Eating disorders. They’re not about eating. It’s only the way in which mentally unbearable problems become visible and are being coped with. But it’s not the problem itself. Eating disorders are about seeking control, looking for safety; for something to fall back to, something to grab on while everything else seems too far away or too difficult to make you feel in control of the situation. Eating disorders are complex. It’s not about eating or not. It’s not a choice. It’s not a diet, not a lifestyle. It’s not only wanting a perfect summer body. It’s a serious illness. It’s a book of rules.. a book of laws. Laws that keep you in “control” and close to everything you know; laws that make you feel safe. Laws about when, where, quantities, products, rituals, orders.. Laws about everything. Your life is being ruled by an eating disorder. It was you that was looking for control, but instead of gaining it, you were losing it more and more. An eating disorder’s promise for control is fake. By being obsessively active with everything that revolves around food, your world becomes so small. You lose control over everything outside of this world. You can’t control your thoughts and yourself anymore if you are being controlled by an eating disorder.
This might sound terrifying but the one and only way to gain back control is to abandon the set of laws that are eating disorder-based. No. You don’t lose control by eating lunch spread out over two separate moments, or by using another spoon, or drinking a different type of milk. In fact, with every time you listen to your voice instead of what the eating disorder tells you, you gain back a piece of control of your own life. With every time you give in to the disordered thoughts, the eating disorder wins some more space. And the more space it has, the harder it becomes to fight these laws with your own healthy mind. Standing up against these rituals and safe elements is hard. It certainly is. This is exactly the fear that the eating disorder got away by keeping you in a safe and small world. But not anymore. Not this time. It’s time to live your life, instead of being lived.
Now summer is coming again. I used to get anxious months before the summer break started. I always felt the immense pressure to work my body, to look good in summer clothes, I would try my hardest to eat healthy and to be the nicest person to everyone except to myself.. but I felt like I had to be someone who I’d never be. Summer therefore also brings many memories. I love the sun, but it also makes me sad that i used to treat myself so badly around this time. Because now I realise that we deserve self love. We are all equally beautiful, no matter what you look like. You don’t have to change. Not for summer; never. You have one body to live with and you have to embrace it, with its flaws. Everyone has insecurities but you can decide on how to look at them. Your body doesn’t define who you are. Your weight doesn’t define who you are.
So stand up for yourself now. You deserve love. You are in charge of the choices you make, and today is the day to make it start. The more you fight against the urges to satisfy the eating disorder, or the urges to strive for your perfect body, the easier it gradually becomes. I promise you, this is not a lie, unlike everything that an eating disorder will try to make you believe.
“With a positive mind, you’ll always be stronger than your strongest fears.”