This picture sums up my world. As part of my recovery, I am trying to learn to make “healthier” choices. But in order to do this, I have to understand what unhealthy choices I have made and to try to understand why I made them. As a young adult everyone constantly told me that I was thin, but every time I looked in the mirror, all I saw were my flaws. My thighs were too big – they touched when I was sitting or standing, my fat came over top my jeans, my stomach was too flabby. My list could go on and on. I chose to eat very little and more than not, not eat anything at all. If I was in a position where I had to eat, then I just took laxatives like it was my dessert. Why could I not see what my family and friends saw?
What makes this whole thing so sad, is even 30 years later, I still have this distorted body image. Even with all of my efforts to progress towards recovery, I cannot get passed my flaws. There are even times when I try to convince myself that maybe I don’t have an eating disorder. Maybe I am just crazy, but then I start reading a list of the warning signs of an eating disorder and I know the truth. Some of the obvious ones for me
- Skips meals, always has an excuse for not eating (ill, just ate with a friend, stressed-out, not hungry)
- Selects only low fat items. Reads food labels religiously; worried about calories and fat grams in foods. Eats very small portions of foods
- Lies about how much food was eaten
- Has fears about weight gain and obesity, obsesses about clothing size. Complains about being fat, when in truth it is not so
- Inspects image in mirror frequently, weighs self frequently
- May wear baggy clothing or many layers of clothing to hide weight loss and to stay warm
- Evidence of discarded packaging for diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics (water pills)
My progress comes in that I can definitely now see what my unhealthy choices are. What I cannot figure out is why I have made them and more importantly why I still make them. Finding this missing link hopefully is what it takes for me to see what my friends and family have said has always been there.