Hello #GoDoFly Lovers !!!
This post hits home. As our founder,Ariadna Arredondo has also shared part of her battle with illness such as anorexia and bulimia, this young writer touched our hearts. We discovered her months ago, as we talked more and more, it was another great addition to the blogger world.
We interviewed her as part of #GoDoFly. She had much more to share with us and we wanted to give the enough space for her to explore and let us in. This story is one that a lot of people face on a day-to-day basis. Starting from our founder to your next door neighbour. Open your eyes, open your heart and help each other out.
I am going to be straight with you all and warn you ahead of time that this post will contain a lot of heavy content. Eating disorders have become more common around the world, mostly in young women and it is something that should not be taken lightly. Being someone who is in a current battle to overcome an eating disorder, I wanted to share my story in hopes that I might inspire someone to seek help or to at the very least consider it. I know in the past I have posted my story before, but this time I am not holding back. You might read some disturbing things seeing as this can be a sensitive subject for most, but I strongly encourage you to try your best to stick to it and finish reading this post.
Before I get into anything more, let’s take a look at how eating disorders start or perhaps why someone would fall victim to one:
Eating disorders are a serious and growing issue around the world and have become more common over the past few years. The idea that skinny=beauty is a shared belief among many young men and women all over the world.
1. Dieting is a huge gateway into the eating disorder world. Think about it; you cut back on certain foods and if you don’t see any changes to your body you alter the diet sometimes resulting in eating less. Eventually, many men and women will eat very little portions or nothing at all.
2. Control is probably the most common reason whether the person is aware of it or not. Being obsessed with controlling weight is essentially what an eating disorder is. People with eating disorders step on a scale and think “I can afford to lose 5 more pounds.”
3. The fear of gaining weight. Whether you were overweight as a child or just an observer of society, it is no mystery that overweight human beings get scrutinized for their appearance. Words cut deep and in order to not get picked on, men and women have a fear of gaining weight. They think that if they weigh more, people will view them differently.
4. Guilt. Guilt is a common trigger for eating disorders. When a person suffering from an eating disorder eats the emotion that follows is guilt and disgust. You immediately run to the nearest restroom or trash can to purge what you just consumed, or you will just stop eating the rest of the day.
5. Impatience. When we work out we want to see results immediately. After weeks of intense training and seeing very little results, we often get impatient and take drastic measure to get our dream bodies.
6. Low self-esteem. This is by far the most common reason as to why anyone will develop an eating disorder. This is something that I personally struggle with every single day. It is so simple to focus on what I hate about my body over what I love about myself. Actually, it is rather hard to find one thing I like about myself because when I do I find reasons to tell myself that I’m not that beautiful or I could improve. I look at other girls in the gym (not in a creepy way) and think “Why don’t I look like that?” or “I wish I looked like her.”
Anorexia and bulimia are the most common known eating disorders. So how do you know if someone has one or both of them? A person with one or both of these eating disorders has some or all of the following symptoms:
1. Extreme weight loss
2. Eats very little or not at all; always has an excuse (i.e.: “I don’t feel well” or “I ate before I came.”)
3. Calorie counter. This person religiously reads the nutrition facts on every wrapper and won’t eat something that is over 100 calories (sometimes they will only eat half of something or very little)
4. Excessive exercising
5. Social isolation
1. Binge eating and then sneaking off to purge (usually in secret, but not always)
2. Eats food that is high in calories (junk food, carbs, sugars)
3. Uses laxatives or diet pills
4. Lack of impulse control
Usually if a person is anorexic they also suffer from bulimia, but not always. Bulimia is typically more difficult to diagnose because the person will still appear to be at a normal weight.
Now that you’re all briefed on the types of eating disorders that I am struggling with (there are many different types, but anorexia and bulimia are the most well-known,) I am going to share my day to day thoughts. This is an extremely hard post for me to write and it has honestly been about a month since I started it. I really want this post to be real and personal and you might read some disturbing things, but I want to expose myself to the world and let people know how the mind of a woman with an eating disorder works.
I have gotten to a point where my self-esteem and body image is so low that I cannot even look at myself in the mirror without being disgusted. I focus so much on my flaws than I do anything else. When I do find something that I like about myself, I always beat myself up and tell myself that whatever I like is not that great. I beat myself up because I don’t look like a VS model or the girl at the gym. I regret every little thing that I eat and see nothing that I like about myself. I am my own worst bully; I am a prisoner to my own body. I do believe that what I see when I look in the mirror and what other people see when they look at me are two completely different things.
Somehow I have programmed myself to believe that skinny is beautiful. I feel as if I have that cute and fit tummy that people will accept me and like me more. I’m not sure how I got this way and I have not stuck with counseling long enough to find out. I know that I am capable of overcoming this because I have gotten my bulimia under control after many years of battling with it. However, not a day goes by where I don’t think of sticking my fingers down my throat. The rush of control I got when I did that was something I rather enjoyed. Knowing that by dieting and hardly eating, plus the occasional binge eating and the immediate purging was me in control of the number that popped up on the scale gave me a moment of happiness.
Next to myself, the scale is my worst enemy. I know that no matter what that number is I am always going to want to lose more. About a month or two ago I weight 103 lbs, which for most people is nothing, but for me to break the 100 mark was a HUGE deal. For a while I was content with that weight until I began to focus on my stomach. I stepped up my work out game big time, this time to lose a little weight and gain muscle. I had not stepped on a scale in months until I went to the doctor. I found out that I currently weigh 98 lbs, which means that I lost 5 pounds. There is that word, lost. Now, 98 is fairly small, but since I know that I was able to lose 5 pounds, I want to lose more. My target weight is 95 pounds which for a girl my height and age (5’3″, 21 years of age) is roughly 15 pounds underweight (the average weight is 110 lbs.) Knowing myself as well as I do, I won’t stop at 95, I am going to want to keep going down.
The lowest I have ever weighed was 83 lbs. That was with the help of excessive workouts, anorexia and bulimia. Since I have gotten the bulimia under control for now, my weight has been dropping slower rather than faster, but nonetheless it is still going down. To me that is a great thing, to others however, it is not. I understand that if I do not go through with counseling and fix whatever it is that has set off my eating disorder that the bulimia can come back and that I will end up nearly killing myself just to look great in a bikini.
I want more than anything in this entire world to see myself how other’s see me. I am well aware that the women in the magazines don’t even look that way, but I don’t want to look like them, I want to look like all these fitness gurus and the girls at the gym that turn the heads of everyone there. For all I know I could be one of those girls with flat abs and a body that other women want, but I would honestly have no idea. What I see and what other people see are most likely two very different things. Over the years (I have been struggling with this for about 3 1/2 years now) I have created this negative image of myself and something like that is hard to break. I see every single flaw on my body and I don’t even have enough self-confidence to look at myself in the mirror with a bra and underwear on. I get so disgusted with myself and beat myself up. I tell myself I’m worthless and not beautiful and get this, I actually believe it. When people compliment me I believe that they are lying and just trying to be nice.
To the girls and guys out there who are suffering with eating disorders like I am, we can do this. I hope that my story and my struggle can help someone seek help. We cannot go at this alone, we need someone to support us and push us to get help or else we are going to end up killing ourselves. That is what this eating disorder is doing to me, killing myself. I am shaving years off my life every day with every meal I skip and every extra minute of cardio I do. I want to be healthy and I want to get better, but the negative thoughts make that seem nearly impossible, we need to be strong and do what we can to better ourselves before it is too late. I hope that one day I can look in the mirror and not want to look away. I want to love who I am and how I look. I want to see what everyone else sees when they see me and not the ugly pile of fat that I see when I look in the mirror.
Who do they affect?
Yourself for one, family, friends, boyfriend, even co-workers. Those who are close to you will try to help, but in all honestly they do not have any idea what to say or do that can help you. I know for a fact my boyfriend is 100% clueless on what to say to me when I go on a rant about how I want to shed 5 more pounds or how I cannot look at myself in the mirror. I don’t expect him to know what to say and I know it bothers him that he really cannot do anything to help me but just support me and let me know that he cares for me.
So here is the question, how do I get help? Where do I start? How can I help a friend that is struggling with an eating disorder?
How do I get help?
Tell someone about it. A friend, a family member, a co-worker, your boss, or even your Batista. You’re going to need the support even if the person you choose to vent to has no idea what to say or do for you, sometimes all you need is a listening ear to give you that kick of motivation.
Find local support groups that deal with your specific eating disorder. I made the mistake of going to one on one counseling sessions and let me tell you, it has really gotten me nowhere. There is just something about being in a group of people who are dealing with the same struggle you are that makes you feel okay. Maybe it’s because you know that you’re not alone and those people in that group truly understand what you go through every hour of everyday. I highly recommend support groups because you can relate to everyone there and establishing friendships with the other people there inspire you and really make you want to be better.
One on one counseling. I know that support groups are not for everyone and they probably make most people feel more uncomfortable and ashamed, so if you are that kind of person then a one on one session would be better for you. For me it is hard to tell someone I barely know all these things about me. The “getting to know you” process when you first go to a counselor always loses me. I just want to vent and say whatever is on my mind and have them tell me the root of the problem. I never have stuck with counseling long enough to figure out what has triggered my eating disorder. Maybe it’s just fear or maybe it’s simply ignorance, whatever the reason may be, one on one session would help boost my confidence slightly, but I can never stick with it.
Rehab. If you are at wits end and nothing has worked for you thus far, you might want to consider checking into a rehab designed for eating disorders. For some people this is the best option because they are completely isolated and are eventually forced to deal with the issues. With outside support groups and one on one counseling, it is simple for anyone to put all their problems in a box when they are not in sessions making it easy to appease the unhealthy desires. In rehab, there is nowhere to run or hide; eventually you’re going to have to deal with your issues and find out the cause even if it might be too painful to hear.
Where do I start?
Look online for places that have support group meetings, one on one counseling sessions, seminars, or if you absolutely need it, rehab facilities. Or if you are not quite ready for personal contact, search the internet for support group forums. There are tons if you look. You can find chat rooms filled with advice from both men and women who are currently and have previously struggled with eating disorders.
**However, be careful because many forums will seem as if they are support groups, but they end up being pro-anorexia and pro-mia websites. These websites are basically designed to encourage people to continue with their eating disorders or to introduce themselves to one. I have spent countless hours on websites like these and every time have felt even worse about myself. There were girls posting picture of what I see as perfect bodies and I burned those images in my brain and wonder why I don’t look like them. Most girls that post to these websites don’t look bone thin, they are actually quite fit, but they encourage others that the only way to look how they do is to not eat and purge. These sound like pretty phony websites, but the things people put on them encourage and really do convince people with eating disorders that they are doing the right thing and that they are not beautiful unless they look a certain way.
How can I help someone who is struggling with an eating disorder?
Be their listening ear and shoulder to cry on. Silence speaks volumes. Distracting only works for so long, but listening to what they have to say means a lot. Even if you’re not sure how to respond, just say something encouraging or constantly let your friend or family member know that you are there for them. If they need it, go with them to counseling sessions or working out in a healthy way and helping them eat healthy can really help.
Every day is a constant battle for me, I know I have to eat but I know I will always feel regret. If I skip the gym (which I rarely do,) I hit it twice as hard the next day. I push myself to my absolute limit and then some in hopes that one day I can look in the mirror and like what I see. I want to be lean and healthy and all I see is bloated and gross. Right now I just feel like no matter how much weight I lose or how tone my tummy gets, I will never be happy with what I see in the mirror. I will always knock myself down and hate the person that is staring back at me. I forced myself to eat every day and hate myself after each bite. I tell myself to purge and so far I have not given into that temptation for a few months now, but I know that one day that thought will get the best of me and everything I eat will immediately end up in the toilet.
I’m to the point where I don’t want to look in the mirror anymore and I compare myself to every girl I see. I do not want anyone thinking that I am doing this for attention because I am not. I would never even think twice about slowly killing myself for a compliment here or there. People need to understand that eating disorders are real diseases and develop into addictions. Anorexia is like my drug, I want to quit it, but I’m so addicted to it. I was addicted to Bulimia because I knew that I was in control of something. I was able to stick my fingers down my throat and watch as the calories flowed out of my mouth and I knew that it made me lose weight faster. Falling back into the addiction of being bulimic is a ticking time bomb for me, but as of right now anorexia has full reign over my life. A massive part of my wants to quit it, but it’s the other half that can’t let it go.
This has been something that I have always wanted to write about, but never knew how to put my thoughts on this subject into words. I figured the best way would to be just ramble and act as if this is my own personal diary. I plan on posting updates and more posts about my daily struggles. I don’t want anyone to think that I am doing this for attention; my reasons for writing this are simple:
1. Writing down how I feel always makes me feel better.
2. I want to help. If one person reads this that is going through the same thing I am and they seek help because of it, I will be happy. I want them to know that they are not alone.
Eating disorders put up a tough fight, but that is no excuse to ever give up. I will fight every day of my life to overcome this; I’m not going to be a prisoner to myself for the rest of my life. I always tell myself that one day I will look in the mirror and see beauty. The thought of that very moment is what fuels my fire. I want to love how I look and I want to have a positive self-image. The road to recovery is going to be a long one, but in the end it is going to be worth everything and I know I will become a stronger person because of this. One day I am going to look back on this chapter of my life and be proud of myself for overcoming this, that is the moment I strive to have and I will get there because I will beat this, this eating disorder will never win because I am going to keep fighting until it’s gone.
If you have any ideas, thoughts, comments for #GoDoFly, feel free to write to us down below or directly to our inbox. We welcome in new stories and Power Talks on a a regular basis! Be sure to subscribe for updates and share the post around, we love spreading positive cheer in everything that we do.
Thanks and spread the love,
The Always Believer