Let that quote sink in for a moment...It's true!
How many times have you heard the following? Eat a cheeseburger. You are already thin, you don't need to lose any more weight. You're just doing it for attention. Have a cookie, it tastes good. Who cares what you look like, it's what's on the inside that counts.
I'm sure you can certainly add to this list. The people in your life who tell you these things are just desperately trying to understand and help because they can see that you are struggling.
Despite what most think, we don't engage in our Eating Disorder behaviors for vanity and attention.
It's not their fault that the name "Eating Disorder" is somewhat misleading. You see, food isn't the problem, self-hate is. Eating Disorders are commonly developed from deeply-rooted lack of self-esteem and self-love. We hate ourselves. We engage in eating disorder behaviors to punish ourselves. We feel unworthy of positive emotions, and undeserving of compliments and recognition.
We feel so helpless to escape the self-loathing cloud that looms above us, so we continue to dig into a pit of despair.
This pit (the eating disorder) becomes our safe place. "I can't change the way I feel about myself (because it's too overwhelming), but I can change how the world sees me, I can control my food and body." This change and control fills you with the feelings you are lacking from the self-hate.
Circle any of the following things your Eating Disorder gives you:
Confidence A sense of accomplishment Strength Focus
Happiness Contentment Appreciation Control
Joy Emotional Numbness Divinity Love
Power Pleasure Energy Distraction
Your Eating Disorder is giving you something you are lacking in your life. You will continue to feel the need to engage in your Eating Disorder behaviors until this feeling can be fulfilled in other (healthier) areas of your life. Of course, this is an oversimplification.
Curing an eating disorder takes a lot more than simply understanding the root cause; and every disorder is as different as the people who are affected by it. Because it is so deeply-rooted into who you are, it takes (oftentimes) years to unravel and treat.
If you are reading this and have an eating disorder, know this: you are not alone. Know it is possible to climb out of the pit and clear the clouds. Know it is hard work and can seem overwhelmingly complicated and impossible at times. Seek help, start the conversation, talk about it and talk often. We all deserve to live a life free from debilitating self-hate; even if you don't yet recognize that you deserve it.
You do deserve it.
You are worthy. You are not alone. You are not hopeless. You can do this.
You can recover.
See "contact us" for more information on how to start the conversation.
* Binge eating disorder was not fully outlined in this blog post. See: "No, my binge eating disorder is not lack of will power" for more insight into this eating disorder. *