The media, social networks, fashion industry and celebrities are all responsible for the image we want to create for ourselves. Even on a subconscious level, we are eager to please others and gain praise for how we look and what we do. But we are not all born the same, and genetics and environment play an important part in how we will look or even act. In a time of body shaming and pressure to fit into a certain mould, it is necessary more than ever to speak up about healthy life through promoting positive concepts and building an encouraging attitude towards the human body.
Be aware of your lifestyle
I never really paid too much mind to what I was eating because my mom was a great cook and always made sure we had regular and healthy meals. I still lived with my parents in my twenties, and not because I was too comfortable to move out. We were close as a family and lived in this big house, so we all loved spending time together. After some temporary jobs, I finally got employed by this big company and started doing something I loved. Then I became too busy to pay attention to food or my lifestyle, I was too enthralled to live in the moment.
Don’t punish yourself
To deal with the pain of my mom’s death, I started binge-eating. And soon enough I was among those fighting with BED or binge-eating disorder, and little by little I started hating myself for gaining weight and not being able to control myself. That was my mistake. Instead of asking for help, I punished myself.
So when you notice unusual eating habits, don’t blame yourself, but rather talk to a professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist, and above all admit that you have a problem. Estimates of the US National Eating Disorder Association show that 70 million people worldwide suffer from some form of eating disorder.
Don’t replace your old bad habits with new ones
When my mom died, we all fell apart. My sister focused on her family and my dad worked too much. And I felt alone only because I didn’t want to reach out to them or anyone for that matter. After my weight became quite a problem, I decided to start exercising. I actually took this pretty seriously and even bought professional activewear for women to keep me motivated. By then, I still hadn’t regulated my dietary habits, but I was working on that with a nutritionist.
I started going to the gym every day and spending at least two hours there. I didn’t overdo it with weights, but in a year I lost excess fat and toned my body. And still, I didn’t think I looked good, no matter how many times people told me that. But little did I know that I had replaced one addiction with another.
Love yourself just the way you are
I used to love myself, and then I started despising everything about me. I hid my body under baggy clothes and when I started losing weight, I dressed more revealing. Truth be told, I never felt comfortable in my body and so I never wore clothes that I liked, but only the ones I thought highlighted or concealed certain body parts. And then one day, my family decided to organize an intervention. Since then, I started having regular sessions with a psychiatrist and I reduced my workouts to a more normal amount and pace.
It took me a while to get into normal eating habits and workout routines, but I’m finally really satisfied with what I’m doing and even learned to love myself.
Never be afraid to admit your troubles
I was one of the lucky ones. But among those mentioned 70 million people, there are more serious cases of bulimia and anorexia, two very dangerous conditions with devastating consequences. Due to the growing number of cases, eating disorders are taken really seriously and classified as an illness. The first step is to admit to yourself that you have a problem, and the second one is to tell that to the people you love. From there you will go through emotional and hard times to reach recovery and finally be well again.
Just like with any form of addiction, you will always feel the pull to do it again and the only thing stopping you is yourself. It’s a constant battle and one you can win every time you understand how lucky you are to have your life back and a second chance to enjoy it, unlike 20% of all suffering from eating disorders who either die from the complications or commit suicide.
There are much worse stories than mine out there, and many of them have a happy ending, but unfortunately, a lot of them don’t. Besides death, serious health complications due to eating disorders keep people tied to the house or away from leading normal lives. So never take for granted the life you have, no matter how hard it can be at times. Surviving something terrible is harder than giving up, but living is a million times better than surrendering to the void.