I have an eating disorder.
I have an eating disorder that made me fat. I eat my emotions and my anxieties. I eat to make myself feel better, or to distract myself from my bad thoughts. I eat when I feel worthless as a way to ignore my problems and feel a temporary high. I eat to calm the storm in my head when I feel worthless. I am working on these trigger situations, I am working on how I see and treat food, but it’s something I’ve carried with me for a long time.
My relationship with food is dangerous and unhealthy because I use it as an escape. I don’t eat a lot just because I want to. There is rarely a moment of clear choice in the way I turn to food in moments of emotional desperation — it’s a compulsion for comfort.
This behavior, and my eating disorder, made me fat.
In the body positivity movement, and in body positivity rhetoric, there is often little talk about fatness that is brought on by eating disorders. Fatness itself is no measurement of worth, and I agree with that up and down, beyond the horizon and back. You can never look at a body and tell if its healthy, or if it’s happy; worthiness is a human right. Attractiveness has an all-encompassing spectrum. Fatness is never an indicator of health or of morality.
It can be hard, then, to sit with my feelings about my fat body, because when my body gains weight, it usually (not always) means I’m bingeing more frequently. I am using eating disorder symptoms. My larger body tends not to just reflect a change in diet or activity level or temporary illness, but a failure to address my emotions in a productive way.
There’s a delicate balance between accepting my body’s changes, seeing the beauty in the way I look at every size, and erasing the fact that sometimes, my fatness is not, for me, a signal of the ebbs and flows of activity/eating. This is especially difficult in the body positivity movement and the language that “all bodies are good bodies.” I don’t know how I fit into that sometimes. My diseased, unhappy body isn’t a safe space for me. Continuing to binge eat isn’t a healthy thing for me.
Does being fat change my fundamental value as a human being? No. Does being fat(ter), for me, sometimes indicate that something is emotionally wrong? Yes.
(And to give credit where credit is due, this post was inspired by this question in redefiningbodyimage, which is a blog everybody should follow!)
This is really wonderful, great perspective - and rarely discussed. Thank you for the props at the end <3
As someone who is constantly looking at health through the lens of chronic/mental illness, I can relate in many ways. Days where my body doesn’t feel like a safe space are inevitable.
All I know is, it’s okay to feel like that - but it isn’t our fault. Our bodies are good bodies, our relationships with them are just very complex in different ways.
It is good to talk it out.