I’m in recovery, and I’m angry

I still pinch my fat. I’m only three months into recovery from a restrictive eating disorder and every day, several times a day, if not constantly, I am aware of the now-larger space I take up in the world.

Insurance doesn’t cover treatment so, after five years of starving my mind and body, I finally took some baby steps, and then some bigger steps, toward recovery. I blinked and here I am, several pounds heavier and a hell of a lot stronger.

For years I’ve given into the idea that bigger for men is better, but for women is unattractive. I’ve allowed myself to become smaller and smaller until it became an obsession I couldn’t control. And now, as I fight with everything I have to see myself as worthy in my natural skin, whatever size it comes in, I am angry.

I’m angry at the culture that places moral value on food. I’m angry that a person has to justify eating a Snickers with “this is my cheat day” or “I worked out today,” because otherwise they’re automatically doing something “bad.” I’m angry that health is associated with moral character. That someone who is bigger is automatically deemed unhealthy and, therefore, less worthy. I’m angry because every day, multiple times a day, I hear about diets and fads and what’s “healthy” and “unhealthy.” I hear that cutting out sugar is the way to go, and that bread is basically the devil’s instrument.

I’m angry that people make it their business what someone else puts in their mouth to eat. That it somehow seems OK to judge someone else because of their preference in nourishment.

I’m angry that there’s a whole generation of girls who think it’s right to eat 1200 calories a day. I’m angry that society judges.

Food is food. Maybe if I tell myself that over and over, I’ll be able to see it that way. I’ll be able to see chocolate cake as a delicious dessert, rather than an “indulgence” that I need to justify with a workout. I’ll be able to see eating pizza as eating pizza, rather than “cheating.”

Food is food.

As I continue in my recovery, I hope to one day be able to say that I love my body. For what it is, what it can do, and what it has endured. But for now, I just have to take things one day at a time. I have to choose those things that society tells me are “bad,” because my body needs them. Because I’m allowed to have them. Because food is food, and what I eat is my choice. And because my dietary habits don’t define my moral character. They’re just a tiny part of what makes me, me.

By Elaina Clarke


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