Today at work, two of my coworkers were talking about diets. I’ve gotten more used to tuning out this sort of talk, since I work at Starbucks/this kind of talk happens all the time. I usually respond to their diet in my head with the wealth of information passed onto me by dietitians over the years. No, your no-carb diet isn’t going to work out…carbs are energy and you’re going to feel like shit when you eat ____ calories a day. No, using a shit ton of splenda when you can’t have sugar is probably not that great either. But go ahead, have fun with that.
Seriously though, you can’t eat fruits or vegetables because they have sugar and carbs? Really?
Okay, I’m done commenting. Moving on to my main point.
They were talking about how much weight they’ve gained, what they used to look like, what they want to look like. And then they crossed the line.
“I would kill to look like Carly”.
“Yeah, I know, right?”
Hi, 24 year old with an eating disorder here. You’d kill to look like me? I am killing myself to look like me.
Granted, they probably don’t know what I’ve been through. I am open (to a point) with my coworkers. I talk about my struggles and my past, but I’m not really the one to bring it up. I don’t go into much detail, but I’m honest.
I don’t think they knew what they were saying. But I so wish I could have spoken up.
I think society needs a reality check. Many people believe that being underweight is a goal, or it’s healthy, or it’s just something that everyone should be striving for. Just as being overweight can have its complications…so can being underweight.
I believe this upset me so much today because of how much I’ve been struggling lately. It’s not helpful to hear compliments, or hear people say they envy my body. I know in reality that I am torturing my body trying to get it to reach the point that my eating disorder deems “acceptable”. When people say these things, it’s adding fuel to the fire that is the ED. It confirms that my actions are necessary. It confirms that my behaviors are just. And it angers me, all at the same time.
I don’t want people to envy a disordered being. I don’t want people even looking at me like that. I am not a goal you should reach.
I am not okay.
I grew up watching America’s Next Top Model in my teen years. I posted the pictures of the girls on my walls. I wanted to look like them.
They were not healthy. They were not goals I should have been trying to conquer or achieve.
I understand the desire to live a healthy lifestyle. I understand that dieting can be necessary or beneficial. But not when you have other people’s bodies as your goal. Not when you are cutting out important food groups that are necessary for your body to function efficiently.
You will never look exactly like me. I will never look exactly like you. We are all different. Two people can be the same weight and look completely different. That never ceases to amaze me, but it’s the truth.
Go ahead, set goals for yourself. It is important to do that. But do not set my body as your goal.
It was painful to hold all this back today. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell them just how much I’ve been struggling lately, and that the conversation wasn’t helpful.
And I didn’t, because it wasn’t the right time, it wasn’t the right place, and I know it wasn’t said maliciously.
I just wish they knew.
-January 21, 2017