I’ve been sick for about 10 days. I had a cold. My normal one I get every year either in February or March. As with most of us, I’m assuming, our appetite changes when we are sick. Well for me anyway. I don’t have much of an appetite. I don’t eat as much. Once I’m over the worst part of my cold, my appetite comes back. I eat everything in sight because I’m so hungry, then I go back to my “norm” for what my body needs.
Last week, a friend, who knows my story, said to me, “You look like you’ve lost weight!”
Getting sick, used to be very scary for me. The full blown behaviors of my eating disorder started with being sick. I trained for a huge race one summer. A week before my race, I got bronchitis. There was no way I wasn’t going to compete. I didn’t eat much that week and still did the race. After the race, I stepped on the scale. My weight was lower than it was the week before. I remember saying aloud to myself in the bathroom, “Oh that’s how they do it [lose weight]!”
While being sick no longer triggers me or worries me, the noise of Coach [name of my eating disorder] does show up as a whisper reminding me of that time I raced while sick and lost weight. Coach drops a few tempting ideas and shaming thoughts about my current body size. And, I keep going on with life. I acknowledge the little whisper, remember how tortured I was in my eating disorder, reflect on how far I’ve come in recovery, and how grateful I am for the life I’m living!
I’m human. Body image is still hard for me at times in our diet obsessed culture. I’ve always been told body image is the last thing to go in eating disorder recovery. It has been easier the past few years with the body positivity movement, awareness around patriarchal systems that want women to be small, and fatphobia. As I said earlier, we are all humans that have been repeatedly exposed to diet culture. I know I received messages that told me I wasn’t enough and was an embarrassment if I did look chiseled and thin or if I didn’t weight “x” pounds.
In all of this, I’m happy to say, that while my friend’s comment surprised me internally and caused Coach’s noise to be as loud as a whisper, my friend’s comment really had nothing to do with my body. It was about their own body and insecurities. It makes me sad and I can respect where they are in their journey. I’m grateful my days are now spent more on enjoying all foods, living, being present, moving because it’s fun, and not focusing on losing weight. I never want to go back to the days of my thoughts being full of Coach telling me to count calories and move more.
I wish every human in the world could see the lies of diet culture, stigma of body size, and be set free!