Wednesday, 6 May 2015

International No Diet Day: My Story of Self-Loathing and Disordered Eating

During National Eating Disorders Week in February, I wrote an article about my lived experience with an eating disorder. This article is available for viewing at A Quarter Young, a blog for young adults. Since today is International No Diet Day, I wanted to repost this with a little more detail and emotion that I felt was missing from the original article.

I had many internal conversations with myself about how I would feel about sharing this story with my followers. After a long debate, I came to the conclusion that if my story has a positive influence on at least one person, then I will be satisfied with the outcome. I will maintain this perspective, no matter what negative publicity or criticism I might receive in the process.

TRIGGER WARNING: Important to note that for some, this post may be emotionally triggering.

I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. This struggle can be sourced back to puberty where I grew... in every way imaginable. I'm talking height, weight and cup-size, and it was embarrassing! I no longer looked like every other girl in my class. I remember being reluctantly dragged into Dynamite to purchase a blue sparkly top in size XL to wear to my grade six graduation, while all the other girls still shopped at La Senza Girl. I consider this to be a pivotal moment in my rapid decline of self-confidence.

As you might imagine, things got much worse. I was constantly ridiculed and teased about my hair (FYI: I had the worst bangs), my clothing choices or worst of all, my weight. In gym class, I was always picked last. Always. No matter the activity. Looking back on it, I probably was 100lbs less than I am currently, which is extremely disheartening. Still, no one wanted me on their team because I was fat.

I distinctly remember being in grade seven and entering Coles Books to pick out my newest read. Naturally, I headed straight to the young adult section and picked out a pretty pink book. It just so happens that it had a slice of pizza on its cover (I mean yum, right?). It wasn't until I actually read the book that I realized what it was truly about; a girl who was just like me, a fat girl. A fat girl who was ridiculed at school for being so, hating herself for it, just like me. I could finally relate. In this book, the protagonist decided she would take her fate (and weight) into her own hands by changing her eating habits. She engaged disordered eating behaviours, which ultimately lead to the development of anorexia nervosa.

You might be able to guess what happened next; I too developed anorexia. I skipped breakfast and ate minimally during lunch and dinner (read: I ate my veggies and fed the rest to my dog). I did this in attempt to conceal my disordered eating. I wasn't interested in anything else except for being skinny, all I wanted to be was thin.

I equated being thin to being happy, accepted and loved. I know this now, that this is not true. It is possible to be thin and unhappy, just as it is to be fat and unhappy. You can be cherished, accepted, and valued if you are fat. You are worthy of love and respect at any size. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are not someone you need in your life.

My history with anorexia and disordered eating has followed me and affected me ever since. I think it is extremely important to recognize that recovery is a process and it is different for everyone. Although I no longer consider myself to have anorexia, I continued to engage in disordered eating for years to come.

Up until a year ago, I pushed myself to crash diet in order to avoid hitting a particular weight. I had a specific scale number in mind that I told myself I could never reach. I made a promise to myself that if I ever reached this weight, I would end my own life. As scary as this was, it served as an "inspirational" catalyst (aka: an excuse or justification) for my disordered eating habits. As soon as I became 5 pounds from reaching said weight, I crash dieted to drop low enough to continue eating poorly (mostly binging on McDonalds). Eventually, a lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized that this was more unhealthy than being overweight. I want to report that I have now surpassed said dreaded weight, and I am still here. I am still fighting.

I am happy to say that my current mental health is so much better than it was. My physical health may not be ideal right now, but my mental health is so much better. If I had the choice of being thin or having a clear conscience, 10 times out of 10 I would choose a healthy mind. With a healthy mind, I know deep down that there is time to change some of my negative behaviours.

I just wanted to take this time to thank those in the body positive community who continue to encourage me, value me and inspire me. I owe my life to you.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are struggling with body confidence issues of any kind, self-loathing, self-harm, or body shaming. I am here for you.
 plus size girl, psblogger, anorexia nervosa, body positivity, disordered eating, eating disorder memoir, fat activism, international no diet day, plus size eating disorder, plus size fashion, curvy fashion, canada plus size fashion
Today, I shared my story with an audience of nearly 100. This was the most courageous thing I've ever done, and I am so proud of myself for doing this. 
 plus size girl, psblogger, anorexia nervosa, body positivity, disordered eating, eating disorder memoir, fat activism, international no diet day, plus size eating disorder, plus size fashion, curvy fashion, canada plus size fashion

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