I have been going to Women, Wisdom and Bodies, a body image support group, run by The Community Health Clinic. I wanted to repost a piece I wrote a while ago about my thoughts on how our society is missing the mark on disordered thinking toward food and body.
Originally Written on September 24, 2013:
I have been trying to come up with a clever title for this post. Hopefully I can draw something from what I am about to say to give it a smashing one.
I am not angry at you, world. I am sad. I am sad that (usually) the first compliment we give to friends or strangers is about their bodies or personal image. As my husband says, comments like these are easy because they don’t require you to directly interact with a person or to even really know the person whatsoever. The are comments that can stem purely from observation. You don’t have to know me to notice my good hair, nice eyes, great legs, or changes in body shape from when we may’ve last met (cause trust me people I rarely talk to have talked about my weight with me). We all do it, we will keep doing it, and it is WRONG.
I started my recovery process for an eating disorder in the fall of 2010. It has been a long process, but over the past year and a half I have been way more candid. I have opened up and told my story to people. And do you want to know what the first question I usually get asked?
“What kind did you have?”
I hate answering that question because I think it’s irrelevant. I wish people understood this very important thing: Any form of disordered eating is not healthy. Why do we have to put a label on what kind someone has? I was about to rant about how there are three categories, anorexia, bulimia, and EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), but I guess one study they have added two categories: Psychogenic Vomiting (the relation between patterns of vomiting and psychiatric diagnoses)
, and Pica (characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive, such as ice, clay, chalk, dirt or sand).
Now my ADD has kicked in and I want to take this post all over the place. I will not. I will keep it brief and to the point.
We are all a little disordered okay? Maybe you don’t focus on food or body image in the same way as someone who has (or hasn’t) been diagnosed with an eating disorder. But, society focuses on body image and food so much, I truly believe we are all a little disordered (in case you can’t tell, I have used this for my title by now. I actually came up with the title in the third paragraph).
We all make comments on our bodies, or how “bad” we are being for eating that dessert. We compare our bodies to our friends, we peak at their plates to make sure our portions match.
People are trying to be positive with the compliments, but by stating positives we imply negatives. So when Sally says “Mindy you are so good for not eating that cookie, I can’t say no.” Would she then tell me the next time I ate a cookie, “Mindy you ate that cookie, you are bad, you can’t say no”. (Do it, I dare you.)
If you want to talk to me a simple, “Hi Mindy” would suffice. If you want to say something positive about me “I notice how hard you work” “You are a very passionate person” would work for me.
If you want to have small talk, I enjoy talking about the weather, not clothing sizes.