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I eat, you eat, some don’t eat

May 27, 2011

This week I came face to face with eating disorders. Not my own, though one could argue my relationship with food isn’t completely healthy, but of other people’s disorders.

Serious ones.

Bulimia, anorexia. Starving oneself to death. Bingeing. Vomiting. Punishing yourself for how you look. Not valuing your body and ultimately your life.

I wasn’t looking for them, but as most wormholes on the Internet work, you start at health food, and end up in bulimic land. Luckily I found some words of inspiration of overcoming an eating disorder (and I even bumped one woman’s story to the WordPress.com front page) but I found one site that really bothered me.

This girl was overweight from what I saw in a picture, and she’s rightly concerned about her weight, but her method in losing weight is completely harmful to her. Her posts are filled with goals of eating 350 or 500 calories a day, or even counting the hours since she ate last (sometimes more than a day). Often the posts are followed by big calorie binges and then purging. There were even her hopes of dying skinny, whenever she does die.

Having been overweight, or robust as someone might say, all my life, it’s natural that I considered what it would be like to be skinny. The “easy” way, or so I thought. To be able to vomit away my weight, and be skinny (and naturally popular, too, as a consequence). In middle school, it may even have seemed an ideal solution to my weight problem.

I never experimented with or came close to an eating disorder.

I’m not sure why. Perhaps I just couldn’t stomach (no pun intended) the thought of voluntarily vomiting. Or perhaps I didn’t think it would really make me happy to do that.

For whatever reason, I grew up and far away from even a remote thought. I accepted my body pretty quickly with how it was, and started to place more emphasis on being in shape, not on my body’s shape. I continued to stay active in sports and appreciate the effect and feeling I had of being healthy and active. I slimmed down a bit, and exercise has always been what I return to in order to have my cake and eat it, too.

As for that girl’s site, of course I couldn’t stop reading. I still can’t.

I reached out once, leaving a comment I hoped reminded her she’s not alone, to get help for herself, and pointed her to the above story for some inspiration.

She hasn’t answered me.

If I wrote her again, I would say, I was sure wrong about the “easy” misconception of eating disorders.┬áIt’s very difficult to punish yourself for how you look and slowly kill yourself through starvation and malnutrition.

It’s rather easy to accept your body and push yourself to be healthy.

Note: for her privacy I won’t say which site it is, because I’m hoping through writing online she can find some outlet and perhaps resolution. And perhaps she’ll read my comment over and over until it convinces her to reach out.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2011 9:32 pm

    That was really nice of you, I hope she reads your comment and gets help.

    • May 27, 2011 9:47 pm

      Me, too. Hopefully some of her friends will help her as well – I know I would if she was a friend of mine.

  2. May 27, 2011 9:32 pm

    It may be that she is not yet ready to hear/listen: I read yesterday that the teacher arrives when a person is ready to learn. All you can do is continue showing her support and know that when she is ready someone will be there to help her.

    • May 27, 2011 9:48 pm

      I don’t want to leave too many comments and scare her off / invade her privacy, but I am still reading her posts.

  3. Liz permalink
    May 31, 2011 11:25 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I struggle with my weight daily however, I feel the same way you do. I hate vomitting and I could never bring myself to do that, nor could I starve myself. I love to eat, way too much! There was a time when I took laxatives but I only did it a couple of times and got scared, so I stopped that pretty quickly.
    I’m definitely an emotional eater and I’ve been pretty lazy for the last year or so. I actually like to exercise and do pretty well when I do but the last year has been tough and I’ve gained quite a bit of weight. My exercising has been spotty. I’m marrying an Italian guy from Milano in a couple of months and this long distance relationship has really taken a toll on me this last year. We’ve been at it for almost 5 years. His Mom even made a comment when she saw me on Skype about my weight. The last time she saw me was the last time I was in Milano and about 40 lbs lighter. I know this might sound ridiculous but I’m a (harmless) flirt and I think subconsciously I put on weight so that I wouldn’t even welcome any attention, or be worthy of it. I feel as unattractive as ever, but I feel safe in this cocoon I’ve made for myself. I am feeling pretty uncomfortable though so I really need to get motivated so I can shed this cocoon and spread my wings. I just bought some new running shoes and I am going to embark on a running program called Couch25k. I really not a runner and that is exactly what this program is for. I used to play tennis competitively but there is no way I would even set foot on a tennis court in the shape I am now. I’m hoping this Couch25k will be the springboard I need to get back on track.
    Glad you put up this blog. I’ll continue to come back. :)

    • June 1, 2011 9:23 am

      @Liz – nice to meet you – are you moving to Milan? We should meet. Cocoons are not good because in the end they end up hurting you, not protecting you. It sounds like you know that’s what was happening, and because you put on the weight so fast we should be able to get it off, too. I totally support starting slow – I did a 1/2 marathon when I was in shape so my mind kept remembering that when I would step on the treadmill and then get frustrated when I couldn’t do my old pace or an “easy” workout….but I was way out of shape and overweight. So starting easy to get you back in the groove (and burning off that excess) is a great move to then get back to doing things you really love, like tennis. I’m going to post about doing classes in the gym – it’s a sort of budget personal trainer!

  4. Liz permalink
    June 1, 2011 10:01 pm

    Thank you and nice to meet you too! My fiance is actually moving here. Careerwise it’s better for us to be here in the US. He’s an assistant professor at a university in Milano and the chances of him getting a permanent position are NIL, I’m sure your familiar with how it all works. I would like to experience living in Milano, but it’s just not feasible at this point. Maybe in the future. I would love to meet you, maybe on our next trip. He’s actually coming this way to stay in the next few weeks so I am not sure when we will go visit his family in Milano but I will keep in touch and let you know.
    You’re totally right, this cocoon I’ve put myself in is not good and I know it. I really need to get back on track. I’m embarassed about how I look which is probably why I’ve avoided the gym but enough is enough. I don’t feel healthy and I just have to face the music. I’m definitely going to take it slow. I have a long road ahead of me. I look forward to following along with your blog. I’m debating whether I should put one up as well :) I need to try your quinoa recipe. I’ve never made it myself but it sounds delish! A presto!

    • June 2, 2011 10:02 am

      @Definitely let me know if you head here.
      As for yourself, of course you have to be ready – but definitely think about writing / using a blog to help you through your thoughts. You know you can open a site here at WordPress.com and have it be completely private – just change the Privacy settings under Settings > Privacy on your dashboard:

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/settings/privacy-settings/

      Then later if you feel like opening up your site, it’s just a click away :)

  5. January 20, 2012 11:06 pm

    It’s sad that their girls/women who feel the need to have an eating disorder to look & feel great. I’m hoping to through blogging too that will help through this.

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