The grips of an eating disorder do not loosen for holidays, birthdays, or special occasions. The scattered and uncontrollable racing thoughts about the calories, content, and consequences of a Christmas treat shouldn’t be on someones wish list. However, the tighter the ED reigns got, the more compliments and praise I was receiving from those around me regarding my presumable “willpower” surrounding food. “How do you do it?” I would get asked this question repeatedly.
“Given the nature of my twisted illness, my ED thrived off of the recognition at first. But, atlas I became so tired, the restriction high turned into an all time low, and I began telling people the truth.”
“You don’t actually wish you were like me”; “Trust me, this isn’t as healthy as you think.” These are just a couple of the blunt and harsh responses I began dishing out to brainwashed, diet culture infused individuals who have a dangerously warped image of what healthy and normal eating look like. While maintaining validity of their experience in this weight centric society, we need to recognize the harm of these comments and ask ourselves why they occur in such abundance to begin with. There needs to be education, awareness, and activism happening worldwide to prevent the perpetuation of a harmful wish. I once was on the other side, praying for and admiring unattainable thinness and restraint. I get it.
In an age where weight loss is idolized, promoted, and praised by almost everyone, how are we supposed to initially react to an individual refusing food? We react how our celebrities, social figures, friends, and family have taught us to: with admiration. This sickening cycle of diet and food obsession has camouflaged disordered eating and eating disorders into a “wellness” trend that should not be followed. Trust me, I regret the lost memories and passed up holiday homemade treats so much more than the split second of glorification my eating disorder gave me for refusing that satisfaction.
“As I continue down my recovery journey, I recognize the admirable willpower I DO have: the strength to tell my eating disorder “no” and give myself permission to create delicious memories.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: EMILY WINKLER
I have struggled with an eating disorder for years, and I am proud and grateful to say I have made significant strides towards honest recovery these past 8 months. I have recently taken an interest in writing and activism in this field, and I have found the Project Heal blogs to be a fantastic resource.