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“I feel fat.”
Have you ever said that? Have you ever heard anyone say that?
Coming from someone who began a life threatening eating disorder early in life I can tell you that simply saying that out loud has greater consequences than one might think. In this society, country, world, and universe saying negative things about our bodies is common place, so much so that sometimes we don’t even notice what we are doing. I grew up with a mom and two sisters, so we always chatted about weight, appearance, diets etc. and what I understood about life pretty much boiled down to what’s below:
- fat = bad
- skinny = good
- gaining weight = bad
- losing weight = good
At the end of the day didn’t matter if I did well on a test earlier; it didn’t matter if I did well in dance. If I got on the scale or my pants felt tight or the mirror simply didn’t “agree” I, Erin Casey was bad.
I would overhear other girls saying “I feel fat” at school in the hallways or bathroom, at dance in the lobby, and immediately I would compare MY body to theirs and feel bad about who I was as a human being, almost like I didn’t measure up or make the cut. Thats not even beginning to talk about bullying, the way other kids tease and taunt others about their weight which adds not only to the trauma of those children being teased and damage to their self-image, but to every other child, teen, tween or even adult that hears it and gets sent this message “your weight is the most important part of you, never forget that.”
Well consider that message sent, and years of treatment later I still see my body expand in the mirror when I’m stressed and the weight of food sometimes is just enough for me to naturally want to push it back up again. These negative reactions are only to be reinforced when I hear someone say “I feel fat.” or some variation of the phrase. And using my energy and tools I fight those tricks of my brain and temptations because eating disorders are dangerous. They are not glamorous. They are painful and exhausting. They are life sucking. They ruin relationships, and hurt friends and family.
But most importantly eating disorders are treatable and preventable.
Biology might predispose someone to develop a full blown eating disorder, but the environment plays a huge part in triggering to develop. So start protecting the people you love by watching what you say, and build people up instead tearing them down.
You might be talking about YOUR body, but the girl next to you is comparing hers to yours which hurts her just as much.
You are beautiful, and talented, and funny, and smart, and kind, and a daughter, friend, sister, mother, grandmother ect. Your worth has NOTHING to do with a number on a scale, or tag inside your clothes. What you mean to the people in your life cannot be measured in a number.
You are Beautiful. Every time you think “I am fat” and you catch yourself about to say it, say instead “I am beautiful” because that is the truth.
- ‘Skinny Jeans’ World: How Do We Protect Daughters From Eating Disorders? (commonhealth.wbur.org)