This week reminds me of the hundreds of men, women, adolescents and children I have worked with. From 8 to 72 years old. Every economic background, all the major religions and race have sat across from me. From the city and country and even newly to America.
We overlook people’s struggles because we believe someone with an eating disorder is 17 years old, thin, white and female. We don’t want to admit that our co-worker whose BMI says she is overweight eats 1200 kcals a day and skips out on the work parties has an eating disorder. Or that our neighbor who drives the squad car binges. Or that our physician exercises 2 hours a day with never a day off (and they aren’t training for an athletic endeavor; athletes take days off and intelligently train. People who use exercise as a way to burn calories can’t take days off without guilt)
We do so much good for each other and ourselves when we stop assuming that an eating disorder looks a certain way. We make space for someone struggling when we don’t congratulate weight loss and talk about other substantive ideas. We can end the comparison and competition between women when women stop bonding over not liking their bodies and the latest diet they are on and connect over their lives, loves, losses and
what their point is in this life.
As this week draws to a close, think about your own journey or that of someone you know or you think is struggling. Be an ally. Talk about recovery without shame. Educate yourself more. Do what you can to decrease the external forces that feed disordered eating, ie, stop spending your time or money on products that feed the idealization on the “thin ideal” among other things.
I hope this week has been a week of help and hope for you and anyone you know who is struggling. No matter what, don’t ever give up. Recovery is real.