Why is being thin so important?

Despite all the talk of self-love and self-acceptance, why do I still want to be thin? Why do I have such struggle accepting myself as overweight? It’s not because I’m a shallow person – I do NOT value thinness or appearance above all else, and I don’t like shallow people in general. So, why do I care about this? Well, body size is important to me because I perceive it as the only thing I can control. If I’m thin, people might overlook my other defects. I can’t change how pretty or interesting or fun I am, but I can (sometimes) control my figure.

So, you see, the issue isn’t really about wanting to be thin. It’s about wanting to be liked, wanting approval and belonging … but never feeling good enough It’s about feeling like thinness is (was) the only thing I had to offer the world – the only thing to make me appealing to others. When I finally became thin around the age of 20, I felt like I finally had something of value to the world, to the people around me. It was like the whole world was suddenly available to me – maybe I could be accepted, maybe I could even be envied. Sure, I have good qualities, such as intelligence and compassion, but most of our society doesn’t place high value on those qualities. Or maybe it does, but I’ve just believed all the lies from the media all these years.

Or maybe I need to expand my circle of friends and acquaintances to include more people who actually share my values and interests. My therapist suggested this today, and it felt like a revelation. Why am I trying so hard to fit in to an appearance-obsessed pop culture that I despise – and beating myself up when I don’t succeed?

The desire to belong is just human nature, I think. But it doesn’t have to mean belonging to the dominant superficial ideals of American media culture. I don’t have to let other people dictate what is important to ME; I can decide that for myself.

But, where to start? How to start crawling out of the deep, dark hole of low self-esteem? How to stop seeking approval from others and start giving it to myself? Although I’ve stopped binging and dramatically improved my relationship with food, this body image stuff keeps the eating disorder and anxiety alive and well inside my head. Well, I guess I’m a work in progress. And that will have to be OK for now.

Please share your thoughts in the comments, if this post resonated with you at all. As always, thanks for reading! 🙂

Feelings, food and weight

So, as many of my followers know, I’ve been binge-free for a while. I couldn’t tell you exactly how long, but I’m guessing somewhere in the area of 4 months. Does this mean I’m completely cured of my eating disorder? Well, I will say that I have zero desire to binge anymore. I do still struggle with emotional eating and body image issues sometimes, but even in those areas, I’m a million times better off than I was a year or two ago. So, does this mean I still have an eating disorder? Maybe, maybe not. I think it just means that I’m a normal woman. I’m not sure if the labels are that important at this point.

Along with being a normal woman comes hormones, depending on your stage in life. At this time in my life, hormones tend to hit me pretty hard, and they sometimes make me question all my progress and success – in other words, ED’s voice becomes louder. As I noticed this happening earlier in the month, I came across this quote from one of my favorite bloggers, Isabel Foxen Duke:

“Worrying about food or weight is the ultimate distraction from what’s really going on.”

So true. I love her. So, along with hormones and other life stuff, I’ve found myself doing exactly that – worrying more than usual about food and weight. Not a fun place to be – back in ED’s world inside my head. However, I realized yesterday that’s NOT the problem. My food and weight are fine. I’m doing fine in BED recovery. I’m simply avoiding my OTHER problems by pretending it’s a food or weight issue. I don’t know whether to be happy or unhappy that I’ve figured out one of my mind’s own tricks! 😉

I think it’s a good thing. Sure, sometimes it would be easier to obsess about food or weight instead of dealing with the HARD stuff, the emotions, the anxiety, the stress … real life. But, many months ago when I came to the crossroads where I could choose either life or ED, I chose life! I’m not going back. ED is no longer welcome here.

Next time you’re stressing out about food or weight, consider that it might be a signal that something else is wrong. Don’t let ED distract you from dealing with real problems and life goals. You – and your life – are worth so much more than that! 🙂