Monday, December 24, 2012

Weight Loss will not fix your life

I used to believe that if the number on the scale just dropped one pound lower then I would be OK. I would no longer be haunted by the pain of my past. I would be able to handle the fact that I was stuck in a field (engineering) that I hated. I wouldn't be depressed and anxious all of the time. My insecurities would just melt away. I would be perfect; confident, people pleasing without resentment and able to give everything I had to the world without wanting/needing anything in return. I believed with every fiber of my being that if I could just make my body as small as possible, my life would be better. I would finally be happy and loved. I would be able to handle my emotions without being too sensitive and people would like me.

I refused to believe that I had a serious illness and needed help. My safety and comfort were wrapped up in numbers. I clung to calories and the scale for dear life. I couldn't bear to face the things that I was avoiding. Even after entering treatment, I swore that I could be in recovery and still manipulate my body and I tried for months.

Around this time of year, we are bombarded with a bajillion messages about the newest diet and how to go about losing weight the quickest. Everywhere you turn there is an ad about weight loss, claiming that we will be happier, healthier, get the job, promotion, girl/boy if we just shed those holiday pounds. While these messages no longer trigger me and I know that weight loss isn't in my future, I still find them very upsetting. I believe that every person has the right to do whatever they want with their body, but it pains me to see people trying to fix their lives by losing weight or feeling that they need to be smaller in order to be happy, healthy and beautiful. Our bodies aren't the problems, our cultures narrow standard of beauty are.

I have spent and continue to spend long hours in treatment to overcome my eating disorder, as well as all of the underlying pain and problems related to it. I no longer believe that losing weight is the answer. My happiness, worth, comfort, safety and security are no longer dependent on numbers. While I can't speak for everyone, losing weight didn't fix my life or bring me happiness and love, it brought me a 10 year battle with anorexia, wrapped in years of self-hatred, that almost ended my life. I try my hardest to keep from preaching and telling others how to live their lives, but feel that if my story can keep one person from hating themselves or getting caught up in the diet industry, then my struggles and pain have not been in vain. It may seem like everything would be better if you were thinner, but I promise you that your body is amazing exactly how it is and you are more than capable of handling everything that life throws your way. You will be OK, trust me.

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