I don’t starve myself or make myself throw up, but I want to look good in a bathing suit and feel comfortable naked so I count calories, fast, work out too much, and constantly push myself. I have an eating disorder—it’s just not the kind people talk about.
I’m constantly judging my appearance.
There’s rarely a moment when I look in the mirror and smile. I don’t hate myself or my body, I’m just never satisfied with my reflection. I don’t like my perky butt, curvy hips, or weirdly muscular arms. No matter how much I work out or diet, I’m never pleased with myself.
I never feel good when I eat something bad.
If I eat something with sugar or carbs, I mentally feel horrible. I feel like a cheater. And for what? Because I indulged in a plant-based cupcake! The only time I ever feel OK about eating something sugary is if I pretty much fasted the entire day and I know that’s not right.
I don’t want to talk about it.
I’m not concerned about other people’s opinions, only my own. I don’t want to hear “You look so thin” or “I wish I had your body.” It’s annoying because I don’t see what they see, which only makes me think I have an even bigger problem.
I put restrictions on myself.
I don’t just avoid sugar and count my carbs, I cut out major food groups. I’m lactose intolerant but instead of taking pills to relieve my symptoms, I avoid all dairy. I also avoid gluten. Why? Just because it’s another restriction.
I don’t have a realistic goal.
Most people have a goal weight but I don’t. I just know I want to feel confident and beautiful. Losing weight isn’t going to make me happy when there’s something wrong inside—I know that but I can’t seem to believe it enough to stop.
I weigh myself all the time.
The scale is my all-time favorite gadget. I weigh myself at least twice a week at the same time and with the same clothes on. The problem isn’t that I jump on the scale, it’s that I’m never pleased with the number. If I gain weight, I’m pissed. Even if I lose weight, I still feel like I have a long way to go.
I’ve contemplated extremes.
I’ve considered taxing laxatives to lose weight and I’ve contemplated throwing up after dinner. I haven’t and I won’t because I know how harmful both of those things can be. I don’t want to end up in the hospital and I don’t want to look sick and frail, but isn’t it enough that I’ve considered such an extreme?
I avoid restaurants.
I don’t like having to give instructions. Is there anything more annoying than telling a waiter “no dairy, no gluten, no taste, please”? I avoid restaurants because it seems easier than feeling like an obnoxious idiot.
I’m very strict.
Eating late at night is a slippery slope that could lead to overeating so I don’t eat once the clock hits 8 p.m., no matter what. Even if I was too busy the entire day to eat a meal. Even if my friends decide to get froyo after dinner. I make up an excuse on why I’m too full to eat and watch everyone else enjoy themselves.
I work out every single day.
Sometimes twice a day if I eat something filling. I love working out. I love the feeling of pushing myself to my body’s limit. I only miss a day if I’m deathly ill. I guess I’m obsessed—my workout comes before anything.
I think I’m fat.
I know I’m technically not fat. Trust me, I know. Some people would even call me skinny. But I don’t feel that way. Don’t get me wrong, I can look in the mirror and see that I’m fit, but I also see where I could be even fitter. I see the bad parts of my body more than the good.
I know I have a problem.
The thing is, I know there’s something wrong. I’m teetering a fine line between being concerned about my weight and health and having an unhealthy obsession with my weight. The worst part is I know I’m not the only one. So many of us are pretending like it’s OK to go on crash diets and cry when clothes don’t fit. It’s ruining the relationship we have with ourselves and that’s unacceptable. How can we change it?
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