Learning to love your body the right way; eating disorders & the negative effects on the mind/body

“You are not fat,  you have fat. You also have fingernails, but you are not fingernails”.

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      Talking about body image is not the easiest topic in the world to discuss. Weight seems to be the number one headliner that is coming out of everybody’s mouths these days, especially girls and women. Girls even at the age of 12 and under are discussing among their friends if they are considered fat, skinny, or even too skinny. The media has also portrayed a negative image towards viewers that emphasizes the importance of being “skinny” and staying thin. Girls, women, men and boys all look up towards celebrities and stars in the media, and view them as being “our role models”. A role model can be defined as someone who you look up to and who you admire. It saddens me how people want to change who they are and what they look like in order to mimic people within the media. Such changes can be so extreme that they can harm your body and cause permanent damage. Your’e probably thinking who are you to talk? You have probably thought the same thing once in your life .. and your’e right. There was one point in my life where I wanted to change one thing about myself in order to look like the celebs in the media. My weight. I wanted to lose some, and I wanted to do it fast. I am going to share with you a personal story that I wrote in grade 12 for a school assignment and had to share with my class. This assignment was geared towards sharing a personal “turning point” that has happened in your life so far, and this is what I chose.

“Life as I knew it”

    I wasn’t always thin. My body was never jealous with the amount of food I would consume on a daily basis. My stomach and my body got along with one another; best friends as I would recall. I was a content girl, and I had once believed that I could be invincible. I got a long with people who were around me and close to me, for I was an agreeable person, but that would all turnover. God didn’t prepare me for my poor decisions. Was I due for something negative to occur in my life? Maybe I was too greedy as a teenager,but all I could realize was that I was not in control of my life after the age of 16.

     Two summers ago, all it took was one day to comprehend that I was worthless in one man’s eyes. I had meant the world to him, but he had a passion for another girl. Why did he not want me? My security level shrunk dramatically. Why couldn’t I look more like the models on the television? Why do I have love handles and they have none? How come they are a size 0 and I am a 5? I was disoriented in my own world. Thoughts fluttered my brain as to why I was not worthy enough for him? My weight. Maybe if I looked and appeared more like some of the models on TV he would like me? One question that lingered on my mind for ages was what would make me stoop low enough to starve myself? The answer: one boy.

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     Two falls ago, all it took was a drastic diet change in my meal plan in order for me to feel desired in life. Society and the media were eating my mind whole, swallowing every meaning of health in my life. I had a desire to change into the “perfect body image“, like the media advertises to young teens in magazines,ads and television. I could not determine or identify what was so wrong with the idea and process of starvation. I would never think of consuming food. Ignoring the intensifying growls within my crying stomach became second nature to me. It was official, my stomach f***ing hated me, but I didn’t develop an interest for anything anymore. I was too selfish to acknowledge the cries for help that my body was conveying. I refused to eat all three meals on a daily basis, for I had no idea what the word “breakfast” meant. After a while I was seeing slight changes with my weight, and my body image. I had a positive outlook for the results.

   Two winters ago, all it took was one thought that appeared in my mind, to dig myself into a deeper hole.Puking. If I gave in and ate something, I would binge it up right away. Being referred to a “hoe” would’ve hurt less than knowing the truth of who I’ve become; anorexic and bulimic.  Nobody knew who I was changing into. Nobody knew that I headed to the bathroom after every meal to binge. I was surrounded by a clueless family, no boyfriend, and a poisoned mind. My body had become possessed and I had not even come into contact with a Ouija Board, just my evil thoughts. Although I was seeing more changes, I had no idea I was slowly sucking the life out of my body. I was becoming used to the idea of binging and starvation, for I could tell you all about these two strange words I thought I knew so well.

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   Last summer, that’s all it took for my mood swings to come into affect. Impatience, irritation, and ill tempered were the three “I’s” of my life. I had developed a relationship with anger- he owned me. Depression was my bystander. I was abused and wounded, for I was paying the consequences of my actions, all because I wanted to be “skinny“. I was skinnier, so that’s all that mattered right? To me it was. I secretly loved myself under my layers of emotions. I felt like a model with anger issues, for the lack of food made my mood decrease dramatically. I was beginning to not even recognize myself anymore, but in a sense I was blessed with my results. This was all just a normal process I was going through correct? I would get better? That wasn’t the case at all.

    Last fall, all it took was cries from my family members, a guilty conscience and one disgusting number on a scale to make me give in. I was deprived of my body, my weight and my appearance. I had lost a descent relationship with my mom and my family, for I hid all my dirty secrets from the world. I was sucked into a society in which I was blinded, and could not see dangers approaching me. 135 pounds to 120 pounds patted me on the back, but I did not feel deserving, for I was not proud of my accomplishments. I was terrified. My dream was for my mirror to tell me “I” was fairest of them all. The thing that stared back at me was nothing but a broken twig. I eventually brought the topic up with my mom about my “bad habits”. She had taken “hints” on the account of me hurrying to the bathroom after every meal. A weight was then lifted off my shoulder knowing that I was no longer invisible. A doctor’s visit greeted me a week later, as well as an offer to get professional help from an eating disorder program. I had refused to go get the help I needed because in the back of my healing mind, I wanted to get rid of this illness on my own.

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    Last winter, all it took was a group of friends and relatives to make me feel like I mattered in the world. A distraction to get my mind off starving myself, that’s all I needed. Food was staying in me. Cries from my family reached out to me, everyone kept an eye out when they found out about my problem, even my new boyfriend. All it took was a clear mind, a sense of security, stability, a sense of determination and support from my family to start a better life.

By: Alyssa Hotrum

      It’s crazy how much I look back on those years and think to myself “what the hell was I thinking?”. Sadly this kind of thinking happens all over the world, and people just want that perfect body image. Individuals need to realize that you are never going to be perfect. There’s only one of you in this world and you should appreciate that and learn to love YOU for YOU.  Although this is easier said than done I can’t emphasize how true this is. If you don’t learn to accept yourself and love yourself, how are you going to be happy in life? You only get one life and instead of damaging it on risky diets, unsafe eating habits and negative thoughts, try living a more healthy and positive  lifestyle.  I know so many individuals who are dying to change so many things about themselves, one being their weight. There are many different ways to going about losing a couple pounds, and doing this the right way. Exercising in a healthy manner is one of the main key factors when wanting to lose a few pounds.  Do not try to attempt to lose weight with the two unhealthy methods of starvation and bulimia. Trust me.. it’s not worth it one bit.  Look up different exercise routines to help target the areas you are not happy with.  There is no harm in trying to improve certain areas of your body, you just don’t want to change your entire  “you”. Even though I am not a size 0 or 00, I am now content with the way I look. Going for walks or runs everyday, fitting in a nice workout, and making some yummy healthy food is what I try to do as much as I can. Do I go to the gym and workout everyday? No. And that’s okay, you do not need to go and do that. You need to find out what makes you happy, and feel good in order to love yourself and who you are on this world. Don’t let the media suck you in. You need to realize that a lot of people in the magazines and in the ads are photo shopped in order to have the “perfect body image”. There is no such thing. Whether you are a size 0, 3, 5, 8, 11, 14, you are beautiful.

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The Effects of Bulimia on the body

  • tooth decay
  • facial swelling
  • moody blues
  • sore throat
  • bloody vomit
  • dry skin
  • irregular heartbeat
  • feeling faint
  • red eyes
  • a secret life
  • compulsive exercising
  • trouble conceiving
  • low sex drive
  • complications in childbirth

The Effects of Anorexia on the body

  • tooth decay
  • dry and chapped lips
  • dry skin
  • thinning hair
  • bruises
  • frail appearance
  • heart disease
  • blood problems
  • hormonal change

“still worth it?”

“Losing weight is not your life’s work, and counting calories is not the call of your soul. You surely are destined for something MUCH greater, much bigger, than shedding 20 pounds or tallying calories. What would happen if, instead of worrying about what you had for breakfast, you focused on becoming exquisitely comfortable with who you are as a person? Instead of scrutinizing yourself in the mirror, looking for every bump and bulge, you turned your gaze inward?

-Lisa Turner, “losing weight:what’s the point?”

Another key point that I want to bring to your attention is never change who you are for a guy. If they truly like you, they will love you for YOU. A good boyfriend will not pick apart your weight, and you shouldn’t have to worry about changing for someone. I am now dating someone who doesn’t mind my stretch marks on my inner thighs, my breakouts that I sometimes get on my face, the freckles on my nose, the way my one finger bends slightly to the right and even the little chip in my tooth. Because you know why? Nobody is perfect. Everybody has imperfections, and they should not matter towards people that love you in your life.  Do not be afraid to ask for the help if you need it.

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Much love xo.

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