R & R: or as I like to call it, Relapse and Recovery.
Life in recovery is so very hard.
I don’t want to sugar coat anything. I know I’ve written about my personal struggle with bulimia in the past. I have come a long way from where I once was. I no longer struggle with the physical part of my eating disorder. However, the mental part is an entirely different story. There is rarely a day that goes by when I don’t spend roughly 50% thinking about dieting, exercise, food, or the way I look. The sad thing is that this is what seems like pretty normal thinking. In conversation with a few of my friends, I realized that this pattern of thought is fairly normal among teenage and twenty-something young women (*note: I am sure this exists in other populations of people as well, I just haven’t had the privilege to speak with anyone but my lady friends). When I’m not eating, I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat when I actually have to, and when I’m not exercising, I’m thinking about how to have a more productive workout.
Life on the internet doesn’t make this much easier, either. I am by no means blaming the internet for my eating disorder, or my personal experiences with food and exercise. All I’m saying is that it is so easy to go on the internet and find communities that have the potential to be damaging. What’s worse is that these communities are often disguised as really great and constructive places.
How many of you have ever read a fitness blog? Have you ever pinned a thinspiration picture or a workout plan to one of your interest boards? Ever looked at a picture of Beyonce and cried a little inside because her body is just THAT perfect (my own answer- yes, about three times this week).
These seemingly constructive communities can become consuming: I know they fill my thoughts every single day. Am I less healthy because I don’t know what a chia seed is? Kale? Should I do 50 crunches or 45 burpees? Why don’t I have a thigh gap? Will people think I’m lazy if I only run 3 miles instead of 5? There are also so many triggers on the internet. If looking at Beyonce’s ass wasn’t bad enough, I have the option to look at my 17 year old facebook pictures where I weighed a total of, oh, I don’t know, 110 lbs.
There are triggers everywhere, and I have to constantly remind myself that they are not worth my time or my mental stability. I love myself, but we live in a world where it is hard to do just that: love yourself.
Today, as a part of my work, I got to attend a session on inclusivity. While most of the session focused on racial diversity and socioeconomic status, there was a lot of different talk about cultural and physical difference. One person in the session brought up that she was worried that her actions would always reflect how people looked at her in terms of her identity. For example, she is a mother and a professional. She said that whenever she is late to a meeting because she had to pick up her kids, she feels like she may be judged because people may think she can’t be both a mother and a professional. This spoke to me in terms of health and weight. I often feel the need to be very public with my exercise and diet because I am worried that if I’m not, then people will think that I’m just fat and lazy. We place so much emphasis on physical appearance and impressions that people give off. I feel like if I weren’t actively working to combat this stereotype that overweight people are lazy and eat all day, then people would look at me and think just that (which, by the way, is a fallacy).
There is no real thesis to this blog post. More of a ramble. Thanks for ambling with me through this post and this day. Tomorrow will be better.