Have you ever cut out pictures in magazines of someone’s body that you really wanted, and pasted it to your refrigerator door? Or found a quote about being thin or starving yourself, or some other equal “willpower” type thing? Basically anything to stop you from wanting to eat and train you to want to be something other than what you are.
How many of us women can look around us and say we have complimented someone on weight loss because of the flu, or we have no idea why but that is the first thing we say?
Hearing “you’re so skinny” was once the most dangerous thing you could say to me. Whether it was said as a compliment or concern, I didn’t care. It meant I was doing things right. The attention became addicting. At my absolute thinnnest I lived off of rice cake pizzas and crystal light, everything would go black before my eyes when I stood up too fast, and it hurt to lay with my knees on top of the other because the bones would dig in. It was my most stressed out time of life and food became what I could control. I had been in diet culture for a dozen years or so, but this, THIS worked. I just had to not eat what I wanted, ever, and then feel guilty if I ate more than a very small meal. Food and exercise I could control, and when you are thin you get complimented. Even if it is dangerous and unealthy, it draws attention and becomes something you crave.
I’ve gotten out of this over the years and gotten better, but I still work through a lot of food issues. I work on my body image daily. I might not appear to be someone who needs to worry, but sometimes that it what is dangerous. I have cared, and I do care and I work daily to step away from it. To add a little weight on and be okay with it. To move my body our of love rather than fear. To not let SKINNY be a benchmark, ever. I defined myself by my body and my willpower for years and I am just unzipping it away and it feels glorious, but also scary and hard and uncertain.