You wake up at 6:37 a.m. and go downstairs. A bright blue light shines on your face as you open the refrigerator door. You think, What do I eat? Should I eat at all? Will it ruin the morning skinny? You sigh and decide to just get dressed and head to school.
A couple of hours pass by and the bell rings. Lunch time. You hadn’t eaten all day and your stomach gurgles, begging you to put some food into your stomach. You brush the feeling off and keep talking with your friends. Now, it's dinnertime. You finally work up the courage to eat some pasta. But only a little; it's never enough. You head to bed and wonder why you never ended up eating.
And then it repeats. Again. Again. Again.
If you have ever dealt with a feeling like this, have done this or know someone who has done this, you’re not alone. The most important first step is reading things like this.
Eating disorders are real and serious.
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorder (ANAD) reported that “35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives.”
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (NEDA) said some of the symptoms including changes in exercise, mood, energy, eating habits and more can all be signs that you or your friend has an eating disorder. There are a couple of types of eating disorders, and all of them can be extremely harmful. The three most common are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders.
Now that we know some of the facts, some frequently asked questions usually start with, Why is this happening? One of the most common answers is body image — the mental image of oneself. Most girls lose their self-esteem and healthy body image after being told to look a certain way. Many people try to tell girls what they should look like, what to do, how to act, etc. These comments happen online, at stores, in class, on the street and so on.
Everywhere girls go, they're followed by these messages — on posters, billboards, social media posts, tabloids, etc. With all these sources telling girls (especially younger girls) what to do with their bodies, they’re more inclined to give in and change how they look. In order to prevent letting these comments get to your head, you have to learn to block them.
Building self-esteem and loving yourself can help with that.
Many girls don’t believe that they’re enough because they are constantly being told so. Social media is telling girls they must have a tiny waist, a big butt and boobs. Tabloids are spreading the message that if you don’t weigh as much as *insert celebrity name here,* you are definitely overweight and need to go on a diet. (A diet made for bunny rabbits, I may add.) There is nothing wrong with trying to eat healthy, but going into calorie deficits and burning more calories than you’re eating can be seriously harmful.
If you can learn to love yourself the way you are, you can prevent things like eating disorders. The first step to achieving self-love is to be kind to yourself. If you beat yourself up, you’ll only make yourself feel worse - the exact opposite of what you want to be doing.
Some strategies that Healthline suggests include being bold with yourself and letting go of toxic people in your life. To remember that you are your own person and that people who don’t even know you simply do not have the right to tell you what to do with your body. When you’re reading a magazine and see that random people are telling you what to do with your body, remember that it has nothing to do with your personality, or your smile. Beauty, cliche or not, has everything to do with who you are inside.