WHY I’M HUNGRY AND MAD

Welcome to my blog!
I’m hoping for this blog to be a forum for women of any age and from any background to talk about the issues that are affecting them regarding body-image, self-esteem, media portrayal of women, health and wellness, lifestyle, weight, or any other issue relating to women’s overall feeling of self-worth.
I have suffered from an eating disorder since I was 16 years old. I went to therapy as a teen and was in remission for many years, quelling the voice of my eating disorder to a whisper in my ear instead of a roar, but it is has always been there. At moments of vulnerability it would rear it’s ugly head and remind me I’m not good enough or thin enough or that I lack self-control. While still hyperaware of my weight and my looks, I was able to squash these negative thoughts and not let them take over my life as they once did. Then, about 3 years ago I had some health problems that caused me to lose quite a bit of weight. The weight loss was unintentional, however while alarmed at first, I soon found myself relishing each lost pound. I was soon regressing back to the eating disorder behaviors I thought I had overcome years before. I was terrified of gaining the lost weight back, I avoided food, I avoided people who would question my weight loss being anything but a result of my medical condition. I was deeply ashamed of my behavior and myself, but it was clear I could not go on living my life as I was, so I sought help.leading me to seek therapy again. As an adult, as opposed to when I was a teenager, I found I had developed the maturity, life experience, impartiality and critical thinking skills to really look inside of myself and examine my issues on a deeper level than ever before. Also, after almost 15 years I was finally able to be honest with the people close to me about my disease. I got love and respect in return, not the disgust and anger I had anticipated. Instead of feeling like a failure because I was imperfect, I felt liberated and freed from the sense of isolation that had surrounded me for so many years. Suddenly I had a huge support network who I could turn to, which has been vital in my recovery.
I think that one of the most positive things that has come out of speaking to friends and family as well as peers in group therapy has been the insight I have gained into the minds of other women. When you isolate yourself, it’s easy to look at other people from an outside perspective and envy them. So many times I have looked at my female friends and wished that I could be as confident, easygoing and sure of myself. I’ve wished I could be more accepting of my body and the way that I look instead of self-conscious and overly vain. So many times during my struggles with food I’ve been out to dinner with other women and marvelled at how easy it is for them to just order and eat whatever they want with no hesitation. However my story lead to an open dialogue with many friends, and many confessed to their own struggles. I found that a lot of my friends had been hiding insecurities of their own, and that they had the same false perceptions of me that I had of them. I was shocked to hear how many of my friends had also battled eating disorders. It seems that most of my female friends are unhappy about their bodies, and most of them have tried to lose weight at some point, sometimes by downright dangerous means(prescription diuretics) or really silly ones (chew and spit food). My social circle is not unique. According to The National Eating Disorders Association, 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance, and on any given day 45% of women are on a diet. Furthermore, 15% of young women have unhealthy attitudes about food and 15% develop unhealthy behaviors related to food and weight loss.
I consider myself in recovery, and I feel pretty good about myself on any given day. I, like most of my friends, am university educated, have a good job, a good partner, great friends, a great life. Overall I would say I am happy with my personal and professional achievements. Still, I am somewhat bitter about the fact that I can’t go one day without being assaulted with hundreds of reminders that women in our society are defined by their looks. No matter what a woman achieves in every other realm, being beautiful and thin trumps all else. Women are exposed to magazine covers and billboards with size 0 models and actresses, television ads for weight-loss equipment and supplements with beautiful thin spokesmodels, books about the new great diet that will help you loose 95% of your body weight in 2 days, or fitness videos led by women with 0% body fat. There is always some new miracle supplement or protein bar or super-food displayed at the grocery store that will improve your health (read:shrink your waistline) which makes me wonder if anyone eats real food anymore. Women place importance on staying healthy. But with so many options, women are overwhelmed and the line between a healthy weight and a dangerously low one can become blurred the more we see extremely thin women promoting these health products. Some women with good intentions can go overboard even using healthy products or following healthy diets to look like the celebrities getting paid to promote them.
It really saddens me we smart, well-educated, well-read and beautiful women define our self-worth by the size of our bodies. We will starve ourselves, sacrificing our own well-being, in order to yield an impossible ideal, often ironically proclaiming it to be in the name of health. I think it’s time we really think about why this is and how we can change it. This is a complex and multi-faceted issue, and that’s why I started this blog. There is a lot to explore, and it’s time we get talking about it. What do you think?

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