was skinny or that I looked healthy- I know this because they tell me all the time.
It's very weird to put yourself in the mind of someone that used to or still has this mindset, what I see is not what other people see, I know that. I know that because whenever I order clothes, I order clothes that are too big for me, I always worry about how fat I look until a stranger or friend without being provoked comments on my slim figure, I know because I still own size XS clothing that fits me, I just don't see it.
The way my little 'voice' as I like to call it operates now is not t completely starve myself but just works as a cut reminder that I'm still 'too big' or 'not thin enough' and whilst it doesn't sound like the biggest problem- I mean, it isn't like I'm not dead or severely deficient of nutrients it definitely acts up sometimes.
There have been many times, particularly recently where I choose between eating and not eating, I think for most people it isn't a conscious decision, it's mainly, I'm awake so I'll make food or I'm hungry so I'll eat or I'm so busy I forgot or don't have the time. For me, about 80% of the time it's a "do I need that?" or "how many calories have I already ate" or "if I eat that now, I can eat that later" or cant or whatever depending on how much I've already consumed. I always check nutrition information and eating at restaurants is a nightmare because I don't know what's going into my body.
There are days I can't go to school because I think I'm so fat and look fat in all of my clothes that I can't leave the house because I'm so ashamed or think people will see me and think I look fat or think I've gained weight.
It's not even just the idea of being fat that goes around my head whenever it spirals it spiraaalllls as in okay now you're not just fat you're kind of lazy too or you're useless or you're stupid, it gets pretty mean sometimes, so yeah that little voice in my head, she's kind of a bitch.
Oh, and she always ruins my fun too, I'm always torn between the living my life as a regular student going out all the time and drinking or going to meals with my friends or gaining weight. I'm usually pretty terrified of going out because;
Alcohol = calories = weight gain
So, to prepare for this, I either don't eat- which is ridiculous because then I'm shitfaced really quickly, orrrrr I do eat but do even more cardio than usual, or I go just out anyway and then have a breakdown. It's a fun cycle, I like to keep my emotions on their toes.
Oh and let's not forget the obsessive need to exercise all the time. To be fair, this isn't as bad as when I was ill-ill and used to force myself to walk a minimum of ten miles according to my little fit bit and would run on the spot when doing nothing to achieve this. No, this is more like a "you have to train weights for muscle, but then you have to do cardio because you don't burn enough calories, but then you still probably don't so let's just walk everywhere and then you're good, ok, cool"
I mean realistically, all the cardio probably hurts my gains and I know this but here we go, and what's funny is I always lecture my friends on eating properly and making sure they get calories in them and are healthy and happy and to not worry about gaining weight because IT DOESN'T MATTER as long as you're healthy one size does not fit all but in secret I'm like "ok but like who needs breakfast??? Or lunch??? Me???? No lol". I mean, I guess I just don't want anyone to think the way I do about themselves.
It comes and goes, the other day I ate three meals. THREE MEALS. In one day. First time in over a month and a half, yes ma'am. But more often than not I have my super self conscious days and we work with that.
To sum up, whilst I'm not 'anorexic' these thoughts manifest themselves in all weird and wonderful ways, especially as someone who had it and recovered. I think, gaining 25lb regardless of how good it is for you is always triggering, considering our society tells us weight gain is ALWAYS bad and these thoughts just happen to live inside my head.
BUT, it isn't 'normal' so, if you do experience these, on a regular basis, or you feel you may not necessarily have a problem but maybe a little obsessive or share similar characteristics just talk to someone, see a doctor, see a friend, a parent. Don't let it spiral, be good to yourselves. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed access to my inner super deep thoughts, thanks for letting me use this platform as an open therapy session.