Last night I was sitting in my bedroom alone with my thoughts before laying down to go to sleep. Yesterday was a good day. I spent the day with one of my close friends picking strawberries, laying by the pool, and shopping. There was nothing bad that happened, nothing that would have caused me distress. In fact, it was a very relaxing, refreshing day, something I haven’t had in a while.
As I was reflecting on the day, all of a sudden my chest started to tighten and my breathing became more rapid. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. Yesterday was a completely normal, good day. Almost too normal for someone in eating disorder recovery. There was no restricting during meals, compensating for calories, or intrusive thoughts about my body or food. It was a very flexible day of eating, as it should have been. But my heart was unsettled.
All of a sudden a list of people started running through my mind, people who had made comments about my weight or physical appearance when I developed my eating disorder.
Images of what seemed like hundreds of people flashed into my mind, along with the comments they made about my body when I was not well. For every weight-based comment I received, I can almost always remember who said it, where they said it, when they said it, what I was wearing that day, and how it made me feel.
My body has made great strides in recovering from the physical trauma that it endured over the past few years, but in moments like these, I am reminded that my mind is still healing from the hurtful things that people have said to me.
There was absolutely no way that I could weigh ____ lbs and adequately nourish my body, so I chose the latter. I chose to eat three meals and snacks in between each day. I stopped counting calories. I unfollowed fitness accounts on Instagram. I followed my meal plan even when it hurt. I went to all of my appointments. I sat with my feelings instead of numbing them out. I started eating out with friends more and more. Even when it didn’t feel good, I made the decision to say no to diet culture and yes to recovery. It’s the best decision I’ve made in my life. I’ve never been more free than I am at this moment.
Needless to say, the compliments stopped when I fully committed to recovery. In this culture, no one is interested in someone with an average-looking body. No one is satisfied with anything but dieting. If you aren’t dieting or trying to change your body, you’re wrong. If you aren’t trying to lose weight, you’re wrong. If you aren’t trying to tone up, you’re wrong. If you don’t “eat clean” you’re wrong.
When you’re not doing what everyone else is doing, what everyone else deems to be “wrong”, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone.
That’s why I was upset last night…because I felt very alone in the choices that I make each day to nourish my body. I felt wrong even though I knew that choosing recovery is always the right thing to do.
Nourishing your body in a way that is non-restrictive, flexible, balanced, and intuitive is counter-cultural. Most people don’t do that.
If being “right” means starving myself and punishing my body, I don’t want to be right.
Even if it’s difficult at times, I refuse to sacrifice my own health and well-being for compliments and praise from other people.