January 12, 2022
I’m going to put a TW up top, for obvious reasons. I also want to note that if you need someone to talk to, my social media and email is open. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hi Friends, the topic that I’m going to discuss today is one that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I have been debating whether or not to even post it, but the more situations that arise in my life pertaining to food, and the conversation around them, I feel obligated to share my experience. As the title suggests, disordered eating doesn’t always look like what you might expect. It can actually vary from person to person, and I want to be sure that this is a learning experience for my readers. I am so fortunate to have the support system and the following that I have, so thank you. This is not to diagnose or treat any symptoms of disordered eating that you may have: if you seek medical advice, seek a doctor. I feel called to share a part of my journey, so please, take it to heart and examine your own life.
We can’t talk about food without acknowledging the sad state of our country at the moment, and those without ready access to nutritious food. For those in poverty, and those who don’t see themselves as such, food can be moved from a necessity to an option. When it comes to low wages with no end in sight, people are struggling now more than ever. Please, donate to your local Food Bank. Whether that be food or monetary, we can’t leave our friends behind.
To many, disordered eating looks like extremes: crash dieting, binging, or not eating at all. I want to bring awareness to the lack of knowledge the average person has about food. I have seen firsthand the shame around food. We’ve talked before about “good” versus “bad” food being harmful, but let’s talk about all food today. When you’re buying groceries, reading the nutrition label is normal. Making sure you eat proper portions according to your dietary needs is normal. What’s not normal, however, is the need to constantly scrutinize every bite that enters your body. Healthy eating is one thing, but for many, we do not eat enough in the first place. Restricting calories to an extreme degree can lead to binging. I want to be sure that I’m not knocking healthier lifestyles, but a movement that I have been trying to incorporate into my own life is to add, not remove. For example if you’re having a meal with meat and potatoes, instead of removing the carbs add a vegetable. The key is to not restrict yourself.
Sometimes, after years of restriction and dieting, our body loses its hunger cue ability, or your hunger cues could look different that normal. instead of your stomach growling, you might get nauseous. This is because in the past, you didn’t listen to those specific cues. You ignored your stomach growling, so your stomach didn’t get the food it needed. After failed attempts at notifying you that you’re hungry, your brain switched modes and is trying a different technique. Pay attention to the way your body feels – it tells you more than you might think.
This brings me to another point, eating out of boredom, sadness, or celebration. If you don’t actually want the food, it could make you sick from overeating. You aren’t obligated to eat food you don’t want: THIS INCLUDES FINISHING YOUR PLATE!! If you are full, save your food for later or toss it. But please, don’t feel guilty! It’s still wasted if you eat it and don’t need it. The last thing that we as a society need is more shame around food, so start at home. Examine your feelings before making yourself sick over eating, or not eating. Chances are, there is something else that you need in that moment that will fulfill that emotional state.
I want to end this by giving you all my full permission to eat what you want, when you want. You deserve to eat even if you aleady ate today. You deserve to eat even if you had sweets. You deserve to eat even if you just finished your plate. You deserve to nourish your body. After all, it does so much for you – carrying you through this thing we call life. Be grateful for your body, no matter the size or shape. Love yourself unconditionally. Be your own best friend, and please, don’t forget to thank yourself for all of your hard work every day.
Thanks for reading, Friends.