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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor have I received an official diagnosis of an eating disorder.  However, I have consulted a physician and am seeing a nutritional counselor.  

Warning: This article may be triggering for someone who has dealt with restrictive behavior.

I was sick.

My obsession with food and dieting was taking over my life.  I wanted to be skinnier.  I wanted to hear more compliments.  I wanted more.  At 19, I wanted a toned stomach, skinny legs, and strong arms; some things I’d never had, and I was determined to do anything it took to get them.  

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That led to an unhealthy fixation on ‘health’ foods, and drastically limiting my caloric intake for my activity level.  It was controlling me—no more going out with friends, no more going out to eat, no more enjoying life.

Thankfully, my family stepped in before my behavior became detrimental to my physical health, but not before my mental health had been compromised.

Each day is a struggle: I fight myself.  I question every single thing that goes into my mouth.  I get anxiety about some foods.  I still think too much about food, and I’ve developed a less than friendly relationship with the one nourishment that keeps me alive.  

But I’m not a quitter, and each day I make progress.  My undiagnosed eating disorder may have controlled me before, but it won’t any longer.  I’ve learned that losing weight doesn’t cure bad body image, and I’ve learned that loving yourself and enjoying life is more important than losing that inch of body fat will ever be.

If you ever find yourself consistently preoccupying yourself with thoughts of food and exercise and how to make your body fit society’s unrealistic ‘standard,’ take a step back and remind yourself:

  • You and your body are absolutely, undeniably beautiful.

  • You do not need to change your body because of what someone else thinks or says.

  • Your health is infinitely more important than your jean size.

  • You are your own best friend; love yourself and your body.

  • Enjoy your life now.  Time will go on regardless.

  • You are so much more than your weight, body type, or clothing size.

  • Happiness should be your top priority.

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Losing weight doesn’t cure bad body image.  Loving yourself and enjoying life is more important than losing that inch of body fat will ever be.

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Disordered eating is a very real occurrence that can easily become a regular habit, as it did for me.  I’m not as sick as I once was, but I still have a long journey ahead of me.  I break the habit piece by piece every day in an effort to reach my final advice:

Don’t waste your time and energy trying to fit someone else’s standards.  Love the body you’ve been given, and embrace the person you are.  And most importantly, just live.

 

Cyndi is a student and the University of Michigan where she is majoring in Communications. In her free time, Cyndi enjoys writing, reading, and traveling.

 

 

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