I don’t want to eat, I will feel nauseous when I swallow food. I don’t want to eat something that is going to make me throw up.
Eating Disorder isn’t a choice or a lifestyle, but a mental illness.
Eating disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses. People with eating disorders have disturbance eating behavior(s). They might be limiting the amount of food they consume, eating large quantities of food at a time, or getting rid of food in an unhealthy manner such as purging, laxative misusing, fasting, or unbridled amount of exercising.
I am not starving, I am balancing my diet.
Furthermore, eating disorders are complex, there is no one single reason to explain the development of an eating disorder. But, there are different factors combined, including genetic, psychological, environmental, social, and biological circumstances which can influence people to develop an eating disorder.
When I look in the mirror, all I can see is ugly. The word has clouded vision, clogged my understanding and my perception. When I look in the mirror, I see “not pretty enough” and “not thin enough.” I see someone that needs to lose weight to be pretty.
Looking in the mirror is no longer the reflection of what they truly look like, but rather their expectations and their extreme judgements, their distorted perceptions.
The insecurity of not reaching the beauty standard, comparing themselves to an unrealistic body-size, are thoughts that weaken their already low self esteem. It makes them think that they are not worthy. They don’t like themselves, and get paranoid that everyone hates them because of their “look.”
I am fat.
I am ugly.
They repeat this lie to a point where this belief becomes the reality, it influences how their minds interpret what they see.This body dissatisfaction causes mental processes to have a selective attention to shape and weight-related information, causing them to see a dissatisfied body-shape rather than their actual appearance. Moreover, the parietal cortex of people with eating disorders usually register a high activity, and can physically project a different image of their bodies. This perceptual misleading is known as the “Pinocchio illusion.”
I don’t eat a lot of food. I’m scared of them. People told me that I’m skinny or I am underweight. Well, they are wrong, I am fat.
Food is no longer a physiological need.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, all needs are not equal, and we will act to satisfy our biological needs such as survival and safety. Food is one of the survival needs, but is the hunger drive strong enough to overpower the fear of food within those with eating disorder? Many have misunderstood that people with an eating disorder don’t experience hunger, when it’s actually the denial of hunger, not its absence.
I pushed my plate away and said, “I don’t want to eat now, I am not hungry anyway.”
I pushed my plate away and said, “I’m full.”
I don’t want to touch food, because they are the reason I am not pretty. I don’t want to calculate, how many calories in each piece before putting it in my mouth.
When they deny hunger, it doesn’t stop its existence. In people with eating disorder, there is an interaction between psychological factors and physiological factors to maintain the underweight state. This interaction with the serotonin-drive can make hunger feels euphoric. Making those people addicted to being hungry, and feel satisfied of being able to self-control. Hunger becomes jubilation.
My friend told me that if I lose weight, I will become a little bit prettier. I think she’s right.
“I know that I’m slightly underweight, but I always scold myself when I eat a lot of food. One of my friends, she’s slimmer and prettier than me, told me that I would be prettier if I lose a little weight. I never thought I would become that insecure, and that was a mistake. I get to a point in life, where I become stressed and depressed. Then, I started to skip meals and tried to purge the food by triggering my gag reflex. I hated myself for that. I hope no one will have a friend like that,” said an anonymous high school student.
People told me to love myself, but how can I do that, when I can’t reach the beauty standard? The models in the magazine and advertising are so pretty, I wish I am as skinny as they are.
Advertisement is one of the main influences of eating disorder in today’s society, flashing on our screens, billboards, social media feeds, and magazines, how many times do we often see plus size women in a commercial feeling secure? Yes, there are movements to encourage different body-sizes into modeling and fashion. But, comparing to rest of the modelings, there still is a significant difference. These are the images that girls with eating disorders are comparing themselves to. It’s unrealistic. In addition, these images in the society don’t just affect an individual; a girl with a mindset of this body-beauty-standard can influence her friends to do the same thing. How many girls need to feel self-conscious because of advertisements? How many girls are told to lose weight because their friends/family members believe in those “beauty-standard”?
Why don’t people with eating disorder just balance their diet?
Diet is a part of recovering from eating disorder, but the most essential factor is the mind. Eating disorders affect every individual differently and therefore, people recover differently. Expressing their feelings is a critical component to recovering, this can be either written down or talking to a trustworthy person. Recovering will take time, each step will leave a scar, be patient and one day the scars will start to fade.
Remember, you set your own beauty-standard, it’s your body. Love yourself because you are beautiful.
“There is no magic cure, no making it go away forever. There are only step upward; an easy day, an unexpected laugh, and a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.” – Laurie Halse Anderson
Author: Sopor Thanann
Photo Source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/eating-disorder-controlling-life