Facing yourself can sometimes be the hardest thing to do.
This is a scary word. One that means a lot to me. I was in denial for well over a year, blaming medical health reasons for excessive weight loss and masking an eating disorder with a whole host of excuses. Wow, I said it. Hardest part over.
The funniest thing is, everyone close to me knew long before I did. But in order to tackle it and challenge this voice in my head, I was the one who had to actually realise and then accept it.
And that is the hardest part.
Far too many of us have some sort of complex with food, body image or self confidence. In all honestly, the vast majority it seems. This is not ok. When did a number on the scales or a particular body type translate to self worth? Surely, we are so much more than that? We deserve to honour our bodies. At the end of the day we only have one.
There are so many different forms of eating disorders or disordered habits. But scarily all are on the increase. Do we even realise there is a problem? Too many of us are in denial or believe it to be ‘normal’. Social media, high pressure lifestyles and constant body comparisons are all highly influential factors in this. I am sure most of us can relate to emotional eating. But are we really aware how our emotions affect our habits? Recent studies have highlighted that stress eating alone effects 80% of us: 40% shared they turn to food and eat more when stressed, while 40% eat less.
I am fed up my depriving my body of what it craves. What is needs to function. I’ve already paid the price for starving it: hormone imbalances, insomnia, hair thinning, anxiety, depression… the list goes on. Constantly trying to compensate with over-exercising or ‘balancing out’ food the next day. Is it worth it? Absolutely not.
I am giving myself permission to make food fun again. To stop beautiful experiences and memories being tainted with food anxiety and fear. Life is more than food. Yes, it plays a huge role but it doesn’t have to be at the centre or life determining – especially when it takes on such a negative influence.
Food is fuel. But it is also so much more: experiences, social occasions, celebrations. Why have I restricted myself in missing out on these?
Enough is enough.
Why I am ‘confessing’ this? Good question. At the start I wasn’t really sure. But now I realise that it is part of relieving myself of the denial, restriction and most importantly shame. Also, sharing that mental illnesses are nothing to be ashamed of (or glorified either, which social media seems to be playing a part in) and affect all too many of us. Once we have come to realise and accept disordered eating or habits we are able to challenge them head on. This is the hardest part, but the most liberating.
As much as we all love to believe we can take on the world alone, sadly we can’t. This is something which took me way too long to realise. Once I did, I haven’t looked back. I think this is why I am now very open about it. Support and advise are so important. I can not emphasise enough how crucial this has been for me. Even verbally sharing your problems can be a huge step towards positive change.
I want to lead my best, fullest and happiest life possible. And that starts with looking after me. Yes it will be a hard, long process. Undeniably with bumps along the way. But I know it will be so worth it.
Sometimes we are the only ones holding ourselves back.
If reading this has resonated with you or relates to someone you know, I can not stress enough seeking advice and professional support. Help pull yourself out of denial and into a brighter future.
You are responsible for you.