on overcoming an eating disorder and becoming body positive

Body positivity has been a surprising perspective for me. That is not to say that I never have to remind myself every single day how lucky I am to have this able body and that I don’t have to read affirmations on the daily to keep my head high. On the contrary, I do. Those chirping feelings of insecurity come rushing back if I hear too many concerns swirling around me about diets and dress sizes and other vanity issues. I read a post online about how the average model is x pounds and I calculate how much weight I would need to lose to be like that. This is why I cannot stress enough the importance of staying away from harmful media. Despite all of these things, I say body positivity is a surprising outcome for me because for years, I loathed the way I looked. If you would have told me back then that one day I would love myself, I would have scoffed at you. I starved quite publicly, clothing hanging off of my body like a hanger and my bones jutting from my skin. And when the torment got to be too much, I binged (and occasionally purged) in secrecy, my heart sinking into the pit of my stomach if ever I got caught red handed, my fingers laced with peanut butter and rice cake crumbs. My relationship with food was troubled and painful and when I wasn’t staring at it hungrily in my refrigerator, I was dreaming of it. I slept to get away from the hunger pains but I could never escape the thoughts of eating that invaded every crevice of my mind. The feelings of self hatred and the distaste I suddenly had for food were tightly interwoven. I desperately wanted to be full but I was so incredibly empty inside.

Today I no longer look at food– or my body, as the enemy. I never thought that I would come back from anorexia so eating food pleasurably is something that brings me a great deal of happiness. Trying new desserts from candy shops makes me feel like a child again, full of wonder and excitement. I still can’t look at nutrition labels or weigh myself because these are triggers for me but just knowing that I can indulge in any food I wish makes me feel free.

Body positivity has been my tireless cause. The movement has been crucial to my recovery. Certainly there was more to my eating disorder than hating my appearance and perhaps one day I can write about those things so it can help bring peace to my heart. For now, fully loving my body has been therapeutic and necessary. I am taking a reclamation on what it means to eat for pleasure, to love your body in the process and to never feel guilty for any of those things. It tastes pretty sweet.

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