I really feel this point needs to be cleared up. It’s important to understand that eating disorders are not just about weight loss, but that obsession over weight is only a symptom of the disease.
To me, an eating disorder is foremost a coping mechanism. Beyond that, it’s a way to convey words I can’t speak. I want to look as fragile and breakable and weak on the outside as I feel on the inside. I want people to see me, as I feel inside but can’t express.
It’s true, eating disorders are sometimes triggered in susceptible people following the beginning of an innocent diet, just trying to lose a few pounds. But weight-loss decreases anxiety and becomes a coping mechanism for some who can’t (or don’t know how to) cope another way. But the problem is, anxiety is only quelled when the scale goes down, and then only for a short while.
Eating disorders take control. They take over your mind. Like OCD, they are a vicious cycle because they create more anxiety than they dispel, and you can’t keep up.
More proof that eating disorders are not just about dieting or losing weight?
- I know that I’m ‘skinny’ already and that I don’t need to diet, but I have fat on me and I don’t want any, even though I know that’s neither healthy nor conventionally attractive.
- I know that exercise is the key to weight-loss, yet I rarely exercise.
- I know that by eating so little I’m slowing my metabolism, making weight-loss harder, but I can’t bear to eat more.
- I know that water is necessary for weight-loss, but I don’t drink and am constantly dehydrated because I can’t stand the ‘full’ feeling drinking brings.
- Diets involve working towards a goal that you see as positive. Eating disorders, and the starving, binging, purging, and general self-harm that often come with them, are closer to self-punishment than self-improvement.
Eating disorders are not just about losing weight. They are a disease, not a diet.
Pale white like the skin stretched over your bones
Spring keeps you ever close, you are secondhand smoke
You are so fragile and thin standing trial for your sins
Holding onto yourself the best you can.” —Brand New, The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;” —William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming