Do you ever wish you could go back in time and tell your younger self that she is just perfect the way she is? Because I know I do.
Ever since I can remember, everything in my life was always about how to loose weight, to be like the others. the “normal” ones. At the age of ten the people around me would tell me I would be happier and prettier, If I lost some weight … it’s insane how much that particular mindset caused damage to my mental health. I grew up never ever satisfied with the way I looked.
Back in the day there were no plus sized models anywhere, young girls like me had to grow up with the mindset, that if you are skinny you are automatically happy. which is the biggest bullsh*t anyone can ever say to you. No matter if it was my doctor ordering me to go on a diet at the age of 11/12(!), without even considering maybe talking to me about how healthy eating can be fun too. but no they were drilling me to eat less of this, less of that. Until the point I honestly had major anxiety, every time we would have to go to the doctors. My eating habits became worse with each year of me growing up. I was scared to eat in front of other people, because I thought they would judge me.
And all of that for what? Because a ten-year-old girl was overweight? Sure, we can say I wasn’t healthy. But that was not because I was overweight, it’s because I ate unhealthy. My blood sugar literally was higher when I was ten years old, than what it is now. And anything else was so much more higher, just because I didn’t consume the foods that would benefit me and my body.
I am 22 years old now and my doctor still tells me I am “too fat”, but do you know what he also tells me? That I am extremely healthy. I don’t consume any animal products. I eat veggies and fruits and I also eat the so called bad foods (which for me I think you can always consume in moderation, but thats just me). But still people would automatically think I am unhealthy because my BMI will say I am overweight.
Obviously none of this had crossed my mind, when I was younger. I was obsessed with trying to be someone else. Someone who has the perfect body. I was sick and broken. And it seemed like I would never be able to eat normal again.
What exactly is BINGE EATING?
All my teenage years I never thought that I had a mental illness, because none of the already existing eating disorder would fit my situation. But it was Binge Eating all along. Basically Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by frequent and recurrent binge eating episodes with associated negative psychological and social problems. And yeah we all binge sometimes on certain foods and think to ourselves: “I feel a little sick”. But let me tell you BED is so much worse. You eat and and eat and there is no stopping. And when you do stop, you feel this guilt. It does not go away. No matter if it is an hour after your episode or a day, you know you took it too far. It haunts you. You hate yourself. You start hating the food you are eating, but you can’t stop because you have to feel that emotional emptiness.
I was stuck. I was stuck in this cycle, that would repeat itself over and over again. Every single day I would binge. Sometimes big, sometimes small. I hated every inch of my body with a passion. I hated going for a swim in summer. I cried at the thought of having to go to my usual doctor, who would tell me once again that I was way too overweight for my age. I started to hurt myself. I got suicidal at the age of 16 and was ready to end it all. Nothing seemed to get better. I was waiting for someone to save me from myself, from this hell I called my life.
Just a few of my friends back then knew roughly about my mental condition, but I never really let anyone in too close. It was like a secret I had to protect. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I had no control of my life. As soon as I got home from school or meeting up with friends I was back alone with my thoughts. But I didn’t know any of that, because I truly believed this was the way I was supposed to live. Maybe I didn’t deserve to be happy and healthy. I was so wrong.
When I was 17/18 years old, I was super active on Twitter. I had my own little world and people I would talk to. A place I could vent about my problems, without having to face anyone in real life. It was my safe haven. One day someone messaged me saying I should reach out for help and I took the courage and wrote an email. It was on the 4th June 2013.
(don’t feel like translating this, but its basically everything I was telling above)
the last four words say: Please help me.
It was the hardest decision I ever had to make, asking for help. Putting myself in a vulnerable spot. But I was ready to change. I was ready to heal.
I got diagnosed with binge eating disorder and depression. And as bad as this sounds, I was SO happy that I finally had a label for it. I was no longer lost. I was someone, who was dealing with a mental illness and was in recovery for it.
It was time for a change
Fast forward to a month later and me sitting in a room with my therapist. I remember our first session so well. I was talking so much. I was crying. It felt so good to finally be able to talk to someone, who understood why I thought the things that I thought, because she was a professional. I can’t even put into words how much it helped me. Shortly after that my therapist put me in a group with other girls, who suffered all kinds of eating disorders.
For one and a half years I would go there once a week and talk about my life, what happened at school, what was my family up to – literally anything you can think of. It was the highlight of each week. Sometimes it would get super emotional and all of us would just cry. Sometimes we would be laughing our butts off, because usually it would be me telling a crazy and funny story. 😛
Yes, these therapy session truly changed my outlook on life. But I had to do more than go there and talk about my problems. I had to be committed. To make a change. I couldn’t stay in my old habits.
YOUR BODY NEEDS TO BE NOURISHED AND THERE IS NOTHING SHAMEFUL ABOUT THAT
Slowly but surely I had to accept that food was and will never be my enemy. My body needs food. He needs the energy, the nutrients. It’s like a car. If you don’t put oil into it, how is it supposed to work? And at one point it came to me. Our bodies do SO MUCH for us. All the shit we put it through. And yet we take it for granted. Why would I want my body to suffer? Because society tells me that I need to look a certain way to be “normal”. FUC* NORMAL. I can eat healthy and have a big fat slice of pizza at the same time. As long as I am happy, it’s all that matters. I was not put on this world, to please anyone but myself.
I am very lucky and privileged to have had the chance to move out at the age of 17 and having to be independent from one day to another. Yes, I live in the same house as my parents but I had my own four walls. I had this freedom. I started cooking for myself. Organising my life. Senior year and final examS came around and I was ready to kick some ass!
I do think me living alone had a big part in my recovery, but I also truly believe I could have done it with still living with my family. Because once you put yourself first, nobody else matters. Once your health and recovery is all you focus on, you don’t wanna stop. I had my bad days. It was so hard and it was easy to go back to my old habits. The comfort that I knew for years, but was it worth it? Each day was success. I was alive. I was trying to change. Just because I didn’t loose any weight, does not mean that I failed. It took me years to realize that.
Even today I struggle sometimes and my life is definitely not perfect. My body is not perfect. In summer I hate how my arms look, but I am working on it. Self love is a continuing process. Nobody stops doubting themselves at a certain age and is confident for the rest of their lives. We need to stop believing this bullsh*t agenda, that everyone who is pretty or skinny is automatically always satisfied with themselves. It’s not true. All of us struggle.
Sure, you can spend all your life hating yourself and wishing you were this certain body type, but why waste your time? I for myself know that I will never be petite like some girls are, because I am just not build that way and that’s totally okay. I still love myself. I have my days where I feel all kinds of negative emotions, but that’s how it works. Learning to love yourself. You only have this one life – one body.
So for today I tell any girls and boys out there struggling, you are NEVER alone. You are not crazy. You are worthy of recovery. Every single one of you, I encourage you speak up. Talk to one another. Reach out for help. It will change your life. But most importantly:
be willing to make a change.
Every one of us is so beautiful in their own way. We are all so unique in who we are. Let’s embrace it. Celebrate the diversity. Let’s change this stupid stigma that we need to look a certain way, to matter in this world. Because the second we are born we start to matter for the rest of our lives. ❤️
Love you all,