I was originally going to make this just a journal entry for myself but then I realized that this is something that needs to be said, and that people need to hear. My goal is not to shame anyone or make them feel bad, but rather to spread awareness and provide insight. With that, just a forewarning, these are my thoughts (sometimes deep, somber, and not always the prettiest). They be random and sporadic, but that’s because I let everything I’m thinking and feeling flow out onto here. Yes, it’s real, raw, and vulnerable. Yes, it’s tough to read–I can bet you it was 10x harder to write. I’m not good at opening up or sharing my feelings, especially on this topic, but the only way I’m going to be able to help just one person is through doing so. So with that, I thank you for your support in reading my inner thoughts to the girl who wishes she looked like me.
I hear and see the comments–not only to myself, but to others too–of I wish I looked like you, I wish I was as skinny as you, I wish I had “x” like you, the list could go on and on, but you get the idea. While the rest of the world may think that I’m lucky to look like this or lucky to be getting these types of comments, I absolutely hate them. Almost as much as I hate the comment “you need to eat a burger” (body shaming fat people isn’t okay, so why is body shaming skinny people?). I hate them for a multitude of reasons. First, I no longer want to be skinny. For over a year, I hated my body; I just wanted to be “skinny” and worked at becoming so, which only led to me to the mess of my eating disorder. And the worst part is, I was never small enough, even when I had lost almost 25 pounds, I didn’t like how I looked. I finally changed my mindset to wanting to get strong and put on muscle, to wanting to go away from being “skinny”. Granted, I have a naturally thin frame so I’m always going to be a little bit lean and lanky, but my point is that I’m no longer working against my body to be even smaller, I’m working with it to be strong and powerful. So when people say they wish they were as skinny as me, it makes me afraid of what they’re going to say when I stop being the so-called “skinny”–which I know shouldn’t matter, but mentally it’s tough.
Second, you may wish you had skinny arms/legs like me, or wish you had a smaller butt or stomach, but you do not understand how I got down to this point: my eating disorder. You may think you want to look like me, but you do NOT want to be in the same boat as me with how I got here. Ask anyone recovering or recovered from an ED, we won’t wish it didn’t happen because it’s helped make us stronger and who we are, but it’s certainly something we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemy. Period. Because I didn’t just lose weight (and practically all or most of my muscle), I lost my period for 19-20 months (besides a few months of birth control, which doesn’t actually mean it’s a normal period). You may think yay sounds great, but do you know how hard it is knowing you want children one day and all of a sudden your body cannot function enough to do so, after having a period for almost 4 years straight? I also gained a whole new mental battle, that messes with my mind multiple times a day–it’s not something I can just turn off. I lost my relationship with food, being able to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full because I don’t get hunger cues. I lost my relationship with food in that I can’t just eat something because I feel like it–like a brownie, slice of pizza, or some ice cream–without feeling guilty, freaking out that the whole rest of my day has to be uber-healthy foods, and being nervous to do so. My mind is constantly thinking about food: what I am going to eat, is it healthy enough, maybe I should eat more veggies, what’s the macros/calories, etc. When I see food, most of the time, all I see are the macros or calories in my head–using those to justify whether or not to eat something. And while I am working on these areas, and it’s not as bad as it used to be, this mental battle has stuck with me for almost 2 years now.
Honestly, for me, my ED is more of a mental battle rather than physical. I’m at a healthy weight, and still gaining. I’m pushing myself to eat and grow, but the mental part of watching the scale go up, and battling to find a new relationship with food is difficult. That’s why I hate these comments, because from the outside I may look how you want, but you have no idea the inner demons I’m fighting daily. Yes, I may be able to eat a lot of calories right now (2700+) and gain minimal weight slowly, but that’s because I killed my metabolism and slowed it way down when I under-ate and over-exercised. I’m not in a lucky situation because everyday is freaking tough, mentally and physically, dealing with the fear of food, guilt, bloat, digestion issues, pushing food when I’m not hungry, etc. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being bony, of seeing my ribs and feeling my hip bones when I lay down. Tired of wanting to to grow, but being scared of the scale going up and still fearing my relationship with food. Tired of feeling this way, but I’m only using this feeling to fuel me to become stronger and get out of this situation into the one I want to be in.
Lastly, it’s tough when I see/hear these comments because I spent a long time (and tbh it’s still something I struggle with) wishing I looked like other people. Before it was “skinny” people with shredded abs–people who I now realize after being in the fitness industry were girls on prep for bikini competitions, which is not a sustainable look. Now, it’s muscular, body-confident girls. And this kills me because in recovery I want to truly love my body and how I look for what it is and what it can do for me–not hate it because it doesn’t look quite how I want. We were all created uniquely to look and be different. You may say you want a stomach like mine or my legs, but then you wouldn’t be you! You wouldn’t be the person God created you perfectly to be.
So to the girl who wishes she looked like me, I so deeply wish that you would instead love yourself for everything you are. It’s okay to want to change aspects of yourself, to set a goal and work towards it…but that doesn’t mean that you can’t love yourself exactly where you are right now. Transforming yourself into the best version of you should be your goal, not into someone else you wish you looked like. There is no one quite like you, and I wish you would realize that and embrace everything it means for you.