Saturday, December 29, 2018

You Do You

I've been fortunate to be invited to speak about eating disorder recovery and share my story in the past. I will always consider myself an advocate, but I spend more time as a mentor offering advice to those in the throes of the illness than I do promoting myself. In fact, I don't really promote myself much at all anymore and was never very good at it in the beginning. Plus, in case it wasn't obvious, I'm not willing to hide my political, religious, and other views, which can be a turnoff to some.

The eating disorder recovery community needs all types, from those who are very vocal and in the spotlight as much as possible to those who are more quietly reaching out to others in need. Eating disorders are tough illness to overcome or manage, and educating the public about recovery is essential, no matter what form raising awareness takes, unless, of course, the message is skewed.

It's hard to explain just how disappointing it is to see so called advocates engage in jokes that support diet culture, promote fears, and suggest terrible ideas around eating and exercise. Even those with degrees in nutrition aren't always careful about what they popularize.

The other day, I saw a lady who has put herself in a position of being a healthy eating advocate (but obsessively posts photos of every fucking morsel she puts into her mouth) suggest to her audience that they should consider cravings merely thoughts. She then implies that doing this is a good thing because that way you can avoid eating the food you're craving. I get what she's probably trying to say, that not every single craving needs to be acted upon, but the message is all kinds of fucked up the way it's presented. And that's the thing; since her main topic is weight loss, it doesn't really matter to her how anyone else interprets the message. All that matters is that she gets more attention, more likes, more "you go girl!" comments, and more approval. Unfortunately, she has a lot of people who are struggling or have struggled with various eating disorders following her, but she still seems to think it's OK to continually toss out ideas that potentially or sometimes quite clearly counter eating disorder recovery strategies.

Here's the truth. It's sometimes just fucking fine to eat because you fucking want to, because your soul or brain or some remote part of you calls out for it or because you're tired and need a little pick-me-up. That's normal. This idea that we must always eat only when hungry and only at certain times and not at night and not too much sugar and rule after rule after fucking rule is tiresome. I'm so glad that when I went to see a respected dietitian, she didn't try to shame me into not eating a midnight snack or wave her finger and tsk tsk me for eating ice cream and chocolate most days.

Hey, it's great that you found what works for you. Just stop shoving your goddamn diet plan down other people's throats and asking for money to do it. I am so glad that I stressed in the books that I wrote that everyone is different, that there is no one right way to do things. The best thing you can do for yourself is work on self-compassion and self-trust. What someone else does might be helpful in terms of giving you ideas, and it might not be. Worse, it might be hurtful, so you really have to be careful with all the fad diets, fasting suggestions, and general bullshit floating around lately.

1 comment:

  1. "This idea that we must always eat only when hungry and only at certain times and not at night and not too much sugar and rule after rule after fucking rule is..."

    ...straight out of the Old Testament, the Koran, and any number of other religious shitbooks of antiquity.